Sunday Million: Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen victorious, earns nearly $173K

This week's Sunday Million on PokerStars featured a lengthy build-up to the final table, with nearly 10-and-a-half hours needed for the big field of 5,528 participating in the $215 buy-in tournament to play down to just nine. But then things moved quickly, and in less than an hour those nine played down to a winner -- Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen.

Playing from Bulgaria, the Belgian Vandersmissen collected a cool $172,918.54 for winning the tournament outright without making a deal. It was a tough group he outlasted at the end as well, including Ken "kenny05" Smaron (runner-up), Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed (third), Rhys "floppinhel" Jones (sixth), among others. Here's the story of how Vandersmissen did it.


Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen

That big turnout meant a $1,105,600 prize pool, besting the $1 million guarantee. The top 810 finishers split the money, with Team PokerStars Pro Marcin "Goral" Horecki among those bubbling after finishing just over a dozen spots outside the cash.

By the time they were halfway through the tournament's eighth hour the field had shrunk below 100, with PoleCatRider in the top spot and Horecki's Team PokerStars Pro teammate Adi Agarwal sitting just outside the top 10.

About an hour after that they were down under 50 players left, with PolecatRider in fourth position, Agarwal having moved up to third, deivid29 (who just finished fifth in the most recent Super Tuesday) sitting in second, and Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen leading the way.

As the tourney approached the 10-hour mark they were down to 18 players, with deivid29 out in 31st ($2,377.04) and PolecatRider having just fallen in 19th ($2,708.72). Agarwal still had above average chips, though, while Rhys "floppinhel" Jones had become the new chip leader.

Nine more would fall rather quickly. D9e7J0aV8u (18th), turoguro (17th), and PaTo6ik (16th) next hit the rail, earning $3,261.52 apiece. ELNANU2015 followed in 15th, then after slipping a bit though still sitting with an average stack Adi Agarwal found himself all in before the flop with A♦Q♣ versus Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed's A♠K♠. The board came ten-high, and Agarwal was done in 14th.


Team PokerStars Pro Adi Agarwal

glissario followed in 13th, like the last two knocked out earning $4,919.92. Then Thomas "Min-raiseFTW" High (12th), May-yesh-beze (11th), and jason13-2008 (10th) were successively eliminated, with those three each cashing for $6,578.32.

With Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed having assumed the top spot in the counts, the final table was underway.


Seat 1: Rhys "floppinhel" Jones (United Kingdom) -- 9,344,369
Seat 2: MrJovelli (Latvia) -- 10,257,223
Seat 3: Ken "kenny05" Smaron (Costa Rica) -- 3,627,375
Seat 4: Player60598 (Germany) -- 1,470,756
Seat 5: Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed (United Kingdom) -- 11,415,440
Seat 6: Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen (Bulgaria) -- 6,723,672
Seat 7: Vocaaas (Czech Republic) -- 3,615,277
Seat 8: stackarn (Sweden) -- 1,900,266
Seat 9: grishanin121 (Ukraine) -- 6,925,622

On just the second hand of the final table, Player60598 opened with a 3x raise to 750,000 from the hijack seat, and Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed called from a seat over. It folded to stackarn in the big blind who three-bet all in for just over 1.85 million, and when Player60598 reraised all in over that for almost 3.45 million total, Syed -- who had both well covered -- called.

Player60598: A♣K♦
dancingbudha: 7♠7♦
stackarn: J♥J♠

The flop came a dazzling A♦A♠9♦, giving Player60598 trip aces and the lead in the hand. The turn was the 6♦ and the river the 9♣, and Player60598 won the big pot. Meanwhile stackarn was out in ninth.

A while later they were nearing the 11-hour mark with the blinds up to 200K/400K, then MrJovelli open-raised all in for almost 3.13 million from middle position and it folded around to Vocaaas in the big blind who called all in for almost 1.3 million total.

Vocaaas had 9♦8♦ and needed help against MrJovelli's J♣J♦, but the board came Q♥Q♣6♦A♦7♥ and Vocaaas was sent railward in eighth.

Four hands later Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen opened for a little over 2x to 860,000 from early position, and it folded to Ken "kenny05" Smaron in the small blind who called. Player60598 then shoved all in from the big blind for about 5.78 million, and while Vandersmissen folded Smaron called the push in a flash.

Player60598 had A♦8♥ but Smaron had been waiting with A♥A♣. The flop came 9♥6♦A♠ to give Smaron a set, and after the 3♦ turn Player60598 was drawing dead to finish seventh.

Just five minutes later Vandersmissen -- back in the chip lead -- open-shoved from the cutoff and Rhys "floppinhel" Jones called all in from the small blind for just over 7.9 million (not quite 20 big blinds). Jones had A♣Q♦ while Vandersmissen had 2♦2♠. The flop came T♣2♥9♣ to give Vandersmissen a set, and so by the 4♥ turn there was no river that could help Jones who finished sixth.


Rhys "floppinhel" Jones

The remaining five went on for a couple more minutes, then came two more knockouts in successive hands, both thanks to Ken "kenny05" Smaron.

In the first grishanin121 open-raised from the button for about 2.85 million (just under 6 BBs) with J♦5♦ and Smaron called with A♠T♥. The 2♥7♠2♣6♥6♦ board didn't help grishanin121, who finished fifth.

Then on the next hand Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen raised to 1,075,000 from UTG, MrJovelli shoved for about 5.82 million from the button, then Smaron called the shove from the small blind after which the remaining players folded.

MrJovelli had A♣T♥ but needed to hit something to beat Smaron's K♣K♥. The community cards did improve MrJovelli's hand, but while the T♦8♦K♦A♠6♠ board gave MrJovelli two pair it also gave Smaron a set of kings, and MrJovelli was done in fourth.

The final trio would play about 10 hands, then suddenly in the space of two hands it was all over.

First Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed open-pushed for about 6.2 million from the small blind (almost 12.5 BBs) and Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen called from the big blind. Syed had K♦3♠ while Vandersmissen had A♣7♦. The board came 9♦4♣Q♥, then 5♥, then Q♣, making Vandersmissen's hand best and ending Syed's run in third.

That gave Vandersmissen a stack of 31,105,612 and the lead versus Ken "kenny05" Smaron's 24,174,388 to start heads-up play. "Deal?" asked Vandersmissen in the chatbox, and Smaron responded "no ty gl." Vandersmissen returned the good luck wishes, but then suddenly a sequence of preflop raises made it clear there would be a big showdown in the first heads-up hand.

The blinds were still 250K/500K, and after Vandersmissen raised to 1.16 million from the button, Smaron three-bet to 2.87 million in response. Civell then made it 6.025 million to go, and when kenny05 then shoved all in, Vandersmissen called right away.

kenny05: A♥9♥
Civell: A♣Q♥

Both had picked up aces, but Vandersmissen's kicker was best, and after the board came T♥5♣T♣7♣T♦ the kickers played and Vandersmissen had won.


Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen

He's third on the all-time live tournament earnings money list for Belgium, behind only Davidi Kitai and November Niner Pierre Neuville. And now Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen has another big online score to his credit after topping this week's big Sunday Million field to turn a $215 buy-in into nearly $173K.

10/18/15 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants:  5,528
Prize pool: $1,105,600.00
Places paid: 810

1. Kevin "Civell" Vandersmissen (Bulgaria) $172,918.54
2. Ken "kenny05" Smaron (Costa Rica) $128,802.40
3. Nayeem "dancingbudha" Syed (United Kingdom) $91,046.16
4. MrJovelli (Latvia) $62,466.40
5. grishanin121 (Ukraine) $46,988.00
6. Rhys "floppinhel" Jones (United Kingdom) $35,932.00
7. Player60598 (Germany) $24,876.00
8. Vocaaas (Czech Republic) $13,820.00
9. stackarn (Sweden) $8,844.80

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million