Sunday Million: PhiRi1 bests the vets, banks $177k after three-way deal
A pair of Sunday Million veterans made a return trip to the final table Sunday night, but their quest for victory fell short as a trio of upstarts knocked them off the podium. Bazeman11 and Luke "LFmagic" Fields were armed with experience, having finished second and third respectively in the Million, while their opponents KingKong0815, checkablint, and PhiRi1 were all poised to make career-high scores, regardless of where they finished at the final table. After sitting at or near the chip lead for much of the final table, LFmagic went out in fifth place and Bazeman11 followed right behind him in fourth, opening the door for one of the rookies to claim the top spot. A three-way deal divided up the majority of the remaining prize pool and after a short battle with checkablint, Belize's PhiRi1 came away with his first major title and a $177,217.96 bankroll infusion, multiplying his lifetime earnings on PokerStars by a factor of eight.
Tonight's Million drew a 7% uptick in entries over last week with 6,943 players. 990 of them earned a share of the $1,388,600.00 prize pool, with first place set to earn $211,210.20.
Mexico's Bazeman11 took the chip lead with 48 players remaining, closely trailed by Britain's Luke "LFmagic" Fields. Earlier this year, Bazeman11 made a runner-up finish in the Million and banked $170k while LFmagic made his run to a third-place finish and $111k in December 2011. The two remained at or near the top of the counts all the way to the final table bubble, when NotYetBust seized the chip lead. All-in with Q♠Q♥ vs. KOSEC510's A♦A♣, NotYetBust spiked a queen on the turn to make a set and took more than 18.6 million in chips to the final table.
Final table chip counts
Seat 1: LFmagic (9,394,797 in chips)
Seat 2: Bazeman11 (11,214,808 in chips)
Seat 3: KingKong0815 (6,709,260 in chips)
Seat 4: Run dat Game (5,705,682 in chips)
Seat 5: Patonius2000 (2,591,872 in chips)
Seat 6: PhiRi1 (6,623,263 in chips)
Seat 7: rickL-UNIT (2,236,831 in chips)
Seat 8: checkablint (6,315,440 in chips)
Seat 9: NotYetBust (18,638,047 in chips)
NotYetBust soon gave up the lead to checkablint, who doubled to 11.7 million when his A♥8♣ flopped an eight vs. NotYetBust's pocket sevens. Checkablint held the chip lead for a short while, and after falling back to 7.6 million, he rebounded when he picked up K♠K♣ and busted rickL-UNIT in eighth place. However, checkablint found himself in dire shape when he called Run dat Game's shove on a 9♣8♦6♠ flop. Run dat Game's K♦K♥ had chackablint's J♠J♥ crushed, but checkablint caught a two-out miracle on the river with the J♣ and sent Run dat Game to the rail in seventh place.
After that hand, checkablint was up to 22.3 million, good for the chip lead. At the time, his closest competitor was PhiRi1, second in chips with 12.6 million. NotYetBust was down to 8.1 million and with the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, NotYetBust four-bet shoved preflop with pocket deuces. Three-bettor PhiRi1 called with A♣K♥ and hit a king on the flop, winning the 16.6 million coinflip and ending NotYetBust's run in sixth place.
With five players remaining, checkablint still held the lead with 24.3 million and PhiRi1 was a strong second with 21.1 million. LFmagic had fallen on the short stack and with 5.9 million remaining, he lived up to his name and doubled up when his A♥8♦ flopped an eight vs. PhiRi1's A♣J♠. LFmagic moved up to 12.4 million in chips, but four hands later, KingKong0815 snatched them away when his pocket jacks held up against A♣Q♠. LFmagic pulled off another trick when he picked up A♦A♣ and doubled through KingKong0815, but once again, he saw them vanish moments later. Only two hands passed before LFmagic made a small-blind shove for 11.5 million, just as Bazeman11 was lying in wait with K♣K♥ in the big blind. LFmagic's Q♥9♠ did not improve and he was crippled to 1.5 million. Four hands later, LFmagic ran into kings again-- his 6♥7♦ did not get any help on the board against KingKong0815's cowboys and he departed in fifth place.
On the very next deal, kings popped up yet again. This time they appeared in checkablint's hand, and with the action folded to him in the small blind, he made a min-raise to 1.2 million. Bazeman11 looked down at 8♦8♠ and three-bet to 2.88 million, only to be met with a shove. Bazeman11 quickly called and saw his hope for a miracle fade even faster as a king hit the flop. Checkablint took a commanding lead with 29.4 million, leaving Bazeman11 on only 5.14 million.
Checkablint inquired about a deal, but despite his precarious position, Bazeman11 wasn't willing to open negotiations.
Bazeman11: not chopping gl
Bazeman11 made a remarkable comeback, doubling to 10.4 million on the next hand and to 23.7 million minutes later, leaving PhiRi1 on only 4.1 million in chips. However, PhiRi1 wouldn't be silenced so easily and made his own double-double, moving up to 8.93 million when his A♥9♣ rivered a nine vs. Bazeman11's A♦T♥ and to 25.8 million when his pocket tens held up against checkablint's A♣T♦. Fittingly, it was KingKong0815 who rubbleized Bazeman11's stack, his 9♦9♥ winning a race against A♣Q♣. Bazeman11 was left with only 275,000 in chips after the hand and busted in fourth place a few hands later.
With the blinds up to 400,000/800,000 and their only obstacle to a chop now on the rail, the final three agreed to pause the action and discuss a deal. Here's how they stacked up at the time.
KingKong0815 - 33,110,024
PhiRi1 - 24,546,588
checkablint - 11,773,388
All three parties quickly agreed to an ICM chop and with $20,000 still up for grabs, cards went back in the air.
PhiRi1 soon chipped up to 27.6 million, only 900,000 chips behind KingKong0815. Holding A♠6♦, PhiRi1 made a min-raise to 1.6 million on the button and KingKong0815 defended his big blind. Both players checked the Q♥T♣7♣ flop, and when the 7♥ turned, KingKong0815 led out for 1,766,400. PhiRi1 called, and the T♥ hit the river. KingKong0815 fired another 3,391,488 and PhiRi1 looked him up. PhiRi1's ace kicker trounced KingKong0815's 8♣9♦ and he moved up to 35 million in chips.
PhiRi1 continued to climb as both KingKong0815 and checkablint's stacks dwindled. With the blinds up to 500,000/1,000,000, KingKong0815 three-bet shoved over checkablint's button min-raise and checkablint called, his A♦Q♦ dominating KingKong0815's A♣3♥. Checkablint flopped an ace-high flush and KingKong0815 stalked off in third place, earning a hefty $165,461.66 thanks to the deal.
Heads-up chip counts
Seat 6: PhiRi1 (42,783,676 in chips)
Seat 8: checkablint (26,646,324 in chips)
After a few trades of the blinds, PhiRi1 and checkablint got all the money in on a Q♠3♣2♥ flop. Preflop three-bettor checkablint led out for 6 million, PhiRi1 shoved and checkablint called with 8♠8♦. However, PhiRi1 turned over Q♣J♥ for top pair, leaving checkablint drawing to only two outs. The 5♦ turn missed checkablint, and the Q♦ river made PhiRi1 trip queens, giving him his first Sunday Million victory as well as his first major online title.
Congratulations to Belize's PhiRi1, our newest Sunday Million champion. He banked $177,217.96 for the win, while runner-up checkablint earned $135,836.08.
PokerStars Sunday Million results for 11-16-2014
Places paid: 990
1. PhiRi1 (Belize) $177,217.96*
2. checkablint (Norway) $135,836.08*
3. KingKong0815 (Germany) $165,461.66*
4. Bazeman11 (Mexico) $76,373.00
5. Luke "LFmagic" Fields (United Kingdom) $58,321.20
6. NotYetBust (Norway) $44,435.20
7. Run dat Game (Mexico) $30,549.20
8. rickL-UNIT (Netherlands) $16,663.20
9. Patonius2000 (United Kingdom) $10,761.65
Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.