cecko80 champ of huge Sunday Million after three-way deal

Not counting the mega-monstrous 7th Anniversary Special Sunday Million earlier this month, this week's version of online poker's popular $215 no-limit hold'em tournament featured the biggest field of the year with 9,498 players coming out. It would take just over half a day -- 12 hours and four minutes, to be exact -- for one player to emerge as winner from that huge group, with cecko80 of Switzerland ultimately coming away with the title and a better than $205K score. And thanks to a three-way deal at the final table, third-place finisher chili197027 of Russia would take away $222K even and runner-up ollie_p of the U.K. more than $184K.

It took a lot of time and effort for those three to work their way through thousands of opponents, as well as a tough final table including Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro and Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson. Here are some highlights from how they did it.

By the time they played down from 9,498 to 1,350 and reached the money, JustNoPain was sitting in the top spot in the counts followed by kleath and redd81.

At that point four Team PokerStars Pros were still in the hunt as well. Christophe "chrisdm" de Meulder sat just inside the top 100, with Martin "AABenjaminAA" Hrubý, Andre "aakkari" Akkari, and Vicky Coren all still battling with healthy chip stacks.

Hrubý would be the first of the quartet to see his stack start to slide, and soon pushed in his last four big blinds or so with 9♥8♠ only to run into Luckyaces421's A♠K♣. The better hand held, and Hrubý was out in 511th ($569.88).

A little later Coren was the next red-spade wearer to fall. Her demise began after losing most of her stack with 7♦7♥ to Losemymindye's J♥J♦. Shortly after it was ryoun grabbing the last of Coren's chips to knock her out in 293rd ($759.84).

They played on, then it was Akkari reraise-shoving with 6♣6♠ but unfortunately for him running into OTT CANADA's A♣A♠. The board brought no cards to save the Brazilian, who saw his Sunday Million run end in 185th ($949.80).

That left only Christophe de Meulder to represent Team PokerStars, and he'd stick around until after the field had been whittled down to less than 100. Finally de Meulder was committing his stack before the flop with Q♠4♠ and needed help against the A♦K♥ of Vikings2005. But the Q♦6♦K♦K♣A♣ board was only good for de Meulder's opponent, and the Belgian hit the rail in 85th ($1,994.58).


Team PokerStars Pro Christophe "chrisdm" de Meulder

Play continued, and shortly after the 10-hour mark of the tournament had been crossed they were down to 18 players. By then cecko80 and nitanasita had pushed to the top of the counts, both with stacks right around 12 million chips tall.

Over the next half-hour nine more fell, during which stretch 2011 Spring Championship of Online Poker Main Event (High) winner Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro began accumulating chips to push into first position, then cecko80 enjoyed another surge to pull back in front.

Risk74 (18th), arifino (17th), and PugoGrasse (16th) each earned $4,749 for their finishes. maxypaxy (15th), kaisersosa1 (14th), and ÐrâgønBreâ†h (13th) earned $7,313.46 apiece. And Jeff "jeff710" Hakim (12th), €urop€an (11th), and nitanasita (10th) each took away $9,877.92.

Just nine remained, gathered around one final table.


Seat 1: chili197027 (Russia) -- 13,737,774
Seat 2: bits10 (United Kingdom) -- 10,359,592
Seat 3: ollie_p (United Kingdom) -- 5,973,916
Seat 4: Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson (Macao) -- 9,011,070
Seat 5: cecko80 (Switzerland) -- 21,197,912
Seat 6: misterious78 (Turkey) -- 4,540,748
Seat 7: EEE27 (Finland) -- 4,152,241
Seat 8: AndTheCircus (Germany) -- 7,818,720
Seat 9: Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro (Finland) -- 18,188,027

On just the third hand of the final table, AndTheCircus made a 2x raise to 500,000 from under the gun, then Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro called from a seat over. It folded around to EEE27 in the big blind who responded by pushing all in for 4,077,241. AndTheCircus came back with an all-in push as well for 7,743,720, and Kelopuro called the reshove.

AndTheCircus: A♦K♣
Lrslzk: A♠K♦
EEE27: Q♦Q♣

EEE27 was hoping the queens would hold, perhaps taking heart that both AndTheCircus and Lrslzk held a couple of each other's outs. But the flop came to match both of EEE27's opponents' hands, rolling out K♥A♣6♦ to give both two pair. The turn was the 2♣ and river the 5♦, and as AndTheCircus and Kelopuro split the pot, EEE27 hit the rail in ninth.

A short while later the blinds had increased to 200k/400k when a hand arose in which the action folded around to ollie_p in the small blind who shoved all in for nearly 3.9 million.

Sitting in the big blind was Season 6 EPT London champion Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson with 2,447,620 left, and he quickly called all in to show the K♦J♥ he'd been dealt. Alas for Gustavson, ollie_p had K♣K♠. The board then came 9♠J♠7♠T♦3♦, not enough for Gustavson who was knocked out in eighth.


Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson

Shortly after that hand, bits10 was open-raising the minimum to 800,000 from middle position, then misterious78 reraised all in for 908,748 from the small blind. AndTheCircus folded the big blind, then bits10 called for the extra chips.

It was K♠9♣ for misterious78 and A♥6♣ for bits10. The flop came 3♦A♠2♥ to improve misterious78 to aces, and after the T♥ turn card no river could save misterious78 from a seventh-place finish.

The remaining six players played on, with cecko80 still well in front with more than 29 million while chili197027, bits10, and Lrslzk were all close to even as they battled for second position, each hovering around 18 million.

Then a big hand arose in which Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro min-raised to 800,000 from under the gun, then chili197027 called from the next seat. It folded to AndTheCircus in the big blind who pushed for 4,027,341 and both Kelopuro and chili197027 called the raise.

The flop came 9♥K♦A♣. Lrslzk checked, and when chili197207 bet 8.4 million, Kelopuro stepped aside. chili197027 turned over A♥3♥ for aces while AndTheCircus showed K♥Q♥ for kings. The turn and river then both brought hearts -- 6♥, then 4♥ -- giving both players flushes but chili197027 the better one, and AndTheCircus was out in sixth.

Over the next several minutes, Lrslzk added chips to begin to challenge cecko80 for the lead, then came a huge hand between Kelopuro and chili197027 that would ultimately build to a 48 million-plus chip pot -- by then the biggest pot of the tournament.

It began with a cecko80 opening raise to 1 million (2x) and a call from Kelopuro from the button. chili197027 then three-bet to 4 million from the blinds, enough to knock out cecko80. Kelopuro came back with another reraise, this time to 9 million, and chili197027 called.

The flop came 6♣7♥6♥, and chili197027 check-called Lrslzk's bet of 4.8 million. The turn then brought the J♥ and and all-in shove for more than 9.6 million from chili197027 which Kelopuro called. chili197027 had A♥Q♠ for a flush draw while Lrslzk had T♠T♣ for tens. The river then swiftly fell... the 9♥! chili197027 had made the flush while Kelopuro had suddenly plunged to less than 3 million.

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A couple of quick orbits later, ollie_p raised 2x to 1 million from the button, cecko80 called from the small blind, then Lrslzk reraised all in for 2,765,098 from the big blind. ollie_p folded, but cecko80 called.

cecko80: A♣8♥
Lrslzk: A♠5♦

The board came 9♦T♠2♦, then 2♣, then 8♠, meaning cecko80's hand was best and Kelopuro was out in fifth.


Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro

Soon bits10 was the one becoming short-stacked after becoming crippled in a preflop all-in confrontation in which bits10 had A♥J♠, ollie_p had K♣K♦, and then the board ended up bringing the other two kings to give ollie_p quads and the pot.

Down to just 1,407,660 -- just over two big blinds -- bits10 was soon all in with ollie_p once more the opponent. bits10 had picked up T♠T♣ and appeared about to score a small double versus ollie_p's 8♦8♣. But the flop came 8♠J♥A♦ to give ollie_p a set, and after the A♠ turn and 4♠ river they were down to three.

The final trio played a few more hands, then had the tournament paused to discuss a possible deal. At that point chili197027 led with 48,832,358, cecko80 was next with 26,046,910, and ollie_p third with 20,100,732.

Figures were produced -- leaving $20,000 for which to play -- and after a bit of back-and-forthing that resulted in ollie_p picking up a few thousand more than had originally been proposed, the group came to an agreement.

"beautiful stuff" typed ollie_p as they waited for play to resume, adding "wp guys, congrats." "i congratulate all," responded chili197027, and soon cards were back in the air.

chili197027 had the lead to start three-handed play, but quickly that changed in a hand that saw chili197027 and cecko80 exchange bets following a 3♣5♣7♦ flop to put the latter all in. chili197027 had 8♠5♥ for fives, but cecko80 had 7♣7♥ for a set of sevens. The turn brought the 5♦ to improve cecko80 to a full house, and after the 2♣ river cecko80 was the big chip leader.

On the very next hand, cecko80 raised 2x to 1.2 million from the button, then chili197027 made it 3 million from the small blind. ollie_p folded, and cecko80 called the three-bet.

The flop came J♥5♦9♦, and once more the pair both responded animatedly. This time chili197027 led with a bet of 4.8 million, cecko80 shoved all in, and chili197027 called for 17,759,903.

chili197027 had A♣9♣ for nines, but needed help versus cecko80's Q♣J♠ for jacks. The turn was the 6♦ and the river the 6♣, and chili197027 -- who'd be earning the biggest cash of the night thanks to the deal -- was out in third.

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Heads-up play began with cecko80 enjoying a commanding lead with 80,324,813 to ollie_p's 14,655,187. The two players would play eight hands during which ollie_p would chip up just a little, adding a couple of million. That's when the final hand of the Sunday Million arrived.

The blinds had increased to 400k/800k, and the hand began with ollie_p limping in from the button and cecko80 checking in response. The flop came all small cards -- 3♣2♦5♦ -- and cecko80 led with bet of 800,000. ollie_p then raised to 2,177,754, and cecko80 came back with an all-in push. ollie_p called with the 13,696,288 left, and the players' cards were revealed:

cecko80: J♦5♠
ollie_p: A♥5♥

Both had fives, but ollie_p's hand featured the better kicker while providing a wheel draw. The turn was the 8♠ and it looked as though the heads-up match would be extended.

But then came fifth street... the J♣! It was a second pair for cecko80, and a Sunday Million title!

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Congratulations to cecko80 for outlasting a huge field of nearly 9,500 players to win this week's Sunday Million. And kudos as well to both ollie_p and chili197027 for making it to the three-way chop and thus ensuring themselves both handsome paydays as well.

3/31/13 Sunday Million final table results (*reflects three-way deal):
1st: cecko80 (Switzerland) -- $205,462.63*
2nd: ollie_p (United Kingdom) -- $184,688.33*
3rd: chili197027 (Russia) -- $222,000.00*
4th: bits10 (United Kingdom) -- $94,980.00
5th: Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro (Finland) -- $75,984.00
6th: AndTheCircus (Germany) -- $56,988.00
7th: misterious78 (Turkey) -- $37,992.00
8th: Aaron "Aguskb" Gustavson (Macao) -- $20,895.60
9th: EEE27 (Finland) -- $13,297.20

Entrants: 9,498
Prize pool: $1,899,600.00
Places paid: 1,350

We mentioned Sami "Lrslzk" Kelopuro's big SCOOP Main Event win from a couple of years ago, worth a cool half million dollars. This year's Spring Championship of Online Poker is coming in May, with a tentative schedule -- and more huge prizes -- having just been announced. Click here and read all about it.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million