THE_ALPACA Herds the table and grabs a Sunday Million title

Sunday Million logo.jpgThere isn't much significance to February 8. It's a week before Valentine's Day, a week after the Super Bowl, and it doesn't conflict with too many major tournament series on the global circuit. What does make it significant is that it's a Sunday, and Sundays are always major on PokerStars. And with crowds like this one that put the $1.5 million guarantee to shame, to say that February 8 is noteworthy is an understatement.

A total of 8,748 players came to the virtual felt for the Sunday Million this week, creating a prize pool of $1,749,600 to be divvied appropriately among the final 1,260 finalists.

As the hours went by and the tables disappeared, one name stood out in the top ten. THE_ALPACA drew attention not simply because of the name and the observer chat at his tables (referring to the alpaca as a monkey, llama, goat, etc.), but THE_ALPACA had been at or near the top of the leader board for hours. By the time the final table neared, he was still there, flirting with the top spot, along with cannibal23 and sln112. Another who had been there and lost some ground was Smoova, who became one of the shorter stacks and moved all-in preflop with As-Jh. sln112 called with pocket nines, and another nine hit on the turn to knock Smoova out in tenth place. Reward for final table bubble status was $8,748.00.

That made way for the final table to proceed, starting with chip counts as follows:

Seat 1: mozitas (1,766,392 in chips)
Seat 2: hartwith (4,412,884 in chips)
Seat 3: THE_ALPACA (14,761,002 in chips)
Seat 4: ADZ124 (8,699,484 in chips)
Seat 5: sln112 (13,073,692 in chips)
Seat 6: crminalface (12,847,901 in chips)
Seat 7: gimmedat717 (5,494,416 in chips)
Seat 8: cannibal23 (22,212,339 in chips)
Seat 9: $uBzEr0-AK (4,211,890 in chips)

2009 Sunday Million final table 02.08.09.JPG

Within moments of reaching the final table, short-stacked mozitas was ready to make that move, ultimately doing it with As-Jd preflop. crminalface called with pocket deuces, and mozitas had outs, though none of them came on the 3d-7d-3c-4h-9s board. mozitas was eliminated in ninth place for $12,247.20.

Oddly enough, several players began proposing a chop during eight-handed play. That didn't last long. But play did. It took more than 30 minutes to come eliminate another player. It was cannibal23 who had experienced a tough ride at the final table, coming in with a substantial chip lead but getting chipped away at, even doubled through courtesy of ADZ124. Finally, cannibal23 pushed 7,124,239 chips all-in preflop with As-5h and found a caller in THE_ALPACA, who happened to be holding Ac-Kh. The board brought 9c-7h-Th-Jc-Ah, and cannibal23 was suddenly out in eighth place with a $20,120.40.

Within minutes, there was another player at risk, and it happened to be another one of the original chip leaders. sln112 lost chips previously when hartwith doubled through him and couldn't seem to gain much momentum after the incident. sln112 moved all-in preflop holding As-Qs, but ADZ124 called with pocket nines. The race didn't last long, as the flop brought another nine for ADZ124; the entire board read Kh-Qd-9s-8d-Kc. sln112 was ousted in seventh place with $30,618.00.

More talks ensued about a chip-chop, so when everyone agreed to see the numbers, the tournament was paused to do so. And it was an easy process, as the numbers were given and all players agreed immediately, with the understanding that an extra $30,000 would be set aside for the winners. The payout amounts, along with the players corresponding chip counts at the time of the deal, were as follows:

Seat 2: hartwith (14,280,768 in chips) = $99,707.25
Seat 3: THE_ALPACA (25,710,593 in chips) = $144,501.47
Seat 4: ADZ124 (16,251,891 in chips) = $107,432.21
Seat 6: crminalface (11,137,684 in chips) = $87,389.30
Seat 7: gimmedat717 (13,505,284 in chips) = $96,668.08
Seat 9: $uBzEr0-AK (6,593,780 in chips) = $69,581.45

Play resumed, and the action took on a bit of a new tone. crminalface seemed ready for action and got involved with THE_ALPACA to see a flop of 3d-6h-5d. crminalface promptly pushed all-in with Ad-6s and top pair, but THE_ALPACA called with pocket tens and the overpair. The Jc on the turn and 2d on the river changed nothing, and crminalface was gone in sixth place with the agreed-upon amount of $87,389.30.

After gimmedat717 suffered a major hit when hartwith doubled through him, gimmedat717 seemed unable to recover. So, with less than two million chips, he pushed all-in preflop with Js-Ts. THE_ALPACA called with Qd-9d, and the two watched the virtual dealer bring Jh-6d-Td-Qh-3d to give THE_ALPACA the flush. gimmedat717 saw his two pair go down in flames and left in fifth place with $96,668.08.

It was about that time that THE_ALPACA began to run away with the tournament. He took some very sizable pots on the way to putting ADZ124 at risk for his tournament life. ADZ124 called the all-in with Ad-8d, and THE_ALPACA showed Qc-6d, only to see the board again come in his favor with 3s-Th-6h-2d-4c. ADZ124 was forced out in fourth place with a substantial $107,432.21 prize.

Not for a lack of trying, $uBzEr0-AK couldn't gain much momentum at the table. Finally, the last of his chips went in preflop with Kh-6s, but he couldn't have been unluckier to find that hartwith called with pocket aces. The dealer gave them an uneventful 7h-Ts-Qh-3d-2s, and the aces held up to send $uBzEr0-AK out in third place with $69,581.45.

Heads-up action began with the following counts:

Seat 2: hartwith (34,086,529 in chips)
Seat 3: THE_ALPACA (53,393,471 in chips)

hartwith had no intention of giving up, and through a series of small pots and one worth over 20 million chips, hartwith garnered the chip lead. But THE_ALPACA came back in style, doubling through at a critical time with K-3 versus the 9-2 of hartwith to give THE_ALPACA a monstrous stack of 78,406,942.

There was a double-up in store for hartwith two hands later, but it wasn't enough to gain much ground. Eventually, hartwith had to move all-in and chose to do it with 8s-7s, but THE_ALPACA was there to call with pocket eights. There was a seven on the flop, but the rest of the board didn't cooperate with the short stack when it brought 7c-2d-Qh-4d-Jd. hartwith accepted the second place finish and the previously agreed-upon prize of $99,707.25.

THE_ALPACA, who presumably does not want to mistaken for a llama any longer, claimed the February 8 Sunday Million title, herding his way to a $173,501.47 payday. Congratulations!

Sunday Million Results for 02/08/09:

1st place: THE_ALPACA ($174,501.47)*
2nd place: hartwith ($99,707.25)*
3rd place: $uBzEr0-AK ($69,581.45)*
4th place: ADZ124 ($107,432.21)*
5th place: gimmedat717 ($96,668.08)*
6th place: crminalface ($87,389.30)*
7th place: sln112 ($30,618.00)
8th place: cannibal23 ($20,120.40)
9th place: mozitas ($12,247.20)

*based on six-way chop numbers

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