Marin06 makes massive comeback to win 2/6/11 Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo.jpgA handy online dictionary provides the primary definition for "sport" as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess." But an alternative definition notes that the word means "diversion, recreation, pleasant pastime." The former could describe the annual game that many Americans watched on television as the football season came to an end tonight, and the latter brought many players to the online poker tables at PokerStars.

Is poker a sport? That is a debate for another time. What is undeniable, though, is that the world of poker has its own "big game" of sorts, and it happens each week in the form of the Sunday Million. Players from around the world gather to play the tournament with its $1.5 million guarantee, and this week's game attracted 8,134 competitors. That registration number increased the prize pool to $1,626,800.00, which was to award six-figure paydays to the top three finishers. How super is that?

As the event moved through the first hours of eliminations, the money bubble eventually burst to allow the last 1,170 players some cash for their efforts. And in that group of paid finishers were four members of Team PokerStars Pro. The first of them to leave in the money was Barry "barryg1" Greenstein in 895th place, followed by Humberto Brenes in 834th, and Toni Judet in 429th. And the last Team Pro standing was Arnaud "frenchkiss" Mattern, who departed in 391st place.

More hours passed as the field thinned, but it wasn't until the tenth hour of play that hand-for-hand play determined the final table bubble outcome. After several players doubled up, Jossel2008 attempted the same feat, moving all-in with Q♥8♥. DYBYDX called with A♦4♠, and that hand only improved on the 9♥A♣2♣8♦K♦ board. Jossel2008 was eliminated in tenth place with $8,703.38.

DYBYDX dominates nine-handed

The actual final table didn't get underway until the very end of Level 36, with blinds at 200,000/400,000 and a 40,000 ante. The starting chip stacks were as follows:

Seat 1: PURPLE"K"99 (10,460,911 in chips)
Seat 2: DYBYDX (25,688,382 in chips)
Seat 3: holyguacmole (6,961,617 in chips)
Seat 4: gingercankr (11,334,944 in chips)
Seat 5: Itikanpistos (3,494,142 in chips)
Seat 6: bigace223 (4,679,248 in chips)
Seat 7: pRip43 (8,940,536 in chips)
Seat 8: marin06 (5,960,624 in chips)
Seat 9: ghian (3,819,596 in chips)

2011 Sunday Million table pic 02.06.11.JPG

On the third hand of the table, ghian doubled through DYBYDX with pocket aces.

Itikanpistos tried to do the same with Q♥Q♠, which was well ahead of the T♠J♦ of DYBYDX preflop. But the first three cards came 7♦8♥A♠ for the straight draw, and the J♠ on the turn made it even more interesting. The 9♦ on the river made that straight, and DYBYDX scooped another pot. Itikanpistos exited the final table with $12,607.70 for the ninth place finish.

Bigace223 was able to double through DYBYDX to stay in the game, and pRip43 did the same through PURPLE"K"99. The latter then doubled through marin06, who was left with less than 1 million chips but managed to nearly triple up in order to continue on.

Ghian was the next to risk tournament life, and it was done by moving 1,838,943 chips all-in with 2♠2♣ from the small blind. But original raiser DYBYDX called with K♥3♦ and hit a three on the 4♣8♠3♠ flop. The 9♣ turn and Q♣ river finished the hand and ended the tournament for ghian, who took home $18,708.20 for eighth place.

Shortly thereafter, holyguacmole tried to get something going and pushed with A♥J♣. DYBYDX, who was again the original raiser, made the call with 8♠8♥, and that pocket pair held up to the 2♦9♦5♣5♠4♥ board. Holyguacmole walked away with $32,536.00 for seventh place.

PURPLE"K"99 was struggling, despite a double-up through gingercankr. Another all-in for PURPLE"K"99 came soon after with Q♣Q♥, but those queens were met with two callers, as pRip43 had A♠Q♠ and DYBYDX showed A♥T♥. The dramatic community cards came 3♣5♣4♣5♦2♥, and pRip43 and DYBYDX both hit straights to split the pot. PURPLE"K"99 was ousted in sixth place with $48,804.00.

Marin06 proceeded to double twice, once through DYBYDX and another time through gingercankr. PRip43 also found a successful double-up opportunity, courtesy of DYBYDX.

Gingercankr looked for a chance to recover some of those chips lost to marin06, and the two tangled again. Marin06 raised with 3♠3♣, and gingercankr called all-in for 1,261,953 more with K♥J♠. The board of 9♠7♠8♦9♣6♦ ended all hopes for gingercankr, who accepted fifth place and the $65,072.00 that went with it.

Marin06 & bigace223 gain ground on DYBYDX

Bigace223 hit a big double-up through marin06 to gain ground on chipleader DYBYDX with the following hand:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Meanwhile, pRip43 was on the short stack, and when bigace223 made an initial raise from the small blind, pRip43 called all-in from the big blind with 3♦3♥. Bigace223 showed 8♣3♠ but caught the eight on the 4♥8♠K♣ flop. The Q♣ and J♥ cards finished it for pRip43, who departed in fourth place with $81,990.72.

Action was getting intense in the eleventh hour of the tournament, and a big hand soon developed. Bigace223 was the aggressor and pushed all-in with A♥4♥ for more than 18 million chips from the button. DYBYDX made the call from the big blind with 9♦9♠, and the board of 5♣7♥7♦8♠9♣ improved that hand to a full house. Bigace223 had to accept third place and the corresponding prize money of $122,010.00.

Marin06 is last to go after DYBYDX

The last two players standing - or sitting - began the heads-up match with these chip counts:

Seat 2: DYBYDX (53,042,559 in chips)
Seat 8: marin06 (28,297,441 in chips)

DYBYDX had maintained a substantial chip lead over the entire final table playdown, and only one player was left to try to undo that momentum. After a series of well-planned aggressive moves, marin06 was able to take over the lead in the tournament, and DYBYDX was on the defensive for the first time in hours.

This was the hand that put marin06 on top:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Finally, after nearly 20 minutes of a solid poker battle, DYBYDX moved all-in for little more than 35 million chips with J♦J♣. Marin06 called with A♠2♣ and caught some help on the 3♣2♦9♣ flop. The 5♦ turn card changed nothing, but the A♥ on the river gave marin06 two pair. DYBYDX was defeated, though the grand effort was rewarded with $178,948.00 for the second place finish.

Marin06 overcame the odds, working back from a short stack on several occasions and chipping away at the tournament's leader. For the hard-fought victory, marin06 won $244,024.32 to go with the Sunday Million title. Congrats!

Sunday Million Results for 02/06/11:

1st place: marin06 ($244,024.32)
2nd place: DYBYDX ($178,948.00)
3rd place: bigace223 ($122,010.00)
4th place: pRip43 ($81,990.72)
5th place: gingercankr ($65,072.00)
6th place: PURPLE"K"99 ($48,804.00)
7th place: holyguacmole ($32,536.00)
8th place: ghian ($18,708.20)
9th place: Itikanpistos ($12,607.70)

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