Sunday Million: The Rich get Richer, RichieRichZH wins largest Sunday Million

F40-thumb.jpgJust a few weeks ago we were lauding the largest Sunday Million field here at the PokerStarsBlog. There were good reasons for the hype as the bump from the usual $1.5 million guarantee to $2 million guarantee attracted the largest field (19,377 players) and biggest prize pool ($3,875,400) this special tournament had ever seen...

... until February 21st, 2010 that is. It wasn't the Men's Downhill or live Curling matches in Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics that brought the new record-breaking field to the tables tonight. Instead it was a grand finale of epic poker proportions to the recent 40th Billionth hand celebration here at PokerStars. Throughout the week grinders of cash games and MTT and SnG players alike benefitted from the added cash to the tables and nightly $40,000 tournaments for a few frequent player points. Since the 40 Billionth hand was dealt on Friday all eyes were focused tonight's Sunday Million bump to a $4,000,000 guarantee. The previous largest field in the history of the tourney couldn't reach tonight's guarantee prize pool so players were perhaps assuming there would be an overlay tonight.

Those players who signed up early knowing there was a guarantee of $1 million going to the champion tonight were in for some playing field shock as the guarantee was met well before late registration and ended with a prize pool that exceeded that of the North American Poker Tour (NAPT) kickoff event at the Venetian. Then again going up to Sheldon Adelson and asked him to clear out all the slots on the casino floor in exchange to seat the 36,169 players that paid $215 for tonight's Sunday Million might be a bit of a stretch. We're sure the casino was much happier with the 872 players who are currently battling it out in their poker room without the loss of Mr. Cashman machines. Players playing for the largest prize pool this weekend got to do so from the comforts of their own home, but with the lack of beautiful waitresses bringing Red Bulls to your laptop. The record $7,233,800.00 purse to be distributed to 5,400 lucky players that cashed this evening meant we would be crowning a new millionaire here at PokerStars. To put into another perspective how big this is, last week's Sunday Million champ, Blompf, took down $227,757.02, tonight our 4th place finisher will get $282,118.20 while the winner is looking at $1.1 million to be transferred to a soon-to-be bloated seven figure bankroll.

The bubble broke around 8:00pm CST as Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson and JC Alvarado came ever so close to cashing but fell short respectively in 5,403th and 5,416th place as ALEXMARKO was the official bubble boy this evening. 5,400 players were assured $289.35 tonight amongst those cashing were the Team PokerStars Pros listed below:

Thierry "BOKPOWER" van den Berg, 44th place ($6,501.42)
Keiran "K_Man2307" Harris, 90th place ($4,195.60)
Gavin Griffin, 95th place ($4,052.92)
Joep "Pappe_Ruk" van den Bijgaart, 425th place ($2,025.46)
Sebastian Ruthenberg, 765th place ($1,446.76)
Jan Heitmann, 1,910th place ($434.02)
Alexey "LuckyGump" Makarov, 2,110th place ($434.02)
Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli, 2,260th place ($434.02)
Chad Brown, 3,454th place ($361.69)
Jude "j. thaddeus" Ainworth, 3,653rd place ($289.35)
Juan Macerias, 4,555th place ($289.35)
Emad Tahtouh, 5,107th place ($289.35)
George Danzer, 5,142th place ($289.35)

Poker's triple crown winner (WSOP, EPT, and WPT) Gavin Griffin made it to the final 100 players until the steep blinds caught up to him and he decided to go with Q♥8♥ in the below hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Gavin failed to overcome the J♦A♠ of lankeshwar and finished in 95th place ($4,052.92).


Watch PCA 2010: Vicky Coren & Gavin Griffin on PokerStars.tv

Down to the final table bubble the blinds were a hefty 700K/1.4M ante 140K and shortstacked lfunk11 took a look at pocket aces A♦A♠ and insta-shoved over the top of DerHenker666's raise to 5.6 million from the button for 5.8 million chips total. Call it a math call or just common sense as DerHenker666 called the extra 200K with K♠Q♣. A king on the J♣ 3♠ K♥ flop got even me to cringe, 6♥ on the turn was safe for the 14.2 million chip pot, but the Q♠ on the river closed out the table and lfunk11's tournament in 10th place ($21,701.40) setting up the nine person race to the million below:

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Seat 1: Jaggy42 (22896415 in chips)
Seat 2: WNYCEC (10021139 in chips)
Seat 3: Amoneymagnet (10584212 in chips)
Seat 4: petinvest7 (81920648 in chips)
Seat 5: DerHenker666 (48546362 in chips)
Seat 6: RichieRichZH (34873357 in chips)
Seat 7: highplaya (19849828 in chips)
Seat 8: lankeshwar (59776803 in chips)
Seat 9: lirarerik (73221236 in chips)

Blinds starting off at 700K/1.4M ante 140K after nearly a half of a day in play to determine who would claw their way to that $1.1 million first prize. With the sizable blinds WNYCEC was the first to make a move, doubling up on the final table's second hand after pocket sixes 6♣6♦ were good against the A♦Q♠ of DerHenker666 on a K♣ 9♣ T♠ 5♦ 8♥ board for a 21.8 million chip pot. Amoneymagnet would follow suit two hands later taking pocket jacks J♦J♥ to the bank against the 8♣A♣ of lankeshwar for a 20.3 million chip double up.

The newly acquired chips were quickly vanquished for Amoneymagnet however. Five hands after doubling up, the shortstack would run into a bit of a cooler with a blind vs. blind battle. After open shoving from the small blind with T♣A♣, petinvest7 woke up in the big blind also suited and outkicked Amoneymagnet with Q♥A♥. No broadway cards hit the 9♦ 6♦ 3♥ 9♣ 4♠ board and Amoneymagnet attracted $28,935.20 for the ninth place finish.

Eleven hands later, highplaya was facing a min-raise on the button from RichieRichZH sitting in the cutoff. Holding an ace and hoping to steal the dead money, highplaya would shove 11.3 million into the middle with 4♥A♣. However the richest boy in the world had chips to spare and a dominating A♠Q♠ to make the call with. Both players would pair their ace on the all-heart flop, but RichieRichZH's queen kicker would play on the 6♥ 8♥ A♥ T♦ J♦ board and higplaya was off to possibly find some herbal medication for the eighth place finish ($43,402.80) after 12 hours of play.

DerHenker666 returned to a feasible chip stack after taking some of RichieRichZH's recently acquired chips six hands later. Pocket queens Q♦Q♣ of DerHenker666 were too much for the ducks 2♠2♦ of RichieRichZH and 55.8 million chips went to the right as blinds moved up to 850K/1.7M ante 170K.

While still in the 850K/1.7M ante 170K blind level 43, RichieRichZH was found in the middle of yet another all-in preflop and call hand. Watch it play out below against Jaggy42 for a 25.9 million chip pot:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Big slick is outkicked by no one (except those pesky pocket aces or kings), as RichieRichZH took K♣A♠ to victory over the dominated J♣K♠ of Jaggy42 on the Q♥ 4♥ 9♦ K♥ 5♣ board and Jaggy42's tournament ended in seventh place ($57,870.40).

As stated big slick is a monster hand with these astronomical blinds as we moved into 1M/2M ante 200K blinds with six players remaining and DerHenker666 made a move post flop 4♠ 4♣ T♥ with big slick K♣A♠ after limping to blinds of lankeshwar and lirarerik. The blinds checked the flop, as DerHenker666 would bet 8 million chip and got check-raised all-in by lankeshwar. After some blinks DerHenker666 made the call with ace-high and saw the bad news written on lankeshwar's K♠T♣. Outflopped, DerHecker666 failed to produce the re-suck on neither the J♣ turn nor 5♠ river and lankeshwar was shipped the massive 81.3 million chip pot, leaving DerHecker666 with "just" 15.5 million.

At this stage 15.5 million doesn't buy what it used to as seven hands later megastacked petinvest7 would claim those chips along with the stack of WYNCEC in this hand below:


RSS readers click through to see replay

K♥T♦ found a straight on the K♣ 9♣ 8♥ Q♠ J♠ board for petinvest7 outflipping the A♠5♠ of DerHecker666 and squeaking past the J♦A♦ of WYNCEC. A fitting sixth place for the sign of the devil as DerHecker666 was abolished from the final table earning $86,805.60 tonight. And WYNCEC would return to the Big Apple with a six figure score ($151,909.80) in fifth place due to chip counts at the beginning of the hand.

Here's how the final four stacked up after the double elimination:

Seat 4: petinvest7 (169,869,205 in chips)
Seat 6: RichieRichZH (55,214,377 in chips)
Seat 8: lankeshwar (74,985,182 in chips)
Seat 9: lirarerik (61,621,236 in chips)

Four hands after the chop down to four competitors RichieRichZH tore thru the table with four consecutive wins (winning with pocket fours here would make a great story ending to this run). Instead RichieRichZH would double up with pocket jacks J♥J♣, earning a 104 million chip pot off lirarerik when the two got their chips into the middle preflop and lirarerik's pocket nines failed to find a set on the 3♦ 5♦ 8♣ 8♠ 5♥ board as the players got a well deserved five minute break right after tower of chips were pushed to RichieRichZH.

First hand back from the break with new blinds of 1.25M/2.5M ante 250K RichieRichZH would win the third consecutive hand and claimed lirarerik's remaining 11.4 million chips as lirarerik's K♠5♠ failed to improve on the 2♣ J♥ 3♥ T♠ Q♠ board to overtake RichieRichZH's T♦A♥. lirarerik's fourth place finish of $282,118.20 would nearly eclipse the 1st and 2nd place prizes of the recently finished Sunday Warm-up (which sported a million dollar plus prize pool)!

Heading into three handed play, petinvest7 was firmly in the lead as shown below, but the chat box stayed silent in regards to any deals being made:

Seat 4: petinvest7 (173,469,205 in chips)
Seat 6: RichieRichZH (117,635,613 in chips)
Seat 8: lankeshwar (70,585,182 in chips)

Oooof! Watch this 236 million chip pot between petinvest7 and RichieRichZH with a settled stomach:

RSS readers click through to see replay

There's a saying or a myth that flopped straight never "get there", the above hand is a potentially $600,000 example of that. With blinds at 1.5M/3M ante 300K, after flopping the straight with T♣9♣, petinvest7 would shove the paired turn 7♣ J♠ 8♠ 8♣. Unfortunately, that seven made RichieRichZH's 8♥7♥ improve from two pair to an unbeatable full house rendering the Q♦ river as moot to ship the 236 million chip pot to RichieRichZH. Two hands later, petinvest7's remaining 6.4 million would hit the middle with Q♥4♥ and fail to catch up to lankeshwar's J♣A♠ on the 3♦ 6♥ 9♠ J♠ 3♠ board. A half million ($506,366.00) went to the player who will be snake-bitten by every flopped straight from now on, as petinvest7 exited in third place.

RichieRichZH looked to become the newest millionaire at PokerStars after just eleven hands of heads up play when both players shoved preflop. Holding pocket kings K♦K♣ RichieRichZH seemed to have an ending to this marathon tourney that was past its 13th hour of play. But, the A♦J♠ of lankeshwar found a way to get there. After flopping a jack 5♦ Q♣ J♣, the dagger came on the turn as the A♠ hit giving lankeshwar two pair. The two pair would hold off the straight and set draws as the 8♦ filled neither. 192 million chips that created a tower that leapt off my screen were directed to lankeshwar's stack.

RichieRichZH would battle back however, reclaiming the lead as the blinds moved up to 2M/4M ante 400K as shown by the chip counts below:

Seat 6: RichieRichZH (205352452 in chips)
Seat 8: lankeshwar (156337548 in chips)

Maybe "battling back" is a bit light for the excellent display of aggression by RichieRichZH who would batter lankeshwar's stack by winning 29 of the final 33 hands. Including the million dollar final hand shown below:

The $1.1 million coin-flip RSS readers click through to see replay

And it was all over. With blinds still at 2M/4M ante 400K RichieRichZH led out for a 12 million chip raise, lankeshwar's stack of 56 million immediately went into middle holding A♠4♣. With pocket threes 3♥3♦ and well covering the bet of lankeshwar, RichieRichZH made the call. lankeshwar would flop some additional outs to a wheel 5♠ 2♠ T♣ (but just two, as RichieRichZH held the other two treys). The 9♦ on the turn was no help, and a 5♣ on the river made RichieRichZH a millionaire. $1,145,510.31 won to be exact, as RichieRichZH took down 36,168 players to win the biggest Sunday Million ever hosted at PokerStars! No stranger to the spotlight, RichieRichZH represented Switzerland at the World Cup of Poker back in 2008.

For the runner-up lankeshwar will welcome the three-quarters of a million dollars ($754,774.69) into the bankroll and the relief of the 13 hour 20 minute tournament coming to a close. Thank you players for making this exciting tournament an even bigger one this evening, lets shoot for 50,000 players next week? Ok, maybe wait until the 50th billionth hand promotion...

For now, check back to PokerStars.TV for hole cards exposed with commentary on tonight's record breaking Sunday Million.

40 Billionth Hand Special $4 Million Guarantee Sunday Million Results (02-21-10)

1. RichieRichZH (Zuerich) $1,141,510.31
2. lankeshwar (Northborough) $754,774.69
3. petinvest7 (sag) $506,366.00
4. lirarerik (swe) $282,118.20
5. WNYCEC (New York) $151,909.80
6. DerHenker666 (Münster) $86,805.60
7. Jaggy42 (Adelaide) $57,870.40
8. highplaya (Prairie du Sac) $43,402.80
9. Amoneymagnet (Bronx) $28,935.20

David Aydt
@PokerStars in Sunday Million