Sunday Million: TroopTroop1 marches to victory, claims $234k

Germany's TroopTroop1 had a spectacular end of 2013 when he made the final table of WCOOP Challenge Series #5 and scored over $115k in a five-way deal. For most of us mere mortals, that's a once-in-a-lifetime score. However, only two weeks later, TroopTroop1 did it again... and for more than twice that amount. Standing in his way was tilt21sted, a Romanian on his second trip to the Sunday Million final table after finishing sixth back in April 2012. Although tilt21sted provided more than a few heart-stopping moments during their heads-up match, TroopTroop1 prevailed, adding another $234k to his bankroll and a Sunday Million title to his C.V.

While most of the PokerStars universe was firmly fixated on today's launch of the 2014 PCA, the Sunday Million had its first running of the year. A robust crowd of 8,666 flocked to the felt, creating a $1,733,200.00 prize pool. 1,260 players earned a share of it with first place set to earn $254,958.40. Eleven Red Spades were in the mix this week including ElkY, Nacho Barbero, Lex Veldhuis, Humberto Brenes and Jake Cody. Only one Team Pro cashed, however-- a former world champion who made his third top 150 finish in the last 11 months.

2009 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Cada made yet another deep run in the Million, having finished 13th and 34th last February and August respectively. This week, he ground his way into the top 150 before three-bet shoving his last ten big blinds with A♥Q♥ in the big blind. Initial min-raiser seraph0411 called and turned up pocket sixes. The T♣4♣2♥ flop was no help to Cada and the 6♣ turn left him drawing dead as seraph0411 made a set. The meaningless river was the K♠ and Cada was eliminated in 150th place.


Another deep run for Cada

With ten players remaining, blinds were up to 200,000/400,000. Short stack riversouza open-shoved his remaining 2.58 million from UTG and Leonmen44 called from the big blind with 7♣7♠. Despite turning a flush draw, Riversouza's 8♠9♠ did not improve on the J♥6♠2♥3♠T♥ board and he was eliminated on the final table bubble.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: TroopTroop1 (25,286,865 in chips)
Seat 2: Nelisschuif7 (8,585,818 in chips)
Seat 3: jude187 (6,251,957 in chips)
Seat 4: Gottonik (8,739,167 in chips)
Seat 5: Leonmen44 (7,894,516 in chips)
Seat 6: ertho435 (11,018,484 in chips)
Seat 7: tilt21sted (9,253,117 in chips)
Seat 8: fotis060105 (3,827,409 in chips)
Seat 9: matze_widi (5,802,667 in chips)

A tale of two coinflips

The final table had its first casualty on the third hand of play. Holding pocket jacks, matze_widi four-bet shoved for 7 million preflop and TroopTroop1 looked him up with K♣Q♠. TroopTroop1 paired his king on the flop and ended matze_widi's run in ninth place ($13,432.30) while increasing his massive stack to 31.8 million.

A short time later, jude187 met his tournament end. TroopTroop1 opened for a min-raise to 800,000, jude187 shoved for 3.53 million with A♦Q♦, Gottonik cold-called on the button with pocket eights and TroopTroop1 gave up his hand. It was another race situation, but one that was essentially decided on the K♠8♣2♠ flop. Gottonik made middle set and jude187 did not improve, exiting the final table in eighth place ($19,065.20).

Gottonik flushes out aces

With the blinds up to 250,000/500,000, Gottonik opened 7♠8♠ for 1,000,000 and short stack fotis060105 happily moved in for his last 3.1 million with A♦A♠. Gottonik called, but only hit a gutshot straight draw on the Q♦J♠9♣ flop. The 2♠ turn gave Gottonik more outs with a flush draw and the 4♠ river filled, it, snapping off fotis060105's pocket aces. Fotos060105 departed in seventh place ($34,664.00) while Gottonik moved up to 17.6 million in chips.

ertho435 can't escape

With the action folded around to the small blind, ertho435 looked down at A♣5♣ and moved all-in for 8 million. Unfortunately for him, tilt21sted woke up with A♦8♣ in the big blind. Ertho435 couldn't overcome his dominated hand and he was eliminated in sixth place, adding $51,996.00 to his bankroll.

Five for fighting

Following ertho435's elimination, the final five agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's how they stacked up at the time.

TroopTroop1 27,481,468
tilt21sted 22,962,267
Gottonik 19,444,319
Leonmen44 8,396,128
Nelisschuif7 8,375,818

Final table host Naoya "nkeyno" Kihara provided the players with both chip chop and ICM figures. While four of the five were amenable to an ICM chop, tilt21sted was looking for a share nearly $10,000 more than he was offered. After twenty minutes of negotiations, the parties were still far from an agreement and action resumed.

Once cards were back in the air, it wasn't long before one of the short stacks succumbed. With the action folded to him in the small blind, Leonmen44 open-shoved for 3.47 million with 7♦8♦ and tilt21sted called with 6♥6♦ in the big blind. Tilt21sted flopped a set of sixes and sent Leonmen44 to the rail in fifth place, good for $69,328.00.

TroopTroop1 pins down Gottonik

Still in the chip lead, TroopTroop1 continued his assault and took out Gottonik in a 53.8 million pot. Both players flopped top pair, but TroopTroop1 caught his kicker on the turn to escape domination and eliminate Gottonik in fourth place ($86,660.00).

Ready for round two?

With the final table down to three, TroopTroop1, tilt21sted and Nelisschuif7 decided to take another run at making a deal. Here's a look at their chip counts when the action paused a second time:

TroopTroop1 56,425,787
tilt21sted 18,438,395
Nelisschuif7 11,795,818

Despite a bit of grousing from tilt21sted, the players agreed to an ICM chop and with $20,000 still up for grabs for the winner, cards went back in the air.

Triple threat

Short stack Nelisschuif7 gained some ground when he doubled through tilt21stead, his pocket nines flopping a set vs. A♦2♣. Tilt21sted was left on only 5 million in chips, but doubled back up to 10 million on the next deal when his A♣K♠ held up against Nelisschuif7's A♦Q♦. Still on 19 million in chips, Nelisschuif7 broke through five hands later when he doubled through TroopTroop1, his T♥T♣ holding vs. K♠7♣. Once the dominant chip leader, TroopTroop1 was now only 2.5 million ahead of Nelisschuif7 with 39 million in chips to his 36.5 million.

TroopTroop1, however, was relentless in his approach and quickly ground back another 10 million before opening for a 3 million raise from the small blind. Nelisschuif7 three-bet to 6.75 million, TroopTroop1 shoved for 46.6 million and Nelisschuif7 called, his A♦J♥ dominating TroopTroop1's A♣7♠. It looked like a disastrous misstep for TroopTroop1... until the board ran out T♠5♦4♠6♣8♠ to make him an eight-high straight! Nelisschuif7 was suddenly on the rail in third place, his share of the deal good for a $160,659.50 payday.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 1: TroopTroop1 (73,714,846 in chips)
Seat 7: tilt21sted (12,945,154 in chips)

TroopTroop1 appeared to lose control early in this heads-up match. Tilt21sted doubled to 25.9 million on the first hand when his pocket sevens held vs. Q♠T♥, then doubled again on the second when pocket tens prevailed over Q♦J♠. For the first time, tilt21sted held the chip lead with 51.7 million while TroopTroop1 fell to 34.9 million.

It was back to the grind for TroopTroop1 and after winning back-to-back pots on the turn without a showdown, he was back up to 58.8 million in chips. Tilt21sted fought hard to reclaim the lead, but couldn't overcome his dominated hand on the final deal:

Congratulations to TroopTroop1 on his Sunday Million victory and a remarkable holiday season at the tables! He banked $234,028.30 for the win, while runner-up tilt21sted earned $176,579.60.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 1/4/2014

Players: 8,666
Prizepool: $1,733,200.00
Places paid: 1,260

1. TroopTroop1 (Germany) $234,028.30*
2. tilt21sted (Romania) $176,579.60*
3. Nelisschuif7 (Malta) $160,659.50*
4. Gottonik (Netherlands) $86,660.00
5. Leonmen44 (Russia) $69,328.00
6. ertho435 (Austria) $51,996.00
7. fotis060105 (Cyprus) $34,664.00
8. jude187 (Germany) $19,065.20
9. matze_widi (Germany) $13,432.30

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

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million