Panama's Jose "papadelpoker" De La Guardia Wins 11/22 Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo.jpgIt was a regular Sunday and a regular Sunday Million on November 22. As compared to last week's unbelievable Sunday Million, with its $2.5 million guarantee that led to 18,283 players registered to play and a $3,656,600 prize pool, this week brought the internet's biggest online tournament back to normal.

But "regular" and "normal" are being used here to describe the tournament that every online poker player strives to win. Those terms can be used because the Sunday Million is a staple in the industry and has come to represent the best in online tournaments...every week. The guarantee is back to its "normal" $1.5 million, and the field is back to its "regular" number of over 8,000. And those descriptions don't (can't) take away from its greatness or its excitement from week to week.

That brings us to the 11/22 event, which drew 8,587 players to the online tables and bypassed that $1.5 million guarantee to create a $1,717,400 prize pool. Though it was distributed among the last 1,260 players standing according to finish, the majority of it awaited the nine final table players, with $252,633.86 awaiting the ultimate champion.

As action moved the players ever closer to the final table, it was more than 9.5 hours after the start of the tournament that play was ten-handed and the bubble loomed. Finally, it was icedavid who pushed all-in from the big blind with A♠ 9♣, and original raiser sethsethseth called with Q♥ T♣. The board came K♠ 3♣ 2♠ T♦ 8♣ to eliminate icedavid in tenth place with $9,102.22.

And that left nine with seats at the final table. In Level 35 with 150,000/300,000 blinds and a 30,000 ante, action started off with the following chip counts:

Seat 1: florian_ny (5,600,060 in chips)
Seat 2: jakobsen01 (5,764,777 in chips)
Seat 3: papadelpoker (21,798,758 in chips)
Seat 4: ToroGr (4,486,769 in chips)
Seat 5: CBF430 (4,062,120 in chips)
Seat 6: lookoutdudes (5,104,482 in chips)
Seat 7: sethsethseth (16,725,247 in chips)
Seat 8: IveGotToejam (19,323,523 in chips)
Seat 9: rwesty (3,004,264 in chips)


It only took a few hands to see the play heat up, as jakobsen01 doubled up through sethsethseth on the fourth hand of the table. And the big pots kept brewing.

A very short time later, florian_ny tangled with papadelpoker in a preflop raising scenario, and papadelpoker put in enough chips to put florian_ny to the test for his tournament life. And florian_ny called with A♠ K♦, while papadelpoker showed only A♣ J♥. The board started with a flop of Q♣ 7♣ K♣, which gave papadelpoker the club flush draw, and though the Q♠ on the turn was harmless, the 3♣ fell on the river to make that flush. The first to go from the table was florian_ny, who walked away with $13,309.85 for the ninth place finish.

Then it was time for the actual shortest stack at the table to move. ToroGr raised all-in preflop with pocket fives, but CBF430 looked down at pocket kings and made the call. The board brought nothing for the short stack when it ran out 2♠ 2♦ 7♠ 3♦ T♠, and ToroGr was left with $18,891.40 for the eighth place finish.

A tournament like this shows how quickly things can change for one player. Coming to the final table with a hefty chip stack and third spot on the leader board found sethsethseth with plenty of chips to move around. But after rwesty doubled through him once, the two soon tangled again, and the second time resulted in the same double-up for rwesty and a short stack for sethsethseth:

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Two hands later, sethsethseth pushed all-in with pocket jacks, only to find himself in a race situation with the A♠ K♠ of papadelpoker. The flop brought a flush draw for papadelpoker with 9♠ 5♠ 2♣, but the 9♣ on the turn didn't do it. However, the 3♠ on the river did make the flush, which eliminated sethsethseth from the tournament in seventh place with $34,348.00 in prize money.

While lookoutdudes was on the rise, doubling through papadelpoker and CBF430, it was CBF430 who was put in dire straits as a result. That prompted the player to push shortly after with A♣ 5♦, and jakobsen01 decided to call from the big blind with A♦ T♣. The better hand only improved on the T♦ 4♦ 4♠ 2♦ A♠ board, and CBF430 was ousted in sixth place with $51,522.00.

Next to put himself at risk was rwesty. It was IveGotToejam who made the initial raise from the small blind, and rwesty called from the big blind, which put him all-in for his tournament life with K♠ T♦. IveGotToejam only showed 6♥ 5♥, but the flush - as had happened so many times in the night already - came when the board produced Q♥ 9♥ 8♠ 6♦ A♥. That left rwesty to collect $68,696.00 for fifth place.

Mentions of a tournament pause for deal talks were quickly dismissed, and play continued for a quite some time with mostly small-ball action. The short-stacked lookoutdudes was looking for a spot to move, but when papadelpoker put him to the test the first time, lookoutdudes folded out of the hand and gave the 8-million chip pot to papadelpoker. That left lookoutdudes with less than 9 million chips, which went all-in four hands later from the small blind with A♠ T♥. Original raiser papadelpoker called with A♦ 9♠ and would need some help to eliminate his opponent, and he received it on the board of Q♠ 5♥ 8♠ 7♥ 6♥. The straight knocked out lookoutdudes in fourth place with $85,870.00.

Five hands after that, another showdown took place, though it started with papadelpoker and IveGotToejam taking it to the board. The flop of 8♦ 6♠ 3♠ prompted more betting, but it was after seeing the Q♠ on the turn that papadelpoker bet, IveGotToejam raised all-in for his last 14,635,813, and papadelpoker called. IveGotToejam showed A♠ 3♦ for bottom pair, but papadelpoker turned over Q♥ 8♥ for top two pair. The river brought the 4♥, which ended IveGotToejam's run in third place, which was worth $128,805.00.

Heads-up action then began with the following counts:

Seat 2: jakobsen01 (9,038,167 in chips)
Seat 3: papadelpoker (76,831,833 in chips)

Six hands later, it was done. After waiting for the right time to move, jakobsen01 decided to make that all-in push on a 7♦ 7♣ J♦ flop with 8♦ 5♦. But the flush draw was outdone by the 7♥ 3♦ of papadelpoker, who flopped trips. The 5♠ on the turn gave jakobsen01 two pair, but the Q♠ on the river ended the tournament. jakobsen01 was forced to accept second place and the $184,620.50 that went with it.

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The winner of the 11/22/09 Sunday Million was someone not unfamiliar with PokerStars tournaments. Jose "papadelpoker" De La Guardia made a name for himself at the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) Playa Conchal tournament in Costa Rica, where he made it into the money on Day 3 and ultimately finished in 23rd place for $4,711. Well-known in Panama and a member of the "rat pack of Panama," De La Guardia can now claim to own one of the most coveted titles in online poker, that of the Sunday Million, which also came with a hefty first place prize of $252,633.86. Congratulations!

Sunday Million Results for 11/22/09:

1st place: Jose "papadelpoker" De La Guardia ($252,633.86)
2nd place: jakobsen01 ($184,620.50)
3rd place: IveGotToejam ($128,805.00)
4th place: lookoutdudes ($85,870.00)
5th place: rwesty ($66,696.00)
6th place: CBF430 ($51,522.00)
7th place: sethsethseth ($34,348.00)
8th place: ToroGr ($18,891.40)
9th place: florian_ny ($13,309.85)

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