Sunday Million: Lurkio77 levels the final table, wins $196k

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGAs this week's Sunday Million drew to a close, I couldn't help but think of the potential decibel level in the room if this heads-up match were playing out live. Over the years I spent on the tournament circuit I learned that there are no greater poker fans in the world than Brits and Brazilians. Their exuberance is positively contagious. I've seen the former drink champagne out of a loafer on a final table rail and the latter turn a convention center ballroom into a World Cup match, complete with flags, chants, and vuvuzelas. Although the U.K. came out on top in this particular battle of Britain vs. Brazil, Lurkio77 taking down the Sunday Million title, it also saw a young Brazilian player cheered on to the finish by his poker idol.

7,536 players got their grind on in this week's Sunday Million, pushing the prize pool over the $1.5 million mark. 1,080 places were paid with first place set to earn $226,084.18. More than two dozen members of the Red Spade Army were in the fray today including EPT Copenhagen champ Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen, tennis legend Boris Becker, 2011 WSOP Main Event runner-up Martin Staszko, and 2011 WSOP Main Event champion Pius Heinz, who cashed in 196th place.

Although krasark held the chip lead with 18 players remaining, he fell on tough times as the field narrowed, doubling up MissOracle when K♠Q♣ fell to pocket jacks. Krasark tried to recover those lost chips, four-bet shoving for 7.3 million with A♣8♣ only to run in to diegokeep's A♦Q♦. Left with only a million in chips, krasark called all-in from the big blind with Q♥T♥, but could not fade Ilkinopoulos' A♦J♣. Krasark exited in tenth place, the remaining nine moving on to the final table.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: diegokeep (12,842,888 in chips)
Seat 2: RedIceRap (14,736,048 in chips)
Seat 3: Ilkinopoulos (4,237,782 in chips)
Seat 4: Kiri Dogue (9,361,286 in chips)
Seat 5: Mihay28 (10,798,612 in chips)
Seat 6: Lurkio77 (4,803,916 in chips)
Seat 7: domino020 (5,018,676 in chips)
Seat 8: MissOracle (8,520,584 in chips)
Seat 9: Mjolner101 (5,040,208 in chips)

RedIceRap gives up the chip lead, Lurkio77 rises to power

RedIceRap arrived at the final table with the chip lead, but quickly gave it up to Kiri Dogue. Holding pocket eights, RedIceRap four-bet shoved preflop, but Kiri Dogue turned out to have a real hand, snap-calling with Q♥Q♣. KiriDogue doubled to 16.6 million, while RedIceRap sank to 4.45 million. RedIceRap blinded down all the way to 3.7 million before staking his tournament life on A♣J♥, doubling back through Kiri Dogue's 9♦9♥ when a jack hit the river.

Meanwhile, Lurkio77 pulled off quite a feat, moving from 5.32 million in chips to 17.4 million without showing down a hand. Lurkio77 grabbed a chunk of RedIceRap's stack early on, taking down a 6.8 million pot with a check-raise on the turn. Next, Lurkio77 called MissOracle's preflop three-bet, only to raise her off the J♦6♠3♠ flop. Finally, Lurkio77 pushed Kiri Dogue off a hand with a pre-flop five-bet, the 7.7 million pot moving him into the chip lead with 17.4 million.

Early eliminations

34 minutes after the final table kicked off, it finally lost its first player. With 6.5 million left and the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, Ilkinopoulos open-shoved with 5♠5♥ only to run into Kiri Dogue's J♣J♥. Ilkinopoulos couldn't find a miracle on the board and departed in ninth place, earning $11,680.80.

Down to 4.1 million, MissOracle called all-in with pocket sevens when Kiri Dogue made a light four-bet to 9 million holding 9♠T♠. MissOracle flopped a set to double up to 8.8 million, but fell to Lurkio77 a few minutes later, K♥J♥ failing to improve against A♦9♣ MissOracle took home $18,086.40 while Lurkio77 moved up to 25.3 million.

RedIceRap made a great call in a blind-vs-blind pot, calling diegokeep's 7.35 million shove from the small blind with K♦Q♦ in the big. Diegokeep turned over 7♠T♣. The J♠3♠2♠ flop, however, gave diegokeep a flush draw and the Q♠ on the turn filled it. RedIceRap was out in seventh place, a $32,404.80 score awaiting him.

Right after scoring that knockout, diegokeep discovered he had a very famous railbird sweating his run-- fellow countryman Andre Akkari:

aakkari (TeamPro): vamooooo diegoooo
aakkari (TeamPro): gl buddy
diegokeep: vamoo aakkari
diegokeep: idolo!
aakkari (TeamPro): thanks man!

Mihay28 doubles, diegokeep mauls Mjolner101

Mihay28 escaped the danger zone, calling Kiri Dogue's small blind shove with K♠9♠ in the big. Kiri Dogue turned over J♣2♦ and did not improve, Mihay28 doubling to 11.4 million. Moments later another short stack decided to take a stand, Mjolner101 open-shoving for 4.94 million on the button with 3♣4♥. Unfortunately, Mjolner101 ran into diegokeep's pocket nines in the small blind and departed in sixth place, collecting $46,723.20.

Diego would like to thank the Academy... and Andre Akkari

The final five all agreed to pause the action and discuss a deal. After running chip count chop numbers with final table host Tyler "frosty012" Frost and making a few tweaks they arrived at a deal that gave the top two shares of the prize pool to Lurkio77 and diegokeep, with $20,000 still left in play for the winner.

Although this tournament was far from over, never underestimate the exuberance of Brazilian poker players. With at least $137,000 locked up, diegokeep couldn't help but launch into an acceptance speech:

diegokeep: Poker Stars, thanks for give me my jackpot! Could not stand to take suckouts !
diegokeep: gg
diegokeep: brasil !
diegokeep: found star in you

diegokeep dusts domino020

Unfortunately for diegokeep, his pocket tens couldn't hold up against Kiri Dogue's A♣5♦, doubling the former chip leader back up to 23.5 million. Diegokeep quickly recovered, though, his A♦K♥ holding up against Lurkio77's Q♠J♥ to double him back up to 12 million. Diegokeep kept the momentum going when domino020 shoved 6.48 million from the small blind and he looked down at J♦J♥. The jacks held against domino020's A♣7♥, sending him to the rail in fifth place with an $87,759.35 score.

Luriko77 holds off Kiri Dogue, scores double KO

As play turned four-handed, Kiri Dogue held the chip lead with 25 million, Lurkio77 had 19 million, diegokeep was close behind with 18.7 million and Mihay28 was the short stack with 12.6 million. Over the next level, Kiri Dogue ground his way up to 36 million, primarily at Lurkio77's expense, only to double him back up when Lurkio77's A♠7♠ flopped a seven against Kiri Dogue's A♥T♣.

Just as the stacks were reset back to where they started off four-handed, the pot of the tournament unfolded-- a three-way all-in with a most dramatic river card:

Luriko77 raked in 54.2 million with queens full of jacks, Mihay28 departed in fourth, earning $123,018.10, and Kiri Dogue finished third, collecting $110,518.03.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 1: diegokeep (17,634,266 in chips)
Seat 6: Lurkio77 (57,725,734 in chips)

Diegokeep ground his way up to 21.3 million in chips before scoring a double-up, his K♦8♦ flopping top pair against Lurkio77's A♠J♦. Diegokeep remained patient, chopping out small pots to bring their chip counts nearly even. Diegokeep briefly took the lead when Lurkio77 folded to his river shove on a 3♥5♥8♠7♣5♦ board, but Lurkio77 quickly rebounded, getting two streets of value on a turned straight, good for a 24.2 million pot.

With 43.8 million to diegokeep's 31.5 million, this heads-up battle could have gone for another hour, but a fortuitous river card locked up the win for Lurkio77. Holding Q♣T♥ against K♦4♣ on a Q♦J♥A♣T♠ board, Lurkio check-called 4.8 million with two pair against diegokeep's nut straight, but the Q♠ on the river did him one better:

Congratulations to Lurkio77 on a brilliant final table performance. His Sunday Million win earned him $196,000 while runner-up diegokeep took $137,391.16 back to Brazil.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 4/1/2012

1. Lurkio77 (United Kingdom) $196,000*
2. diegokeep (Brazil) $137,391.16*
3. Kiri Dogue (United Kingdom) $110,518.03*
4. Mihay28 (Romania) $123,018.10*
5. dominao020 (Costa Rica) $87,759.35*
6. Mjolner101 (United Kingdom) $46,723.20
7. RedIceRap (Germany) $32,404.80
8. MissOracle (New Zealand) $18,086.40
9. Ilkinopoulos (Azerbaijan) $11,680.80

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

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million