Sherkadil rakes it in, bags 10/17/10 Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo.jpgFall is here. Leaves are turning, signaling the start of shorter days and cooler temperatures. And while some spent their Sunday afternoons raking leaves, others spent the day -- and night and early morning -- raking pots at the PokerStars Sunday Million, online poker's biggest weekly tournament.

By the time registration closed, a total of 7,989 had entered this week's event. That meant the $1.5 million guarantee had been met once again, with the total prize pool adding up to $1,597,800. The top 1,170 finishers would all claim a share of that big pile of money, with the first-place finisher scheduled to earn a nifty $239,674.32.

Bubble Go Pop

It took a little over two hours to lose half the field, and with just under 4,000 players left paskadito held the chip lead followed by kingphilly and danceofdead. After another hour they were down to 2,000, with JAMES-OO7 having assumed the top spot followed by sirmathers and xthesteinx.

The tournament had just pushed past the four-hour mark when the field had shrunk to 1,171 players and hand-for-hand play began. Among the many short stacks trying to hang on was Juli52l, at that point down to just a little over two big blinds.

With the blinds at 1,500/3,000, Juli52l opened by pushing all in for 6,372 from under the gun. It folded to sebwin who called from late position, then phillaak96 reraised all in as well from the small blind for 14,358. The big blind stepped aside, sebwin called, and the cards were flipped over.

Juli52l had A♣2♣, phillaak96 K♦Q♠, and sebwin Q♥J♣. The board ran out J♦T♥5♦T♦A♦, meaning phillaak96 had survived with a diamond flush. More than a dozen players were eliminated on that hand across the many tables, but Juli52l had the shortest stack among them, meaning he'd finished in 1,171st and out of the money.

Tracking Team PokerStars

At that stage only four members of Team PokerStars were still battling, and within moments Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth of Team PokerStars UK & Ireland hit the rail in 1,018th place ($335.53), leaving just three.

Victor Ramdin (U.S.) and Veronica "Princesa" Dabul (Argentina) were still alive, though both sitting on short stacks. And Chad Brown (U.S.) was there, too, in a relatively healthier position with a slightly-above-average stack.

Dabul soon was at risk after going all in with A♦K♦ versus Ol'Craig's pocket kings. However, an ace flopped and Dabul's hand held up. She continued to hang on into Level 17 (blinds 2,500/5,000), then open-shoved all in again from the cutoff for her last 31,636 with A♥J♣. Dabul got one caller in Pythomunoz from the small blind who held T♦T♣. The community cards were no help to Dabul, bringing a king and four small ones, and the Argentinian was out in 562nd place ($479.34).

Soon after that Chad Brown suffered a hit to his stack in a hand versus Brok3nBack. The latter was all in following a 3♦7♥5♣ flop with Brown holding Q♣Q♥ and Brok3nBack 9♦6♦. The turn then brought an eight and a straight for Brown's opponent, and one card later Brown was left with a below average stack.

Brown was undeterred, though, and two hands later was typing "come back time :)" before shoving all in for his last 81,228. His nemesis Brok3nBack reraised to isolate, and the two were heads-up to the flop with Brown holding Q♥T♥ and Brok3nBack J♠J♦. Alas for Brown, the board brought no card higher than a nine -- and only one heart -- and Brown was out in 507th ($495.31).

That left just Victor Ramdin to represent Team PokerStars.


Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin

Ramdin, who devotes both time and money to Guyana Watch, a program that provides doctors and medical care to children in Guyana where he was born, had been nursing a short stack for some time when he finally pushed his last 27,861 in the middle with A♣4♣ and got called by szwindel with A♠J♥. The board came T♠3♥7♣6♠7♠, and Ramdin was done in 371st ($591.18).

Finding the Final Nine

At that point -- about five hours and 15 minutes into the tournament -- aragnos was in first, the only player with more than a million chips, followed by Mzungu, brennan4, bugstud, and DrunkPPlaya. An hour later there were 200 left, with ElRupert in first, closing in on 2 million, followed by aragnos, coroco75, and Andrew "RunThisTable" Lichtenberger coming on in fourth.

With 100 players left, RunThisTable had moved into the top spot with more than 3 million chips. A key hand along the way for "Lucky Chewy" was a three-way all-in between himself, brennan4, and rintema. In that one, Lichtenberger held pocket jacks while both of his opponents had ace-king, and the jacks held, giving RunThisTable the nearly 2.23 million-chip pot.

Following Lichtenberger with 100 left were ElRupert, vcehorosho, ArashCash, and beni 974. At the eight-hour mark, 50 were left, and Lichtenberger was still leading the way with more than 4 million chips.

With 27 left, a couple of huge hands had help push ElRupert way up over 9 million and into the lead, with RunThisTable and samurai_tony the only others with 5 million.

ElRupert's rush continued, and included this triple-knockout hand in which he used pocket aces to eliminate KingKenas, DrunkPPlaya, and Lhanzky in one fell swoop:

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Soon there were just 18 left, with ElRupert up to 20.3 million, Sherkadil in second with 7.8 million, and samurai_tony third with 6.6 million.

Meanwhile, Andrew "RunThisTable" Lichtenberger had slipped to under 2 million, and with the blinds up to 100,000/200,000 pushed all in from UTG with Q♥J♥ and was up against Sherkadil's A♦J♣. No help came for Lichtenberger, and he was out in 16th place ($4,234.17).


Andrew "RunThisTable" Lichtenberger

As they moved closer to the final table, a huge exchange of chips occurred between ElRupert and ggman2. With 7,844,454 in the middle and the board showing 9♦9♠3♠5♥7♣, ggman2 shoved all in for his remaining 9.18 million, and ElRupert thought for about a minute before calling. ElRupert had pocket jacks, but ggman2 had 3♣3♦ for the flopped full house, thus earning the 26.2 million-chip pot and knocking ElRupert down under 5 million.

ElRupert would soon lose most of those remaining chips to par4mindy after unsuccessfully taking A♠5♥ up against par4mindy's A♦9♣. Suddenly down to less than two big blinds, ElRupert open-shoved for his last 570,570 from the button and got two callers in the blinds, and when his hand failed to win he mucked as he hit the rail in 11th place ($8,548.23).

Soon $Airness22$ used pocket kings to eliminate Eri264 in 10th ($8,548.23), and after nine hours and 45 minutes the final table was set:


Seat 1: $Airness22$ -- 9,480,678
Seat 2: ggman2 -- 28,151,525
Seat 3: samurai_tony -- 9,058,408
Seat 4: BenBrunet -- 3,118,666
Seat 5: Sherkadil -- 11,197,823
Seat 6: par4mindy -- 7,122,852
Seat 7: Bilybob88 -- 1,896,550
Seat 8: puffinmypurp -- 5,551,498
Seat 9: C.K. -- 4,312,000

They'd reached Level 35 (blinds 150,000/300,000), with ggman2 enjoying a commanding lead as the final table commenced.

From 9 to 5

What a way to make a living. With the blinds that big, it was time for the short stacks to gamble.

On just the second hand of the final table, Bilybob88 -- the shortest of the short stacks -- pushed all in from UTG for 1,836,550 and it folded around to par4mindy who called in the big blind. par4mindy had woken up with a monster -- Q♠Q♦ -- and Bilybob88 would need help with his A♣Q♣. The board came 6♠6♦9♦5♠4♦, though, and Bilybob88 was out in ninth.

It would take just three more hands for the next elimination. This time C.K. open-shoved from the small blind for 3,862,000 and $Airness22$ called from the BB. C.K. had K♥8♣ while $Airness22$ had a dominating A♦K♠. The flop came A♣4♦3♣, all but sealing it. The 7♣ on the turn made a club flush possible for C.K., but the J♠ fell on the river, sending C.K. out in eighth.

About four minutes later, Sherkadil opened with a raise to 750,000 from under the gun, and it folded around to BenBrunet in the big blind who reraised all in for 3,418,666. Sherkadil made the call, showing 6♠6♦ to BenBrunet's J♥J♣.

Looked like a good spot for BenBrunet. Until the flop, anyway -- 6♣4♥9♥. BenBrunet had gone from way ahead to way behind, and after the 7♥ turn and K♦ river, BenBrunet was gone in seventh.

About ten minutes later with the blinds now 200,000/400,000, puffinmypurp open-shoved all in for 4,681,498 from under the gun and it folded to samurai_tony who reraised all in over the top from the button. The blinds got out, and puffinmypurp showed K♠J♥ to samurai_tony's T♣T♠. Five cards later -- 9♠9♥3♣3♦Q♠ -- puffinmypurp had been eliminated in sixth place.

With five left Sherkadil had pushed close to even with ggman2 atop the leaderboard, with both right around the 27 million-chip mark. samurai_tony was third with 12.2 million, and both $Airness22$ and par4mindy were hovering around 6.5 million.

From the Fab Five to the Top Two

It would take awhile, relatively speaking, for the next knockout to occur. Along the way, par4mindy survived a preflop all-in situation with pocket jacks against Sherkadil's A♣A♠, spiking a jack on the turn to stay alive.

After a bit more back-and-forthing, a hand arose which produced the largest pot of the tournament to that point. The blinds had moved to 250,000/500,000 when ggman2 opened with a raise to 1 million from the button. samurai_tony made it 3 million to go from the small blind, Sherkadil folded the BB, then ggman2 didn't waste too much time shoving all in with his big stack of 22 million-plus.

samurai_tony went into the tank, then finally made the call with his remaining 13,404,906, showing A♣Q♠ to ggman2's T♠T♥. The flop swiftly ended the suspense, coming 3♥T♣3♦ and giving ggman2 a full house. The 4♥ on the turn sealed it, and samurai_tony was gone in fifth place.

The remaining four reached the next scheduled break, at which point the short stack $Airness22$ inquired about deal-making, but got no answer from the others. Shortly after play resumed, and with blinds now 300,000/600,000, $Airness22$ opened with an all-in push from UTG for 3,726,494. Unlike his query about chopping, this gesture received a couple of responses, as both ggman2 and Sherkadil called the raise.

Those two would check down all three streets as the cards came 8♠6♥T♦K♠8♦. Only Sherkadil would show a hand -- a winning K♥J♥ -- as the other two mucked and $Airness22$ was ousted in fourth.

The remaining trio battled for a while with Sherkadil taking the advantage, moving to 35.9 million to ggman2's 23.0 million and par4mindy's 20.8 million. At that point they together chose to have the tourney paused to consider a deal, and when the "chip chop" numbers were proposed all three instantly agreed. Play resumed, with $30,000 more remaining on the table for the eventual winner.

On the 10th hand following the deal, ggman2 opened with a 3x raise to 2.4 million from the small blind, Sherkadil reraised to 13.6 million from the big blind, ggman2 pushed all in for 14,957,458 total, and Sherkadil called.

ggman2 showed Q♦J♠ and Sherkadil K♠Q♣. The board came all babies -- 4♦5♥2♦2♠3♣ -- and ggman2 was out in third.

Two Players, Three Hands

Heads-up play began with Sherkadil enjoying a huge lead with 64,214,784 to par4mindy's 15,675,216. On just the third hand between them, Sherkadil opened with a raise to 1.52 million from the small blind/button, par4mindy reraised all in for 15,595,216, and Sherkadil called.

par4mindy had K♠2♠ and was looking for a deuce or some spades against Sherkadil's K♥T♣. But the cards came J♥7♥8♥5♥3♠, shipping all of the chips -- and the extra $30K -- to Sherkadil.

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Congratulations to Sherkadil, the latest Sunday Million champion!

Sunday Million Results for 10/17/10 (*reflects three-way deal):
1st: Sherkadil ($215,476.99)*
2nd: par4mindy ($157,922.62)*
3rd: ggman ($161,867.71)*
4th: $Airness22$ ($80,529.12)
5th: samurai_tony ($63,912)
6th: puffinmypurp ($47,934)
7th: BenBrunet ($31,956)
8th: C.K. ($18,374.70)
9th: BilyBob88 ($12,382.95)

All in all another exciting Sunday, with thousands and thousands of dollars gathered up like so many leaves!

When you're done raking outside and want to look into perhaps raking in some of these dollars yourself, go check out the Sunday Million page to learn all about how to join in the fun.

And now, for all of this on moving pictures...

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million