Sunday Million: Late run boosts Ireland's sincinaty118 to victory on Million Dollar Sunday

The Sunday Million is the crown jewel of the PokerStars Sunday majors, a tournament that every online grinder aspires to conquer someday. It's not rare to see familiar faces among the final table lineup, chasing some of the biggest prize money offered all week. But in this week's Million Dollar Sunday edition the table featured just one player we've come to know well in PokerStars events. Otherwise it was stocked with players less well-known but still fully equipped to win the tournament - and to win career-changing money in the process.

The $5,000,000 guarantee on this edition of the Sunday Million brought out seemingly everyone with the bankroll to sustain a shot at Sunday major glory. By the time late registration ended the field had swelled to 26,925 players, building a total prize pool of $5,385,000 and scheduling a first prize worth $484,650.

Off and running

The top 4,500 players were paid out, with everyone who made the final two tables taking home at least $10,770 and everyone at the final table earning a minimum of $26,925. Russia's three-time MicroMillions champion Alfons777999 was among that group, which included these other eight players:

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Seat 1: sincinaty118 (66,521,792 in chips)
Seat 2: bdklizm (25,192,451 in chips)
Seat 3: FLasHBa3k (76,884,426 in chips)
Seat 4: Alfons777999 (15,755,851 in chips)
Seat 5: elastobert (18,183,792 in chips)
Seat 6: zet1981 (10,278,162 in chips)
Seat 7: socke2506 (18,462,863 in chips)
Seat 8: Mr.Hazard70 (13,893,276 in chips)
Seat 9: dadoferal (24,077,387 in chips)

Austria's zet1981 was the short stack with 10.27M on the 850K/1.7M/170K level and had the misfortune to land in the small blind on the second hand of the final table. The Austrian player had to call with A♥ 4♠ when Germany's elastobert moved in from the small blind with J♥ 9♥, but the 4♦ 2♠ J♠ flop turned things upside down. zet1981 now needed an ace, a four, or running spades or straight cards to stay alive. The 3♠ on the turn kept both draws alive but the 7♣ on the river was no help, sending zet1981 to the rail in 9th place ($26,925).

Two hands later the owner of the second-shortest stack at the table would also get in ahead. Finland's Mr.Hazard70 moved in for 11.51M from the small blind after socke2506 raised to 3.4M on the button, and the German player called with A♥ 5♦. That trailed the Finn's A♦ 8♦ from the start and failed to catch up on the J♣ A♠ 6♣ 7♥ 2♣ board, giving Mr.Hazard70 the 26.08M-chip pot.

Hand #5 saw socke2506 try to make up for the loss by jamming for 9.32M in the cutoff. Everyone folded except Ireland's sincinaty118, whose big stack allowed a call with J♥ T♥. The Irish player might have been a little surprised to be ahead of 9♠ 8♥, but any shock wore off once the board came A♠ 7♥ 4♦ T♦ T♣, giving sincinaty118 the 20.86M chips in the middle and knocking out socke2506 in 8th place ($40,387.50).

The table managed to go for six hands without any direct confrontations, all the pots being taken down before the flop, before another short stack was all-in. This time it was Montenegro's dadoferal, who jammed for 17.78M in the small blind with J♥ J♦ after Mr.Hazard70 opened on the button for 3.8M. The Finn called with 8♥ 8♦ but couldn't catch up on the 3♦ A♥ K♦ A♣ 6♣, and suddenly elimination loomed large once again.

Another six uncontested pots passed before Mr.Hazard70 tried to pick up the blinds and antes, jamming on the button with K♠ 8♦. sincinaty118 called with K♦ 5♠ and remained behind after the flop fell 9♠ Q♦ K♣. The K♥ gave both players trip kings with Q-9 and they were set to chop the pot, but the 5♥ on the river gave sincinaty118 kings full of fives, good enough to send Mr.Hazard70 packing in 7th place ($53,850).

The next short stack to face elimination would do so with the blinds and antes up to 1M/2M/200K. MicroMillions triple champion Alfons777999 shoved for 9.71M with 6♥ 6♠ in the big blind after elastobert opened for 4M under the gun and faced a coin flip when the German turned up A♥ K♣. The T♦ T♥ 8♥ hinted at the danger of counterfeiting, but the 4♠ was safe and Alfons777999 was one card from getting a foothold to move higher up the pay ladder. But the A♣ on the river brought all that crashing down and sent the Russian out of the tournament in 6th place ($80,775).

Time for a deal

With the table now down to five the chip stacks looked like this:

Seat 1: sincinaty118 (91,220,544 in chips)
Seat 2: bdklizm (13,262,451 in chips)
Seat 3: FLasHBa3k (87,224,426 in chips)
Seat 5: elastobert (35,937,805 in chips)
Seat 9: dadoferal (41,604,774 in chips)

FLasHBa3k and sincinaty118 had been 1-2 atop the tournament when the final table began and remained there, though in reversed order. The others had 20 big blinds or less and were hoping to catch a big hand or make a deal. And after this hand, FLasHBa3k was in a similar situation:

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Within just a few hands the five remaining players had agreed to talk over a deal. sincinaty118 held a commanding chip lead and was set for the largest share of any agreement. When everything had been sorted out the Irish player was guaranteed $321,971.88. Everyone else got at least $229,450.46, with another $100,000 left on the table for whichever player managed to survive to the end.

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dadoferal was the first to end up all-in, jamming from the button with A♥ 2♥ and being called in the small blind by sincinaty118, who held A♦ 3♥, but the 6♦ 4♠ K♣ J♥ 5♦ board split the pot between the two. Five hands after that FLasHBa3k retook the lead thanks to this pot:

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sincinaty118 was down to 71.34M after that but struck back immediately. The Irish player three-bet to 12M with 8♦ 8♥ on the button after elastobert opened for 5M under the gun and then called when the German moved in for 32.87M with A♠ Q♣. Back-to-back losses would have left sincinaty118 in big trouble with just 38.21M, but the board fell 2♠ 6♦ 3♦ 6♠ 3♠ and the eights held up. That gave sincinaty118 the 70,74M chips in the middle and knocked elastobert out in 5th place.

That gave sincinaty118 a slim lead of 108.9M to 102.3M over FLasHBa3k, while both dadoferal and Norway's bdklizm had less than 13 big blinds to work with. Those two found themselves in a coin flip three hands later, dadoferal's A♠ T♥ against bdklizm's 4♠ 4♥, with dadoferal's tournament hanging in the balance. The Montenegrin came out the winner after a 8♣ 3♣ 7♦ T♣ 9♥, dropping bdklizm to just 1.7M. The Norwegian was dealt K♣ 6♥ on the button on the next hand and moved in, only to run into FLasHBa3k's A♠ K♠. That 2♥ 3♦ 4♣ Q♠ T♥ board was n help either, and bdklizm left in 4th place.

FLasHBa3k and sincinaty dominated three-handed play, winning 13 of the first 14 pots. The majority of those went to FLasHBa3k, but the last of them saw sincinaty118 show down A♣ T♥ for two pair on a J♣ T♣ J♠ 8♦ K♣ board to win a 43.5M-chip pot and move ahead of FLasHBa3k by about six big blinds. The very next hand saw dadoferal take a chunk out of both players without having to show down:

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That actually moved dadoferal into second place by a margin of less than one small blind, but there wasn't any time to celebrate. THe Montenegrin player picked up A♥ 5♥ on the very next hand and opened for 6M in the small blind. sincinaty118 re-raised to 13.86M in the big blind, to which dadoferal responded by four-betting to 27.72M. sincinaty118 then shoved and after dipping into the time bank dadoferal came up with a call, only to face sincinaty118's dominating A♠ Q♦. The board ran out T♦ 4♥ 6♠ J♦ K♦, giving sincinaty118 a Broadway straight and knocking dadoferal out in 3rd place.

Head to head for $100K

The battle for the last $100,000 on the table started with the chips distributed like this:

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Seat 1: sincinaty118 (188,567,282 in chips)
Seat 3: FLasHBa3k (80,682,718 in chips)

With blinds and antes at 1.5M/3M/300K there was no time to dally, so FLasHBa3k got right to work. The Israeli player won the first hand uncontested on the river of a Q♠ 8♦ 7♠ J♥ 7♦, picking up a 35.06M-chip pot, and then took two of the next three as well. sincinaty118 responded by taking down a 23.72M-chip pot uncontested on the river of a 7♦ Q♣ 3♥ Q♦ 8♠, but then FLasHBa3k went on an unprecedented run, winning 11 pots in a row, including this one, to take over the lead:

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That left sincinaty118 with just over 13 big blinds and a big mountain to climb. The journey began with a coin flip, with 7♦ 7♠ hitting a set to stay ahead of A♣ T♠ on a 7♥ 3♣ 8♠ K♣ J♠ board. That 80.73M-chip pot was enough to get sincinaty118 back into the match, and with a couple more wins the Irish player was back on track.

Hand #97 of the final table would prove to be the turning point. FLasHBa3k opened for 8M on the button and sincinaty118 called to see a 9♥ 8♠ 2♥ flop. The Irish player checked before raising FLasHBa3k's 8M-chip bet to 18M. FLasHBa3k came back with a three-bet to 92M, which sincinaty118 called with T♣ 9♦ for top pair. FLasHBa3k also held top pair but with 9♣ 4♥ for a worse kicker. The turn and river came A♥ Q♠, giving sincinaty118 the 201M-chip pot.

Just six hands later the tournament would come to a close after FLasHBa3k limped on the button with K♣ 7♦ and called all-in for 65.37M after sincinaty118 moved all-in with 2♦ 2♥. The deuces were a slim favorite going to the flop but it came Q♣ 8♥ 2♠ to move them well into the lead. Then the 2♣ came on the turn to end all hope for FLasHBa3k, and the 9♥ river put an official end to the proceedings.

FLasHBa3k's take from the deal was $261,359.81 - probably a bit of a letdown considering it could have been $100K more, but still a jump ahead of the Israeli player's previous best cash of $7,349. As for sincinaty118, the extra cash on the table for the winner made for a total score of $421,971.88. The Irish player's previous best score was $14,120 from a third-place finish in a $109 tournament back in 2012, so this win represents a major step forward. Congratulations to both players for making their way through an enormous Sunday Million field to earn a serious bankroll boost.

12/8/13 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants: 26,925
Prize pool: $5,385,000
Places paid: 4,500

1. sincinaty118 (Ireland) $421,971.88*
2. FLasHBa3k (Israel) $261,359.81*
3. dadoferal (Montenegro) $230,028.85*
4. bdklizm (Norway) $229,450.46*
5. elastobert (Germany) $240,595.50*
6. Alfons777999 (Russia) $80,775
7. Mr.Hazard70 (Finland) $53,850
8. socke2506 (Germany) $40,387.50
9. zet1981 (Austria) $26,925
* - denotes results of a five-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million