There was wwwBTHEREcom to win $195K and Sunday Million title

Sunday Million logo.jpgAt the end of each month, PokerStars waves goodbye to that page on the calendar with special tournaments for its players. But to kick this January out the door, there were numerous bits of excitement to keep poker players and fans entertained on a Sunday that was anything but ordinary. The Battle of the Planets rewarded the month's top sit-n-go players with a sizeable freeroll, the Turbo Takedown awarded $1 million (and a car!), and the WBCOOP gave poker bloggers more chances at big prizes with its Main Event. And to top it all off, Viktor "Isildur1" Blom battled Daniel Cates in a SuperStar Showdown.

Of course, there were the usual head-turning events that make up the Sunday majors as well. That brought us to the Sunday Million, where players line up each week to take a shot at the $1.5 million guarantee. When registration stopped for this week's big tournament, it showed 8,994 competitors at the tables and a subsequent prize pool of $1,798,800.00.

The passage of several hours of play led to the bursting of the money bubble that allowed the top 1,350 finishers to be paid for their efforts. In that group, several well-known players could be found via the list of Team PokerStars Pros, including Humberto Brenes, who exited in 1333rd place, Jason Mercier in 927th, Christian "el grillo" de Leon in 779th, Henrique Pinho in 758th, Tom McEvoy in 141st, and Johnny Lodden in 109th. And as the action continued toward the last few tables, one PokerStar continued to shine as Vanessa Selbst took over the top position on the leaderboard with three tables remaining.

Play moved more quickly than usual. With ten players and hand-for-hand play in action, Stev0L tangled with chip leader Daut44 on every street as the board came T♠6♦4♦Q♠. It was then that Stev0L made the all-in move with A♥T♦, but Daut44 called with T♥6♥ and two pair. It held up through the 2♥ on the river, and Stev0L departed in tenth place with $9,353.76.

Daut44 undoubtedly leads the pack

It was only 9 hours and 15 minutes into the tournament when the final table got underway. That meant that Level 33 provided blinds of 100,000/200,000 and a 20,000 ante, and the starting chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: Daut44 (19,379,569 in chips)
Seat 2: robinho (3,393,748 in chips)
Seat 3: salfshb (7,556,067 in chips)
Seat 4: ZeeJustin (12,249,794 in chips)
Seat 5: V. Selbst (13,112,007 in chips)
Seat 6: wwwBTHEREcom (9,787,977 in chips)
Seat 7: Drewfus81 (7,353,380 in chips)
Seat 8: binhoeiji (13,132,185 in chips)
Seat 9: Leveret2 (3,975,273 in chips)

2011 Sunday Million table pic 01.30.11.JPG

Only a few hands into the action saw a big hand develop. After an initial raise by Daut44, short-stacked robinho reraised all-in for just 3,293,748 chips. But Vanessa "V.Selbst" Selbst came over the top with her own all-in move. That prompted Daut44 to get out of the way, and Selbst showed A♣K♥, which was ahead of the A♦Q♠ of robinho. Nothing about the 8♠5♥2♦5♣J♠ changed the outcome, and robinho was ousted in ninth place with $12,591.60.

Just before the first break, Selbst used her aggression to take over first place on the leaderboard, though Daut44 was prepared to take it back a short time later. And after that break, Drewfus81 was able to double through ZeeJustin to stay in the game.

ZeeJustin tried to recover from that hit. A hand that started with a raise from binhoeiji and call from Daut44 found ZeeJustin pushing all-in for little less than 3.5 million chips. Binhoeiji called, Daut44 folded, and ZeeJustin showed 9♦9♠. But binhoeiji turned over the dreaded A♣A♦, and those aces held as the dealer gave them a board of Q♣6♣T♠4♥2♠. Justin "ZeeJustin" Bonomo was out of the tournament in eighth place with $19,786.80 to show for it.

Daut44 then proceeded to take a 7.5 million-chip pot from Selbst, and salfshb doubled through Selbst. Things were getting dicey for the Team PokerStars Pro.

Meanwhile, short-stacked Leveret2 finally decided to move it or lose it. The all-in push came preflop with A♦T♣, and original raiser binhoeiji called with Q♥J♦. The board of 8♥2♦T♥9♣Q♦ gave binhoeiji the straight, and Leveret2 was left with a pair of tens, which meant a seventh place departure and a $35,976.00 payday.

As Daut44 continued to soar, the following hand gave him a substantial lead over the rest of the pack:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Salfshb then took another hit when wwwBTHEREcom doubled through, leaving the former with less than 4 million chips.

But it was Selbst who was the next to risk her tournament life. From the small blind, she pushed all-in for 6,467,701 chips with K♠3♠, but wwwBTHEREcom decided to call from the big blind A♦4♦. The flop of A♥A♠5♥ was not what Selbst wanted to see, as it gave wwwBTHEREcom trip aces, and the 6♠ turn and K♥ river ended the hand. Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst was gone from the Sunday Million in sixth place, for which she received $53,964.00 for the deep finish.

Vanessa Selbst.jpg

Finally, salfshb took a shot with Q♣4♥, and Daut44 called 1,777,507 more chips from the big blind with T♦7♦. The dealer handed them a flop of 8♠6♦Q♥ to make things look even better for salfshb, but the 9♦ and K♦ that followed gave Daut44 the diamond flush. Salfshb was out in fifth place with $71,952.00.

Drewfus81 was the next to be in danger, pushing all-in preflop with A♣9♣. After Daut44 reraised from the big blind, original raiser wwwBTHEREcom left the party. Daut44 showed 7♣7♠, and he improved to two pair with the reveal of the 8♦Q♦J♣4♥8♠ board. Drewfus81 left in fourth place with $89,940.00.

Final three agree on deal

At the onset of three-handed play, the finalists took a break from the tournament to discuss a possible deal. After some numbers were given and adjustments made per the players' requests, an arrangement was made to accept the following numbers, considering that $30,000 was set aside to be added to the winner's total:

Seat 1: Daut44 (46,720,015 in chips) = $208,668.16
Seat 6: wwwBTHEREcom (17,463,655 in chips) = $165,000.00
Seat 8: binhoeiji (25,756,330 in chips) = $176,000.00

Play resumed, and it only took a few hands for wwwBTHEREcom to put it all on the line with A-K offsuit against the pocket jacks of Daut44. An ace on the turn gave wwwBTHEREcom the double-up and the chip lead for the first time at the final table. But when binhoeiji doubled through wwwBTHEREcom, it was binhoeiji in the top spot. All three players were fairly close in chip counts, though, until wwwBTHEREcom's aggression put him out in front by a margin. It was hands like this that made it happen:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Ultimately, it was binhoeiji who got into a raising war with wwwBTHEREcom, and binhoeiji finally pushed all-in with 5♥5♣. But wwwBTHEREcom showed K♥K♣, and that pair held up through the dealing of the 9♦6♣3♦A♦2♥ board. Binhoeiji had to depart with $176,000.00 for the third place finish.

Heads-up play began immediately, with the following counts:

Seat 1: Daut44 (12,649,815 in chips)
Seat 6: wwwBTHEREcom (77,290,185 in chips)

Daut44 made an effort but was able to make little headway against a tough opponent with a majority of the chips. Any progress was chipped away quickly. Finally, Daut44 had enough and responded to a wwwBTHEREcom raise with an all-in move for just less than 14 million chips. The easy call was made by wwwBTHEREcom with K♥K♠, while Daut44 showed 7♥5♥. The cards came 6♥4♦A♠4♣T♠, and Ryan "Daut44" Daut had to accept second place and the $208,668.16 that went with it.

The winner of this week's Sunday Million was wwwBTHEREcom, and the prize was $195,000.00. Congratulations!

Sunday Million Results for 01/30/11:

1st place: wwwBTHEREcom ($195,000.00)*
2nd place: Daut44 ($208,668.16)*
3rd place: binhoeiji ($176,000.00)*
4th place: Drewfus81 ($89,940.00)
5th place: salfshb ($71,952.00)
6th place: Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa "V. Selbst" Selbst ($53,964.00)
7th place: Leveret2 ($35,976.00)
8th place: ZeeJustin ($19,786.80)
9th place: robinho ($12,591.60)

*Results of a three-way chop

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