Sunday Million: Second time's the $140K charm for dimjyri

It's not every day you make the final table of the Sunday Million. And it's even less frequent that you get a second chance to win it after someone else took that honor the first time around. This week's installment of the tournament saw exactly that. Greek player dimjyri got a first chance back in November 2013, finishing in fifth place as martyyy went on to the win. This week dimjyri made good on a second opportunity, surviving an up-and-down ride at the final table to earn a new career-best prize.

The tournament kicked off at 2:30 p.m. ET and drew a total field of 7,104 players by the time late registration ended. That was good for a $1,420,800 total prize pool, with the top 1,080 players collecting at least $298.36. The scheduled first-place prize was more than 700 times higher at $213,124.92. A four-way deal at the final table would make the final winner's prize a bit smaller, but at six figures it was still a bankroll-changing sum for just about anybody who plays poker.

Two of the Red Spade brigade made runs into the money that were cut short of the glory. Team Challenger Stavros "IDOLLS" Kalfas cashed out in 715th place ($383.61), while Team PokerStars Pro's Christophe De Meulder held on until 148th ($866.68). They and all but nine of the other players in the tournament were knocked out by 1:10 a.m. ET, when the blinds and antes were at 150K/300K/30K and these survivors prepared to fight over the top prize:

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Seat 1: Adamtoots (5,470,806 in chips)
Seat 2: NaudLimit (7,082,077 in chips)
Seat 3: dimjyri (13,237,794 in chips)
Seat 4: MRCOLLE (12,112,706 in chips)
Seat 5: ImWithSumo (4,140,677 in chips)
Seat 6: Faustideo (4,913,656 in chips)
Seat 7: 4QuietSTorm4 (6,972,411 in chips)
Seat 8: afroditaluna (7,190,751 in chips)
Seat 9: BigTurtle11 (9,919,122 in chips)

Bolting out of the gate

As the owner of the final table's shortest stack with a little more than 16 big blinds, Finland's ImWithSumo was looking for action and found it on Hand #6. The Finn moved all-in for 3.5M from the cutoff, holding A♠ T♦, and one isolating re-raise later was heads-up against Canada's 4QuietSTorm4, who held J♦ J♣. The 6♥ 8♥ 9♠ flop gave ImWithSumo a gutshot straight draw for outs to go with the three aces in the deck, but the 3♣ turn and 2♥ river were no help and ImWithSumo was out in 9th place ($11,011.20).

Portugal's Faustideo was in similarly dire straits on Hand #14 and seized the opportunity for a steal, three-betting all-in for 4.3M on the button after Brazilian player MRCOLLE had opened for 600K in the cutoff. The original raiser got out of the way and left Faustideo heads-up after Croatia's afroditaluna jammed in the small blind, and the former's K♠ J♣ was racing afroditaluna's T♣ T♥. Faustideo cleared the hurdle on the 4♠ J♦ 6♣ and held on as the rest of the board came 9♦ 5♦, doubling to 9.6M.

Two hands later the blinds rose to 200K/400K with a 40K ante, and afroditaluna, crippled by the loss with the tens, shoved on the button with Q♣ 9♣. The United Kingdom's BigTurtle11 isolated from the big blind with K♥ Q♥, which fell behind on the flop but caught up on the river of the 9♦ J♥ 7♦ 7♥ T♦ board, making a king-high straight. That topped afroditaluna's two pair, nines and sevens, and sent the Croatian player packing in 8th place ($17,049.60).

MRCOLLE on a roll

Chip leader MRCOLLE took over the proceedings for the next orbit and a half, starting with Hand #19. That pot, worth 4.8M, was taken down uncontested after calling Faustideo's under-the-gun raise and then check-raising on the 3♦ T♠ J♠ flop. Six of the next 10 pots also went to MRCOLLE uncontested and the Brazilian stacked up to 23.8M, more than twice as much as anyone else at the table.

That lead expanded further on Hand #29 after MRCOLLE opened for 800K under the gun and Canada's NaudLimit moved all-in for 4.6M from the big blind. MRCOLLE trailed with A♣ J♠ against NaudLimit's Q♣ Q♠, but only until the flop fell A♦ 2♣ 9♠. Only another queen would help, but the turn and river came 2♦ 5♥ and NaudLimit left the tournament in 7th place ($30,547.20).

MRCOLLE stacked up 28.1M thanks to that win. In second place was dimjyri with 12M, and the Greek took a small bite out of the leader's stack on the next hand. After dimjyri raised in the small blind before the flop and led on the A♦ 3♥ 2♠ flop, MRCOLLE called, but another bet on the 8♣ turn gave dimjyri the 3.8M-chip pot.

The very next hand saw another short-stacked player jam before the flop. This time it was Australia's Adamtoots, who moved in for 1.8M from the cutoff with A♥ 7♦ after BigTurtle11 opened for 800K in middle position. dimjyri was holding Q♣ Q♥ and four-bet on the button to isolate. The bet got BigTurtle11 out of the way, and the queens held up on the Q♠ T♠ 7♣ 5♣ 6♣ board to eliminate Adamtoots in 6th place ($44,044.80).

Slowdown at five

In just 25 minutes of final table play, 31 hands had come and gone and the field had been shrunk from nine to five. The chip counts had shifted significantly from where they'd begun:

Seat 3: dimjyri (17,442,600 in chips)
Seat 4: MRCOLLE (26,043,045 in chips)
Seat 6: Faustideo (9,165,050 in chips)
Seat 7: 4QuietSTorm4 (10,363,088 in chips)
Seat 9: BigTurtle11 (8,026,217 in chips)

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There would not be another elimination for a relatively long while, considering how the first half hour of the final table had progressed. But there was plenty of action. Most of it transpired at dimjyri's expense. The Greek player dropped from 17.4M to 7.1M through a combination of losses to BigTurtle11 and the erosive power of the 300K/600K/60K blinds and antes.

Then on Hand #55 the action folded to dimjyri in the small blind and the Greek player jammed for 6.3M, holding A♦ 4♣. The timing could have been worse, but not by much, as MRCOLLE called in the big blind with A♠ 9♣. A pair of fours materialized when the board came J♥ 3♥ 5♥ 4♠ 7♠, though, and dimjyri survived to stack back up to 13M.

dimjyri dropped back down to 9.1M following a loss with second pair to MRCOLLE's top pair on a Q♥ T♦ 4♠ 9♠ T♠ board, but the next inflection point came on Hand #63. That's when Faustideo shoved for 6.3M, just over 10 big blinds, on the button with K♠ T♣. BigTurtle11 called in the big blind with 9.5M behind and A♠ 7♥ in the hole, then made a pair of aces when the board came down 5♥ 9♠ 4♥ 3♣ A♣. Faustideo didn't improve, and the Portuguese player was gone in 5th place ($58,252.80).

Time for a deal

Just five hands after the field was reduced to four, the remaining players agreed to look at a potential deal based on these counts:

Seat 3: dimjyri (12,159,200 in chips)
Seat 4: MRCOLLE (16,945,445 in chips)
Seat 7: 4QuietSTorm4 (21,117,088 in chips)
Seat 9: BigTurtle11 (20,818,267 in chips)

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As soon as host Fredy "sirfreddy83" Torres presented the ICM numbers they all accepted. With $20,000 left on the table for the champion, play resumed - and short-stacked dimjyri immediately climbed out of the cellar. Sitting in the small blind, the Greek called a pre-flop raise to 1.2M by BigTurtle11 and another 1.5M on the 8♠ Q♦ 6♦ flop before leading for 2.1M on the 6♠. That bet won the pot and boosted dimjyri to 16.2M, good for third place just ahead of MRCOLLE's 15.6M.

Four hands later the Greek player was involved in the next showdown. 4QuietSTorm4 opened the betting with a raise to 1.2M under the gun, then called dimjyri's small blind raise to 3M to take a 4♣ 4♠ 8♣ flop. dimjyri immediately moved in for 12.3M and 4QuietSTorm4 called, showing K♣ Q♣ for king high with a whole bundle of outs. dimjyri's T♦ T♠ was in the lead, though, and stayed there as the turn and river came J♠ 8♠, doubling the Greek's stack to 31.6M.

4QuietSTorm4 was left with 9M chips, or 15 big blinds. But while the Canadian player waited for an opening, the other players took turns picking up pots. Finally 4QuietSTorm4 was on the button with T♥ 8♥ and moved all-in for 5.6M, only to have BigTurtle11 call in the small blind with 9♦ 9♣. A two-out straight draw emerged for 4QuietSTorm4 by the turn with the board reading K♥ 4♣ J♣ Q♠, but it died out on the 3♠ river, ending the Canadian's run in 4th place ($142,390.68).

With that pot, BigTurtle11 held the lead three-handed at 31.6M chips. dimjyri was in the middle with 23M, and MRCOLLE trailed both with 16.3M. Two hands later, both of the bigger stacks picked up hands they were ready to go all the way with. Holding A♠ T♣, dimjyri opened the betting on the button for 1.6M and then moved all-in after BigTurtle11 re-raised to 10M. BigTurtle11 called and was ahead in the race with 7♣ 7♥, but only until the T♠ K♥ 5♠ flop gave dimjyri a pair of tens. The 3♥ turn and Q♣ river didn't change anything, and suddenly dimjyri was the leader with 45.5M.

BigTurtle11 was left with 8.9M but managed to chip up to 17M two hands later when 4♦ 4♠ held up against dimjyri's A♥ 4♥ on a 9♦ T♣ 6♥ 4♣ T♠ board. Then BigTurtle11 picked up another big pot to get to heads-up - though this one was against MRCOLLE. BigTurtle11 opened the pot for 1.6M on the button, then called after the Brazilian moved all-in for 14.4M in the big blind. BigTurtle11's A♦ Q♠ stayed ahead of MRCOLLE's K♠ 2♠ through the river of the 2♥ Q♣ J♣ 4♣ J♥ board, sending the Brazilian to the rail in 3rd place ($133,775.24).

One long duel

With only two players left, the gap between them was just a touch over two big blinds:

Seat 3: dimjyri (34,674,845 in chips)
Seat 9: BigTurtle11 (36,365,155 in chips)

The equity of the chip stacks carried over into the final duel, where the last $20,000 of the prize pool remained to be distributed. It would end up taking 129 hands to decide who would walk away with it and the Sunday Million title, a testament to how balanced the two players were.

BigTurtle11 moved ahead in the early going, hitting bottom pair on the river of a 5♥ 5♦ T♠ K♦ 3♣ board with J♠ 3♠ after having raised before the flop, bet the flop, and raised dimjyri's 1.6M-chip bet to 4.9M on the turn. Both players checked the river, and dimjyri's Q♦ J♦ lost out, dropping the Greek's stack to 27.6M. BigTurtle11 managed to hold onto that lead for another 35 hands as the binds and antes rose to 500K/1M/100K.

The two stacks ended up back where they began by Hand #60 of heads-up play, before dimjyri rattled off six straight wins. The largest of them was worth 12.4M, won after raising to 3M out of position before the flop, betting 3.1M when it came 8♦ 2♥ 5♣, and moving in for 27M on the T♣ turn. BigTurtle11 folded and dimjyri moved up to 39.4M, before finishing the six-hand run with 47.3M.

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The Greek almost put things away after that, expanding the lead over the next 26 hands before picking up K♣ K♦. BigTurtle11 picked up A♥ T♠ on the same hand and limped in before three-betting all-in for 16.2M over the top of dimjyri's raise. The Greek called but was outdrawn on the J♦ 9♠ A♦ 2♣ 6♥ board, narrowing the gap between the two players to just five big blinds.

BigTurtle11 briefly seized the lead a short while afterward, but dimjyri moved back in front by 26M chips with another six-pot winning streak. That was the boost the Greek player needed to make a final push, leveraging the chip lead until BigTurtle11's stack had been whittled down to just 14.1M.

That's where BigTurtle11 sat as the final hand began, and the player from the U.K. called a minimum raise to 2.4M from the big blind to see a 3♦ 9♦ 5♦ flop. Both players checked, and BigTurtle11 check-called 5M on the A♥ turn to bring the 2♠ on the river. dimjyri moved all-in and BigTurtle11 called, showing A♦ 6♥ for top pair with a six kicker. But dimjyri turned over A♠ Q♥ for the same pair of aces, only with a queen kicker, bringing the tournament to an end nearly 12 and a half hours after it began.

BigTurtle11 walked with $141,836.70 in second place, a new career best that tops a previous $62K runner-up finish in a PLO tournament back in May. As for champion dimjyri, the post-deal comeback from a short stack earned the extra $20K on the table, making for a total prize of $140,902.39. That's also a new career best for the Greek, topping that $63K fifth-place finish in the Sunday Million last November. Congratulations to both players for coming out ahead of a huge field to earn those big paydays!

11/2/14 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants: 7,104
Prize pool: $1,420,800
Places paid: 1,080

1. dimjyri (Greece) $140,902.39*
2. BigTurtle11 (United Kingdom) $141,836.70*
3. MRCOLLE (Brazil) $133,775.24*
4. 4QuietSTorm4 (Canada) $142,390.68*
5. Faustideo (Portugal) $58,252.80
6. Adamtoots (Australia) $44,044.80
7. NaudLimit (Canada) $30,547.20
8. afroditaluna (Croatia) $17,049.60
9. ImWithSumo (Finland) $11,011.20
* - denotes results of a four-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million