FairLaw wins hard-fought heads-up match for Sunday Million title

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGThe home page for the Sunday Million contains more than information about the weekly event and its satellites. For example, I found a section of facts that informed of the date of the first ever Sunday Million ... on March 5, 2006. That means tomorrow is this tournament's birthday!

Interestingly, there were 5,893 in that inaugural tournament and a player located in the United States won. The largest Sunday Million ever held was on March 6 of last year, when 59,128 players registered for the special event to create a prize pool of $11,825,600. The tournament has survived rough times in the online poker world and always thrived. It has prestige, it has a solid structure, and it helps to have a $1 million guarantee week after week.

Today's Sunday Million didn't have any special raised guarantee or promotion, just the weekly tournament that continues to draw the best in the game each week. And this is what the numbers showed:

Players: 7,748
Guarantee: $1,000,000.00
Prize pool: $1,549,600.00
Paid players: 1,170

After several hours, the money bubble approached, and one of the unfortunate casualties of that time was Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen, who exited in 1175th place. DeGrinch111 was the official bubble player in 1171st place, and DotComRicher became the first player to cash for $309.92.

As for the remaining members of Team PokerStars, Christian de Meulder was the first to exit in the money, leaving in 1092nd place. It wasn't until several hours later that Stavros "IDOLLS" Kalfas busted in 444th place, followed down the line by Team Pro Richard Toth in 167th and Andre "aakkari" Akkari in 114th. Finally, Team Online's Diego "vgreen22" Brunelli of Brazil left the festivities in 28th place.

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At the 10-hour mark, only 11 players remained, and hand-for-hand play started soon after when TIGER'S IRON was ousted in 11th place. Short-stacked MustiMousseT finally moved preflop with K♥Q♣ from the big blind, and original raiser and small blind dangoo called with A♦T♥. The board came 6♦7♠5♣T♠3♣, and MustiMousseT had to leave in tenth place with $8,290.36.

WallterBish takes strong lead to final table

Players took their seats at the final table in the midst of Level 36 with blinds at 100,000/200,000 and a 20,000 ante. Their starting stacks were as follows:

Seat 1: N4kai (9,736,333 in chips)
Seat 2: dangoo (3,117,112 in chips)
Seat 3: WallterBish (21,710,336 in chips)
Seat 4: ediguadro (5,227,608 in chips)
Seat 5: MonkeyBudg (13,031,288 in chips)
Seat 6: dariusz1979 (2,196,192 in chips)
Seat 7: Frqen (1,745,978 in chips)
Seat 8: VIP1009 (12,598,086 in chips)
Seat 9: FairLaw (8,117,067 in chips)

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The shortest stack at the final table only took a few hands before pulling the all-in trigger. Frqen took that chance with J♣J♠, and original UTG raiser MonkeyBudg called with A♠K♣. The race was on until the flop displayed Q♣Q♦A♣. The 3♠ on the turn changed nothing, but the A♥ on the river gave MonkeyBudg the full house, and Frqen was ousted in ninth place with $12,009.40.

Dangoo wanted to see a flop and raised from UTG, but FairLaw reraised all-in from the small blind. That challenge was met with a call from dangoo holding T♥T♦, and FairLaw showed A♠K♦. Again the race ended badly for the all-in player as the board came J♦Q♣4♣5♥K♣, eliminating dangoo in eighth place with $17,820.40.

Dariusz1979 was able to double through MonkeyBudg to stay in action, and FairLaw took a pot worth nearly 7.2 million chips - all a result of preflop raises - from N4kai to jump into the top three on the leaderboard. Ediguadro also risked everything and doubled through MonkeyBudg.

Big pots, big payouts

WallterBish didn't stay in the chip lead without a strategy, and that seemed to be to put opponents to the test with pure aggression. When MonkeyBudg raised preflop, VIP1009 and FairLaw both called, but WallterBish reraised it from the big blind. MonkeyBudg folded, as did FairLaw, but VIP1009 called. The flop came 3♥Q♦T♠, and WallterBish bet. VIP1009 called to see the Q♥ on the turn. WallterBish pushed all-in, and VIP1009 called all-in with K♠J♠ for the straight draw. WallterBish had A♦Q♣, though, and the set of queens. The A♣ on the river gave VIP1009 a straight but WallterBish crushed with the full house and extended his chip lead, leaving VIP1009 out in seventh place with $30,992.00.

Shortly after, Dariusz1979 made a move preflop from UTG, and N4kai reraised all-in. Ediguadro was in the small blind and pushed all-in as well, having both other players covered. MonkeyBudg folded the big blind, and these hands were shown:

Ediguadro: K♥K♠
N4kai: A♦Q♠
Dariusz1979: A♠6♠

The board came 7♣3♠8♦J♥Q♥, and the kings remained the best hand. That left dariusz1979 out in sixth place with $46,488.00 and N4kai out in fifth with $61,984.00.

Deal? No deal

The final four players paused the tournament to discuss deal numbers, but one of the group was not happy with the options given. So, play resumed.

As WallterBish continued to dominate, FairLaw took a stand and doubled through WallterBish to take a solid second place in the counts:

RSS readers click through to see replay

Two hands later, MonkeyBudg moved all-in with A♠6♠, and WallterBish called with J♠J♣. The flop of 6♦Q♦Q♠ gave both players two pair but WallterBish stayed ahead, and the 5♦ and 9♦ finished the hand. MonkeyBudg had to leave in fourth place with $78,099.84.

We have a deal!

Well, they do. I didn't have any part in it. The final three players paused to renew deal talks, and after some wheeling and dealing, they agreed. With $20,000 set aside for the winner, the payouts were listed as follows:

Seat 3: WallterBish (31,927,149 in chips) = $183,219.94
Seat 4: ediguadro (18,378,937 in chips) = $149,410.40
Seat 9: FairLaw (27,173,914 in chips) = $166,489.53

Play slowed down quite a bit after the deal, but FairLaw got involved with ediguadro and took a pot worth nearly 35 million chips; FairLaw was squarely in first place. Ediguadro was left with less than 7 million but did double up through WallterBish to stay alive, then did it through FairLaw to climb into a strong second place. When WallterBish doubled through FairLaw, it became anyone's game.

WallterBish and ediguadro got into a preflop raising war that led to a Q♦A♥K♥ flop. More chips went into the pot until ediguadro pushed all-in and WallterBish called. WallterBish showed K♦Q♣, while ediguadro had A♠8♠. Nothing about the 3♠ turn or 7♥ river could beat two pair, and ediguadro left was eliminated in third place with $149,410.40.

Russia vs. Russia

The two remaining players, both hailing from Russia, stacked up this way at the beginning of heads-up play:

Seat 3: WallterBish (57,225,561 in chips)
Seat 9: FairLaw (20,254,439 in chips)

FairLaw did find a double-up spot and did so, but WallterBish took it all back on the next hand worth nearly 36 million chips. The battle went on and on. And on. For more than an hour, the two traded chips, as neither was willing to give up on the title or additional $20,000 in prize money easily.

All the way into Level 44, the final hand began with FairLaw holding a 10 million chip advantage over WallterBish. The two went to see a raised flop of 2♥9♥5♥. FairLaw checked, WallterBish bet, and FairLaw moved all-in. WallterBish called all-in with Q♣9♣ for top pair, and FairLaw showed T♦9♠ for top pair with a worse kicker. But The T♠ on the turn gave FairLaw two pair, and the T♣ on the river made it a full house, leaving WallterBish out in second place with $183,219.94.

FairLaw claimed the title and $186,489.53 in cash. Congrats!

Sunday Million Results for 03/04/12 (reflects deal):

1st place: FairLaw ($186,489.53)*
2nd place: WallterBish ($183,219.94)*
3rd place: ediguadro ($149,410.40)*
4th place: MonkeyBudg ($78,099.84)
5th place: N4kai ($61,984.00)
6th place: dariusz1979 ($46,488.00)
7th place: VIP1009 ($30,992.00)
8th place: dangoo ($17,820.40)
9th place: Frqen ($12,009.40)

*Numbers based on a three-way chop with $20K added to winner's money

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