Ticiz toughs it out and wins $200K in Sunday Million

Sunday Million logo NEW.PNGThe Sunday Million is a big deal. In the online poker business, it's the largest weekly tournament, and its $1 million prize pool guarantee is nothing to sneeze at. Each Sunday, it's one of the most watched and discussed events in poker.

This week, however, there were more than a few people coming down from a PCA high. After nearly two weeks of nonstop poker tournaments in the Bahamas, the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure ended yesterday. If you kept up with the PokerStars blog, Twitter, Facebook, or any of the masses of players talking about it, you might be one of those who is simply pokered out. On the other hand, you might be like the majority of poker players and fans, energized by the millions upon millions of dollars awarded at the PCA and looking to claim your own poker fame.

Thus, we had a big crowd for this week's Sunday Million:

Players: 7,379
Prize pool: $1,475,800.00
Paid players: 1,080

With most members of Team PokerStars Pro and Team Online heading home from the PCA and unable to play the Sunday majors, there were only two who made it into the money this week. Team Pro Bryan Huang cashed out in 831st place, and Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hruby ended his run in 436th place.

That left it to the remaining 435 players, though that number obviously decreased into the eighth and ninth hours. As the 10-hour mark passed, only two tables remained, with the best known player - Jonathan "MONSTER_DONG" Karamalikis - exiting in 14th place. No stranger to final tables and a WCOOP champion, he just missed out on another Sunday Million final.

Jonathan Karamalikis.jpg

After 2.0ezx departed in 13th place, play slowed until kras2009 was eliminated in 12th, and it was past the 10.5 hour mark when pancareto took 11th place. Hand-for-hand play then led to the quick elimination of GreenChe. It happened when GreenChe pushed with A♣7♠ but ran into the A♠A♦ of nordlending. The board of T♥T♦5♠K♣6♦ only gave nordlending two pair and eliminated GreenChe in tenth place with $8,116.90.

Stunts25 secures chip lead for final table

In the middle of Level 38, action began with the blinds at 150,000/300,000 and a 30,000 ante, along with player stacks as follows:

Seat 1: Stunts25 (16,067,679 in chips)
Seat 2: GM_VALTER (2,446,861 in chips)
Seat 3: nordlending (12,478,785 in chips)
Seat 4: roosi88 (3,767,478 in chips)
Seat 5: UH Big Tex (11,315,616 in chips)
Seat 6: Ticiz (10,709,344 in chips)
Seat 7: Freund Nase (6,921,422 in chips)
Seat 8: BlackMisi (3,976,327 in chips)
Seat 9: insanocut (6,106,488 in chips)

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On the fourth hand of the table, short-stacked GM_VALTER called all-in from the big blind after an all-in raise from Stunts25 in the small blind. GM_VALTER's tournament life was at risk with A♥K♣, and Stunts25 only had T♦6♦. But as can happen, the board of 9♠8♥A♦7♠9♣ produced a straight for Stunts25, and GM_VALTER exited in ninth place with $11,437.45.

Then the double-ups began. Roosi88 doubled through nordlending, insanocut did it through Freund Nase, and the latter doubled through UH Big Tex.

But Freund Nase was still quite short and moved all-in again on the next hand for little less than 1.3 million with K♣J♠. Original raiser Stunts25 made the call with A♦9♦. Both players improved on the J♣3♥7♠A♣6♠, but the aces obviously beat jacks to eliminate Freund Nase in eighth place for $17,709.60.

The Ticiz takeover

BlackMisi was the next to move, pushing preflop with T♥T♣. Original raiser Ticiz called with K♣Q♦, and the race got interesting when the 5♦Q♣4♣ put Ticiz in the lead. The Q♥ on the turn made trip queens, and the J♥ ended the agony for BlackMisi, who left in seventh place with $31,729.70.

Ticiz raised preflop again, and when insanocut pushed all-in for nearly 10 million chips, Ticiz called with A♠A♣. Insanocut needed improvement for the 5♦5♣, but it didn't happen on the 3♠2♠6♥7♣6♣ board. Insanocut was cut in sixth place, which was worth $45,749.80.

When UH Big Tex wanted to move all-in, who was there? Ticiz, of course, with T♠T♣. UH Big Tex showed A♥Q♥ but couldn't win the race when the dealer provided 5♦J♣5♣T♥4♠. That full house was more than enough to eliminate UH Big Tex in fifth place with $60,507.80.

Nordlending doubled through Ticiz, though that didn't cut into the latter's lead by much. The four players did pause the tournament to discuss a possible chip chop, but there was no agreement to be had. They played on.

Rise of roosi88

Roosi88 got aggressive and moved from the bottom of the counts into second place with a series of small pots. And nordlending lost momentum, except to double through roosi88 to stay in contention. Ticiz also lost ground, as roosi88 won a pot worth 18 million chips and nordlending doubled through Ticiz, though the latter doubled back through the former.

The biggest hand of the tournament developed when Stunts25 moved all-in with T♥2♥, nordlending reraised, and roosi88 came over the top all-in with Q♥Q♠. Nordlending called with A♣9♦. The board came 6♣5♠5♥K♦4♥, and roosi88's two pair won the main and side pot. That left Stunts25 out in fourth place with $78,217.40.

Nordlending was very short and doubled through Ticiz to stay alive. The two tangled again on the very next hand, and nordlending's Q♠8♣ went up against the A♦Q♣ of Ticiz. the board of 2♣Q♦T♠6♣K♠ allowed the ace to play as a kicker, and nordlending departed in third place with $118,064.00.

Roosi88 leads in final duel with Ticiz

The last two players standing started their battle with these counts:

Seat 4: roosi88 (48,435,659 in chips)
Seat 6: Ticiz (25,354,341 in chips)

Ticiz came on strong and climbed to nearly even the chip stacks. The two then asked to pause the tournament to discuss a chop. And they agreed on the numbers given. Roosi88 was guaranteed $183,298.27, and Ticiz was to receive $180,960.69. The two played on for an additional $20,000 and the title.

Ticiz came on strong after the deal, taking consecutive pots worth 10K, 14K, and 18K. Roosi88 was then the short stack and had to double through Ticiz to stay in the game. Finally, roosi88 risked it all again, this time with A♦9♥ against the 5♦5♣ of Ticiz. The board came 8♥2♠3♦J♠2♥, with nothing to save roosi88 from finishing in second place for $183,298.27.

Ticiz of the Netherlands won the Sunday Million and will find $200,960.69 extra in that PokerStars account because of it.

Sunday Million Results for 01/15/12 (reflects deal):

1st place: Ticiz ($200,960.69)*
2nd place: roosi88 ($183,298.27)*
3rd place: nordlending ($118,064.00)
4th place: Stunts25 ($78,217.40)
5th place: UH Big Tex ($60,507.80)
6th place: insanocut ($45,749.80)
7th place: BlackMisi ($31,729.70)
8th place: Freund Nase ($17,709.60)
9th place: GM_VALTER ($11,437.45)

*Numbers based on a two-way chop agreement

For more information on ways to register and qualify for upcoming Sunday Million tournaments, visit the Sunday Million page.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in Sunday Million