Sunday Million: Gorby3975 reigns supreme, banks $208k

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGIt was a crowded house for this week's Sunday Million, 7,768 grinders taking their shot at six figures and sending the prize pool over the $1.5 million mark. 1,170 of them earned a slice of the pie with first place set to earn $233,043.87. Thirty members of the Red Spade army were in the mix, among them Andre Akkari, Victor Ramdin, Nacho Barbero, Pius Heinz, Johnny Lodden and Celina Lin. Six made the money: Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome (1168th), Juan Pastor (688th), Shane "shaniac" Schleger (669th), Richard "Tzen1" Veenman (422nd), Javier "El_Canonero" Dominguez (367th), and Henrique Pinho, who bowed out in 101st place.

Another name that might be familiar to longtime denziens of PokerStars is Jorj95, online alias of poker pro George Lind III. One of online poker's legendary SNG grinders, Lind made Supernova Elite in just over two months back in 2008 and was a member of Team Online's Class of 2010. With 15 players remaining, Lind was hanging on by a thread, only three big blinds in his stack, before doubling through jhwang21 with T♠T♣ vs K♣T♦. After that hand put him in slightly safer territory, Lind managed to crack K♠K♦ and A♥K♣ with Q♥T♥, flopping a ten and turning trips to move up to third in chips with 9.3 million. Although Lind's stack slipped to 5 million as the field was whittled to ten players, he hung on to make the final table, ArgieCat earning bubble boy honors when his A♠9♦ failed to improve against lynnstrait's pocket jacks.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: Ond keso (7,875,053 in chips)
Seat 2: Gorby3975 (14,596,508 in chips)
Seat 3: Jorj95 (5,051,890 in chips)
Seat 4: puicachamp (9,918,163 in chips)
Seat 5: jhwang21 (12,183,211 in chips)
Seat 6: matate (3,237,144 in chips)
Seat 7: tatwaffe19 (2,350,424 in chips)
Seat 8: lynnstrait (16,554,887 in chips)
Seat 9: Leanod (5,912,720 in chips)

"Eh" game?

Final table host Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman couldn't help but point out how quickly Lind's luck had turned around since the exiled American took up residence in the Great White North. As Lind revealed, today marked his first Sunday grind from Canada.

WizardOfAhhs (TeamOnline): I see a bunch of different countries represented and one clearly lucky Canadian.
Jorj95: haha
lynnstrait: lol
talonchick (TeamOnline): Oh Canada!!!!!!!!!
Jorj95: canada is way luckier than the us
Jorj95: i play 7 years in the us, never ft the mil
Jorj95: takes me 1 day here
Jorj95: haha

Lind's luck, however, ran out when he open-shoved for 4.88 million with A♥J♣ only to find Leanod lying in wait with A♣K♥ in the small blind. Lind did not improve, and was eliminated in ninth place, earning himself a rather nice "welcome back" score of $12,040.40.

Gorby takes control

Three hands later, Ond keso found A♠8♦ and moved in for his last 5.42 million from the cutoff only to have Gorby3975 reshove behind him with A♣K♣. Ond keso did not improve on the nine-high board and collected $17,866.40 for his eighth-place finish while Gorby3975 raked in the 12.6 million pot.

Not too long afterward, Gorby3975 decimated jhwang21's stack, playing a set of sixes to perfection against an overpair:

The hand moved Gorby3975 up to 27.6 million in chips while jhwang21 was left with 4.6 million-- just a little over nine big blinds. Even worse off were micro-stacks tatwaffe19 and matate, both below 2 million with the blinds up to 250,000/500,000. Matate was the first to succumb. With half a million of his 1,357,144 committed in the big blind, matate put the last of his chips in the middle holding 8♠3♠ against jhwang21's K♠7♥. The king-high took it and matate exited with $31,072 for seventh place.

The game-changer

The field down to six, lynnstrait was sitting comfortably in second position with 19.1 million in chips, Gorby3975 still leading the pack with 27.8 million. Lynnstrait had enough behind to even consider opening for 1 million with 5♦T♦, and Gorby3975 came along on the button with pocket deuces. The 7♦5♠5♥ flop was boffo for lynnstrait and pretty decent for Gorby3975, although any number of turn cards could kill his hand in a hurry. Lynnstrait led out for 1,000,000, Gorby3975 raised to 3,999,999 and lynnstrait smooth-called. The 2♠ on the turn probably looked harmless to lynnstrait and was gin for Gorby3975, making him deuces full of fives. Lynnstrait coyly checked and Gorby3975 checked behind. The river brought the J♥ and lynnstrait went for a pot-sized bet, making it 11.5 million to go. Gorby3975 moved in and lynnstrait called off his last 2.62 million only to see the devastating results. Gorby3975 raked in the 39.3 million-chip pot while lynnstrait was stunningly eliminated in sixth place.

That hand left Gorby3975 with 48 million, good for 62% of the chips in play. Leanod was his closest competition with 12.4 million while tatwaffe19 was still hanging on with four big blinds.

Puicachamp surges, tatwaffe19 hangs on for dear life

Tatwaffe19 enjoyed a stroke of late-game luck when his Q♠T♠ turned a queen against puicachamp's A♥T♥ to double his stack to 4.4 million. Although it left only a small dent in his stack, the hand set off a run for puicachamp, who picked up A♥A♠ and doubled through Gorby3975, who shoved from the small blind with 8♦8♠. Three hands later, puicachamp made his own small blind shove with Q♥K♣ and jhwang21 called all-in for his remaining 4.67 million with A♠8♠. A king hit the flop and jhwang21 hit the rail in fifth place, collecting $62,144.00. Puicachamp moved up to 23.3 million and tatwaffe19, still critically low on chips, moved up another spot on the pay ladder.

Although tatwaffe19 managed to double up one more time, his pocket eights holding against Leanod's K♠Q♠, his run came to an end in fourth place when he ran pocket deuces into Gorby3975's pocket fives. Tatwaffe19's staying power earned him $78,301.44, not bad for a guy who never had more than 10BB at the final table.

Gorby ready to deal, Leanod says no

At this point, Gorby3975 was pushing hard for a deal, but Leanod put the kibosh on it. Gorby3975's chip lead had narrowed, the Russian holding 32.5 million to puicachamp's 24.3 million and Leanod's 20.1 million. Gorby3975, however, wouldn't have to wait long to get his wish. Holding A♦5♣, Leanod opened for 1,816,000 on the button and puicachamp three-bet to 4,000,000. Leanod shoved and puicachamp snap-called with K♣K♥, the board running out Q♦6♠4♣4♦Q♠. Leanod was out in third, scoring $116,520 and puicachamp moved into the chip lead.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: Gorby3975 (32,086,686 in chips)
Seat 4: puicachamp (45,593,314 in chips)

Almost immediately after heads-up play commenced, Gorby3975 and puicachamp agreed to pause the action and discuss a deal. Both parties quickly agreed to the chip count chop numbers and with $20,000 still in play, cards went back in the air.

Gorby3975 retook the chip lead when a preflop five-bet chased away puicachamp. A long slog of small pots ensued, the chip counts dead even when Gorby3975 extracted two streets of value with top pair:

Gorby3975 pulled out to a 2 to 1 chip lead, raking in a 24.2 million pot when he rivered two pair and puicachamp called him down. Two hands later, it was all over. Puicachamp four-bet shoved with A♦J♦ and Gorby3975 called with K♥J♠, but the best of it could not hold up for the Romanian. A king on the flop made Gorby3975 top pair and puicachamp couldn't find an ace to catch up.

Congratulations to Gorby3975 on his $208,783.17 haul and his first Sunday Million title. For his runner-up finish, puicachamp took home $195,196.70.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 2-26-2012:

1. Gorby3975 (Russia) $208,783.17*
2. puicachamp (Romania) $195,156.70*
3. Leanod (Belarus) $116,520.00
4. tatwaffe19 (Germany) $78,301.44
5. jhwang21 (South Korea) $62,144.00
6. lynnstrait (Switzerland) $46,608.00
7. matate (Israel) $31,072.00
8. Ond keso (Sweden) $17,866.40
9. George "Jorj95" Lind III (Canada) $12,040.40

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

Are you ready to take on the Sunday Million? Head over to the Sunday Million page for more information on how you can qualify for pennies on the dollar.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million