Benji79 bests 1/16 Sunday Million field for title and $255,281.66 prize

Sunday Million logo.jpgAfter a poker-filled week of live events at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, many players were ready to settle down in the comfort of their homes, comforted by the warmth of the computer, for a friendly online competition. What better way to do that than to pony up the $200 + $15 buy-in - or better yet, satellite in for a few dollars - to take part in the Sunday Million?

A sizable crowd of players did just that, as the registration number showed 8,677 players at the tables, which took the prize pool well past the $1.5 million guarantee all the way to $1,735,400.00. Once again, the Sunday Million was the king of the online tournaments, and it was going to be a fight to the finish for the first prize of over $250K.

The money bubble burst several hours into play, allowing the final 1,260 players to be rewarded for their efforts. In that group, only two members of Team PokerStars could be found, considering most of the others were en route back home from the Bahamas or using their last night there for a little relaxation. Those two were Ruben "rubenrtv" Visser, who finished in 848th place, and Juan Maceiras, who departed in 677th place.

Hours passed, and the final table approached during the ninth hour but didn't appear until just moments after the ten-hour mark. In a battle of two of the shorter stacks, gardyone moved all-in with A♦9♥, and djalminha reraised all-in with 6♥6♠, and everyone else folded to leave them to battle. Djalminha had gardyone covered by a fairly small margin, and the board of Q♠J♣5♠3♥4♣ allowed the pocket pair to hold. Gardyone was eliminated in tenth place with $9,197.62 to show for it.

Cejakas14 and Loxagos fight for top spot

Well into Level 36, with blinds at 200,000/400,000 and a 40,000 ante, the last nine players standing (sitting, and virtually so) were ready to go with the following chip stacks:

Seat 1: Mammola (6,370,852 in chips)
Seat 2: ALLEXarm (11,343,968 in chips)
Seat 3: Pendos90 (6,672,018 in chips)
Seat 4: Cejakas14 (15,827,386 in chips)
Seat 5: ob1k (12,429,334 in chips)
Seat 6: Loxagos (15,180,876 in chips)
Seat 7: djalminha (9,622,718 in chips)
Seat 8: 905thuggin (3,340,103 in chips)
Seat 9: Benji79 (5,982,745 in chips)

2011 Sunday Million table pic 01.16.11.JPG

The fourth hand of the table saw serious action, as two of the bigger stacks tangled. It started with an initial raise from ob1k and a reraise from ALLEXarm. Ob1k took it a step further with an all-in move for 12,269,334 chips holding K♠K♥, and ALLEXarm called with J♣J♥. The flop of 4♥T♠2♦ and turn of 6♣ were innocent and looked to give a monstrous double-up to ob1k, but the J♦ dropped on the river to give ALLEXarm the set. That left ob1k likely a bit stunned and out of the tournament in ninth place with $13,449.35.

Short stacks shattered

A few minutes later, the original short stack of the table, 905thuggin, pushed it all with 5♦5♠, and Benji79 reraised all-in with K♥K♠ to isolate, causing original raiser Cajekas14 to fold out of the way. The board of 3♥4♥7♠J♠A♥ brought nothing for either player, and the kings held up to eliminate 905thuggin in eighth place, for which $19,089.40 was awarded.

Mammola took the opportunity to double through Cejakas14, and a few hands later, two more players doubled in the same hand. Cejakas14 barely stayed alive, while Pendos90 tripled up to jump into second place on the leaderboard, all as a result of this hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

When Cejakas14 finally doubled through djalminha, it left the latter crippled. He doubled on the very next hand, but still with less than 900K chips, another all-in move was made by djalminha on the next hand as well. ALLEXarm and Pendos90 both called from the small and big blinds respectively, and they checked down the board as it came 6♥8♠7♥2♣3♥. Pendos90 showed T♥7♠, and the pair of sevens was good enough to collect the pot. Djalminha mucked without showing hole cards, leaving with $34,708.00 for the seventh place finish.

Pendos90 prospers despite fight from Loxagos

A battle between chipleader ALLEXarm and Pendos90 resulted in more than 20.5 million chips shipped to Pendos90, who took over the top spot on the leaderboard by a reasonable margin.

Another big pot developed, and it happened when Mammola pushed all-in for 7,768,125 chips with A♦7♥, and Loxagos made the call from the big blind with J♣J♦. The flop of T♥2♦J♠ gave Loxagos the set, and the 2♥ on the turn made it into a full house. The A♣ on the river was much too little and too late, and Mammola had to accept sixth place and the $52,062.00 that went with it.

Through some aggression from Loxagos, Pendos90 gave up the lead, though the two remained the only players over the 20 million mark. But a short time later, Pendos90 took a pot worth nearly 27 million chips from Loxagos, and then Cejakas14 doubled through Loxagos to leave the latter with less than 4 million chips.

Loxagos did double back through Cejakas14 to stay in the game, and when a shorter stacked ALLEXarm pushed all-in with A♥9♠, Loxagos made the call with a dominating A♠J♣. The board of K♠J♦2♥J♠T♦ gave Loxagos the trip jacks and sent ALLEXarm packing with $69,416.00 for the fifth place finish.

Anyone's game

A series of double-ups then showed that anything can - and does - happen in no-limit hold'em. Loxagos doubled through Cejakas14, who in turn did the same through Pendos90. Benji79 then came from the shadows to double through Cejakas14 in this hand that would prove to be a key one:

RSS readers click through to see replay

With Cejakas14 back on the short end of the board, the all-in move came for his last 5,091,827 chips holding Q♦2♠, but Loxagos called with K♣J♥. The flop of A♠Q♠J♠ gave Cejakas14 the pair of queens and the hope of staying alive again, and the 6♦ on the turn changed nothing. But the T♣ on the river gave Loxagos the straight, and Cejakas14 was ousted in fourth place with $86,770.00.

Soon after, Pendos put nearly 16 million chips at risk with A♦9♠, and Benji79 was able to make the call with K♦Q♦. The flop of 8♦K♠6♠ hit for Benji79, and the 2♠ turn and 4♥ river ended the hand. Pendos90 left the tournament in third place with $130,155.00.

Let's not drag this out

The two remaining players in the Sunday Million were ready to play it out, without even a peep of possible deal talks. They started their match with the following counts:

Seat 6: Loxagos (36,123,513 in chips)
Seat 9: Benji79 (50,646,487 in chips)

It only took five hands. After four quick raise-and-take-it hands, the next one started with a raise from Benji79 and all-in reraise from Loxagos. Benji79 called with A♥4♥, but Loxagos looked strong with A♣J♦. But the floop of K♦4♠9♠ brought that important four for Benji79, and the rest of the cards - 3♣ and 8♦ - changed nothing. Loxagos was out in second place with $186,555.50.

Benji79 won the Sunday Million and the $255,281.66 that went with it. Congratulations!

Sunday Million Results for 01/16/11:

1st place: Benji79 ($255,281.66)
2nd place: Loxagos ($186,555.50)
3rd place: Pendos90 ($130,155.00)
4th place: Cejakas14 ($86,770.00)
5th place: ALLEXarm ($69,416.00)
6th place: Mammola ($52,062.00)
7th place: djalminha ($34,708.00)
8th place: 905thuggin ($19,089.40)
9th place: ob1k ($13,449.35)

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