James "Asprin1" Akenhead finds sweet relief in the Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGAfter 19 events of high-speed TCOOP madness, it was a relief to sink back into the old routine of the Sunday Million. Big stacks. Long time banks. Comfy fifteen-minute levels. 7,125 Sunday grinders agreed, buying in for $215 apiece to create a $1,425,000 prize pool. 1,080 places were paid with first place set to earn $213,750.

The Red Spade Army was out in force today, with nearly three dozen members of Team Pro and Team Online in the field. Three came away with a cash finish-- Greg DeBora (549th), Toni Judet (431st), and Bryan Huang, who made the deepest run on the team, finishing in 273rd place.

Sweden's Faalk was riding the short stack with ten players remaining and decided to make his move with A♦T♣, three-bet shoving for 1.63 million behind Gambler4444's 500,000 min-raise. Gambler4444 quickly called with A♣Q♠, having Faalk well-covered. The ace-queen held and Gambler4444 raked in the 3.5 million pot while Faalk hit the rail on the final table bubble.

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Final table chip counts:

Seat 1: Asprin1 (9,632,687 in chips)
Seat 2: Gambler4444 (6,808,092 in chips)
Seat 3: philipoo (4,921,827 in chips)
Seat 4: tyxerakias (6,657,053 in chips)
Seat 5: shibinha (4,302,114 in chips)
Seat 6: pnp23 (14,851,131 in chips)
Seat 7: Ansgar2000 (12,920,872 in chips)
Seat 8: Milana Jones (7,186,586 in chips)
Seat 9: sigopi (3,969,638 in chips)

Early eliminations

Team Online's Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman was on hand to host the final table and quickly pointed out its international diversity. Seven countries were represented this week-- Denmark, Greece, Russia, the United Kingdom, Romania, Brazil and Germany. Pnp23 held the chip lead at the outset and widened it even further after scoring the final table's first knockout. With the blinds up to 125,000/250,000, philipoo open-shoved for his last 3.8 million holding K♦T♣ and pnp23 called on the button with A♠K♠. An ace on the flop and another on the turn sealed the deal for pnp23, and sent philipoo to the rail in ninth place, an $11,043.75 consolation prize awaiting him.

Sigopi was left as the table short stack with 3.3 million before he picked up A♠A♦ and doubled through tyxerakias, who called his shove with A♥K♠. Left with 2.1 million after the hand, tyxerakias never recovered, blinding down to 672,000 before picking up pocket jacks. The rest of his chips went in before the flop against Asprin1 and Ansgar2000, who both checked the A♦K♣9♦ flop. When the A♠ hit the turn, Asprin1 check-folded to Ansgar2000, who bet 488,500 with K♥Q♠. The river was the 9♥ and tyxerakias was out in eighth place, earning $17,100 for his finish.

A 20 million-chip misclick

Small-pot poker took over for the next level or so, before a misclick led to the most significant hand of the final table. Intending to raise to 800,855, Asprin1 instead typed 8,000,885 into the window-- all but 1.53 million of his remaining stack. With 17.1 million behind, pnp23 looked down at Q♠Q♥ and made the call. Asprin1 moved the remainder of his chips into the pot on the K♣T♥7♠ flop and pnp23 called, only to watch Asprin1 rollw over K♦T♣ for top two pair. Black nines fell on the turn and river, giving Asprin1 a massive double-up to 20 million in chips.

"Oops?" Asprin1 wrote, by way of explanation.

Live by aces, die by aces

Pnp23 was left with 7.53 million after the hand, but recovered quickly, picking up A♦A♠ against shibinha's A♣K♦. All the money went in before the flop, pnp23 three-betting to 2,000,000, then calling shibinha's 6 million-chip shove. Shibinha couldn't catch pnp23, the board running out 9♦3♥2♦J♠K♣ to send him home in seventh place.

On the next deal, pnp23 looked down at a familiar hand... pocket aces, again. This time, Milana Jones was the initial raiser, making it 800,008 to go. Pnp23 three-bet to 1.6 million from the big blind and Milana Jones called, taking them heads-up to a 5♣3♦2♣ flop. Pnp23 bet another 1.6 million and Milana Jones snap-called all-in for his last 1.45 million, having flopped a wheel with A♣4♥. The turn and river fell the J♥ and the T♦, doubling Milana Jones to 6.55 million. Three hands later, Milana Jones' chips were back in the middle preflop, his A♣2♥ up against, you guessed it, pocket aces. They managed to hold up for sigopi, the board falling 7♣5♠2♠4♣Q♦ to send Milana Jones to the rail in sixth place.

"He rivers a 2 and I'd start breaking stuff for you guys," quipped Thurman.

Five-handed play went on for about ten minutes before Asprin1 opened for a raise to 1,000,585 from UTG and Sigopi called with K♥Q♦ from the big blind. Hitting top pair on the K♠J♦8♦ flop, sigopi check-raised all-in for 12.9 million and Asprin1 called, turning over, you guessed it, A♠A♥. Sigopi got no help on the turn and river, the 2♥ and T♥ falling to give the 28.4 million pot to Asprin1. Brazil's last hope in the Sunday Million was out in fifth, collecting $58,425 for his efforts.

Ansgar2000 ambushes Gambler4444, Akenhead cops to secret identity

With the blinds up to 300,000/600,000, Gambler4444 was on the short stack with 6.44 million, Ansgar2000 had 11.4 million, pnp23 held 17.8 million and Asprin1 was in pole position with 35.5 million. Looking down at A♠6♥ in the cutoff, Gambler4444 decided to pull the trigger for his last 10.5 big blinds, moving all-in for 6.3 million. Unfortunately for Gambler4444, Ansgar2000 was lying in the weeds with Q♦Q♥ and re-shoved from the small blind to isolate. Gambler4444 could not find an ace, the board running out 9♥7♠6♣K♦4♥ to end his run in fourth place.

With the final table down to three, Asprin1, pnp23 and Ansgar2000 all agreed to pause the action and discuss a deal. However, once the chip count chop numbers rolled in, both Asprin1 and pnp23 decided they were looking for bigger paydays. Negotiations quickly fell apart, but not before Ansgar2000 blew the lid off Asprin1's "secret identity."

Ansgar2000: you are james akenhead?
Asprin1: ya
Asprin1: you?
Ansgar2000: serious?
Ansgar2000: sick
Ansgar2000: you dont play online normally?
Asprin1: no dont play too much

A quick chat with Mr. Google confirmed that the man behind the headache tablet avatar was indeed Akenhead, the 28 year-old Londoner who made the final table of both the WSOP and WSOP-Europe Main Events back in 2009.

Ansgar2000 exits in third

A few hands after action resumed, Ansgar2000 picket up pocket fours and moved in for 13.8 million on the button. Aspirin1 made it 40.8 million to go with A♠9♣ and pnp23 ducked out of the way. An ace hit the flop and Ansgar2000 hit the rail, earning $114,000 for third place.

Heads-up chip counts:

Seat 1: Asprin1 (56,844,921 in chips)
Seat 6: pnp23 (14,405,079 in chips)

Asprin1 may have brought a 4 to 1 chip lead into heads-up play, but pnp23 quickly closed the gap, doubling up with A♠K♥ against A♥9♠ on the second hand. Both players decided to pause the action and look at new chip count chop numbers, but once again, Asprin1 was looking for a bit more than his opponent was willing to offer. Cards went back in the air and Asprin1 immediately picked up a huge pot when pnp23 gave up his hand on the river:

Four hands later, it was all over. With the chip counts back to more or less where they started heads-up, pnp23 opened for a min-raise to 1.6 million. Asprin1 set him all-in and pnp23 called, turning up pocket eights to Asprin1's K♣J♥. The flop was a great fit for pnp23, falling 7♠6♣5♣ to give him an overpair and an open-ended straight draw. The T♣ on the turn brought more outs for Asprin1 with a flush draw-- a king, a jack, or a club on the river would end it. And indeed it was the K♠ that fell, making Asprin1 a winning pair of kings.

Patience, guts, aggression, and one lucky ending to a misclicked hand was the winning formula tonight for James "Asprin1" Akenhead, who added $213,750.00 to his $3 million in career earnings. For his runner-up finish, pnp23 took home $157.277.25.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for January 22, 2012

1. James "Asprin1" Akenhead (United Kingdom) $213,750.00
2. pnp23 (Romania) $157,277.25
3. Ansgar2000 (Germany) $114,000.00
4. Gambler4444 (Germany) $75,525.00
5. sigopi (Brazil) $58,425.00
6. Milana Jones (Russia) $44,175.00
7. shibinha (Brazil) $30,637.50
8. tyxerakias (Greece) $17,100.00
9. philipoo (Denmark) $11,043.75

Isn't it about time you got in on the Sunday Million action? Head over to the Sunday Million page for more information.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million