Arabella1722 brings $196,706.57 & Sunday Million title to Russia with love

Sunday Million logo.jpgIt was one of those rare Sundays that online poker was the sole focus of the day, as few major live poker tournaments required players to jet around the world. Most players were comfortably in their home surroundings, settled in for a day/night of online poker excitement.

Seemingly for that reason, registration numbers were higher than usual. The $1.5 million guarantee and the prestige of the Sunday Million usually brings more than 8K players to the PokerStars tables for the $200 + $15 tournament, but this week, that number rose to 9,178. And that registration figure also took the prize pool to great heights, as it was set at $1,835,600, enough to pay out the top 1,350 players.

Speaking of paid players, there were a number of Team PokerStars representatives in the field, and several of them made it into the money. The first to do so was Team Pro Maxim Lykov, who finished in 1294th place, followed by Team Online's Steven "stevejpa" Paul in 950th place, Noah "Exclusive" Boeken in 880th, Christophe "chrisdm" De Meulder in 741st, Vanessa Selbst in 730th, Team Online's Andrew "foucault82" Brokos in 526th, and Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby in 393rd. But the last of the Team Pros standing was the UK's Liv Boeree, who ultimately exited in 213th place.

Liv Boeree.jpg

Well into the ninth hour of the tournament, the Sunday Million neared its final table, though it wasn't until the tenth hour that hand-for-hand play led to the bursting of the bubble. It happened when Vaaland pushed all-in with T♦T♣, but arabella1722 had J♣J♠, and the better pocket pair stood up to the 3♣4♥A♥2♦Q♥ board. Vaaland was gone in tenth place with $9,545.12.

Sviestas starts with solid lead

Toward the end of Level 36, with blinds at 200,000/400,000 and a 40,000 ante, the final table was ready to go, with the players' starting chip stacks as follows:

Seat 1: arabella1722 (17,945,383 in chips)
Seat 2: ZBTHorton1 (4,842,048 in chips)
Seat 3: surfstar33 (3,295,242 in chips)
Seat 4: aizenxaim (5,876,776 in chips)
Seat 5: df1986 (8,485,054 in chips)
Seat 6: Flush_Entity (9,584,900 in chips)
Seat 7: Peter Pan 43 (7,130,864 in chips)
Seat 8: Gantz98 (8,303,946 in chips)
Seat 9: sviestas (26,315,787 in chips)

2011 Sunday Million table pic 02.20.11.JPG

Action started with surfstar33 doubling on the very first hand through Flush_Entity, but things slowed quite a bit for the next 20 minutes or so. But during that time, ZBTHorton1 doubled through sviestas, pushing the latter off the top spot on the leaderboard.

Short-stacked aizenxaim was waiting to make a move, and with less than 1.4 million finally made the push with J♠T♦ from the small blind. Df1986 called from the big blind with 9♦9♥, but the flop of 5♦J♥6♥ put aizenxaim in front with the jacks. The 4♣ on the turn led to a 9♠ on the river, though, and the set of nines eliminated aizenxaim in ninth place with $12,849.20.

ZBTHorton1 takes the reins, sviestas struggles

After the first official break for the players, surfstar33 came back to double through sviestas and climb to third place. ZBTHorton1 had climbed into first by that point, and the others were switching places more often that we'd like to mention.

One of the shorter stacks, df1986, soon decided to risk it all when ZBTHorton1 pushed all-in. When it moved around to df1986 in the big blind with Q♣Q♠, the all-in call was made to see that ZBTHorton1 had A♥5♦. And the flop of 2♥A♦4♦ put the chip leader ahead with the aces, which stayed in front through the 7♥ turn and 3♣ river. Df1986, winner of a 2009 WCOOP event, departed in eighth place with $20,191.60.

Two hands later, Flush_Entity made a push for a bit more than 7.4 million chips with A♥6♣, and Peter Pan 43 came over the top for about 171K more to isolate, which worked, before showing A♦A♣. Those aces weren't to be cracked, despite some hope on the flop of 5♥6♥K♠. But no further help came as the 4♠ and T♦ rounded out the board, and Flush_Entity was...well...flushed out in seventh place, which was worth $36,712.00.

And finally it happened. Sviestas made the all-in move from the big blind with 15,703,255 chips holding A♠J♥, but original raiser ZBTHorton1 called with A♦Q♠. The board of T♥5♦Q♦4♠6♦ only improved ZBTHorton1, while sviestas had to leave in sixth place with $55,068.00 to ease the pain.

A few hands later, Gantz98 risked it all with T♣3♦ from the small blind, but arabella1722 called from the big blind with a solid A♣Q♥. The dealer provided a board of A♠Q♠6♦2♠9♦, and Gantz98 was gone in fifth place with $73,424.00.

Surfstar33 doubled through ZBTHorton1, but the latter soared so far above his three competitors with more than 50 million chips that the other players struggled to have an impact.

After surfstar33 doubled through Peter Pan 43, the latter was left with little more than 2.2 million chips and agreed to an all-in soon after with A♣8♦. Surfstar33 was there with Q♥9♦ and caught the flop of the 7♣Q♠T♥8♥4♥ board. That left surfstar33 out to sea with $91,780.00 for the fourth place finish.

When it looked like arabella1722 was almost down and out, the following double-up happened to allow play to continue three-handed:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Final three agree, deal pushes trio forward

At the start of three-handed play, the finalists decided to pause the action to discuss a possible chip-chop deal. Any issues with the numbers were soon put to rest, and the players agreed to the following settlement, with exactly $30,000.01 set aside for the ultimate winner:

Seat 1: arabella1722 (18,196,722 in chips) =$166,706.56
Seat 2: ZBTHorton1 (53,430,820 in chips) = $224,884.55
Seat 3: surfstar33 (20,152,458 in chips) = $169,935.84

Then it was arabella1722's turn to try for another double-up, which ended successfully when pocket jacks held up to the A-Q of ZBTHorton1, and the 48.4K pot went to arabella1722.

Five hands later, with ZBTHorton1 holding little more than 26 million in chips, the 5♣5♦ prompted ZBTHorton1 to agree to an all-in against the A♠8♦ of arabella1722. The board came A♥Q♥2♠8♣4♦, giving arabella1722 two pair and the pot, while ZBTHorton1 was eliminated. The prize money for third place, though, was the agreed-upon $224,884.55, the biggest payout at the table.

Heads-up action then began with the following chip counts:

Seat 1: arabella1722 (72,988,430 in chips)
Seat 3: surfstar33 (18,791,570 in chips)

But on the very first hand of the match, surfstar33 did the following to ensure a more interesting duel:

RSS readers click through to see replay

About ten minutes later, surfstar33 doubled again, that time with pocket jacks against the A-9 of arabella1722. With that, the stacks were nearly even, though arabella1722 maintained a slight lead. But through a series of aggressively played hands and continuous pressure, arabella1722 regained a significant lead over surfstar33.

Finally, surfstar33 pushed all-in with little more than 17 million chips holding K♦T♣, and arabella1722 called with A♦J♠. The board of T♥4♣A♣A♥Q♦ made the sweat an interesting one, but arabella1722 pulled it out with trip aces. That left surfstar33 with second place and $169,935.84.

Arabella1722 came back from near destruction and took the all-important Sunday Million title, along with $196,706.57 in prize money, for the victory. Congratulations!

Sunday Million Results for 02/20/11:

1st place: arabella1722 ($196,706.57)*
2nd place: surfstar33 ($169,935.84)*
3rd place: ZBTHorton1 ($224,884.55)*
4th place: Peter Pan 43 ($91,780.00)
5th place: Gantz98 ($73,424.00)
6th place: sviestas ($55,068.00)
7th place: Flush_Entity ($36,712.00)
8th place: df1986 ($20,191.60)
9th place: aizenxaim ($12,849.20)

*results of a chip-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