Sunday Million: LeNaber nabs title, Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen runner-up

Among the familiar names at this week's Sunday Million final table was Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen of the Netherlands who has earned numerous scores both online and live including on the European Poker Tour. After a lengthy tournament lasting more than 13 hours and a tough final table, van Alphen came just one spot shy of adding a Sunday Million title to his list of poker achievements, with LeNaber of Ireland being the one to stop him.

Both players earned handsome scores of about $120,000 thanks to a five-handed deal at the final table. Here's the story of how the pair managed to battle all of the way to the night's final hand.


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Three hours in after registration closed a total of 6,729 had joined this week's $215 buy-in affair, making for a $1,345,800 prize pool, again well over the event's $1 milly guarantee. By then about half of the entrants had already hit the rail. Meanwhile among the big stacks early on was TeamPokerStars Pro Jake Cody who'd found himself inside the top 10 with still 3,000-plus opponents left to battle.

Among those falling shy of the cash tonight was this week's bounty, Team PokerStars Pro Online Jorge "Baalim" Limon who was eliminated by leehfraserj who earned the $215 buy-in back for doing so. Some time later they had just passed the five-hour mark when the money bubble burst, at which point SnoopOSSI led the final 990 with a stack close to 400,000.

Almost three hours later the field had been carved down to 100, with a couple of Team PokerStars Pros -- Cody (496th, $430.65) and Matthias "mattidm" de Meulder (266th, $592.15) -- among those sent railward in the interim, as well as former leader SnoopOSSI (109th, $1,117.01). Meanwhile Jandro Mura and Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen had elevated to the top of the counts as the only players with more than 2 million.

About an hour-and-a-half later just 18 remained with Alphen leading with nearly 8 million chips and Jandro Mura still in the hunt with a below average stack. T-MstarX (18th), Freeway1988 (17th), and fjamson65 (16th) were the next to go, earning $3,768.24 apiece. MerKaBa PP (15th), Cincinatti88 (14th), and potbetbluff (13th) then followed, picking up $5,652.36 each.

TTimallin went out next in 12th, followed by Nick "daaaaaaang16" Davies in 11th. Davies, an American now playing from Playa del Carmen in Mexico, was following up a final table finish at last month's UKIPT4 London 2 final table where he finished fifth.


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Nick "daaaaaaang16" Davies

Then just after the tournament's 10-hour mark marinas131 was eliminated in 10th, like TTimallin and Davies earning $7,536.48 for coming just shy of the final table.

With Peru's Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura the new chip leader with more than 15.4 million, the final table was underway.


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Seat 1: Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin (Romania) -- 4,251,915
Seat 2: Ben "F3nix35" Dobson (United Kingdom) -- 7,789,908
Seat 3: StoyanB (Bulgaria) -- 5,090,341
Seat 4: yougotJDZ'd (Canada) -- 5,189,443
Seat 5: Julio "JULK77" Bianchi Bedos (Chile) -- 8,580,882
Seat 6: Jandro Mura (Mexico) -- 7,678,304
Seat 7: LeNaber (Ireland) -- 5,345,407
Seat 8: Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen (Netherlands) -- 7,904,132
Seat 9: Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura (Peru) -- 15,459,668

The final nine started slowly, then yougotJDZ'd enjoyed a fortunate double-up with 7♣7♦ through Jandro Mura's A♦A♣ when not one but two sevens came among the community cards to give yougotJDZ'd quads. But LeNaber would soon take most of yougotJDZ'd's stack with A♠Q♠ versus the latter's A♣T♦, making yougotJDZ'd one of the short stacks.

It would be Jandro Mura going out in ninth, however, after committing almost 5 million (not quote 10 big blinds) with A♦J♠ versus Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen's A♥K♠ then failing to improve. Then three hands later van Alphen would claim another victim by knocking out Julio "JULK77" Bianchi Bedos in eighth. All in for a little under 2.4 million with K♠J♠ against van Alphen's Q♠T♦, Bedos couldn't fade the community cards as a queen among them to end his tourney run.

Those knockouts helped Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen move out into the chip lead by building a stack of more than 24 million at one point.

Meanwhile Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura had slipped back under 7 million, then came a hand in which he defended his big blind versus a raise from Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin. The flop came 4♥T♣7♠, and after check-raising all in with A♦T♦ Ventura watched Cosmin call with J♦T♠. Both had top pair with Ventura's kicker best, but a jack fell on the river to give his opponent two pair and send Ventura out in seventh.

The 11-hour break arrived, and that became an occasion for the final six players to discuss a possible deal with Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen then still leading with a little under 17.3 million and Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin next in line with about 14.2 million. Both "ICM"-based figures and "chip chop" numbers were produced, leaving $20,000 for which to play in each case, and after some discussion a third set of figures were produced. But ultimately no consensus could be obtained, and they played on.

Shortly after play resumed StoyanB open-shoved from the small blind a stack of 5.1 million (about eight-and-a-half big blinds) and was called by yougotJDZ'd in the big blind. StoyanB had J♦8♣ and yougotJDZ'd A♦4♥, and an unhelpful runout sent StoyanB out in sixth.

By then yougotJDZ'd had edged in front with more than 17.4 million, with Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen and Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin not too far behind. Again there were negotiations, and this time a deal was agreed to, again leaving $20K for which to play.

As it would happen, yougotJDZ'd would be the next one out in fifth after a sequence of two hands. The first involved yougotJDZ'd losing a preflop all-in versus Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin with K♠6♣ against the latter's A♥J♣, knocking yougotJDZ'd down to less than one big blind. LeNaber would take the last of those chips on the next hand, and they were down to four.

Not long afterwards a hand arose in which Ben "F3nix35" Dobson opened for nearly 2 million from the small blind (about 2.5x) and LeNaber called. The flop came T♣J♦7♦, Dobson led for 2 million even, and LeNaber called, then after the 5♦ turn Dobson shoved for almost 8.5 million and LeNaber called once more.

Dobson had Q♠Q♣ but LeNaber had flopped two pair with T♦7♣, and after the river brought a king Dobson was done in fourth.


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Ben "F3nix35" Dobson

A short while later Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin open-raised all in for just over 11.5 million from the button and LeNaber reraised all in from the small blind to isolate. It was J♦T♦ for Cosmin and A♦Q♦ for LeNaber, and a Q♣2♥8♣6♣J♣ board gave LeNaber the pot and sent Cosmin railward in third.

That hand gave LeNaber a big better-than-4-to-1 chip advantage to start heads-up play with over 54 million to Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen's almost 13.2 million. LeNaber kept the lead for the first several hands, then van Alphen managed to even things up in a hand in which LeNaber flopped top pair, but van Alphen made runner-runner two pair and got to call a river all-in push from LeNaber.

From there they stayed closed to even as the tournament moved past 13 hours, with van Alphen looking to add a Sunday Million title to a fifth-place finish back in the EPT8 Copenhagen Main Event won by Mickey Petersen of Team PokerStars Pro Online, a year van Alphen also took 19th in the 2012 WCOOP Main Event.


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Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen

Alas for van Alphen, LeNaber would edge back into the lead, then with the blinds up to 700k/1.4m a hand came up that saw LeNaber open for 2.8 million, van Alphen shove for just over 25.2 million, and LeNaber call.

Fisherman903: A♠9♦
LeNaber: A♥J♦

Both had been dealt an ace, but Fisherman903 was fishing for a nine to pair his worse kicker to survive.

The flop provided a nine, coming 8♥6♥9♥, but then the 4♥ on the turn made a flush for LeNaber. Another nine on the river was no use for van Alphen who took second, while LeNaber earned the extra $20K for the win.

Congratulations to LeNaber for topping this week's big Sunday Million field and tough final table. Kudos as well to all five of the players making it to the final table deal, each of whom locked up six-figure scores.

11/23/14 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants:  6,729
Prize pool: $1,345,800.00
Places paid: 990

1. LeNaber (Ireland) -- $119,919.37*
2. Niels "Fisherman903" van Alphen (Netherlands) -- $123,327.03*
3. Joldis "moiadcosmin" Cosmin (Romania) -- $118,096.41*
4. Ben "F3nix35" Dobson (United Kingdom) -- $103,638.84*
5. yougotJDZ'd (Canada) -- $129,327.41*
6. StoyanB (Bulgaria) -- $43,065.60
7. Diego "Die Ventura" Ventura (Peru) -- $29,607.60
8. Julio "JULK77" Bianchi Bedos (Chile) -- $16,149.60
9. Jandro Mura (Mexico) -- $10,429.95

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

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million