OX45AL plowed through Sunday Million special edition to grab the $550,011.29 first prize

Sunday Million logo.jpgOffer the money, and they will come.

It happens each week in the Sunday Million, as a $1.5 million prize pool guarantee brings a typical crowd of more than 8,000 players to the tables with their $200 + $15 buy-ins. But every once in a while, PokerStars throws a little something extra into the mix. The January 31st offering of the Sunday Million was a "Special Edition" with a $2 million guarantee.

And the poker community came out in droves. When registration was complete, there were 19,377 players in the tournament, which created a $3,875,400 prize pool. Not only was that astounding in and of itself, but it became the newest PokerStars record, which had only been set back in November of 2009! That special Sunday Million drew 18,283 players and offered a bit more than $3.6 million in the prize pool, but that record was short-lived. The new one should be reiterated for effect:

Largest ever $215 Sunday Million prize pool: $3,875,400
Largest ever $215 Sunday Million field: 19,377

With that, let's get to the action.

It was looking like a particularly long night was in store for the players heading toward the final table, but it didn't take much longer than any other Sunday, despite that somewhat intimidating first prize of $550,011.29 staring down the players. But when the tournament found itself in hand-for-hand mode, it took only minutes for an elimination to occur. Aleksey54 pushed all-in with Q♣ J♥ against the K♠ T♠ of celofyz33, and the 9♣ 6♠ A♠ 5♣ 6♦ board eliminated Aleksey54 in tenth place, on the final table bubble, with a $13,301.60 consolation prize.

The final table was set just that quickly, with chip counts and seat assignments as follows:

Seat 1: hunter10999 (2,504,305 in chips)
Seat 2: Kostya 77777 (22,418,630 in chips)
Seat 3: OX45AL (21,630,488 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (37,219,555 in chips)
Seat 5: Gmelkonyan (15,680,889 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (35,982,924 in chips)
Seat 7: austinlewis (18,538,063 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (31,496,958 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (8,298,188 in chips)


Short-stacked hunter10999 came to the final table and quickly found a spot for a double-up, courtesy of Kostya 77777. But from there through the next few levels, it was raise-it-and-take-it poker, as all players were exhibiting quite a bit of caution.

But as pots got bigger, hunter10999 was back in the spotlight, having been chipped down again. With a raise from celofyz33 in front, hunter10999 reraised all-in for his last 4,608,610 with K♠ J♣ from the small blind, and celofyz33 called with pocket sixes. The board brought straight outs for hunter10999 on the 7♣ A♣ Q♠ flop, but after the blank 2♠ on the turn, the 6♣ ensured the pot went to celofyz33. The ninth place spot in the tournament went to hunter10999, which also came with a $29,928.60 cash prize.

Not long after, another relative short stack looked to make a move. It was austinlewis and OX45AL to the flop of 3♦ J♦ 8♣, at which point austinlewis bet all-in for 8,518,063. OX45AL check-called with T♣ 8♠ and middle pair, and austinlewis showed K♠ Q♦. The Q♣ on the turn gave austinlewis the better pair, but the 9♣ on the river gave OX45AL the straight. And that beat sent austinlewis out of the tournament in eighth place with $44,227.82.

Gmelkonyan had a rough time of the final table, though a previous double-up through eMarkM allowed a longer life. The next attempt wasn't so lucky. After eMarkM raised from first position, Gmelkonyan reraised all-in for 12,945,402 chips from the small blind with pocket queens. But eMarkM called so quickly because he had pocket aces. The flop was full of blanks with 2♣ 3♣ 7♠, but the A♣ on the turn ended it, though the J♥ on the river was required to be dealt. Gmelkonyan was gone from the event in seventh place with $66,508.00 to show for it.

A short time later, Kostya 77777 decided to risk 6,588,650 chips preflop with A♠ K♥, and OBVAMENTS called with pocket deuces. The board decided to let that pair hold up when it produced 5♠ 7♣ 3♥ 3♦ 9♥, which actually gave OBVAMENTS two pair and eliminated Kostya in sixth place with $99,762.00.

The next move came when short-stacked S.Takmaziyan was all-in simply by posting the big blind. OX45AL raised to isolate, which worked, and showed pocket jacks. S.Takmaziyan flipped over J♣ 4♠, and the board ran out 7♣ A♣ 3♠ 6♦ 9♥. S.Takmaziyan was ousted in fifth place with $133,016.00.

The final four agreed to pause the tournament to discuss chip-chop numbers, but once they were delivered, discussions broke down and players made the decision to continue play without a deal in place.

After play resumed, it wasn't long before a hand developed that found a preflop raise by OX45AL followed by a reraise from celofyz33 and an all-in call from OBVAMENTS. OX45AL got out of the way, and celofyz33 showed A♣ 8♣. OBVAMENTS was ahead with pocket tens until the flop came A♦ 9♦ K♠. The turn only brought a 5♥, and the K♦ on the river ended the hand, eliminating OBVAMENTS in fourth place with $166,270.00.

Of the three remaining players, eMarkM was very short-stacked as compared to his opponents and decided to push it from the small blind with K♠ 7♣. Original raiser celofyz33 was the caller holding Q♣ J♠, and the board brought 9♠ 6♥ 9♦ Q♦ A♣ to give celofyz33 the two pair. eMarkM was sent to the virtual cashier cage in third place with $244,616.42 for the effort.

Heads-up action then got underway with celofyz33 as the nearly 2-to-1 chip leader:

Seat 3: OX45AL (69,005,015 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (124,764,985 in chips)

But OX45AL had no intention of giving up, and when the opportunity for a double-up presented itself, it changed everything:

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OX45AL dominated the action going forward. Finally, celofyz33 decided to push with A♣ 4♣, but OX45AL happened to have pocket queens. The board utterly blanked with 3♥ 7♣ K♠ 4♦ J♥, and celofyz33 was forced to accept second place in the tournament, which was good for a $332,540.00 payout.

The winner of the biggest Sunday Million in the history of PokerStars was OX45AL, who took home a whopping $550,011.29 for the accomplishment.

Sunday Million Results for 01/31/10:

1st place: OX45AL ($550,011.29)
2nd place: celofyz33 ($332,540.00)
3rd place: eMarkM ($244,616.42)
4th place: OBVAMENTS ($166.270.00)
5th place: S.Takmaziyan ($133,016.00)
6th place: Kostya 77777 ($99,762.00)
7th place: Gmelkonyan ($66,508.00)
8th place: austinlewis ($44,227.82)
9th place: hunter10999 ($29,928.60)

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