WhatArunAA picks up second career Sunday Million title, $208K

The last Sunday of the NFL season was filled with heart-stopping finishes with games all day and night to entertain football fans. As it happened, the day coincided with the last Sunday Million of 2013 which also featured lots of action throughout the day and night with a huge field of 8,751 coming out for PokerStars' weekly $215 no-limit hold'em tournament.

Ultimately it would take even longer than the NFL games -- more than 12-and-a-half hours all told -- for a Sunday Million winner to be crowned, with T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka emerging as the champ to earn a cool $208,372.90 payday after a three-way deal to round out his 2013.

The total prize pool for this week's Sunday Million was $1,750,200, well above the tourney's $1 million guarantee, with the top 1,260 finishers dividing those riches. It would take just over five hours for the players to work their way down to the bursting of the money bubble, at which point it was kraltomas, RDM-TRIX90, and fbjj sitting atop the counts as the only players to have built their starting stacks of 10,000 over 300,000.

Among those still alive then were Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden and Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara of Team Online. Lodden would hang on for a while longer before exiting in 722nd place for a $437.55 cash. Meanwhile Kihara would increase his stack and as the field shrunk below 250 players managed to squeeze onto the first page of the counts just inside the top 25.

By then they'd reached the tourney's seven-hour mark, with Mike "munchenHB" Telker having just won a pot to push past everyone and into first place with nearly 1.8 million, with Gizmobrazil the only other player in seven figures chip-wise with about 1.46 million.

One hour after that they were down to 100 players with ~VIKTORY~25 and aph666 virtually even atop the counts with 2.27 million apiece and Kihara still above the average. He'd keep battling until nearly half of those had fallen, then committed a stack of nearly 20 big blinds with A♥4♦ versus eventual champ T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka's A♦T♠. No help came for Kihara from the K♠8♣6♦6♠T♣ board and he finished in 51st for a $2,975.34 payday.


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Team Online member Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara


Play continued and right at the 10-hour mark just 18 players were left gathered around the final two tables with aph666 having assumed the lead by building a stack of more than 9.5 million.

After buckguy2200 was eliminated in 18th, aph666 would tumble down the counts to go out in 17th. Zachary "zackmorris99" Donovan followed in 16th, with all three of those earning $4,550.52 for their finishes. Next out were Drizzldur1 (15th), EvilSeed2k (14th), and GigaJr (13th), each earning $6,913.29. And 4eTBepuK (12th), skill_poker1 (11th), and roflcopter88 (10th) made $9,276.06 for not quite making the final table.

With Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo and pleasepick having moved to the top of the counts with stacks of greater than 20 million, just nine remained.


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Seat 1: bostero27 (Argentina) -- 5,784,181
Seat 2: enghave222 (Denmark) -- 4,031,198
Seat 3: pleasepick (Sweden) -- 21,490,260
Seat 4: Christopher "NigDawG" Brammer (United Kingdom) -- 7,479,621
Seat 5: PocketGrizly (Bahamas) -- 6,685,686
Seat 6: Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo (Argentina) -- 23,891,653
Seat 7: davjon (United Kingdom) -- 3,828,470
Seat 8: Monkey-K1ng (Canada) -- 2,005,412
Seat 9: T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka (Canada) -- 12,313,519

Soon after the final table began the blinds were 250k/500k when davjon open-raised all in for 3,008,470 from the cutoff seat then watched T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka reraise-shove from the small blind to isolate. davjon had 9♦9♣ but had run into Slifka's Q♠Q♦, and after the community cards came 4♦7♣K♠8♥3♠, they were quickly down to eight.

The blinds increased to 300k/600k and a hand arose that saw the table fold around to T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka on the button who raised all in for over 11.2 million. bostero27 called the push from the small blind for 7,278,362, and the big blind stepped aside.

bostero27: A♣Q♣
WhatArunAA: K♦2♠

bostero27 had the preflop edge, and was still ahead with a better pair after the 2♦Q♥4♣ flop. The turn was the 3♣ and bostero27 appeared primed to double up, but the K♠ fell on the river to deliver a second pair to Slifka and knock bostero27 out in eighth.

On the very next hand Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo min-raised to 1.2 million from early position, then Monkey-K1ng called all in for 861,648 from a seat over and everyone else folded. Toranzo had A♠T♣ and Monkey-K1ng A♥K♥, but the board brought a ten coming T♠8♣8♠7♠7♦ to give Toranzo the hand and oust Monkey-K1ng in seventh.

A short while after that T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka raised 2x from UTG to 1.2 million then enghave222 reraised all in for 3,764,792 from the next seat. It folded back to Slifka who called, showing A♦9♦ to enghave222's 6♣6♥.

enghave222's sixes remained in front through the J♥4♣5♥ flop and 5♠ turn, but the river was the A♥ to give WhatArunAA a better two pair. They were down to five.

Again there were back-to-back knockouts as on the hand after that one Christopher "NigDawG" Brammer open-raised all in for 5,567,225 from the cutoff and got a single caller in Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo.

Like enghave222 before him, Brammer was putting his tourney life on the line with an identical 6♣6♥ while Toranzo had A♥2♦. The board came J♦T♠A♣8♠K♣, and Brammer was done in fifth.

The remaining four played a little while longer, then stopped to discuss a possible deal with NICA-TUCUMAN leading with a little more than 35.3 million, pleasepick next with about 23.1 million, WhatArunAA third with just over 17.9 million, and PocketGrizly fourth with about 11.1 million.

Both "ICM" and "chip chop" numbers were produced, and while most were amenable to the "ICM" figures, the chip leader Toranzo wanted the "chip chop" figures, saying he wouldn't agree to anything less than $200,000 for himself (more than the $187,877.19 that would go his way with an "ICM" deal). The others weren't interested in giving up anything, and no deal was made.

Soon after play resumed the blinds were 400k/800k when pleasepick opened for 1.6 million from under the gun and T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka called from the big blind. The flop came 4♦7♠6♠. Slifka checked, pleasepick bet 1.3 million, Slifka raised to 3.2 million, pleasepick pushed all in for 9,748,888 total, and Slifka called.

pleasepick had T♠T♦ for an overpair while WhatArunAA had A♠4♠ for fours plus a spade flush draw. The 3♠ came to complete Slifka's flush, making the river 9♣ no matter and ending pleasepick's tourney run in fourth.

The final trio again paused the tournament to discuss a deal to chop up the remaining prize money, leaving $20,000 for which to play. NICA-TUCUMAN was still leading with about 32.5 million, WhatArunAA had moved up into a close second with just under 31 million, and PocketGrizly had a little more than 24 million.

This time all three agreed to the "ICM" figures guaranteeing Toranzo $190,294.91, Slifka $188,372.90, and PocketGrizly $178,202.79. With that $20K and the last Sunday Million title of 2013 still up for grabs, play resumed.

The final three played on for 15 minutes, with the stacks going up and down and each of the three enjoying the lead. Eventually Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo pushed out in front as the blinds increased again to 500k/1m. That's when PocketGrizly open-raised all in for 11,683,816 from the small blind and Toranzo called.

Both had been dealt aces in the blinds, with PocketGrizly's A♥7♥ ahead of NICA-TUCUMAN's A♣4♣ with five cards to come. But the flop fell 4♦J♦5♣ to put Toranzo in the lead, and after the 5♦ turn and 3♥ river PocketGrizly was out in third.


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Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo had about a 2-to-1 chip advantage to begin heads-up play with 58,681,672 to T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka's 28,828,328.

WhatArun clawed back to even things, then came a decisive hand that saw the pair battle through a 6♥T♣8♠A♥3♠ board with NICA-TUCUMAN making a river bet of 19 million into a 24.2 million pot. WhatArunAA thought a short while before calling, turning over K♥[10h] for tens. It was good, as Toranzo had 7♦5♦ for a busted straight draw. Take a look:


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That hand pushed WhatArunAA up over 75 million and NICA-TUCUMAN down under 12 million, and on the very next hand the latter open-pushed all in from the button and WhatArunAA called right away. Toranzo had Q♦J♠ but Slifka had picked up J♣J♥. The 8♣3♠6♠ changed nothing, then the J♦ came on the turn to improve Slifka to a set and leave Toranzo drawing dead as the T♦ completed the board. WhatArunAA had won!


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Congratulations to T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka who wins his second Sunday Million after having won one way back in November 2007. And kudos as well to Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo and PocketGrizly for making it to the three-way deal and claiming huge paydays themselves.

12/29/13 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results (*reflects three-way deal)

Players: 8,751
Prize pool: $1,750,200.00
Places paid: 1,260

1. T.J. "WhatArunAA" Slifka (Canada) -- $208,372.90*
2. Nicasio "NICA-TUCUMAN" Toranzo (Argentina) -- $190,294.91*
3. PocketGrizly (Bahamas) -- $178,202.79*
4. pleasepick (Sweden) -- $87,510.00
5. Christopher "NigDawG" Brammer (United Kingdom) -- $70,008.00
6. enghave222 (Denmark) -- $52,506.00
7. Monkey-K1ng (Canada) -- $35,004.00
8. bostero27 (Argentina) -- $19,252.20
9. davjon (United Kingdom) -- $13,564.05

The end of the year offers an opportunity to look back at the previous 12 months, and that's just what Brad Willis has done with a "2013 PokerStars Year in Review." Click and read.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million