pageh656 closes book on 2010, wins 12/26 Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo.jpgThe days are running out. Not many more chances to add that one last big score to the 2010 ledger. Such perhaps was the thinking of at least some of those who came out for the final Sunday Million of the year.

The $215 buy-in no-limit hold'em -- the largest weekly tournament in online poker -- attracted a larger-than-average field on Sunday with 8,947 coming out to play. That group together built a total prize pool of $1,789,400, easily exceeding the $1.5 million guarantee. The top 1,350 finishers were due to get paid, with the winner scheduled to see that year-end section of the graph catapult upward a dizzying $255,531.18.

As is generally the case in these Sunday Millions, it took just about four hours for the money bubble to burst. About 40 minutes later, 1,000 players remained, with RBC* out in front, followed by rh300487, gaz09, frtk, and Zackattak13.

Earlier in the afternoon, Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis sent out a tweet saying he was playing the Sunday Million. "Been a while since I played online tournaments," added the Dutch player. "Doing pretty well."

A while later he was tweeting that he'd moved near the top of the chip counts. "If you wanna rail come quick," he said. "Might be out soon."

Well, at the five-hour-and-20 minute mark things were still going pretty well for the player also known as "RaSZi." In fact, they were going about as well as could be, as Veldhuis was sitting in first place with 500 players remaining. Following him at that point were rh300487, RBC*, draiziene, and shipsyy filling out the top five.


Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis

Veldhuis would drop from the top spot, but continued to battle over the next two hours as the field shrunk to 100 players.

By then a couple of Team PokerStars Pros had cashed -- Team Online member Dusty "Leatherass9" Schmidt in 1,316th ($304.19) and Chad Brown of Team PokerStars U.S. in 660th ($483.13) -- but four more Team PS players still remained with chips: Tom McEvoy (United States), Bryan Huang (Singapore), Pat Pezzin (Canada), and Veldhuis (Netherlands).

Of the four, Huang was in the best shape in 18th place, Pezzin sat in 33rd, Veldhuis in 78th, and McEvoy in 94th. Meanwhile, DBL BOGEY101 had moved in the leader's spot, followed by threatnasty, woody1234321, Anita seek, and draiziene.

McEvoy's super-short-stack had put him in the danger zone, but he soon improved his status considerably after doubling up in a hand in which he had pushed all in with J♦J♥ and was up against HisJazz's A♦K♣. On that hand a king flopped, but so did a jack. Then the fourth jack appeared on the turn, and the 1983 WSOP Main Event champion suddenly found himself back in the middle of the pack.

Veldhuis was less fortunate, however. The table having folded around to him, Veldhuis open-raised his below-average stack all in from the small blind with K♥[10h] and tupacmn called, having woken up in the big blind with A♥Q♦. Five cards later, Veldhuis was out in 94th place ($1,610.46).

As the tourney crossed the eight-hour mark, the blinds had crept up to 30,000/60,000 when Bart0071 had made a slightly-more-than-2x raise from UTG. It folded back to Bryan Huang who called from the big blind, leaving himself just 205,260. Huang then shoved the 5♠6♦J♣ flop with A♦3♦, and Bart0071 called with pocket nines. The best hand held, and Huang was out in 57th place ($2,684.10).

Players continued to fall, My Brim Low (49th, $2,952.51), Kroko-dll (42nd, $3,220.92), and mtvdeuem (38th, $3,220.92) among them. The blinds were at 65,000/130,000, when Sembawangboy opened with a minimum-raise from under the gun, then McEvoy pushed all in from the hijack seat for 1,862,493. Anita seku called from the button, and the blinds and Sembawangboy got out. McEvoy had pocket queens and Anita seku A♣K♣. A king flopped, McEvoy couldn't catch a saving queen, and McEvoy was out in 29th place ($3,489.33).

After marcolina went out in 28th ($3,489.33), just three tables remained with Pezzin the lone remaining Team PokerStars Pro in 17th place.


Team PokerStars Pro Pat Pezzin

Just after the nine-hour mark they were down to 18, and Pezzin was still hanging on in 18th with a little over 1.1 million -- not quite six big blinds. By then, Anita seku had pushed in front with more than 16.2 million, followed by pageh656 with 12.28 million and Disho with 7.26 million.

A couple of eliminations later, Pezzin committed his stack with A♣[10c] and was in need of help versus jesus86's A♠K♥. None came, however, and Pezzin was gone in 16th place ($4,473.50).

A short while after that -- just as the tourney was reaching 10 hours -- jpous eliminated kuller in 10th place ($9,304.88), and the final table was set.


Seat 1: jesus86 -- 6,234,718
Seat 2: Disho -- 6,691,746
Seat 3: pageh656 -- 17,184,585
Seat 4: brianm15 -- 6,956,398
Seat 5: Dick_Fosbury -- 13,002,761
Seat 6: Anita seku -- 15,790,235
Seat 7: F P C -- 15,970,992
Seat 8: jpous -- 3,704,845
Seat 9: T8MML -- 3,933,720

On the fifth hand of the final table, brianm15 opened with a minimum-raise to 600,000 from early position, then it folded around to T8MML on the button who pushed all in for 2,933,720. The blinds folded, and brianm15 called, showing 8♥8♣ to T8MML's Q♦K♥. The board came 7♥T♦5♠9♣4♦, and T8MML was quickly out in ninth.

About 10 minutes later the blinds were 200,000/400,000 when Discho open-raised all in from the button for 5,040,969, then chip leader pageh656 reraised all in, forcing a fold from brianm15 in the big blind. pageh656 showed A♥8♦ and Disho J♦5♦. The five community cards came T♥Q♠6♥Q♣A♣, and Disho was eliminated in eighth.

Six hands later, brianm15 was down to just 652,718 and sitting under the gun. Rather than wait for the blinds, brianm15 pushed all in, then Anita seku reraised to 905,436 from middle position. It folded to pageh656 in the big blind who four-bet to 2,400,500, and Anita seku stepped aside. brianm15 had Q♣J♣, behind pageh656's A♥J♠. The board ran out eight-high -- 3♠8♦5♠5♣2♦ -- and brianm15 was gone in seventh.

pageh656 had pushed out further into the chip lead with more than 30 million, more than twice nearest foes jpous and Anita seku, both of whom sat with just under 15 million.

Meanwhile, jesus86 had become the table's short stack with just over 1.5 million when he open-raised all in from the button and got a caller in Dick_Fosbury in the big blind. Dick_Fosbury had 9♠7♦, meaning jesus86 was ahead to start with J♠6♥. But it was a Fosbury flop, bringing a nine while not improving jesus86's hand. The turn and river were no good, either, for jesus86, who was eighty-sixed in sixth place.

Dick_Fosbury would claim the next victim at the final table as well. After opening with a 3x raise to 2.4 million from the button, F P C reraised all in from the big blind for 6,039,492 and Dick_Fosbury called. F P C had K♣Q♠ and Dick_Fosbury J♦9♦. Both made a pair on the A♦9♣K♠ flop, but the T♦ turn and 4♦ river gave Dick_Fosbury a diamond flush, sending F P C to the rail in fifth.

Just four hands later, pageh656 opened for 1,650,500 from under the gun, and only Anita seku called from the small blind. Both then checked the 7♦K♠J♣ flop. The turn brought the 7♥, pairing the board. Anita seku bet 1.6 million, pageh656 raised to 3,655,500, Anita pushed all in for 14,119,381, and pageh656 called.

Anita seku showed K♣J♠ for two pair, but pageh656 had 7♠4♠ for trip sevens. The 4♣ river made it a full house, and Anita seku was out in fourth.

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jpous soon proposed a deal, and while Dick_Fosbury said he was open to one, pageh656 said "not quite ready yet." A couple more orbits went by, then pageh656 said he was ready to talk. At that point, pageh656 had 52,250,339, jpous 19,660,690, and Dick_Fosbury 17,558,971. The "chip chop" numbers were proposed -- leaving $30,000 on the table for which to play -- and all three readily agreed.

Play resumed, with Dick_Fosbury scoring a quick double-up through pageh656 with pocket kings versus pageh656's pocket fours. Soon afterwards the tables were turned, however.

With the blinds 400,000/800,000, pageh656 opened from the small blind for 1,900,500, and Dick_Fosbury promptly raised to 6.4 million from the big blind. pageh656 hesitated for several seconds, then shoved all in. Dick_Fosbury thought a while longer, then called with his remaining 23,837,942, tabling 2♣2♥, well behind pageh656's T♥T♣. The board came 6♣3♥A♥Q♥5♣, and Dick_Fosbury was out in third place.

After claiming that pot worth more than 60 million chips, pageh656 enjoyed a commanding lead to begin heads-up play with 67,889,310 to jpous' 21,580,690. The pair exchanged a few small pots, then, on the eighth hand of heads-up, 11 hours and 15 minutes after the tourney began, the end finally came.

With the blinds up to 500,000/1,000,000 (Level 40), jpous opened with a raise to 2 million from the small blind/button, and pageh656 promptly shoved all in. jpous thought about 10 seconds, then called with K♦8♦. pageh656 was behind with T♥7♥, though immediately took the advantage following the 2♦7♠4♠ flop. Two cards later -- J♣ and 2♠ -- and the tournament was over.

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Congratulations to pageh656, the final Sunday Million champion of the year!

Sunday Million results for 12/26/10 (*reflects three-way deal):

1st: pageh656 ($249,054.88)*
2nd: jpous ($165,518.36)*
3rd: Dick_Fosbury ($162,065.77)*
4th: Anita seku ($89,470)
5th: F P C ($71,576)
6th: jesus86 ($53,682)
7th: brianm15 ($35,788)
8th: Disho ($19,683.40)
9th: T8MML ($12,525.80)

There are still a few days left to play before we say goodbye to 2010. Check out the PokerStars Online Tournaments page for information on the many events running around the clock.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million