Sunday Million: JJ@mess sweeps up $176k after three-way chop

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGAs days go, it was a good one to be Czech.

Only hours after Kozlicek_x pocketed $24,300 for winning PokerStars' 72 billionth hand, his countryman emaestrodobi finished fifth out of 116,400 players in the Sunday Storm 10th Anniversary Special, earning $32,650 off his $11 investment. And by the time dawn broke over Europe a third Czech player was looking at an explosive ROI, as JJ@mess took down the Sunday Million for a $176,132 score.

This week's field was tantalizingly close to cracking the 7,000-player mark, 6,983 hopefuls buying in at $215 apiece. 1,080 of them would earn a share of the $1,396,000 prize pool with first place set to earn $209,494.70. More than three dozen members of Team Online and Team PokerStars Pro were in the mix with eleven finishing in the money-- Jude Ainsworth (998th), Toni Judet (514th), George Danzer (485th), Nacho Barbero (478th), Ana Marquez (427th), Alexis "J0hnny_Dr@m@" Zervos (217th), Bryan Huang (188th), Christophe DeMuelder (158th), mement_mori (115th), and Andre Akkari (68th place). Going the deepest among the Team Pros was, naturally, a Czech player. 2011 WSOP Main Event runner-up Martin Staszko made it all the way to 29th place, ultimately getting his money in with aces up when his opponent flopped nines full of tens. Staszko pocketed $2,904.92 for his finish.

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Team Pro Czech Republic Martin Staszko

With ten players remaining, JJ@mess hit a lucky flop to burst the final table bubble. Holding A♠K♠, DestackerUK three-bet shoved for his last 13.5 big blinds on the button and initial raiser JJ@mess made the call with A♥J♠. The J♦7♦3♠ flop gave JJ@mess top pair and DestackerUK could not catch up, the turn and river falling the 8♥ and the Q♠ to send him to the rail and set the final table.

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Final table chip counts:

Seat 1: PAROOVKA (3,350,564 in chips)
Seat 2: totaloser (5,700,176 in chips)
Seat 3: LuckyKid824 (4,552,231 in chips)
Seat 4: cafe162 (5,373,336 in chips)
Seat 5: JJ@mess (19,763,442 in chips)
Seat 6: BaLaGaNoFf (6,434,208 in chips)
Seat 7: cligori (4,049,040 in chips)
Seat 8: sara022 (5,717,745 in chips)
Seat 9: janfryed (14,889,258 in chips)

Eleven hands, two eliminations

Less than an orbit passed before the final table lost its first player. On Hand #8, sara022 opened for a min-raise to 800,000 and PAROOVKA moved all-in for 3.37 million from the cutoff with pocket nines. Sara022 called instantly with pocket kings, the overpair holding up to end PAROOVKA's run in ninth place ($10,823.65). Three hands later, cligori shoved for his last eight big blinds from under-the-gun with pocket fives, only to get a quick call from janfryed with pocket jacks. Janfryed turned a straight on the K♠T♦Q♣A♦9♣ board, leaving cligori to collect eighth-place money ($16,759.20).

janfryed and JJ@mess KO two apiece

With only seven big blinds remaining in his stack, LuckyKid824 couldn't afford to wait for a hand anymore. K♠6♠ was good enough for him to get his money in preflop against JJ@mess, who looked him up with A♥9♦. Although both players paired up on the A♦K♥8♦ flop, LuckyKid824 did not improve any further and exited in seventh place, earning $30,026.90. Less than two orbits went by before JJ@mess opened for 800,000 and BaLaGaNoFf three-bet shoved for 5.8 million. Janfryed cold-called the shove from the small blind and JJ@mess got out of the way. BaLaGaNoFf turned up T♦T♥ only to watch janfryed roll over J♥J♣. No help on the board and BaLaGaNoFf was out in sixth ($43,294.60).

With five players remaining, JJ@mess (27.2 million) and janfryed (24 million) controlled nearly 75% of the chips in play between them. Totaloser had the shortest stack left in play and when the action folded to him on the button, he decided to pull the trigger for his last 9.5 big blinds, moving all-in with K♦9♥. Unfortunately for him, JJ@mess called from the big blind, his A♣T♦ holding up on the Q♥6♠3♠2♣J♣ board to bounce totaloser from the final table in fifth place ($57,260.60).

Of the two remaining short stacks, cafe162 was the first David to take a shot at Goliath. Cafe162 shoved from the small blind for 5.5 million with pocket eights and JJ@mess called from the big with A♣T♠. The pair held up on the seven-high board and cafe162 doubled to 11.2 million. Six hands later, however, he was on the rail, his A♦T♦ failing to improve against JJ@mess' pocket queens. For fourth place, cafe162 pocketed $74,019.80.

sara022 wins a key coinflip, chip counts even out

With 44 million in chips to janfryed's 16.6 million and sara022's 9.1 million, it looked like JJ@mess could run away with this thing. Sara022 wasn't going down without a fight, though, and when JJ@mess open-shoved from the small-blind, sara022 made a call for her tournament life with A♦7♦ from the big. JJ@mess' pocket deuces held up through the turn on the 3♥4♦6♠6♦ board, but the 7♣ fell from the heavens on the river, giving sara022 top pair and a double-up to 18.3 million.

Over the next few minutes, sara022 and janfryed both chipped away at JJ@mess. Janfryed did the most damage in this hand, where he doubled up to 21.7 million:

That pot left the chip counts nearly even. With the blinds up to 300,000/600,000 JJ@mess held 25.8 million, sara022 22.7 million and janfryed 21.3 million. The trio agreed to a pause to run chip count chop numbers and quickly made a deal that left $20,000 on the table for the eventual winner.

sara022 eliminated in third place

With the vast majority of the prize pool divvied up, it didn't take too long to find our third-place finisher. Holding Q♣T♣, sara022 opened for 1.2 million and JJ@mess called from the big blind with 6♥9♥. The 8♦7♣2♣ flop hit both players, JJ@mess flopping a straight draw while sara022 picked up a flush draw. JJ@mess check-called sara022's 1,999,999 bet. The T♠ on the turn set off a flurry of betting as sara022 made top pair and JJ@mess filled his straight. JJ@mess checked, sara022 bet another 1,999,999, JJ@mess raised to 4.59 million, sara022 shoved for 18.4 million and JJ@mess made the call, needing to fade a club on the river. It was the 8♠, and sara022 was eliminated, earning the second-largest chunk of the prize pool ($150,771.04) for her third-place finish thanks to the three-way deal.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 5: JJ@mess (47,406,096 in chips)
Seat 9: janfryed (22,423,904 in chips)

The first hand of heads-up play was a doozy, janfryed reducing JJ@mess' 2 to 1 chip lead to a 1.25 to 1 lead.

JJ@mess wasn't going down easily, though and pulled back out to 44 million when he rivered kings full for a 15.7 million pot. From there, JJ@mess kept the pressure on and
whittled jandfryed's stack down from 25 million to 11.1 million.

In the end, it was settled on a coinflip, janfryed moving in for 11 million with K♠9♠ and JJ@mess making the call with pocket fours. JJ@mess flopped a straight draw when the first three came down 7♥6♠5♦ and filled it on the turn when the 3♠ landed. Janfryed was drawing dead and once again, a Czech player was in the winner's circle as JJ@mess closed out the Sunday Million. He took home $176,132.32 for the win. For his runner-up finish, janfryed earned $148,462.08.

Sunday Million Results, 12-11-2011

1. JJ@mess (Czech Republic) $176,123.32*
2. janfryed (Spain) $148,462.08*
3. sara022 (Poland) $150,771.04*
4. cafe162 (New Zealand) $74,019,80
5. totaloser (Finland) $57,260,60
6. BaLaGaNoFf (Ukraine) $43,294.60
7. LuckyKid824 (Australia) $30,026.90
8. cligori (Brazil) $16,759.20
9. PAROOVKA (Ireland) $10,823.65

*= reflects the results of a three-way deal that left an additional $20,000 for first

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Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million