Sunday Million: gringenkov grabs first place, $169k, apestyles third again

Is it just me, or is the Sunday Million inspiring record feelings of deja vu as of late? Two weeks ago, Bernardo Dias fell just short of his third final table in the last 16 months. Earlier this year, Rob Tinnion won the Million for the second time in five months, and in February, Mads "Mr Longhit" Bertelsen made the final table in back-to-back weeks. Tonight, the list grew even longer as veteran MTT pro Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet made his second final table appearance in seven months, having finished third last December. Van Fleet arrived with the chip lead and maintained it until play turned three-handed. Brazil's gringenkov had been sniping at Van Fleet for the better part of the last hour and inched into the lead just in time to pick off a three-barrel bluff from Van Fleet and send him to the rail with another third-place finish. Gringenkov rode that momentum all the way to the winner's circle and took down his first major title, along with over $169k.

This week's Million drew 5,425 entries, resulting in a $1,085,000.00 prize pool. 810 places were paid, with first place set to earn $169,694.00.

The blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 with ten players remaining when tikidiii open-shoved for 2.14 million from the button. Schildy1984 reshoved from the small blind with 9♥9♣ and was in a race situation with tikidiii's K♠J♠. It was all but over when Schildy1984 hit top set on the 9♠7♣6♦ flop and the 9♦ turn sealed the deal, making him quad nines. Tikidiii went out in tenth place and sent us to the final table.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: Schildy1984 (4,927,635 in chips)
Seat 2: 0kshark (4,119,976 in chips)
Seat 3: Gabela666 (1,725,506 in chips)
Seat 4: H W D (12,004,194 in chips)
Seat 5: gringenkov (3,008,576 in chips)
Seat 6: apestyles (10,941,706 in chips)
Seat 7: skarpet2 (6,233,903 in chips)
Seat 8: ode-lael 77 (3,964,404 in chips)
Seat 9: wozzle9 (7,324,100 in chips)

Although Schildy1984 arrived at the final table with momentum on his side, he unfortunately fell victim to a cooler on Hand #3. Schildy1984 three-bet shoved for 4.07 million from the small blind with Q♥Q♦, only to run in to initial raiser ode-lael 77's K♣K♦. Schildy1984 did not improve and slipped to only 313,000 in chips. He committed it on the next hand with A♣6♠, but couldn't catch a break vs. apestyles's 4♠4♣ and went out in ninth place.

Five hands later, 0kshark opened for a min-raise to 500,000 and Gabela666 moved all-in for 1.12 million with A♥T♥. 0kshark's 8♥8♦ won the race on a J♣3♥2♦6♦K♠ board and Gabela666 exited in eighth place.

With the blinds up to 200,000/400,000, wozzle9 was down to his last 13 big blinds and facing a raise to 800,000 when he picked up K♣K♠. Wozzle9 moved in for 5.23 million from the small blind and H W D called with A♣T♥. The kings held through the turn on the Q♥T♣7♥J♠ board, but the K♦ proved to be the cruelest of river cards, making H W D a Broadway straight and ending wozzle9's run in seventh place. H W D moved up to 13.2 million in chips, good for second place behind apestyles's 16.3 million.

However, the balance was upset again only two hands later when ode-lael 77 open-shoved for 4.16 million. H W D flat-called on the button and gringenkov reshoved for 5.89 million from the small blind. Apestyles gave up the big blind and H W D called the additional 1.73 million.

ode-lael 77 8♣8♠
H W D A♦Q♠
gringenkov K♥K♠

Gringenkov flopped top set and turned kings full on the K♦6♠5♠6♦4♣ board, sending ode-lael 77 to the rail in sixth place and reducing H W D to 8.67 million in chips. Gringenkov took the chip lead with 16.6 million, while apestyles held 15.1 million. Then, only four hands later, skarpet2 opened for a min-raise to 800,000 and gringenkov three-bet to 1.78 million from the big blind. Skarpet2 shoved for 7.2 million and gringenkov snap-called with K♠K♥ yet again. Skarpet2's 9♥9♦ found no miracles on the board and he went out in fifth place while gringenkov climbed to 24.8 million.

0kshark was the short stack four-handed, but leapfrogged third-place H W D when he doubled through apestyles. In a blind-vs-blind pot, apestyles shoved for 13.5 million from the small blind with K♦2♠ and 0kshark called with A♣5♥ in the big. 0kshark's ace-high held up and he climbed to 10.44 million. Three hands later, it was apestyles's turn to make the same move. Gringenkov moved in for 27.4 million from the small blind and apestyles called with 7♦7♥ in the big. Apestyles's pocket sevens hung on vs. Q♦J♥ on an eight-high board and he doubled to 16.7 million.

Three hands after that, apestyles made it 1,015,000 to go from the cutoff and H W D shoved 7.64 million from the small blind. Apestyles called, his A♣Q♥ dominating H W D's A♦7♠. Apestyles flopped a queen and H W D hit the rail in fourth place.

As play turned three-handed, apestyles held the chip lead with 24.6 million, gringenkov was second with 18.4 million, and 0kshark was the short stack with 11.1 million.

Gringenkov took down two small pots without a showdown and edged out to a slight chip lead before a crucial hand unfolded. It started innocently enough, with a raise to 1,000,000 from gringenkov and a three-bet to 2.75 million from apestyles. Gringenkov called and the flop fall A♠6♦2♥. Apestyles continued for 2,145,000 and gringenkov called. The turn came the 4♥ and apestyles fired another 2,832,000. Again, gringenkov called. The river paired the board with the 4♦ and apestyles moved all-in for just over 12 million. Gringenkov had him covered by about 500,000 in chips and tanked until less than 20 seconds remained on his time bank. Gringenkov clicked call and tabled the A♣T♥ for aces up, successfully picking off apestyles's gutsy three-barrel bluff with K♥7♥. For the second time in seven months, Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet finished third in the Million, tonight's effort yielding an $89,349.75 payday.

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Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet, third place

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: 0kshark (11,579,964 in chips)
Seat 5: gringenkov (42,670,036 in chips)

0kshark started heads-up play at a 3.7 to 1 chip disadvantage, but went a long way toward closing the gap in the opening rounds. After picking off ode-lael 77 and skarpet2 with pocket kings, gringenkov got a taste of being on the receiving end of those cowboys when 0kshark called his check-shove on a 9♦3♦2♠ flop. Gringenkov's Q♠3♠ didn't improve any further and 0kshark moved up to 23.1 million, while he fell to 31 million. A few minutes later, 0kshark took the chip lead when gringenkov called his 2.2 million bet on a 9♦9♣7♦ flop, but folded for 4 million more when the 8♥ turned.

Gringenkov ground his way back to a slight lead when 0kshark picked up K♦K♠ again and rivered a full house in a 20 million pot to retake it. Gringenkov and 0kshark's stacks were neck and neck for most of the 400,000/800,000 level, before grinkenkov collected enough small pots to move out to the roughly 42 million he started heads-up play with.

Holding 7♠7♦, grinkenkov opened for a 1.6 million min-raise and 0kshark moved in for his remaining 12.44 million with Q♣9♣. Grinkenkov called, and it was a race for all the marbles... which ended with a flourish on the 7♣5♦5♠ flop, making grinkenkov sevens full. The turn and river landed the 4♦ and the 6♠ and grinkenkov, at last, had every chip in front of him.

Congratulation to Brazil's gringenkov on his first Sunday Million title! He banked $169,694.00 for the win while runner-up 0kshark earned $126,402.50.

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 7-19-2015

Players: 5,425
Prizepool: $1,085,000.00
Places paid: 810

1. gringenkov (Brazil) $169,694.00
2. 0kshark (Israel) $126,402.50
3. Jon "apestyles" Van Fleet (Canada) $89,349.75
4. H W D (Sweden) $61,302.50
5. skarpet2 (Poland) $46,112.50
6. ode-lael 77 (Israel) $35,262.50
7. wozzle9 (United Kingdom) $24,412.50
8. Gabela666 (Russia) $13.562.00
9. Schildy1984 (Austria) $8,680.00

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million