Hanamichi23 claims victory and sizable payday in May 17 Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo.jpgThe mid-May Sunday was unremarkable by most accounts, as conflicts with major live tournaments and holidays were reduced to a minimum. It was the weekend before Memorial Day in the United States, and it was two weeks prior to the start of the 2009 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. What was going on in the poker world? The Sunday Million, of course.

A total of 7,752 players came to the virtual tables for the weekly tournament, which brought the prize pool just past the $1.5 million guarantee to $1,514,400. The last 1,080 players standing were to receive a portion of that chunk of cash, though the winner was looking at a $227,160.01 payday. That would take care of quite a few WSOP buy-ins and plenty more Sunday Million tournaments.

As the field thinned toward the bubble, it was the elimination of AAzzz in 1081st place who made it possible for the rest of the players to be paid, starting with MoneyMan29 in 1080th place, who took home $318.02 for playing into the money. And as the tournament went into the late night hours, it was EaseYourPain who took control and kept a substantial lead over the rest of the pack all the way through to the final two tables.

Ultimately, after numerous double-ups for the shorter stacks as the final table loomed, xxenricoxx was busted in 11th place, and OllowainTim and crochepif got involved in a hand that would leave crochepif with $8,329.21 and a tenth place finish:

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With that, the final nine were left to compete for some serious cash prizes, and the table was set up as follows:

Seat 1: FiveStand (11,190,687 in chips)
Seat 2: RasA86 (4,097,248 in chips)
Seat 3: weeminer (16,318,360 in chips)
Seat 4: paulsl (8,511,736 in chips)
Seat 5: EaseYourPain (16,773,241 in chips)
Seat 6: OllowainTim (11,258,082 in chips)
Seat 7: Hanamichi23 (2,467,213 in chips)
Seat 8: APowers1968 (2,716,811 in chips)
Seat 9: JIZOINT (2,386,622 in chips)

2009 Sunday Million final table 05.17.09.JPG

On the second hand of the final table, Hanamichi23 was able to double through OllowainTim to stay alive and get out of short-stack land. Meanwhile, EaseYourPain was losing some of the lead that had been maintained for so long in the tournament, though first place on the leaderboard was still his to claim.

It didn't take long to find another player risking elimination. APowers1968 was one of the shorter stacks coming into the final table, and the preflop all-in move with A♦ 6♥ was met with a call from OllowainTim and his pocket nines. The board blanked with 3♥ 5♣ Q♣ K♥ 2♠, and APowers1968 was ousted in ninth place with $11,736.61 for the effort.

A short time later, it was JIZOINT with his tournament life on the line holding pocket queens, but Hanamichi23 called with A♥ J♦ and received an ace to make the better hand on the flop. The entire board read A♣ 4♣ 5♠ 3♣ 4♥, and that left JIZOINT with $18,172.81 and an eighth place finish.

The very next hand saw another short stack make a move when RasA86 pushed all-in preflop with 9♦ 7♠, but OllowainTim called from the big blind with pocket kings. The board brought some immediate outs for RasA86 with a 6♠ 5♠ A♠ flop, though the flush draw was better for OllowainTim. The turn brought a T♣ and the river a 2♥ to end the run for RasA86 in seventh place, which was worth $32,559.61.

Then came the downfall of former chip leader EaseYourPain. In a monster hand, that played out as follows, EaseYourPain's pocket tens lost out to big slick, and a 24.6 million-chip pot was shipped over to Hanamichi23.

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It didn't take long for EaseYourPain to take the rest of that stack and commit it. It happened preflop with Q♣ 9♣, and weeminer called from the small blind with A♦ K♠. The board ran out 8♥ 5♥ 7♥ 5♦ T♠ to eliminate EaseYourPain in sixth place, though he was awarded $46,946.41 to (wait for it...) ease the pain. (Had to say it!)

FiveStand was then crippled when pocket sevens ran into the pocket tens of OllowainTim, who always seemed to be in the right spot with the right cards at the right time. After losing the 19 million-chip pot, FiveStand had less than 700K remaining and pushed it with 8♥ 6♥. weeminer was there with K♣ T♠ and the call, and the board immediately showed up for weeminer when it came A♠ 4♣ K♦ Q♦ 3♥. FiveStand took fifth place and the $62,090.41 that went with it.

The final four then paused the game to discuss chip-chop numbers, and host and Team PokerStars pro Steve Paul-Ambrose was there to do the honors. When the numbers came back, however, there was little agreement and talks quickly fell apart. Play resumed.

paulsl was able to quickly double through OllowainTim to jump into second place behind Hanamichi23 on the leaderboard, at which point play slowed for several rounds of action. OllowainTim was then relegated to the shortest stack of the remaining four and finally made the all-in push with K♣ T♥. But Hanamichi23 was there with none other than pocket aces with which to make the call. The board brought outs for OllowainTim with a 6♣ J♣ Q♥ flop, but the 5♣ turn and 7♠ river blanked and left OllowainTim with a fourth place finish and $80,263.21.

weeminer had a difficult time during three-handed play, being chipped away at by his opponents. Finally able to double through paulsl, though, weeminer edged ever closer to second place. Hanamichi23, on the other hand, continued to extend the lead and climbed over the 40 million mark with seeming ease as the other two players fought for the remainder of the chips.

After nearly 30 minutes of play, weeminer gathered some extra chips through Hanamichi23, but paulsl then doubled through weeminer to take most of them for himself. Down to little more than 13.5 million, weeminer made the preflop all-in move on the next hand with A♠ 7♣, and paulsl was there with pocket queens with which to make the call. The board immediately helped paulsl with a Q♣ T♥ 3♦ flop and finished it off with a 5♦ turn and T♣ river to make the full house and eliminate weeminer in third place with $121,152.01.

Heads-up action began with the following counts:

Seat 4: paulsl (38107042 in chips)
Seat 7: Hanamichi23 (37612958 in chips)

Almost immediately, the tournament was paused for deal talks, and the two quickly agreed to each accept $182,152 in prize money and leave $30,000 aside for the eventual winner. With that cooperation, action resumed, and the two played on.

paulsl jumped out to an early lead and kept it for quite a few rounds until Hanamichi23 was able to double through in a key hand:

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That left paulsl with an overwhelming urge to move all-in for his last 26,755,580 chips. He did it preflop with A♣ 8♦, though Hanamichi23 made the call with A♠ T♥ and the best hand. The board came 4♣ 9♥ J♣ T♣ 5♦, and paulsl had to settle for second place and the agreed-upon amount of $182,152.00.

Congratulations to Hanamichi23 for the Sunday Million victory, which came with a $212,152 payday!

Sunday Million Results for 05/17/09:

1st place: Hanamichi23 ($212,152.00)*
2nd place: paulsl ($182,152.00)*
3rd place: weeminer ($121,152.01)
4th place: OllowainTim ($80,263.21)
5th place: FiveStand ($62,090.41)
6th place: EaseYourPain ($46,946.41)
7th place: RasA86 ($32,559.61)
8th place: JIZOINT ($18,172.81)
9th place: APowers1968 ($11,736.61)

*based on two-way 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