May 3 Sunday Million saw sasa80 squash competition and win $232K prize!

Sunday Million logo.jpgThe first Sunday in May brought a sizable field to the virtual tables, larger than had shown themselves in the Sunday Million in past weeks. With the live tournament circuit winding down in preparation for the World Series of Poker and players looking to hone their skills, it was no surprise to see a solid group of players on PokerStars on May 3.

There were 7,759 players looking to pad their pre-WSOP bankrolls, and they created a $1,551,800 prize pool, leaving the $1.5 million guarantee in the online poker dust. Though the 1,170 finalists would leave the tables with a profit, there was $232,770.01 waiting for the eventual winner.

As the field thinned throughout the evening hours, it was the elimination of AL-AL66 in 1171st place and on the money bubble that allowed for BMSWINK to cash in 1170th place for $310.36 and many others to follow. But the suspense increased as the final table neared. With thirteen players remaining, only SandroBird, badbeatman06, and MrGORK had jumped the 10 million chip mark, and SandroBird continued to climb and leave the others in the dust by pasting the 20 million point.

With the field down to ten, SandroBird had a 2-to-1 chip lead over the second place player and seemed to be running away with it. The player not running away with it was short-stacked SoulMaster7, who was finally eliminated in tenth place, which was worth $8,302.14, in the following hand:

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That left the final table players and corresponding chip counts as follows:

Seat 1: mk10 (7,610,880 in chips)
Seat 2: Humlae79 (9,057,924 in chips)
Seat 3: badbeatman06 (6,215,403 in chips)
Seat 4: MrGORK (8,854,770 in chips)
Seat 5: PolyBaller22 (7,153,058 in chips)
Seat 6: SandroBird (16,603,064 in chips)
Seat 7: sasa80 (7,830,962 in chips)
Seat 8: Tardeea (7,352,031 in chips)
Seat 9: postmand (6,911,908 in chips)

2009 Sunday Million final table 05.03.09.JPG

Action among the final nine was off to a slow start until the fifth hand when sasa80 doubled through SandroBird to win a 17 million chip pot and suddenly jump into the lead. How quickly things changed!

The eliminations began in a very short time. PolyBaller22 was one of the shorter stacks and pushed preflop to a MrGORK raise. MrGORK called with pocket queens, and PolyBaller22 was in bad shape with A♣ Q♥. The board brought nothing to help when it showed 4♦ 6♠ 4♥ 5♠ K♠, and PolyBaller22 was ousted in ninth place with $12,026.46.

Within moments, it was badbeatman06's turn to make the preflop all-in move, and sasa80 was the caller. badbeatman06 turned over A♥ K♥, which dominated sasa80's T♦ 9♦ until the board started producing cards. The flop of J♥ 7♠ 5♦ was ominous, and the 8♠ did it by giving sasa80 the straight. The 9♠ finished off badbeatman06 in eighth place with $17,845.71.

And then it was an unlikely player holding on to the short stack. From monster chip leader to at-risk player, SandroBird called an initial raise by MrGORK to see a K♦ 8♥ 3♦ flop. SandroBird then pushed all-in with pocket sevens, but MrGORK was quick to check-call with pocket jacks. The 5♠ turn and Q♥ river changed nothing, and SandroBird was eliminated in seventh place with $31,036.01 for the roller coaster ride.

It was mk10 who then went on a run, doubling through postmand and taking a pot worth more than 8 million chips from Humlae79. Though postmand tried to make a comeback and did double through MrGORK to stay alive, it was only a few hands later that postmand pushed all-in with A♦ Q♥ to attempt it again. But mk10 called with pocket kings, and the board only brought 8♠ 2♥ 5♠ 8♣ 9♣ to send postmand packing in sixth place with $46,554.01.

Players were moving along at that point, and only a few hands later, Humlae79 made his all-in move from the big blind with K♠ T♥. But it was mk10 who called with A♣ J♦ and the advantage. The board increased those odds when the flop brought A♦ 8♠ 3♦, and the 4♦ turn and 8♣ river ended it for Humlae79 in fifth place, which was worth $62,072.01.

Tardeea felt it was time to look for some double-up opportunities and found one through MrGORK. Three hands later, Tardeea tried it again and open-raised the hand. When sasa80 doubled that raise from the big blind, Tardeea called all-in with A♠ T♣, and sasa80 turned over pocket nines. The board came 9♣ 3♣ Q♥ A♦ 6♦, and the set of nines was good enough to send Tardeea out in fourth place with $78,210.73.

Faster than a person can type out a hand, it was MrGORK all-in after discovering that his two opponents would not discuss a deal. MrGORK put his short stack into the middle with A♠ 7♥, and sasa80 called with K♥ Q♦. The flop of 9♥ 8♦ 2♣ looked good for MrGORK, but the Q♥ hit on the turn and the K♣ on the river to end MrGORK's run in third place with $116,385.01.

Heads-up action then began with the following counts:

Seat 1: mk10 (20,881,738 in chips)
Seat 7: sasa80 (56,708,262 in chips)

Almost immediately, the two agreed to pause the tournament and see some chip-chop numbers. But when mk10 did not like what he saw, the game was immediately restarted.

Though mk10 started aggressively, when sasa80 put the pressure on, there was no stopping the Italian. It came down to one final hand:

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With all the money in preflop, mk10 had the best hand with A♠ 5♥ against the Q♥ 9♣ of sasa80, but the flop hit the chip leader with K♦ 3♣ Q♣. The turn of 4♠ and river of 6♥ finished the match and gave mk10 a second place finish and the $170,698.01 that went with it.

Congratulations to sasa80 for taking home the $232,770.01 in prize money and Sunday Million title!

Sunday Million Results for 05/03/09:

1st place: sasa80 ($232,770.01)
2nd place: mk10 ($170,698.01)
3rd place: MrGORK ($116,385.01)
4th place: Tardeea ($78,210.73)
5th place: Humlae79 ($62,071.01)
6th place: postmand ($46,554.01)
7th place: SandroBird ($31,036.01)
8th place: badbeatman06 ($17,845.71)
9th place: PolyBaller22 ($12,026.46)

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