At 10/10/10 Sunday Million, a set of tens helps SHIPP ITT ship it

Sunday Million logo.jpgThere's something about the number 10. Such a nice, round number. Suitable for all sorts of things. Bowling pins. Lists of popular songs. Canadian provinces. Commandments.

One could go on and on counting many more examples. On one's ten fingers. And ten toes. It's a number sometimes regarded as a signifier of the perfection of the divine order. Or the perfection of Bo Derek.

Thus did many circle the date October 10, 2010 -- 10/10/10 -- and think of it as perhaps holding some special significance. This sort of thing won't happen again for another 100 years, observed some. There's bound to be something special -- something perfect -- about this day!

Whatever one thinks of such an idea, one thing was certain this particular Sunday. For one of the 7,661 players who took the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the Sunday Million on 10/10/10, it would indeed prove a perfect day.

That group together created a prize pool of $1,532,200. The top 1,170 finishers would cash, while the winner was due to earn a handsome $229,833.60 for successfully grabbing everyone else's chips.

It took a couple of hours for the field to be chopped to 4,000 players, of whom only zugzwang had more than 100,000 chips. A little after the three-hour mark, the field had been halved again to 2,000 players, with jcbro, REY CUERVO, and monacobart leading the way.

After another hour the field had shrunk under 1,200, and soon after Team PokerStars Pro Joe Cada hit the virtual rail just shy of the cash in 1,188th place. It didn't take long for the money bubble to burst, and with 1,170 players left welshwizard9 was atop the counts followed by DalconOpeaN and icallseat3.

With Cada's elimination, just four members of nearly 40 Team PokerStars players who entered this week's Sunday Million were still with chips. Leo Fernandez (Argentina), Arnaud "frenchkiss" Mattern (France), and Juan Maceiras (Spain) were all still in, though with below average stacks, while Juan Manuel Pastor (Spain) was in the top 200. However, over the next couple of hours all four would be eliminated.

Mattern was the first of the group to go, knocked out in 1,059th ($321.76) by eggiengel when his K♠6♠ couldn't catch up to his opponent's A♦K♣. Maceiras would join his teammate a little while later. The Spaniard committed his stack before the flop with A♠6♠ but like Mattern had run into an opponent holding Big Slick, in this case Scarypooper5 with A♣K♥. The board ran out J♠Q♥J♥J♣5♦, and Maceiras was out in 875th place ($352.40).

Juan Manuel Pastor then saw his chips shrink to short-stack status, at which point he went for broke with A♣3♣ and was up against franxic's Q♣J♣. Pastor was okay through the turn -- 2♣T♠4♦K♠ -- but the A♥ on the river gave franxic a straight, knocking Pastor out in 539th place ($474.98).

That left just Leo Fernandez to represent Team PokerStars. Fernandez hung on for a while, enjoying some remarkable good fortune along the way. At one point the Argentinian was all in versus two opponents holding pocket kings, hoping to survive against pocket tens and A♦K♣. An ace flopped, and Fernandez chances appeared dim. But the case king came on the turn, giving Fernandez new life.


Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez

A little later Fernandez would be all in again, this time with A♠J♠ versus danipesis' pocket aces. But the community cards delivered Fernandez a Broadway straight, and once again he'd defied the odds to survive.

Play continued, and with fewer than 300 players remaining. zivziv had pushed way out in front with 1.58 million, well ahead of second-place SHIPP ITT with 912,058 and Lubino22 in third with 861.234.

Finally, the good fortune of Leo Fernandez ran out when his A♠2♠ was beaten by Oakmeal's K♦J♣. A king flopped, Fernandez couldn't catch up, and the last member of Team PokerStars was out in 221st ($704.81).

With six hours down, just 200 remained. suchthaufen led with 2.13 million, with zivziv, Legendus, and Lubino22 the only other players with more than 1 million. An hour later the field had been reduced to 100 players, with ivantdrvc now leading and closing in on the 3 million-chip mark, followed by birs320 and suchthaufen. And a half-hour after that they were down to 50, led by ivantdrvc, qbgoose, and suchthaufen.

With 27 players left, SHIPP IT had pushed way out in front, accumulating more than 9.5 million chips to sit well ahead of CRFer in second with 5.42 million and yourmybread with 5.21 million.

By the time they reached 18, a big exchange of chips had taken place between SHIPP IT and yourmybread, catapulting the latter into the chip lead with more than 16 million, with CRFer next with just under 8 million, followed by cyberkanguru, birs320, and Oakmeal.

yourmybread continued to increase his stack. Then, with 10 left and the blinds up to 125,000/250,000, danger0us shoved his last 1.23 million in the middle with A♣6♦ and yourmybread called with A♦J♣. yourmybread's hand held, and after nine hours and 45 minutes the final table was set:


Seat 1: cyberkanguru -- 11,855,603
Seat 2: SHIPP ITT -- 3,734,120
Seat 3: yourmybread -- 25,446,682
Seat 4: repz221 -- 9,612,253
Seat 5: qbgoose -- 5,045,213
Seat 6: Oakmeal -- 4,938,732
Seat 7: suchthaufen -- 4,198,993
Seat 8: e1mdopp -- 5,498,229
Seat 9: CRFer -- 6,280,175

At the start of the final table, yourmybread held a sizable lead, with that stack of more than 25.4 million representing nearly a third of the total chips in play.

Oakmeal scored a huge double-up early on through qbgoose, claiming nearly all of the latter's stack. Oakmeal was all in before the flop with A♥8♠ against qbgoose's A♣J♥, but managed to spike an eight to move up over 9.3 million, leaving qbgoose with but 676,481.

qbgoose would double up once, but was soon all in again for his last 1,367,962 with Q♠9♣ against suchthaufen's K♥T♣. The board came 2♠J♥Q♥2♥7♥, giving suchtaufen a flush and knocking qbgoose out in ninth.

A short while later, suchthaufen was attempting to put those new chips to use, opening with a 3x raise to 900,000 from under the gun. Two players would call the raise -- CRFer (middle position) and yourmybread (button). The flop came a raggedy J♥7♠3♦, and suchthaufen continued with a smallish bet of 900,000. CRFer got out, but yourmybread made the call.

The turn was the 5♠, and suchthaufen made another tentative-looking bet of 1.2 million. yourmybread again called. The river then brought the 2♠. This time suchthaufen checked, and when yourmybread bet 3.6 million, suchthaufen called with the 3,480,474 he had left. yourmybread showed A♦J♠ for a pair of jacks, and that was enough as suchthaufen had Q♠J♦ for the same pair, worse kicker. suchthaufen was out in eighth.

Now yourmybread was pushing the 39 million-chip mark -- over half the chips on the table with seven players left. The next three eliminations came in rather short order.

With the blinds 200,000/400,000, cyberkanguru opened for 800,000 from UTG and got one caller in yourmybread. The flop came Q♠6♣2♥. cyberkanguru bet 1.4 million, and yourmybread called. The turn was the 9♦, prompting an all-in push for 3,715,483 from cyberkanguru and a call from his opponent. cyberkanguru held K♥J♥ for a gutshot, while yourmybread had top pair with A♥Q♥. The river was the 4♦, and cyberkanguru hopped away in seventh.

Next it was CRFer open-raising all in for 3,562,480 from under the gun with A♥J♦ and getting called by yourmybread who held 6♠6♣. The flop provocatively came T♥2♥6♥, giving yourmybread a set but CRFer a flush draw. But the turn was the Q♦ and the river the 5♦, and CRFer was gone in sixth.

Oakmeal was the next to go. Oakmeal's final hand began with an open-shove from the button for 2,292,909. e1mdopp reraised all in from the small blind for 10,133,496. Then SHIPP IT called from the BB with his last 8,650,980.

e1mdopp: A♥5♣
Oakmeal: A♣6♥

Perhaps it goes without saying that on this day, it was preferable to be the one holding pocket tens. The community cards came 2♥9♣4♠9♠4♥, and SHIPP ITT won the 20 million-plus chip pot. Oakmeal was out in fifth, while e1mdopp was knocked back down to less than a million.

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e1mdopp would battle gamely, however, and eventually scored a big double-up through SHIPP ITT to move back out of the danger zone with four players left.

The jockeying continued, with yourmybread still in front with 39.9 million, SHIPP ITT was 17.5 million, e1mdopp with 16.2 million, and repz221 the short stack with 2.97 million. Then came a hand in which SHIPP ITT opened with a minimum-raise to 1.6 million from UTG, repz221 reraised all in from the blinds, and SHIPP ITT called.

repz221 had the advantage before the flop with A♥Q♥ to SHIPP ITT's K♥J♥. But that changed after the first three cards came 2♣3♣J♣. The turn and river brought a couple of eights, and repz221 was out in fourth.

yourmybread had enjoyed the chip lead for the entire final table, but the tide was about to turn. First SHIPP ITT doubled through yourmybread when his pocket eights held up against yourmybread's A♣Q♦. Then another large pot won by SHIPP ITT knocked yourmybread down under 12 million -- about even with e1mdopp while SHIPP ITT now had more than 53 million.

Then came a hand in which SHIPP ITT open-raised all in from the small blind, and yourmybread called from the BB, showing A♦7♣ to SHIPP ITT's J♦9♣. The flop -- T♥3♣3♥ -- and turn -- K♥ -- were good for yourmybread. But the Q♦ on the river gave SHIPP IT a straight, and yourmybread was toast.

Heads-up play began with SHIPP IT enjoying a more than 5-to-1 chip lead with 64,427,826 to e1mdopp's 12,182,174. However, e1mdopp managed to score a couple of double-ups, and suddenly had seized a 4-to-1 chip advantage of his own. SHIPP ITT kept his poise, though, and soon doubled back himself to bring the match close to even.

SHIPP ITT then asked if e1mdopp was interested in possibly discussing a chop. The tourney was paused, at which point e1mdopp had a little over 41.3 million and SHIPP ITT almost 35.3 million. SHIPP ITT was only interested in an even chop, but e1mdopp was not, and the tourney was soon restarted.

The pair remained even for the next several minutes, then e1mdopp edged out to a slight advantage. Then -- about 11-and-a-half hours after the first hands of this week's Sunday Million had been dealt -- came what would prove the key hand of the tournament.

And for a special day like today, well... it was just perfect.

The blinds were up to a whopping 500,000/1,000,000. e1mdopp opened with a raise to 2 million from the small blind/button, SHIPP ITT made it 4,125,550, e1mdopp reraised to 7,855,555 total, SHIPP ITT shoved for 36,889,375, and e1mdopp called the all-in, leaving just 2,631,250 behind.

e1mdopp had A♥Q♠. And SHIPP IT? You guessed it. T♠T♦.

Then came the flop -- A♦T♥9♠. 10-10-10 for SHIPP IT. The turn was the 7♥ and river the 4♥, and SHIPP ITT claimed the 73,978,750-chip pot.

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On the next hand, e1mdopp was all in for that last 2.63 million with 6♣2♠ against SHIPP ITT's K♠7♠. And five cards later -- A♦3♣9♥5♣7♣ -- it was over. The player who'd begun the final table ninth out of nine in chips had won. Ship it to SHIPP ITT!

Sunday Million Results for 10/10/10:
1st: SHIPP ITT ($229,833.60)
2nd: e1mdopp ($168,542)
3rd: yourmybread ($114,915)
4th: repz221 ($77,222.88)
5th: Oakmeal ($61,288)
6th: CRFer ($45,966)
7th: cyberkanguru ($30,644)
8th: suchthaufen ($17,620.30)
9th: qbgoose ($11,874.55)

Uncanny! Twice did pocket tens prove key to SHIPP ITT at the final table of this 10-10-10 Sunday Million! Perhaps there's something to this number ten stuff after all.

Go check out the Sunday Million page for information about how you, too, can join the fun and perhaps find yourself enjoying a special -- even perfect -- day at PokerStars.

Finally, pull up a chair and enjoy it all in moving pictures...

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million