First Sunday Million of 2010 Finds uyra99 as its Champion

Sunday Million logo.jpgHappy New Year! Perhaps the wishes come a few days late, but the first Sunday of 2010 brings the opportunity to wish everyone well. It also brings the opportunity for players to begin the new year by vying for one of the most coveted titles in poker and a sweet six-figure payday.

Resolutions have been made, and the calendar has been flipped. Most poker players looked forward to the moment that they could wipe the 2009 slate clean and start a new year...one with new goals, hopes, and plans that have every possibility of transforming into amazing results. And there is no better way to start anew than to take a seat in one of the PokerStars Sunday events. With a $1.5 million guarantee, the Sunday Million is an opportunity that cannot be passed.

The turnout was impressive, especially considering that thousands of poker players were in the midst of travel to the Bahamas for a little event called the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. But the Sunday Million managed to garner 8,900 registrants, which pushed the prize pool well past the guarantee to land at $1,780,000. Now that is a figure that looks good on any day of the year.

As the tournament played down, the final 1,350 players found themselves in the money, but the one thing in their sights was a seat at that final table. Most of them wouldn't get there, obviously, but as the tenth hour of play approached, there were ten competitors still in the running. And finally, it was sms9231 who moved all-in with A♠ K♦. Two callers came along to see the board come 5♠ Q♥ 7♣ 6♦ A♣, at which point a bet from copernic67 prompted latouche83 to fold. copernic67 showed pocket sevens for the flopped set, and sms9231 was eliminated in tenth place with $9,256 to soothe the pain.

With Level 35 continuing on - blinds at 150,000/300,000 and a 30,000 ante - the final nine were set with chip counts as follows:

Seat 1: payupnowx (3,092,742 in chips)
Seat 2: PokerThun (6,786,552 in chips)
Seat 3: copernic67 (35,574,847 in chips)
Seat 4: AAA MARTIN (14,210,852 in chips)
Seat 5: Zadeedles (8,813,603 in chips)
Seat 6: latouche83 (3,719,332 in chips)
Seat 7: Reiarturo (9,280,850 in chips)
Seat 8: uyra99 (6,439,893 in chips)
Seat 9: chaplining (1,081,329 in chips)

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It didn't take long for the ultra-short-stacked chaplining to make a move. The second hand of the final table saw that move with K♠ Q♣ preflop, and PokerThun was happy to come along with A♦ K♦. The board brought nothing for the chaplining when it produced 8♣ 7♦ 4♣ A♠ 3♥, and the exit in ninth place was quick, and $12,460 was his for the effort.

Two players took risks that paid off, as payupnowx and AAA MARTIN both doubled through copernic67. While some of the wind was taken out of the chipleader's sails, his position in first on the leaderboard was still there, though a bit less solid than before.

Another player attempted a double-up that didn't have quite the same result. The hand actually involved three players and started preflop with latouche83 raising it up from early position. Reiarturo reraised all-in for 7,470,850, and uyra99 called all-in for less. When AAA MARTIN called both players, latouche83 mucked and left the action. Reiarturo showed pocket jacks, but uyra99 showed pocket queens, and AAA MARTIN had them both dominated with pocket aces. But the flop came 2♣ Q♣ K♣ to give uyra99 the set, and the 7♥ turn and 5♦ river ended it there. urya99 stayed alive, and Reiarturo was eliminated in eighth place with $19,580.

Two hands later, payupnowx sought another double and pushed all-in with A♠ J♦, but latouche83 was there to call with pocket tens. The flop of A♣ 4♠ 3♥ was positive for payupnowx, but the turn of T♥ took it all away when it gave latouche83 the set. And the 3♦ on the river just drove it home by giving latouche83 the full house and sending payupnowx to the collection window to ask for the $35,600 payment for the seventh place finish.

Small ball went into effect for awhile, but Zadeedles was losing chips and needed to take a chance. Zadeedles put his tournament at risk with K♣ T♠, but copernic67 was able to call from the big blind with pocket eights. The board came A♦ 3♥ 5♣ 5♥ 5♠ only gave copernic67 a full house, which eliminated Zadeedles in sixth place with $53,400.

Soon after, latouche83 took a hit, courtesy of uyra99 in a 8.25 million-chip pot, but latouche83 came back to double through AAA MARTIN to live to see more hands.

Meanwhile, PokerThun had become the short stack and pushed his last 7,287,881 chips all-in preflop with K♦ T♦, which was met with a call from copernic67 and his A♥ J♦. And the flop only helped the chip leader when it came J♣ A♠ 7♣ to give copernic67 two pair. The 5♥ on the turn and 3♣ on the river ended the tournament for PokerThun, who took home $71,200 for the day's work.

Over the next few rounds, it was AAA MARTIN who was on the losing end of many battles, unable to get the hands or find the opportunities to make big moves. Finally, whittled down to little more than 6 million chips, AAA MARTIN moved all-in preflop with pocket fives. The original raiser, latouche83, called with A♣ J♦, and they watched the board come down 7♣ T♥ 8♣ J♠ T♦, and the smaller two pair was enough to send AAA MARTIN out in fourth place with $89,000.

Suddenly, copernic67 was on the losing end of some significant battles, especially one that saw latouche83 claim a pot worth nearly 19 million chips. Not long after, copernic67 on the short stack got involved preflop with uyra99, and the raising war ended with copernic67 all-in holding A♥ Q♠. And uyra99 happened to have pocket queens. The board brought nothing to help with it showed J♦ 3♣ 2♥ 9♦ 3♠, and copernic67 was eliminated in third place with $132,521 for the deep run.

The starting chip counts for heads-up play were as follows:

Seat 6: latouche83 (32,269,732 in chips)
Seat 8: uyra99 (56,730,268 in chips)

Small pots were the name of the two-handed game, and it was through that strategy that uyra99 slowly chipped away at latouche83 over the course of the 25 minutes it took to finish the match. At one point, latouche83 was down to 6 million chips and pushed all-in with K-9, only to be met by the K-J of uyra99. But the board came 2-Q-5-5-K, and the two split the pot.

But a short time later, latouche83 moved again, this time for 5,109,732 holding - again - K♣ 9♣. The better hand, though, went to uyra99 with A♥ K♦. The board produced Q♥ 6♦ 3♥ 3♣ A♦, and the two pair eliminated latouche83 from the tournament in second place, which was good for a solid payday of $186,900.

The first Sunday Million champion of 2010 was uyra99, and there was a first place prize of $254,184 in his PokerStars account to commemorate the occasion.

Sunday Million Results for 01/03/10:

1st place: uyra99 ($254,184.00)
2nd place: latouche83 ($186,900.00)
3rd place: copernic67 ($132,521.00)
4th place: AAA MARTIN ($89,000.00)
5th place: PokerThun ($71,200.00)
6th place: Zadeedles ($53,400.00)
7th place: payupnowx ($36,600.00)
8th place: Reiarturo ($19,580.00)
9th place: chaplining ($12,460.00)

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