Sunday Million: AexcaliburA draws the win after a five-way chop

After last week's anniversary madness, the Sunday Million returned to its regularly scheduled guarantee, but still drew a robust crowd. 8,755 players descended on the virtual felt, resulting in a $1,751,000 prize pool. 1,260 places were paid, with first place set to earn $257,572.10. Given that many of them were playing in or traveling to the EPT London, the Red Spade army was a bit light on soldiers this week. Although 17 played, including Ivan Demidov, Christian De Leon, Nacho Barbero, Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen, Angel Guillen, Martin Hruby and Matthias De Meulder, not a single Red Spade cashed. The closest was Jake Cody, who finished five off the money in 1,265th place.

Dutch rounder Steven "SvZff" Van Zadelhoff nearly met his end on the final table bubble after getting his last 5 million in preflop with 3♣3♥ vs. K0Ku$@iGinK0's A♥A♣. However, the 7♠7♦3♠ flop bore a full house for SvZff and he doubled to 10.7 million. Meanwhile on the other table, the action folded around to liran2788 in the small blind. With 500,000 of mikzoan's remaining 1.5 million already committed in the big blind, liran2788 moved all-in with Q♥2♠. Mikzoan called with K♣2♥. Despite having his opponent dominated, mikzoan went out in tenth place when liran2788 flopped a queen and turned trips.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: SvZff (7,963,939 in chips)
Seat 2: liran2788 (7,346,595 in chips)
Seat 3: _bad_cartaro (9,049,401 in chips)
Seat 4: SteenD (9,791,104 in chips)
Seat 5: j0hnyb0y (10,082,750 in chips)
Seat 6: K0Ku$@iGinK0 (16,998,178 in chips)
Seat 7: pokerjoe485 (6,782,345 in chips)
Seat 8: AexcaliburA (10,640,159 in chips)
Seat 9: zrqking (8,895,529 in chips)

Early eliminations

The final table claimed its first victim on the second hand. From UTG, AexcaliburA opened for a 3x raise to 1.5 million. Pokerjoe485 three-bet to 6.25 million from the big blind, AexcaliburA shoved for 10.5 million and pokerjoe485 called, revealing A♣Q♣. AexcaliburA had him dominated with A♦K♣ and caught a king on the flop to send pokerjoe485 to the rail in ninth place.

Chip leader K0Ku$@iGinK0 snagged most of zrgking's stack when he flopped a set of sixes and got paid off on the turn and river. Zrgking, however, rebounded when he doubled through K0Ku$@iGinK0, his pocket tens holding against pocket fives. Liran2788 also picked up steam thanks to a double-up from j0hnyb0y. J0hnyb0y moved all-in on a 6♠5♠3♥ flop with two overs and a flush draw, but couldn't fade liran2788, his set of sixes improving to a full house on the turn.

Down to 3.4 million with the blinds up to 300,000/600,000, SteenD open-shoved from the button with J♥7♥ and j0hnyb0y reshoved with pocket sixes in the small blind. J0hnyb0y's sixes held on a board that paired aces and fours, and SteenD departed in eighth place, earning $19,261.00.

J0hnyb0y and SvZff fall

J0hnyb0y got extremely unlucky against _bad_cartaro, his A♦K♥ falling to A♠7♦ when a seven hit the flop. Left with only five big blinds, j0hnyb0y moved in on the next hand with J♣T♣, but zrgking looked him up with K♣Q♥. Zrgking flopped a queen, turned a gutshot, and rivered Broadway to send j0hnyb0y home in seventh place with $35,020.00.

SvZff doubled to 16 million when his A♥Q♥ held up against AexcaliburA's A♣J♣, but lost 10 million to liran2788 on the next hand, his J♠T♥ running into pocket kings in a blind vs. blind battle. A couple of orbits later, another blind vs. blind battle did him in. SvZff open-shoved for 6.3 million with A♥6♥ in the small blind and liran2788 called from the big, his pocket fours holding up to eliminate SvZff in sixth place.

Chatter about a deal broke out as play turned five-handed, but not before one more ugly battle of the blinds. K0Ku$@iGinK0 open-shoved for 17.8 million from the small blind, only to run his K♥3♠ into AexcaliburA's pocket eights. K0Ku$@iGinK0 sucked out on the turn when he paired his king, but AexcaliburA made a straight on the river to double to 13.5 million.

The five-way deal

When at last each player in the final five agreed to pause the action and discuss a deal, their chip counts looked like this:

zrqking 27,393,746
liran2788 25,169,667
K0Ku$@iGinK0 15,071,853
AexcaliburA 12,997,130
_bad_cartaro 6,917,604

Final table host Roy "GodlikeRoy" Bhasin presented the quintet with chip count chop and ICM numbers as well as figures for an even split (per _bad_cartaro and AexcaliburA's request). After more than twenty minutes of negotiations, all parties agreed to an ICM chop with $20,000 left in play for the winner. Zrgking came away with the largest share at over $170k, while short stack _bad_cartaro guaranteed himself at least $35k more than the published fifth-place payout.

AexcaliburA takes control

When cards went back in the air, _bad_cartaro immediately doubled up, his A♦7♣ holding against liran2788's K♠Q♥. However, he didn't hold on to those chips for long. Three hands later, AexcaliburA opened for 2 million and _bad_cartaro three-bet shoved for 10.4 million with A♦8♣. AexcaliburA called with K♦T♦ and flopped a king, ending _bad_cartaro's run in fifth.

AexcaliburA didn't stop there. Three hands after that, he found pocket sixes and opened for 2 million, only to be met with a 12.2 million shove from K0Ku$@iGinK0. AexcaliburA called and his sixes held up against A♠4♦ to send K0Ku$@iGinK0 home in fourth.

The chip counts were nearly even as three-handed play commenced,but liran2788 dramatically changed gears, winning 20 of the next 25 pots to move up to 61.4 million in chips. Down to 12.7 million, AexcaliburA picked up A♠K♦ and shoved from the button. Zrgking reshoved for 13.3 million with A♦Q♠ in the small blind and liran2788 called from the big with Q♥Q♣! Although liran2788 and zrgking hit open-ended straight draws on the T♠J♦K♠ flop, AexcaliburA caught running spades to make an ace-high flush and triple up. Left with only 1.2 million zrgking went out two hands later in third place,his 2♣3♣ running into AexcaliburA's pocket kings.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: liran2788 (44,979,109 in chips)
Seat 8: AexcaliburA (42,570,891 in chips)

Nearly even to start the match, AexcaliburA struck first, moving up to 60 million when he flopped bottom pair and turned two pair. However, liran2788 was able to recover and chipped back up to 38.8 million before folding to AexcaliburA's 10 million river bet on a Q♣K♦T♥5♥T♦ board. Two hands later, AexcaliburA had liran2788 all-in with pocket eights against his pocket jacks, but liran2788 caught an eight on the turn to double up to 60.5 million.

AexcaliburA didn't have to wait long for another pocket pair and doubled to 50 million when T♥T♠ held up against A♠2♠. This time, he was able to hang on to the chip lead long enough to close out the win, his K♠Q♠ flopping top pair against liran2788's A♣J♥.

Congratulations to AexcaliburA on locking up a Sunday Million title. He earned $152,322.64 for his efforts, while runner-up liran2788 banked $165,965.31. However, thanks to the five-way deal, third-place finisher zrqking ended up with the largest share of the prize pool at $170,390.22.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 3-10-2013

Players: 8,755
Prizepool: $1,751,000
Places paid: 1,260

1. AexcaliburA (Malaysia) $152,322.64*
2. liran2788 (Israel) $165,965.31*
3. zrqking (Poland) $170,390.22*
4. K0Ku$@iGinK0 (Honduras) $139,491.48*
5. _bad_cartaro (Netherlands Antilles) $106,549.75*
6. SvZff (Malta) $52,530.00
7. j0hnyb0y (Estonia) $35,020.00
8. SteenD (Denmark) $19,261.00
9. pokerjoe485 (Austria) $13,570.25

*= reflects the results of a five-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