Sunday Million: Langben1 leads the way, banks $164k after a seven-way deal

Any number of factors can motivate a final table deal. Most of the time, it's a way for players to mitigate risk when stacks grow short relative to the blinds. With tens of thousands on the line with every pay jump, why leave it all to one board runout? In big-money situations like the Million, heads-up and even three-way deals are common. Even four and five way deals aren't all that strange. But for seven players to see eye-to-eye long enough to distribute nearly $580,000 in prize money? That's a rarer bird. Throw in the fact that four of those seven players held less than ten big blinds vs. a fairly dominant chip leader and it's more like a UFO sighting. Inside of twenty minutes tonight, a seven-handed deal was struck that provided a top-heavy payout for the two largest stacks and left the five shorter stacks to gamble it up in the home stretch. Between them, Langben1 and j240585 knocked out four of the five and played a lively heads-up match that saw several lead changes. However, Langben1 roared back and reclaimed the top spot he held for nearly the entire final table as he shipped his first Sunday Million title and $164,000.00.

The first Sunday Million of December drew 5,686 players and saw the prize pool top out at $1,137,200.00. 810 places were paid with first place set to earn $177,860.78.

On the final table bubble, the blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 and seven of the ten players left held less than 10BB. Big stack j240585 was at a table with four of those short stacks and open-shoved from UTG to apply maximum pressure. QC90 called all-in for 1.2 million from the small blind and turned over 7♣7♠... only to be shown 8♣8♥. J240585 made a set of eights on the A♠8♦2♣ flop and rivered eights full of aces, sending QC90 to the rail in tenth place, and the nine remaining to the final table.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: J. D. Daan (4,938,744 in chips)
Seat 2: katala 2202 (2,403,252 in chips)
Seat 3: 107ofClubs (1,221,874 in chips)
Seat 4: papiksp (2,101,108 in chips)
Seat 5: Bespont (1,487,006 in chips)
Seat 6: niclassen18 (2,130,738 in chips)
Seat 7: Langben1 (22,405,760 in chips)
Seat 8: Henke_77 (2,245,396 in chips)
Seat 9: j240585 (17,926,122 in chips)

Three short stacks managed to double up within the first four hands. On Hand #1, Katala 2202's A♥K♥ held up against Langben1's A♦7♠ to take his stack up to 5 million, and on the next deal Henke_77 also doubled through Langben1, his K♥J♥ flopping trip kings and turning kings full of jacks vs. A♣Q♣. However, Henke_77 turned over most of those chips two hands later when Bespont's A♦9♥ held up against Q♥T♣. Henke_77 was left with less than 2 million and raised all-in on a A♣7♣6♦ flop two hands later. J240585 called and turned over Q♣2♣ for a flush draw while Henke_77 revealed A♠T♣ for top pair. Unfortunately for Henke_77, j240585 turned his flush with the K♣, sending him to the rail in ninth place. Then, on the next deal (Hand #7 if you're counting), 107ofClubs open-shoved for his remaining 616,874 and J.D. Daan called from the small blind. J.D. Daan's A♦6♦ turned a pair of sixes against 107ofClubs's unimproved K♥9♦ and ended his run in eighth place.

With seven left and four of those seven holding less than ten big blinds, the remaining players made a pretty unusual decision. Rather than hold off until the short stacks busted, they agreed to pause the action and discuss a seven-handed deal. Here's how they stacked up at the time:

Langben1 (22,800,167 in chips)
j240585 (18,965,853 in chips)
J. D. Daan (7,561,618 in chips)
katala 2202 (2,936,504 in chips)
Bespont (1,904,012 in chips)
niclassen18 (1,735,738 in chips)
papiksp (956,108 in chips)

Final table host Luka "LukaSteel" Kovac provided the players with ICM and chip chop numbers as a starting point for negotiations. The chip chop numbers were a non-starter, as they guaranteed chip leader Langben1 first-place money and potentially more with the required $20,000 left in play. Naturally, the short stacks were ready to accept the ICM deal, but big stacks j240585 and Langben1 required a raise from their ICM shares. Langben1 was willing to close at $144k and j240585 required $135k. Now it was just a matter of what the short stacks were willing to give up in order to reach those numbers. J.D. Daan started the ball rolling by relinquishing $7k from his share. Niclassen18 gave up $4k, papiksp gave up $4k, and Bespons and katala gave up $5k each. It was enough to get Langben1 and j240585 to their target numbers and the seven-handed deal closed with the following shares to be awarded:

HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Langben1:$144,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): j240585:$132,320.74
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): J. D. Daan:$85,681.48
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): katala 2202:$60,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Bespont:$50,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): niclassen18:$48,974.07
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): papiksp:$38,145.51
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $20,000.00

Papiksp definitely got the best of the deal, his 3.2 big blind stack yielding him about $1,200 more than sixth-place money. For his 5.8BB stack, niclassen18 locked up slightly better than fifth-place money. However, neither of them were first to bust when cards went back in the air. Those honors belonged to Bespont, who three-bet shoved for 1.84 million with A♥T♥. Initial raiser katala 2202 called with A♦K♦ and made two pair on the A♣9♣8♠J♠K♥ board. For his seventh-place finish, Bespont took home an even $50,000.00.

Two hands later, papiksp open-shoved for 836,000 from UTG and j240585 called with T♣T♥. Papiksp turned over 4♠8♠ and although he flopped an eight, papiksp did not improve any further. For sixth place, he earned $38,145.51.

The blinds were up to 200,000/400,000 when a preflop raising war broke out between katala 2202 and Langben1. Katala 2202 put in the final raise, a five-bet shoved for 5.99 million and Langben1 called. It was a classic race, katala 2202's pocket tens against A♦K♦, and although the pocket pair held up on the 3♦2♠2♥ flop, the A♠ turned to give the lead to Langben1. The river blanked with the 4♦ and katala 2202 departed in fifth place, earning $60,000.00 for his troubles.

Five hands later, niclassen18 made his last stand, open-shoving for 2.77 million with A♠T♠. Langben1 called with an inferior A♥5♦, but hit a stroke of luck when the flop fell A♣6♥5♥, giving him aces and fives. Niclassen18 did not catch up and went out in fourth place ($48,974.07).

When play turned three-handed, Langben1 was still the chip leader with 31.7 million, j240585 was second with 17.9 million and J.D. Daan was the short stack with 7.2 million. However, J.D. Daan did not hang on for much longer. In a pot where J.D. Daan limped in from the small blind and Langben1 checked his option, the flop camed down T♦7♣7♥. J.D. Daan check-called Langen1's 425,555 bet and checked again when the 9♦ turned. Langben1 bet 761,577 and J.D. Daan called. The river was the T♥ and J.D. Daan checked a third time. Langben1 moved all-in and J.D. Daan called all-in for less and turned over 7♠8♠ for sevens full, but Langben1 had the superior full house with 9♣T♣ for tens full of nines. J.D. Daan departed in third place, his share of the deal totaling $85,681.48.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 7: Langben1 (36,659,539 in chips)
Seat 9: j240585 (20,200,461 in chips)

J240585 quickly closed the gap between the chip counts in a pot Langben1 three-bet preflop. Langben1 fired 2,498,300 on the 8♠7♠6♥ flop and another 4,125,500 when the 4♦ turned, j240585 calling him down on both streets. The Q♠ hit the river and Langben1 decided to slow down and check. J240585 seized the opportunity to be 10,871,661 and Langben1 gave up his hand as j240585 took down the 19 million pot without a showdown. Langben1 fell to 26,9 million in chips while j240585 increased his stack to 29.9 million.

J240585 raked in another huge pot when his J♠3♥ turned trip threes on a 3♦6♥T♠3♠ board. Langben1 called his turn raise to 3.25 million and checked when the A♦ came on the river. J240585 bet 6.5 million and Langben1 called, only to be shown the bad news. With that 22.1 million pot, j240585 vaulted to 40.3 million while Langben1 sank to 16.5 million.

Langben1 set about rebuilding his stack and had chipped up to 21.2 million when he looked down at A♥Q♦ and raised to 1.05 million. J240585 three-bet to 3 million, Langben1 four-bet to 5,987,222 and j240585 called. The rest of their chips went in on the Q♣T♦6♣ flop, j240585 check-raising to 20 million and Langben1 calling all-in for his remaining 10.9 million. J240585 turned up K♠Q♠ and was outkicked, as Langben1 doubled to 42.3 million.

J240585 wasn't done by any means and three hands later, he doubled to 29 million when his A♦K♠ flopped trip aces vs. Langben1's 6♠T♠. The counts were nearly even again and it could have been a long grind to the finish. However, j240585 picked up 8♥8♣ and opened for 1.76 million. Langben1 three-bet to 4,575,000, j240585 shoved and Langben1 called, revealing A♠J♠. It was a race for nearly everything in play and our finalists waited with bated breath as the flop came down K♠8♠2♦. J240585 made a set of eights, but Langben1 still had outs with the nut flush draw. One of those outs, the T♠, came on the turn and the 9♣ river locked up the 56.1 million pot for Langben1.

J240585's last 757,000 went in on the next hand with K♠T♠ and Langben1 turned over 4♥7♦. The king-ten held through the turn on the 9♦3♦3♠6♠, but Langben1 hit the 7♣ on the river to make a pair of sevens and lock up the title.

Congratulations to Sweden's Langben1 on joining the ranks of Sunday Million champions! He banked $164,000.00 for the win, while runner-up j240585 earned $132,320.74.

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PokerStars Sunday Million results for 12-6-2015

Players: 5,686
Prizepool: $1,137,200.00
Places paid: 810

1. Langben1 (Sweden) $164,000.00*
2. j240585 (Germany) $132,320.74*
3. J.D. Daan (Ukraine) $85,681.48*
4. niclassen18 (Faroe Islands) $48,974.07*
5. katala 2202 (Russia) $60,000.00*
6. papiksp (Brazil) $38,145.51*
7. Bespont (Russia) $50,000.00*
8. 107ofClubs (Netherlands) $14,215.00
9. Henke_77 (Sweden) $9,097.60

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

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million