October Niner Russell "into2ndWind" Thomas wins the Sunday Million for $219k

It's hard to believe now, but six months ago, Russell Thomas didn't consider himself a tournament player. After making the 2012 "October Nine," Thomas sought out an entire team of coaches to get him into the best shape possible for the final table of the WSOP Main Event. Following three months of training with Jason Somerville and a roster of MTT geniuses, the former actuary finished fourth and banked $2.85 million. Now, only a few months removed from that run of a lifetime, Thomas has something else to brag about. Tonight he won the Sunday Million, adding another $219,184 to a rapidly-growing bankroll. Although, according to a tweet he sent only moments after his victory, it could have been even more.

"‏‪@RunGoodRussell‬: Just won the sunday million for 220k. Shoulda bet on myself with timex earlier today."

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Sunday Million champion Russell "into2ndWind" Thomas

This week's Million drew 8,407 players, the prize pool topping out at $1,681,400. 1,260 places were paid with first place set to earn $247,338.26. More than two dozen Red Spades were in the field, including Joe Cada, Liv Boeree, Andre Akkari, Humberto Brenes, Maxim Lykov, Nacho Barbero, Victor Ramdin, Marcel Luske, Lex Veldhuis, and Angel Guillen. Three of them finished in the money: Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara (427th), Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen (362nd), and Richard Toth, who saw his pocket kings outflopped by pocket jacks to go out in 107th place.

Blinds were up to 150,000/300,000 with ten players remaining. Holding A♦J♥, QC90 three-bet shoved for 2.5 million from the big blind and briemaus called with K♠Q♣. QC90 was safe until a king spiked on the river and ended his run on the final table bubble.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: BEGIMOTS (7,252,091 in chips)
Seat 2: aakiss1990 (11,338,925 in chips)
Seat 3: Ahhh ls lt? (7,753,437 in chips)
Seat 4: KARNA1983 (9,867,774 in chips)
Seat 5: purplflowerz (6,066,906 in chips)
Seat 6: Dimka19881 (4,122,980 in chips)
Seat 7: into2ndWind (17,955,804 in chips)
Seat 8: VinceVegaMFR (2,706,996 in chips)
Seat 9: briemaus (17,005,087 in chips)

Early eliminations

VinceVegaMFR was the final table's first casualty. KARNA1983 led off the action with a min-raise to 600,000, Russell "into2ndWind" Thomas three-bet to 1.425 million from the cutoff and VinceVegaMFR moved all-in for 2.07 million on the button. Both blinds folded and KARNA1983 reshoved for 9.53 million, successfully folding out into2ndWind. VinceVegaMFR's Q♦Q♥ led KARNA1983's T♣T♥ and survived the 8♦6♠4♦ flop, but KARNA1983 hit the 7♦ and the 9♣ on the turn and river to make a ten-high straight. VinceVegaMFR was suddenly out in ninth place, picking up $13,030.85 for his trip to the final table.

VinceVegaMFR's departure left Dimka19881 as the short stack, but he doubled through Ahhh Is It? a short time later, his K♣Q♥ turning a straight vs. A♦J♦. The blinds rose to 200,000/400,000 and with 6.6 million remaining, purplflowerz three-bet shoved from the big blind. Initial raiser aakiss1990 called, turning over A♣K♦. Purplflowerz's K♥Q♣ was dominated and lost the kicker war on a K♠K♣4♣8♦2♣ board. For eighth place, purplflowerz took home $18,495.40.

BEGIMOTS busted, Dimka19881 dusted

Ahhh Is It? was down to only 3.3 million when he picked up pocket threes and moved in from UTG. Briemaus called with K♦J♦, the treys holding up to double Ahhh Is It? to 7.44 million. Ahhh Is It? got another boost when BEGIMOTS open-shoved for 5.86 million with K♥4♦ and he woke up with J♥J♠ in the small blind. The jacks held up on the 6♥5♦3♠4♠Q♥ board and BEGIMOTS was eliminated in seventh place ($33,628.00).

On the very next hand, into2ndWind opened for a min-raise to 1 million from UTG and Dimka19881 moved all-in for 5.1 million from the big blind. It was a true cooler, Dimka1981's T♠T♥ up against into2ndWind's J♠J♥. Dimka19881 did not improve and hit the rail in sixth place, collecting $50,442.00.

KARNA1983's good will runs out

Five-handed play was marked by a long string of small pots that took us into the 300,000/600,000 level. The stalemate ended when briemaus opened for 1.2 million with K♠J♥, then called KARNA1983's 7.1 million shove. Although KARNA1983's A♠T♦ flopped top pair and kept the lead through the turn, briemaus rivered trip jacks, the board running out A♥J♣7♥8♦J♦ to eliminate KARNA1983 in fifth place ($67,256.00).

into2ndWind traps briemaus

Down to 11.3 million, aakiss1990 got off the short stack by doubling through into2ndWind, his K♥Q♠ flopping a pair of kings against A♠Q♣. However, into2ndWind reclaimed those chips pretty quickly. Holding A♦Q♣ again, into2ndWind opened for 1.6 million on the button and briemaus moved all-in for 16.6 million from the small blind. Into2ndWind called and this time the ace-queen held against K♦Q♥ to end briemaus's run in fourth ($84,070).

Money ain't a thing

With three players left and 400,000/800,000 blinds, it was time to discuss a deal. Here's a look at how they stacked up when the action was paused:

into2ndWind - 46,941,857
Ahhh Is It? - 21,521,586
aakiss1990 - 15,606,557

As final table host Kevin "WizardOfAhhs" Thurman ran the numbers, into2ndWind let everyone know that he didn't usually chop, but this was a special circumstance.

into2ndWind: i mean normally
into2ndWind: i wouldn't chop if i was dying of frostbite
into2ndWind: gangrene even
into2ndWind: but this is the sunday million

An ICM deal nearly fell apart over Ahhh Is It?'s desire for a $180,000 share, but after a bit of negotiation, he settled for $174,000, the difference covered 75% by into2ndWind and 25% by aakiss1990. With the big money locked up and $20,000 still in play, cards went back in the air.

It took only four hands to get heads-up. Holding A♠2♦, into2ndWind completed the small blind and aakiss1990 raised to 2.4 milllion from the big. Into2ndWind shoved and aakiss1990 snap-called, revealing K♠K♣. The kings held up on the J♣T♦3♥ flop, but into2ndWind caught the A♦ on the turn to snap them off.

WizardOfAhhs (TeamOnline): bink
into2ndWind: thats a bingo

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 3: Ahhh ls lt? (23,041,586 in chips)
Seat 7: into2ndWind (61,028,414 in chips)

Ahhh Is It? and into2ndWind played eight hands heads-up, into2ndWind winning all but two of them. Ahhh Is It? had sunk to 15 million in chips when the deciding hand unfolded. Holding A♠Q♣, Ahhh Is It? opened for a min-raise to 1.6 million and called into2ndWind's shove, only to run into A♦K♦.


Congratulations to Russell "into2ndWind" Thomas on shipping a Sunday Million title! He banked $219,184.25 for the win while runner-up Ahhh Is It? earned $174,095.79.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 3-24-2013

Players: 8,407
Prizepool: $1,681.400.00
Places paid: 1,260

1. Russell "into2ndWind" Thomas (Canada) $219,184.25*
2. Ahhh Is It? (United Kingdom) $174,095.79*
3. aakiss1990 (Latvia) $160,913.72*
4. briemaus (Germany) $84,070.00
5. KARNA1983 (United Kingdom) $67,256.00
6. Dimka19881 (Russia) $50,442.00
7. BEGIMOTS (Latvia) $33,628.00
8. purplflowerz (Sweden) $18,495.40
9. VinceVegaMFR (Brazil) $13,030.85

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

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million