Comeback for vuki equals 10/18 Sunday Million win

Sunday Million logo.jpgIn some parts of the hemisphere, the weather indicates that Mother Nature would like to skip the season of autumn altogether and head straight into winter. Temperatures have been colder than one would expect for October, and between the snow and rain, many poker players found themselves sitting indoors anxiously awaiting the reprieve from the weather that is the Sunday Million. Instead of battling the forces of nature, a little online poker action seemed much more appealing.

Thus, the number of entrants in the October 18th edition of the Sunday Million was notably higher than in past weeks. There were 7,856 players at the virtual tables, which pushed the prize pool past the $1.5 million guarantee and up to $1,571,200. It took quite a few hours for players to push through and find their way into the money, as 1,170 of them did, but it was only after more than nine hours that the elite nine found their way to the final table.

It happened quickly. Often it takes hours to get from three tables to two and eventually to the last one, but this week, possibly in an effort to keep warm, players were clicking their all-in buttons like we haven't seen in quite a few weeks. It only 9 hours and 15 minutes into the tournament that the board registered 11 players remaining, and when AAADeezNutz busted in 11th, it was Helten22 at risk as one of the short stacks remaining. Helten22 pushed all-in with J♥ T♣ to race with the pocket nines of, and that pair turned into a set when the board came 6♣ 2♠ 8♦ 9♣ T♥. Helten22 was ousted in tenth place with $8,405.93 to ease the pain.

Just before the tournament went on its break to introduce Level 34, players went on break and returned five minutes later to blinds of 125,000/250,000 and a 25,000 ante. The final table started with the following chip counts:

Seat 1: danistiofi (4,170,681 in chips)
Seat 2: mehmet deniz (2,964,590 in chips)
Seat 3: vuki (4,842,144 in chips)
Seat 4: (20,791,810 in chips)
Seat 5: madkins318 (15,163,969 in chips)
Seat 6: bigclout1 (2,389,658 in chips)
Seat 7: TheCronic420 (3,949,733 in chips)
Seat 8: BleedBlue33 (22,120,827 in chips)
Seat 9: kiramm (2,166,588 in chips)

2009 Sunday Million final table 10.18.09.JPG

Action was a bit slower than expected, though danistiofi was not afraid to be the first to move. But the all-in resulted in a double through madkins318, and danistiofi's risk paid off for the time being. And for the rest of the table, it was small-ball poker for awhile with big money at stake, including more than $235K for first prize.

Jamie "TheCronic420" Rosen was seeking a Sunday Million win at the table after coming so close earlier in 2009. In the March 15, 2009 event, TheCronic420 took second place to Iceman1278 after losing the lead in the heads-up battle. Tonight's final table saw TheCronic420 in trouble with a semi-short stack at the beginning and a shorter one when mehmet deniz doubled through him. But TheCronic420 came back with a double-up of his own through madkins318 to stay alive and make a run at that elusive title.

It was bigclout1 who had been unable to gain much momentum at the table, and with just over one million chips left, the all-in move came preflop with pocket kings. But two callers - mehmet deniz and - kept the action going as they checked the J♥ 2♦ 2♥ flop and 3♣ turn. When the river brought the T♥, pushed all-in, prompting mehmet deniz to fold. showed pocket jacks that flopped into a full house, and the kings of bigclout1 were no good. The ninth place finish was worth $12,176.81.

The action sped up a bit as mehmet deniz continued to look for action. But in a big hand that found kiramm doubling through mehmet deniz, the latter was relegated to a very short stack of just over 500K in chips. Two hands later, those went into the pot preflop with Q♦ J♠, and madkins318 called with A♦ K♠. The board came 5♣ 7♥ T♠ 4♦ 4♠, and mehmet deniz was ousted in eighth place with $18,068.81.

Just before the 10.5 hour break, the double-ups were more frequent, with kiramm doubling through BleedBlue33 and vuki doing the same courtesy of Then it was danistiofi with an attempt, pushing all-in for 2,667,364 chips with A♠ 5♠, but BleedBlue33 woke up with A♦ Q♣ in the big blind and called. The board brought T♦ 8♥ 8♦ Q♦ 9♦ to give BleedBlue33 the flush and eliminate danistiofi in seventh place with $31,424.01.

Returning from break found TheCronic420 ready to move. He pushed all-in with 3,343,126 chips holding K♣ 5♣, but BleedBlue33 was there with pocket eights, and kiramm was also all-in with pocket kings. The hand played out as follows:

RSS readers click through to see replay

kiramm collected the entire pot worth nearly 23 million chips, and TheCronic420 left the table in sixth place with $47,136.01. It wasn't the victory Rosen sought, but it was another admirable final table finish in the Sunday Million nonetheless.

Shortly thereafter, it was madkins318 feeling the need to move all-in and doing it with A♣ T♦. But vuki showed up with pocket fives with which to make the call, and the race was on until the 7♠ 3♣ K♥ 7♣ 5♥ board gave vuki a full house. madkins318 was gone from the table with $62,848.01 for fifth place.

The last four players decided to take a look at chip-chop numbers, so the tournament was paused for Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer to facilitate the discussion. However, after extended talks, one player was unwilling to agree to the numbers given, and play resumed with original payout numbers in place.

On the first hand back, BleedBlue33 pushed as the shortest stack when he looked down at A♣ K♥ in the big blind. kiramm thought for awhile before calling with pocket sixes, and the call was a good one when the board came down T♦ 9♥ 6♣ A♥ T♥ to give kiramm a flopped set and rivered full house. BleedBlue33 was eliminated in fourth place with $79,188.49.

The last three players wanted to see the updated chip-chop numbers, so the tournament was paused again. This time, they immediately agreed to the numbers, which were provided as follows, with an extra $30,000 left aside for the eventual winner:

Seat 3: vuki (14,073,644 in chips) = $143,427.67
Seat 4: (30,866,386 in chips) = $173,959.00
Seat 9: kiramm (33,619,970 in chips) = $178,965.36

Play slowed for quite awhile, as vuki stayed quite patient as the short stack. Though vuki got it all-in twice against only to split the pot both times, it was finally this play that not only saved vuki's tournament but pushed him into the chip lead:

RSS readers click through to see replay

That left kiramm in need of a double-up, which he was able to accomplish through, but kiramm was still short and moved again soon after with K♦ J♠. vuki called with pocket queens, which held up as the board came 5♥ 6♠ 3♠ 2♦ 3♦. kiramm was eliminated in third place with the agreed-upon amount of $178,965.36.

Heads-up play then began with the following chip counts:

It took only four hands to decide the match. pushed all-in with Q♠ 6♥, and vuki was able to make the quick call with pocket sixes. The board produced K♠ 4♠ 8♥ 9♣ 2♥, and wasn't able to win the race, meaning a second place finish and $173,959.00 was in order.

With a valiant effort to come back from short-stacked position to chip leader, vuki became the Sunday Million champion, which was good for $173,427.67 and one of the most coveted titles in online poker.

Sunday Million Results for 10/18/09:

1st place: vuki ($173,427.67)*
2nd place: ($173,959.00)*
3rd place: kiramm ($178,965.36)*
4th place: BleedBlue33 ($79,188.49)
5th place: madkins318 ($62,848.01)
6th place: TheCronic420 ($47,136.01)
7th place: danistiofi ($31,424.01)
8th place: mehmet deniz ($18,068.81)
9th place: bigclout1 ($12,176.81)

*payouts based on three-way chip-chop agreement

For more information on ways to register and qualify for upcoming Sunday Million tournaments, visit the //">Sunday Million page.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in Sunday Million