Sunday Million: BeN-Cls surges to the finish, banks $191k

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGIn this game, we live by the river and we die by the river. Too many flops and turns to count have sent us into mega-tilted fits of rage, but river cards, good or bad, seem to stick the longest in our memory banks. Rivers have a power and a finality to them found nowhere else on the board. A hand's story ends on the river, fortunes change on the river, and when it comes to the Sunday Million, players' lives change when that final card hits the screen. However, the next time a bad river card befalls BeN-Cls, we imagine he'd be a little more forgiving of the forces of luck, as two very, very good ones were critical on his journey toward a career-high score of $191,037.60.

A robust crowd of 6,280 players entered this week's Sunday Million, creating a $1,256,000 prize pool. 900 spots were paid and more than two dozen members of Team Pro and Team Online took a shot at the cash, including Humberto Brenes, Liv Boeree, Andre Akkari, Nacho Barbero, Lex Veldhuis, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and Daniel Negreanu, who took time out of his Canadian holiday for a little Sunday grinding. Although Negreanu busted short of the money bubble, five of his fellow Red Spades finished in the money including Martin Hruby (724th), Toni Judet (651st), Celina Lin (264th), and Maxim Lykv(156th).

Making the deepest run of the Team Pros, however was Russia's Ivan Demidov. With four tables remaining, Demidov was among the top five in chips before a three-way hand sent him reeling. Two opponents had already shoved behind him, AA505AA for 870,000 and shurgar for 2.16 million when Demidov re-shoved for 3.1 million from the small blind with A♥K♣. While Demidov had AA505AA's A♦T♣ dominated, shurgar's J♠J♥ was more worrying. Demidov missed the 8♣3♠2♥ flop and the J♣ on the turn locked up the pot for shurgar. Left with less than a million in chips with the blinds up to 50,000/100,000, Demidov took his A♣T♠ up against trevor.get's K♣Q♠, only to have a river queen end his Sunday Million run in 27th place.

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Ivan Demidov, 27th place

A little over an hour later, the field was down to ten players and the blinds up to 125,000/250,000. Although the final table has room enough for nine, two eliminations on the same deal of hand-for-hand play sent us to an eight-handed finale. On one table, trevor.get committed the last of his chips on a A♣A♥Q♠Q♥ board, holding Q♦2♣ for the underfull. BeN-Cls beat him into the pot with A♠4♦, the K♣ on the river sending trevor.get to the rail in tenth place. Meanwhile, one table over, extasyman open-shoved his last 2.36 million with A♦3♦, but couldn't fade casinocasino's pocket nines. Extasyman departed in ninth place, earning $9,734, and the remaining eight advanced to the final table.

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Final table chip counts:

Seat 1: tgassen (5,903,752 in chips)
Seat 2: Battleg0d (7,610,834 in chips)
Seat 3: BeN-Cls (6,061,423 in chips)
Seat 4: 20shark (9,363,831 in chips)
Seat 5: Apollys (10,812,811 in chips)
Seat 6: CaughtUbluff (4,016,352 in chips)
Seat 8: casinocasino (13,963,288 in chips)
Seat 9: danylaroo2 (5,067,709 in chips)

CaughtUbluff made steady progress in the opening level of the final table, chipping up to 5.7 million from 4 million before getting extremely unlucky against casinocasino. The money went in on a T♦7♥6♠ flop, CaughtUbluff's Q♣Q♠ withering in the face of casinocasino's A♣A♥. CaughtUbluff got no help on the turn or river and departed in eighth place, earning $15,072. With that hand, casinocasino took a dominating chip lead with 22.4 million, more than double Apollys' second-place stack.

Pocket aces also tolled the death knoll for Battleg0d, who four-bet shoved T♣T♠ only to have Apollys show him the goods. Apollys' A♥A♦ held up on the nine-high board and Battleg0d had to settle for seventh place, scoring $27,632.

Danylaroo2 had to be jumping out of his seat when he looked down at Q♥Q♣ in the big blind and BeN-Cls did his bidding for him, open-shoving for 3.09 million from UTG+1. Danylaroo2 called in a shot, BeN-Cls turning over K♣T♥. The flop, however, was a crushing T♣T♦5♠, making BeN-Cls trips. Danylaroo2 did not improve and was left with less than two big blinds. They went in on the next hand with 2♥5♦ against tgassen's 3♣8♠ and although neither player improved, tgassen's eight kicker played, sending danylaroo2 to the rail in sixth place ($40,192).

Tgassen only stuck around for two more hands. Looking down at 3♣3♠, he shoved for 4.9 million, only to have BeN-Cls reshove for 7.9 million right behind him. The blinds folded and BeN-Cls revealed A♣9♠. The 6♣6♥5♥ flop looked good for Tgassen but BeN-CIs turned an ace to end tgassen's run in fifth place. He pocketed $52,752 for his efforts.

Tgassen's elimination moved BeN-Cls up to second in chips with 13.6 million. Casinocasino still held the lead with 30.7 million, but BeN-Cls relieved him of nearly 5 million in chips when he five-bet shoved preflop and casinocasino folded. Meanwhile, 20shark was on the ropes, his 4.95 million amounting to less than ten big blinds. 20shark decided to go for it when he was dealt 5♦5♥ in the cutoff and Apollys answered with a reshove from the button. 20shark's pocket fives held up against A♥J♠ and he doubled to 10.7 million.

Despite the double-up, 20shark only hung on for a few more minutes, the last of his chips going in before the flop with A♣8♠ against BeN-Cls' Q♠T♦. A queen hit the flop and 20shark was down in fourth place, taking home a very tasty $69,080.

Holding only 4.66 million, Apollys's stack was dwarfed by BeN-Cls' 32.7 million and casinocasin's 25.5 million. Apollys had only one move left and with the 500,000 big blind looming on the next hand, he made it with 4♣8♠. BeN-Cls called with J♣5♣, the jack-high good enough when the board ran out T♠3♥3♠9♦2♦. Despite finishing in third place, Apollys still banked a six-figure score of $100,480.

Heads-up chip counts:

Seat 3: BeN-Cls (34,494,964 in chips)
Seat 8: casinocasino (28,305,036 in chips)

BeN-Cls went to work straight away, winning enough small pots to chip up to 40 million, before casinocasino reclaimed the chip lead. Casinocasino check-raised all-in on a J♥3♠2♥7♦ board and BeN-Cls gave up on the 21.1 million pot, only to reclaim those lost chips minutes later. With the board reading J♥6♥4♣Q♣, casinocasino led out for 5.7 million and BeN-Cls shoved. Casinocasino released his hand, saving his last 20.3 million, while BeN-Cls moved up to 42.4 million.

Casinocasino's stack shrank to 18.6 million before he doubled up through BeN-Cls. After check-raising the flop with top pair, no kicker and leading the turn, BeN-Cls faced an all-in raise. This time, however, casinocasino didn't have the stack size to ward off a call:


Casinocasino whittled away at BeN-Cls's stack, chipping up to 44 million over the course of the next five minutes. Down to 18.7 million, BeN-Cls opened for a 1.6 million min-raise, casinocasino shoved, and BeN-Cls called, his A♠T♣ in good shape against Q♥9♦. The deck had other ideas, though, the flop falling 9♥3♦2♦ to make casinocasino top pair. The 7♠ on the turn didn't help matters, but the utterly miraculous T♠ on the river saved BeN-Cls's tournament life. He doubled to 37.4 million, essentially resetting the stacks to where they were when heads-up play began.

BeN-Cls took control and worked his stack up to 48.6 million, constantly putting pressure on casinocasino. While that tactic worked most of the time, it backfired when he set casinocasino all-in before the flop, his K♦5♠ falling to casinocasino's K♥Q♥. Once again, they were back to square one.

Just as it looked as if there was no end in sight, BeN-Cls was once again saved by the river. And this time it was for all the marbles. The two got their chips in before the flop, BeN-Cls's K♣Q♥ trailing casinocasino's A♣2♦ until the river card fell...


Congratulations to BeN-Cls, now a Sunday Million champion and $191,037.60 richer. For his runner-up finish, casinocasino earned $141,300.60.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 8/12/2012

Entrants: 6,280
Prizepool: $1,256,000
Places paid: 900

1. BeN-Cls (Switzerland) $191,037.60
2. casinocasino (Canada) $141,300.00
3. Apollys (Denmark) $100,480.00
4. 20shark (Canada) $69,080.00
5. tgassen (Brazil) $52,752.00
6. danylaroo2 (United Kingdom) $40,192.00
7. Battleg0d (Netherlands) $27,632.00
8. CaughtUbluff (Denmakr) $15,072.00
9. extasyman (Romania) $9,734.00

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million