Sunday Million: Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth goes wire to wire, wins $235k

Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth had been here twice before but years ago. Then a 22 year-old college student, Niergarth finished third in the Sunday Million in December 2007. About 18 months earlier he'd finished fourth. Niergarth went on to make final tables in the WCOOP and SCOOP, and the $179,760 he earned for fifth place in the 2008 WCOOP high roller event stood as his career-high score on PokerStars for nearly four and a half years. Now older, hopefully wiser, and living in Mexico, Niergarth finally broke through all those numbers tonight, winning a Sunday Million title and over $235,000.

7,861 players bought into this week's Million, sending the prize pool past the $1.5 million mark. 1,170 places were paid with a min-cash guaranteeing $314.44 and first place set to earn $235,833.60. Among the 20 Red Spades in the field were Vanessa Rousso, George Danzer, Nacho Barbero, Maxim Lykov, Chad Brown and Lex Veldhuis, but only two cashed-- Victor Ramdin (1,000th) and Team Online's Tyler "frosty012" Frost, who busted out in 141st place.

A coinflip set the final table. Blinds were up to 150,000/300,000 with ten players remaining and gbmantis opened for 705,000 with pocket jacks. Yali1961 shoved for 6.72 million from the small blind with A♦Q♥ and got a call, but found no help on the K♥9♠4♠3♠9♦ board. Gbmantis raked in the 13.9 million pot and yali1961 departed on the final table bubble.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: iBert1924 (4,958,054 in chips)
Seat 2: NeverMoreCD (10,003,900 in chips)
Seat 3: TheCangorous (4,656,873 in chips)
Seat 4: gbmantis (23,940,714 in chips)
Seat 5: willis59 (4,043,070 in chips)
Seat 6: cryboy89 (4,356,060 in chips)
Seat 7: iisZet (6,406,144 in chips)
Seat 8: LFCRED (7,680,762 in chips)
Seat 9: zusa20 (12,564,423 in chips)

gbmantis decimates zusa20, willis50 cripples iBert1924

Gbmantis arrived at the final table with nearly twice as many chips as second-place zusa20 and managed to snag about 40% of his chips in the first level of play. Holding A♣K♦, zusa20 called gbmantis' preflop raise, then check-called 500,000 when he hit top pair on the K♠T♠3♠ flop. Zusa20 check-called another 800,000 when the J♥ came on the turn and another 2.5 million on the T♣ river only to be shown 2♠6♠ for a flopped flush.

Two hands later, willis59 open-shoved for 2.95 million from UTG and iBert1924 reshoved for 3.45 million from the cutoff. Willis59's A♦Q♣ flopped a queen to snap off iBert1924's J♠J♥ and he doubled to 6.86 million. IBert1924 was left on only 504,000 and was eliminated on the next hand when his K♣8♣ couldn't fade NeverMoreCD's A♦J♥. For ninth place, iBert1924 took home $12,184.55.

cryboy89 doubles, gbmantis finishes off zusa20

Cryboy89 doubled up and then some when he picked up Q♠Q♣ and cold-called all in for 1.57 million from the small blind after gbmantis three-bet to 2.34 million on the button. Gbmantis's K♦9♠ did not improve and cryboy89 picked up the 5.5 million pot.

On the next deal, zusa20 decided to go for broke and open-shoved for his last 13 big blinds from UTG. LFCRED called all-in for 4.76 million with A♥K♦ in the big blind and zusa20 revealed Q♣9♣. LFCRED flopped kings up and doubled to 11.1 million, leaving zusa20 on only 1.4 million. Three hands later, zusa20 called all-in on the button with Q♥8♥ and led gbmantis's 5♦7♣, but gbmantis hit bottom pair on the flop, the board running out A♠9♠7♥K♠T♥ to end zusa20's run in eighth place ($18,080.30).

River saves willis59, TheCangorous crashes out in seventh

With the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, more than half the field was still hanging around with less than ten big blinds. Gbmantis took full advantage of his position and kept the pressure on, stealing round after round of blinds and growing his stack to over 43.5 million. On one of those steal attempts gbmantis open-shoved from the cutoff with 6♣8♦ and willis59 found K♠T♣ on the button. Willis59 called all-in for his last 3 million and watched in horror as gbmantis paired up on the Q♥8♣7♥ flop. The 4♣ on the turn was no help, but willis59 was saved by the river, the K♦ falling to double him up to 7.1 million.

Fellow short stack TheCangorous was not as fortunate when it came to doubling up. All-in with A♣7♣ against gbmantis's A♦Q♦, TheCangorous hit a boffo A♥7♥T♠ flop only to watch the Q♣ hit the turn and make his opponent a superior two pair. To pile it on a bit more, the river Q♥ made gbmantis queens full and TheCangorous hit the rail in seventh place, earning $31,444.00. Don't cry too much for him, though-- TheCangorous also finished third in the Sunday Warm-Up for over $56k, bringing his Sunday major earnings for the week to a whopping $88,072.

Back to back bustouts

Blinds were 300,000/600,000 when six-handed play commenced. Gbmantis held a overwhelming chip lead with 49.5 million while his five opponents' stacks ranged from 3.1 to 8.6 million. At this point, the five short stacks were playing chicken with the blinds, doing anything they could to survive another orbit and potentially move up the pay ladder. First to blink was cryboy89, who moved in for his last 5 big blinds with Q♦J♥ only to run into LFCRED's A♦A♠ on the button. The aces held up and cryboy89 went out in sixth, earning $47,166.00.

On the next deal, the action folded to NeverMoreCD on the button. He moved all-in for 3.94 million and gbmantis reshoved to isolate from the small blind. Gbmantis's 7♠7♦ held up against A♣J♦ and NeverMoreCD hit the rail in fifth place, collecting $62,888.

willis59 surges to second in chips

Severely short-stacked since the final table bubble, willis59 was batting 1.000 when it came to all-ins. He extended his streak one more when his Q♠Q♥ flopped a set against LFCRED's A♦6♦, good for a double-up to 10.1 million. Moments later, he did it again, this time courtesy of gbmantis, whose Q♣J♣ couldn't improve against willis59's A♣J♦. Suddenly the perpetual short stack was a strong second with 16 million in chips.

At this point, the final four agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's a look at how they stacked up:

gbmanits - 48,178,372
willis59 - 16,089,120
LFCRED - 8,016,364
iisZet - 6,326,144

So large was gbmantis's lead that the chip count chop numbers awarded him a $244,000 share-- over $8,000 more than the published first place with $20,000 still in play for the winner. However, the deal did guarantee six-figure paydays for each of his opponents. Gbmantis told them he would take an even $230,000 and allow them to split up the rest as they saw fit, but none of them were keen on that idea. With negotiations at an impasse, the action resumed.

gbmantis coolers willis59

Only a few hands after cards went back in the air, willis59 suffered a horrible cooler. All the money went in preflop, willis59 four-bet shoving for 18.8 million with Q♥Q♣ only to run into gbmantis's A♦A♥. There was no queen to save willis59 and he hit the rail in fourth place ($79,328.88).

Although gbmantis's 68.5 million amounted to 87.2% of the chips in play, the final three still agreed to pause the action and run another set of chip count chop numbers. This time, the chip chop gave gbmantis a $251k share and although he offered to settle for $240k, his opponents weren't willing to have him walk away with more than first place money.

iisZet zapped in third

Cards went back in the air and iisZet quickly doubled to 11.3 million when his A♣J♠ held against gbmantis's 3♠7♣. However, LFCRED claimed most of those chips on the very next hand. IisZet open-shoved from the small blind with K♦J♣ and LFCRED called with A♥6♦ in the big. An ace hit the flop and LFCRED doubled to 8 million. Down to 6.2 million, iisZet committed the last of his chips with A♦J♥, but gbmantis's 2♠T♥ hit a ten on the turn to dash his hopes of a double-up. IisZet was eliminated in third place, earning $117,915.00 for his day on the felt.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 4: gbmantis (72,397,272 in chips)
Seat 8: LFCRED (6,212,728 in chips)

From the first hand, it was clear that LFCRED wasn't going down without a fight. LFCRED's stack dwindled all the way to 1.6 million before he scored his first double-up, K♦Q♦ holding up against 2♣6♠. That 3.4 million became 6.9 million two hands later and 12.9 million two hands after that, pocket nines smashing Q♠2♠ and A♦Q♠ holding up against K♠Q♣. Two more deals went by before LFCRED made it four in a row, his 3♣3♠ flopping a set against A♥Q♠ to move him up to 24 million. Suddenly the gap between these two wasn't too wide.

LFCRED continued grinding away and chipped up to 35.6 million before gbmantis struck back. In this 29 million pot, gbmantis made a check-raise bluff on the flop only to turn the best hand and extract some value on the river:

LFCRED chipped back up to 25 million but erased those gains and then some when gbmantis shoved the river on a 9♥6♦T♣8♦9♣ board, leading him to give up his hand. LFCRED fell to 17 million and was down to 14 million when he found another hand to go with. Gbmantis opened for a min-raise to 2 million and LFCRED three-bet shoved with K♦J♣. Gbmantis snap-called with J♦J♠, the jacks holding up on the 7♣6♠4♥A♠8♥ board to cap off a dominating final table performance.

Congratulations to Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth on his long-awaited Sunday Million win. He banked $235,833.60 while runner-up LFCRED earned $172,942.00.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 4-14-2013

Players: 7,861
Prizepool: $1,572,200
Places paid: 1,170

1. Nick "gbmantis" Niergarth (Mexico) $235,833.60
2. LFCRED (Sweden) $172,942.00
3. iisZet (Finland) $117,915.00
4. willis59 (United Kingdom) $79,238.88
5. NeverMoreCD (Russia) $62,888.00
6. cryboy89 (Russia) $47,166.00
7. TheCangorous (Australia) $31,444.00
8. zusa20 (Switzerland) $18,030.30
9. iBert1924 (Greece) $12,184.55

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million