Sunday Million: diegokeep drums up a $196k win

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGIt was deja vu all over again tonight for diegokeep. Only eight weeks ago, the Brazilian was living the dream, playing heads-up for a Sunday Million title while his poker idol Andre Akkari cheered him on from the rail. Although he fought his way back from a 3 to 1 chip deficit and was poised to take control after getting his money in with the nut straight against two pair, his opponent spiked a full house on the river and diegokeep had to settle for second place. Little did he know that he'd shake that monkey off his back less than two months later, taking down his first Sunday Million title and nearly $196,000 in prize money.

6,977 players turned out for this week's Million, creating a $1,395,400 prize pool. 1,080 places were paid with first place set to earn $209,315.40. Among the dozen Red Spades in the field were Nacho Barbero, Maxim Lykov, Johnny Lodden, Ana Marquez, and Shane "shaniac" Schleger. Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman made the money in 1,074th place while Henrique Pinho made a deep run, busting out in 53rd place when he ran his pocket kings into pocket aces.

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Henrique Pinho, 53rd place

With ten players remaining, the average stack was less than 20BB with the blinds up to 150,000/300,000. The action folded to Luigi da BP on the button and he open-shoved for 5.3 million holding A♠2♠. Stknsidewayz called all-in for 2.3 million with pocket sixes in the big blind, but Luigi da BP hit trips on the A♦A♣J♥ flop. Stknsidewayz did not improve and was eliminated on the final table bubble.

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Final table chip counts:

Seat 1: joszunabot18 (4,062,030 in chips)
Seat 2: DOCTORB911 (8,256,279 in chips)
Seat 3: Luigi da BP (8,265,284 in chips)
Seat 4: Grindation (10,036,720 in chips)
Seat 5: Houbanan (4,335,558 in chips)
Seat 6: montjeu8 (5,174,104 in chips)
Seat 7: ñarje (7,593,128 in chips)
Seat 8: dlflorin (8,252,692 in chips)
Seat 9: diegokeep (13,794,205 in chips)

About ten minutes into the final table, Grindation put narje to the test for his tournament life. After three-betting to 1.37 million preflop, Grindation led out for a very small bet of 494,665 on the 9♥9♦4♣ flop. Narje raised to 2 million straight and Grindation shoved, having narje well-covered. After a long tank, narje called with 8♣8♥ and Grindation turned over K♦Q♦. Narje made the right call but got the wrong result, the Q♥ spiking on the river to send him to the rail in ninth place.

With the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, diegokeep opened for a min-raise to 1,000,000 and was met with a three-bet to 2.25 million from DOCTORB911. Diegokeep shoved his J♣J♥ and DOCTORB911 called with A♦A♣ only to watch the flop fall K♥J♠K♦. Diegokeep made jacks full of kings to snap off DOCTORB911's aces and ended his run in eighth place.

Only four hands passed before dlflorin put in his last 15 big blinds, shoving 7.4 million from the button with A♥3♥. Diegokeep, however, woke up with T♠T♣ in the small blind, the pocket pair holding up on an eight-high board to eliminate dlflorin in seventh.

That's pretty much when all hell broke loose, three more players following dlflorin out the door in the next three hands. The next deal saw Houbanan move in for 4.5 million with 8♦9♥ and montjeu8 reshove from the cutoff with A♥J♠, having Houbanan slightly covered. Although Houbanan flopped an eight, montjeu8 caught running spades to make a flush. Houbanan exited in sixth place, earning $43,257.40.

On the next hand the action folded around to Luigi da BP in the small blind. He looked down at A♥Q♥ and made a no-brainer shove for 6.1 million. Grindation called with A♠3♠. It was another case of "right move, wrong result" as once again, the underdog managed to squeak out a win. Grindation hit a gutshot wheel draw on the 7♥5♠4♣ flop and made it on the turn with the 2♣. Luigi da BP hit the rail in fifth place, his deep run earning him $57,211.40.

Another hand, another elimination. This time montjeu8 opened the action, min-raising to 1.2 million with K♣T♣. Diegokeep defended his big blind with K♥7♠. Both players hit top pair on the K♦4♦4♠ flop, but diegokeep caught two pair on the turn when the 7♥ fell. All the money went in and montjeu8 did not improve on the river, the A♥ landing to send him home in fourth place with $73,956.20.

Our final three managed to play four whole hands before the money was in the middle yet again. Down to his last 11 big blinds, joszunabot18 open-shoved for 6.8 million with 8♦8♥ and Grindation called with K♥Q♠ in the big blind. The Q♦T♦9♦ flop hit both players, joszunabot18 flopping straight and flush draws while Grindation made top pair to go with his straight draw. The J♠ on the turn made both players' straights, Grindation's king-high straight outpipping joszunabot18's queen-high straight. Joszunabot18 was out in third, taking home $111,632.00 and our heads-up match was set.

Heads-up chip counts:

Seat 4: Grindation (26,444,068 in chips)
Seat 9: diegokeep (43,325,932 in chips)

Diegokeep wasn't the only one at this final table with recent success. Grindation won the Sunday Kickoff five weeks ago, banking $25,594. Almost immediately, they agreed to pause the action and discuss a deal. Both parties quickly agreed to a chip count chop deal that left $20,000 on the table for the winner.

Diegokeep quickly expanded his chip lead, moving up to 55.6 million after he turned top two pair and rivered a full house, getting value on both the turn and the river. Grindation, however, wasn't going down so easily, and doubled through diegokeep when his Q♣9♠ turned top pair against A♦2♣. Down to 20.9 million, diegokeep won 10 of the next 12 hands to grind his stack back up to 30.5 million, then got a fold on the river from Grindation to take down a 19.5 million pot and move past 40 million in chips. Grindation reversed the counts one more time, check-raising a 9♣7♠5♦ flop in a four-bet pot, but got caught bluffing a short time later, diegokeep calling him down in this 37 million-chip pot:


Back out in front with 51.4 million, Diegokeep called Grindation's button min-raise with 6♥7♥ and saw a A♦6♦5♠ flop. Diegokeep check-called 1,008,000 from Grindation, then check-called another 1.9 million on the Q♥ turn. The 6♠ on the river was gin for diegokeep and he checked one more time. Grindation bet 8 million, diegokeep raised to 16 million and Grindation called. Grindation showed A♣9♥ for aces up, but it was no match for diegokeep's trip sixes. This time, the lucky river card (and all the VAMOOOOOS that came with it) were his, and diegokeep locked up his first Sunday Million title, along with $195,933.52 in prize money. For his runner-up finish, Grindation earned $167,391.17.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 5/27/2012:

1. diegokeep (Brazil) $195,933.52*
2. Grindation (United Kingdom) $167,391.17*
3. joszunabot18 (Poland) $111,632.00
4. montjeu8 (Lebano) $73,956.20
5. Luigi da BP (Hungary) $57,211.40
6. Houbanan (Denmark) $43,257.40
7. dlflorin (Romania) $30,001.10
8. DOCTORB911 (Canada) $16,744.80
9. narje (Spain) $10,814.35

Entrants: 6,977
Prize pool: $1,395,400
Places paid: 1,080

*= reflects the result of a two-way deal that left $20,000 in play for the winner

Want to take on the Sunday Million but are a little short on bankroll? Hit up the Sunday Million page to learn how you can win your way in for as little as 400 FPPs.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million