Winner caio_pimenta Took 11/29 Sunday Million Title & $259K for Brazil

Sunday Million logo.jpgThere is no disputing that the Sunday Million can be construed as a popular tournament. Its $1.5 million guarantee attracts thousands of players from around the world each week. But there seems to be a trend that it is becoming even more popular than ever. Evidence? A nearly 500-player increase on November 29th from the previous week. While this is far from a scientific study regarding the growth of the Sunday Million, it can certainly be established that there have been recent increases in registration numbers.

With that said, it matters most to the players because the prize pool continues to soar each week above and beyond the $1.5 million guarantee set by PokerStars. This week, the 9,077-player field pushed the pool to $1,815,400, which was split amongst the final 1,350 players standing, according to finishes of course.

And it took more than nine hours to wade through the massive tournament tables to find the final two. Another hour of action took them down to ten players after Bernard "Dogger9" Lee left in 11th place and hand-for-hand play began. It took some time to find the bubble player, but it finally happened when short-stacked Gomer3d pushed preflop with K♠ Q♠ and original raiser joaoMathias called with K♥ T♠. The board looked good for a double-up with A♣ 5♦ 9♥ 3♥ until the T♣ came on the river to send Gomer3d packing in tenth place with $9,440.08.

The final table was then set and ready to go without delay. It was just moments into Level 37, with blinds at 250,000/500,000 and a 50,000 ante that the chip counts started the action as follows:

Seat 1: caio_pimenta (14,853,931 in chips)
Seat 2: bo0ort (5,198,125 in chips)
Seat 3: BRzRoll (6,288,224 in chips)
Seat 4: joaoMathias (13,819,875 in chips)
Seat 5: johnnylodden (13,983,689 in chips)
Seat 6: LAPINKY (3,769,476 in chips)
Seat 7: buddahead9 (14,368,015 in chips)
Seat 8: floriverboy (11,332,456 in chips)
Seat 9: KillerMendez (7,156,209 in chips)

Play was off to a roaring start, and on the second hand, short-stacked bo0ort decided to push from the small blind with A♠ T♦. BRzRoll decided to call from the big blind with K♥ 7♥, but the flop hit that hand better than expected when it came J♠ 7♠ 7♦. The A♥ on the turn helped bo0ort with two pair, but the K♠ on the river solidified the win for BRzRoll with the full house. That left bo0ort out in ninth place with $12,707.80.

It was then that we caught our breath and grabbed this screen shot of the table:

2009 Sunday Million final table 11.29.09.PNG

Moments (and only eight hands) later, another player was at risk. Action started with a preflop raise from ciao_pimenta, but BRzRoll reraised all-in for 10,456,349 chips. caio_pimenta called with A♣ K♥, which dominated the K♠ Q♣ of BRzRoll. The first three cards on the board hit ciao_pimenta with 9♥ 3♣ A♦, and the K♣ turn and 3♣ river ended BRzRoll's run in eighth place, which was worth a payout of $19,969.40.

Another five hands led to another all-in situation, and it began with LAPINKY leading out with a preflop raise. The call was made by floriverboy, and the two observed the flop come 3♣ 3♥ K♣. LAPINKY moved all-in with K♥ T♥ for two pair, and floriverboy called with K♦ J♣ and the same two pair but a better kicker. The 7♠ turn and 5♥ river took it to that kicker, which eliminated LAPINKY in seventh place with $36,308.00.

Coming off the final table's first break, KillerMendez took the opportunity to double through floriverboy, putting the latter in the position of short stack. And soon after, joaoMathias was able to double through caio_pimenta with pocket aces.

But it was caio_pimenta who wasted no time getting into a dominating chip position. The hand that did it started with buddahead9 raising preflop and ciao_pimenta reraising from the small blind. buddahead9 called, and the flop came J♣ 8♣ 5♠. A bet and call led to the 7♣ on the turn, and checks from both brought the 5♣ river card. ciao_pimenta pushed all-in, and buddahead9 called for his tournament life with K♦ K♣ and the king-high flush. However, caio_pimenta was happy to show his A♣ 8♥ for the nut flush, which was good for the 37.5 million chip pot. buddahead9 was ousted in sixth place with $54,462.00.

The very next hand saw Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden in action and trying to get out of last place on the leaderboard. He took a 9.3 million chip pot from caio_pimenta to climb into fourth place out of five players remaining.

Johnny Lodden.jpg

Lodden was ready to move again. Two hands later, he pushed all-in preflop, and original raiser caio_pimenta called with pocket kings. The hand dominated the A♥ K♦ of Lodden, and the board did him no favors when it produced 9♣ 2♣ 9♦ T♦ Q♦. And that was all we wrote for Johnny Lodden, who finished the tournament in fifth place with $72,616.00 in prize money. (At that point, we can all probably guess what Johnny Lodden was thinking. And pardon us for the obligatory reference.)

The four remaining players had no issues getting their money into the middle of the table. First, floriverboy was all-in against ciao_pimenta and chopped to stay alive. Shortly thereafter, an even wilder hand went down but ended with the lives of floriverboy and KillerMendez saved:

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Action settled for a short time but only until floriverboy found another opportunity to move all-in. This time the call was made by joaoMathias, and the K-Q of floriverboy outdid the K-J of his opponent to give him the long-awaited double-up.

It didn't take long for newly short-stacked joaoMathias to find a spot to push the rest of his chips. He did it preflop with A♥ J♥, but floriverboy was able to call with pocket sevens. The board brought its own full house when it dropped K♦ K♠ 4♠ K♣ 4♦, but floriverboy's pocket pair gave him the better full house, eliminating Joao Mathias "joaoMathias" Baumgarten of Brazil in fourth place, which came with a payout of $90,770.00.

The rough ride of floriverboy was far from over, though, as KillerMendez proceeded to double through him and leave floriverboy as the short stack once again. That prompted floriverboy to move all-in preflop with K♥ 8♥, but caio_pimenta called holding A♥ T♣. The board came 3♠ A♠ 9♦ J♦ K♦, and the flopped pair of aces sent floriverboy out of the tournament in third place with $135,156.53.

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

Seat 1: caio_pimenta (67,749,806 in chips)
Seat 9: KillerMendez (23,020,194 in chips)

KillerMendez took a pot worth more than 18 million chips on the second hand of the duel, but it wasn't enough to gain much ground on his opponent.

The two finally tangled in a pot that started with a raise from KillerMendez and call from caio_pimenta to see a flop of Q♦ K♥ 9♦. The lead-out bet from caio_pimenta prompted a raise from KillerMendez and an all-in reraise from caio_pimenta. KillerMendez called all-in for his last 18,786,860 chips and his tournament life with 9♥ 5♣ for bottom pair, but caio_pimenta showed K♠ 9♠ for two pair. When the 9♣ came on the turn, it made trips for KillerMendez but a full house for caio_pimenta, and the A♥ on the river ended the tournament. KillerMendez was forced to take $190,617.00 for second place.

RSS readers click through to see replay

Caio Cesar "caio_pimenta" Pimenta of Brazil, who took down a PokerStars Super Tuesday event in May of 2009, won the Sunday Million and the $259,243.98 that went with it. An enthusiastic congratulations came in the chat box from fellow Brazilian and Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari before the table was closed. Congratulations to the newest Sunday Million champion!

Sunday Million Results for 11/29/09:

1st place: caio_pimenta ($259,243,98)
2nd place: KillerMendez ($190,617.00)
3rd place: floriverboy ($135,156.53)
4th place: joaoMathias ($90,770.00)
5th place: johnnylodden ($72,616.00)
6th place: buddahead9 ($54,462.00)
7th place: LAPINKY ($36,308.00)
8th place: BRzRoll ($19,969.40)
9th place: bo0ort ($12,707.80)

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