Zareta scares up a Sunday Million victory on Halloween

Sunday Million logo.jpgBoo!

Now that everyone is sufficiently scared on this Halloween night, it's time to take a look at the way thousands of poker players spent their evening. Treats were abundant as the last Sunday of the month brought bonus tournaments like the Battle of the Planets and the Turbo Takedown, alongside the weekly Sunday Warm-Up. And that all led to the finale of the Sunday Million, which brought 8,523 scary players to the tables, all of whom were looking for treats in the form of the $1.5 million guarantee. But what they found was a prize pool of $1,704,600, which was reserved for the top 1,260 finishers. The last three players standing looked to pick up six-figure paydays for their tricks, plenty of money with which to buy the remains of the Halloween candy in stores tomorrow.

As play moved along throughout the tournament, several members of Team PokerStars found their way into the money, starting with Joao "jomane" Nunes, who finished in 1242nd place, and he was followed by Jude "j.thaddeus" Ainsworth in 832nd place, Juan Manuel "JUANPASTOR" Pastor in 791st, Sebastian "S.Ruthenberg" Ruthenberg in 639th, Dusty "Leatherass9" Schmidt in 413th, Matthias "mattidm" de Meulder in 388th, and Martha "marene" Herrera in 343rd.

During the bewitching ninth hour of the tournament, play moved quickly until only 11 players remained, at which point action slowed considerably. But eventually, with the elimination of meinv in 11th place, hand-for-hand play ensued. A few hands later, it was showmecash all-in preflop with A♠J♦, but yoitsmedude had that covered with A♣Q♦. The board came 9♥5♣7♠T♦7♣, and showmecash was shown $9,034.38 for the tenth place finish.

Yadio leads final table

Well before the tenth hour of the tournament began, the final table was set just inside of Level 35, with blinds at 150,000/300,000 and a 30,000 ante. Players headed into action with the following chip counts:

Seat 1: zuber85 (9,340,753 in chips)
Seat 2: yoitsmedude (12,374,943 in chips)
Seat 3: skitzo333 (8,521,204 in chips)
Seat 4: beldarion (11,018,553 in chips)
Seat 5: SeraphimV (8,735,209 in chips)
Seat 6: yadio (15,424,158 in chips)
Seat 7: Zareta (10,614,631 in chips)
Seat 8: karasoulis (2,409,112 in chips)
Seat 9: marado86 (6,791,437 in chips)

2010 Million final table 10.31.10.JPG

Only a few hands into play found the original short stack even shorter, and karasoulis decided to try to move from the small blind with J♣2♥. But marado86 called for a little over 1.5 million more with J♠3♥ from the big blind. The flop of 3♠Q♠Q♣ made the situation even more dire for karasoulis, and the 6♥ turn and T♣ river ended the pain. Karasoulis was the first to exit the table, taking home $13,210.65 for the ninth place finish.

Bad beat turns into chip lead

It likely wasn't the way SeraphimV wanted to take control of the table, but the following hand put him in just that position. The cracked aces were right out of a horror film:

RSS readers click through to see replay

A short time later, when skitzo333 decided to move all-in for just over 6 million chips, it was SeraphimV who reraised all-in from the small blind with J♥J♦. The big blind quickly got out of the way, and skitzo333 showed a dominated T♠T♣. The board was a rather uneventful 3♥8♠Q♠5♠K♣, and the jacks held up to send skitzo333 out of the tournament with $18,750.60 for eighth place.

Double-up hour has surprise ending

Hour ten was filled with action amongst the seven remaining players, and the suspense of the numerous all-ins and calls made for an interesting distribution of the chips. The double-ups seemed endless: yoitsmedude through marado86, zuber85 through yoitsmedude, yoitsmedude through beldarion, marado86 through yoitsmedude, SeraphimV through yadio, Zareta through marado86, and yoitsmedude through marado86. With the stacks virtually even and beldarion the only player below the 10 million mark, play finally settled down.

But it was yadio who had the roughest time. After holding the chip lead for awhile before the final table and starting the action with it, yadio struggled during double-up hour. Finally, yadio pushed all-in from early position with nearly 12 million chips and A♦Q♠, but SeraphimV called from the big blind with A♥K♦. The dealer gave them 2♦T♥9♠5♥5♦, and yadio went became the seventh place finisher, which was worth $34,092.00 in prize money.

Marado86 in motion

While all of the players flirted with the chip lead through the double-up madness, there was one player who took it and ran with it. Many of those chips were in play when marado86 pushed all-in preflop and zuber85 called for nearly 11,785,951 chips. Marado86 had his opponent only slightly covered but showed A♠A♥, which dominated the 8♠8♣ of zuber85. And nothing changed through the display of the K♣5♥K♠9♠4♠ board. Zuber85 was out in sixth place with $51,138.00.

Marado86 sat with over 25 million chips and soon climbed over the 30 million mark.

More doubles followed, as Zareta stayed alive with a double through SeraphimV, who then doubled through beldarion. Yoitsmedude doubled through marado86 and SeraphimV to climb into a healthy second place spot on the leaderboard. And that took players to the break and the start of the eleventh hour.

SeraphimV returned from the break with less than 2.5 million chips and quickly pushed all-in with K♦T♣, and yoitsmedude called with A♠4♣. The flop of A♥T♥7♣ put a greater distance between the two players, and the Q♥ turn and A♣ river gave yoitsmedude trip aces, eliminating SeraphimV in fifth place with $68,184.00.

Beldarion decided to make a move with 7♠7♦, and original raiser marado86 called with Q♣J♥. The flop of 2♣9♣K♣ gave marado86 flush outs, and the A♠ on the turn added the straight draw. But it was the simple J♦ on the river that brought the pair of jacks to eliminate beldarion in fourth place, which was worth a payday of $85,230.00.

Final trio pursue the great pumpkin

As Halloween is left behind on the clock and references to it slowly fade, the three players continued their business at the table. They paused the action to attempt deal talks, but the numbers presented weren't satisfactory to all players, so the game resumed as it was.

It didn't take long for yoitsmedude to risk his tournament life with Q♥Q♠, and marado86 called with A♥6♣. The flop of A♦5♠J♦ hit marado86 with the better pair, and the 6♣ on the turn made that two pair. The 3♣ on the river ended the tournament for yoitsmedude, who walked away with $127,845.00 for the third place finish.

Top two tangle

Two players remained, and marado86 had a dominating lead over Zareta at the beginning of the heads-up battle.

Seat 7: Zareta (19,281,356 in chips)
Seat 9: marado86 (65,948,644 in chips)

But it all changed when Zareta scored a solid double-up to bring the chip counts fairly close to even:

RSS readers click through to see replay

The two then decided to take a look at chip-chop numbers again, and they were able to agree on the following numbers, taking into consideration that an extra $30,000 was to be set aside for the winner:

Seat 7: Zareta (39,242,712 in chips) = $203,482.00
Seat 9: marado86 (45,987,288 in chips) = $200,513.93

Marado86 extended the lead little by little but only until Zareta doubled through with J-9 over T-9. That left marado86 with less than 20 million chips.

Exactly ten hands later, marado86 pushed all-in with T♠9♦, hoping it fared better than the last time. But Zareta called with A♣Q♣. The flop of 6♥8♥9♠ gave marado86 the lead with the pair of nines, but the A♦ hit on the turn to give Zareta the aces. An 8♣ on the river gave both two pair but left marado86 with no more chips. The winner of a Summer 2010 Sunday Warm-Up came ever so close to another big victory, but marado86 had to settle for second place and the $203,482.00 that went with it.

Zareta of Brazil never gave up and finally claimed the win after nearly 12 hours of play. For that accomplishment, Zareta's account was filled with $230,513.93 in Halloween cash.

Sunday Million Results for 10/31/10:

1st place: Zareta ($230,513.93)*
2nd place: marado86 ($203,482.00)*
3rd place: yoitsmedude ($127,845.00)
4th place: beldarion ($85,230.00)
5th place: SeraphimV ($68,184.00)
6th place: zuber85 ($51,138.00)
7th place: yadio ($34,092.00)
8th place: skitzo333 ($18,750.60)
9th place: karasoulis ($13,210.65)

*figures based on a two-way chop agreement

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