Sunday Million: NHalabardzie nabs title, earns $192,500 for win

As usual, this week's Sunday Million was a marathon of a tournament, lasting more than 12 hours as another huge field of 6,809 worked all of the way down to a single player holding all of the chips at the end. And also as usual, it was punctuated by an exciting final table from which NHalabardzie of Poland emerged as this week's winner, earning a cool $192,500 for doing so following a heads-up deal.

Among the thousands already in their seats when the first hands were dealt at 14:30 ET was the newest Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville, with many watching him -- and his robotic crow with red laser eyes ready to advise him when to "CALL! CALL!" -- on the PokerStars Twitch channel.


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Amid talk of MMA, video games, turkey burgers, and lots of strategy, Somerville made it into the tournament's third hour before being felted in a hand against NotAgains, though soon after had jumped in another tournament as he continued the first of 70 straight days playing at least four hours a day.

The tournament had just crossed the five-hour mark when the money bubble burst and just 990 players remained. OffpoZition enjoyed the chip lead at that point, while the tournament's host and Team PokerStars Pro Online member Ike Haxton sat just inside the top 100.

Team PokerStars Pro Matthias "mattidm" de Meulder was still there as well albeit with a short stack, and he'd soon lose those chips to go out in 921st ($313.21). Haxton lasted a good while longer before finally being sent out in 368th ($517.48), with Full-Grown the player collecting the $215 bounty for taking out Ike.

Play continued, and they'd just hit the tourney's 10-hour mark when just 18 players remained. By then OffpoZition had fallen in 189th ($694.51) while one-time TCOOP champion üä-qaypö.wsx had become new chip leader with more than 11 million and ockimura the nearest challenger with just over 6 million.

It took almost an hour more for the next nine players to go, starting with sontilou (18th), MasterSpirit (17th), and 69sBigLick (16th), each of whom earned $3,813.04. aj1skies (15th), derping (14th), and F. Kadilac (13th) followed them to the rail, picking up $5,719.56 apiece. Then Royalize (12th), Chojjasd (11th), and ockimura (10th) successively were eliminated, all taking away $7,626.08 from the prize pool.

With NCRL1 having pushed ahead of üä-qaypö.wsx into first position and kry19kry not far behind, the final table was underway.


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Seat 1: üä-qaypö.wsx (Austria) -- 12,762,155
Seat 2: NCRL1 (Denmark) -- 13,112,466
Seat 3: PickyTooth (Canada) -- 4,137,330
Seat 4: kry19kry (Russia) -- 11,686,589
Seat 5: NHalabardzie (Poland) -- 7,834,946
Seat 6: 1Don'tStop1 (United Kingdom) -- 7,832,764
Seat 7: AVI-MBP (Israel) -- 2,886,648
Seat 8: mikki696 (Austria) -- 5,390,454
Seat 9: Noseblow (Sweden) -- 2,446,648

They played about an orbit more, then quickly three of the shorter stacks were knocked out within the space of a half-dozen hands, with Seats 9, 8, and 7 going out in ninth, eighth, and seventh, respectively.

First it was Noseblow open-pushing from middle position for just under 2.5 million (a little over six big blinds) with A♣Q♥, watching NHalabardzie reraise-shove from the small blind to isolate with 6♣6♦, then missing the board to go out in ninth.

Three hands after that mikki696 pushed from the small blind for a little under 4 million with A♠2♠, üä-qaypö.wsx called from the big blind with K♥J♣, and a jack came among the community cards to pair the latter and send mikki696 railward in eighth.

Then a couple of hands later AVI-MBP raised all in for about 1.56 million from middle position, NCRL1 reraised to 2.8 million from the button, and the blinds stepped aside. It was K♠Q♥ for AVI-MBP and A♣K♥ for NCRL1, and after the board rolled out jack-high AVI-MBP was ousted in seventh.

They'd play about 10 minutes more, during which stretch üä-qaypö.wsx slipped back to a below average stack of just over 6.5 million. Then came a hand that saw üä-qaypö.wsx open-pushing that stack from the cutoff and getting called by kry19kry in the big blind. üä-qaypö.wsx had picked up a pair with 7♣7♥, but so had kry19kry who flipped over the best starting hand in hold'em -- A♣A♠. The board came 3♣J♦3♦4♣8♣, and üä-qaypö.wsx was suddenly done in sixth.

It wasn't long after that hand that kry19kry opened with a 2x raise to 1 million from under the gun, 1Don'tStop1 called the raise from the button, then NCRL1 reraised all in for a little under 5 million from the small blind, earning folds back around to 1Don'tStop1 who called. NCRL1 had K♠Q♠ and 1Don'tStop1 J♦J♠, then a 5♠J♥T♥ flop gave 1Don'tStop1 a set of jacks and NCRL1 an open-ended straight-draw. The turn was the 5♦, however, filling a boat for 1Don'tStop1 and making the river moot as NCRL1 was done in fifth.

Soon they'd reached the break that came at the tourney's 11-and-a-half-hour mark, a half-hour of play having seen five players fall. By then NHalabardzie led with nearly 24.2 million, 1Don'tStop1 had moved into second position with about 16.1 million, kry19kry was third with just over 14 million, and PickyTooth fourth with a little under 13.8 million.

But with the blinds up to 300,000/600,000 with a 60,000 ante, no one was very deep-stacked anymore, something kry19kry noted when typing "lotto" in the chatbox during the break. NHalabardzie answered "deal?" and subsequent talk led to the tournament being paused in order to discuss that possibility.

Host Ike Haxton helped facilitate the presenting of both "chip chop" and ICM-based figures, leaving $20,000 for which to play in both cases. Both kry19kry and PickyTooth were amenable to the ICM numbers, but both NHalabardzie and 1Don'tStop1 were wanting more. No compromise could be reached, and after having added a few minutes to the scheduled break with the discussion, play again resumed.

Despite the shallow stacks, the remaining foursome almost made it to the 12-hour mark before kry19kry -- a one-time Women's Sunday champion -- open-pushed for almost 8 million (10 BBs) from the small blind with 9♣9♦ and NHalabardzie called from the big blind with K♣Q♥. The T♠K♥5♣ flop hit NHalabardzie's hand, and after a trey and deuce followed kry19kry was eliminated in fourth.

Not quite 10 minutes later PickyTooth limped in from the small blind, calling to 800,000, then from the big blind NHalabardzie raised to 2.4 million. PickyTooth responded with an all-in push for about 14.6 million and NHalabardzie called right away. PickyTooth had Q♣J♣ and NHalabardzie A♣T♠. The 2♠K♦5♦8♥4♣ board hit neither player, knocking PickyTooth out in third.

One hand later the tournament was paused again for some deal talk, with NHalabardzie at that point leading with just under 42 million to 1Don'tStop1's almost 26.2 million. Numbers were produced ("chip chop" and ICM being the same for heads-up), again with $20K set aside for which to play -- $174,118.05 for NHalabardzie and $166,218.01 for 1Don'tStop1.

1Don'tStop1 wanted a little more, or rather his backer did as the subsequent chat showed:

1Don'tStop1: Backer says 168k lol
1Don'tStop1: is that cool with you?
NHalabardzie: i have a chip lead 167 for you
1Don'tStop1: I play HU regularly, and backer wont take less than 168 sorry, not up to me
1Don'tStop1: he says 168 or play
NHalabardzie: 1 sec
NHalabardzie: 167.5
NHalabardzie: im playing hu as well
1Don'tStop1: lol, it's really not up to me :(
1Don'tStop1: he said 168 and i cant change that
1Don'tStop1: so point in you gambling for like 50k over $500 difference
1Don'tStop1: no*
NHalabardzie: i moment
NHalabardzie: one*
1Don'tStop1: take your time :)
NHalabardzie: 172.5 for me
NHalabardzie: dont be rude ;)
1Don'tStop1: Yeah he says that's cool, since you're being nice :) That ok ike?
1Don'tStop1: gg by the way, gl
NHalabardzie: u2
NHalabardzie: gl!

The deal was made official, and play again resumed.

In all the pair would play 18 hands total against one another, and while 1Don'tStop1 would narrow the lead and nearly even the score at one point, NHalabardzie would never quite give up the advantage. Finally, after NHalabardzie had built back up over 41 million to the 26.7 million of 1Don'tStop1, the last hand took place.

It began with a just-over-2x raise to 2.2 million from the button by 1Don'tStop1, with NHalabardzie calling. The flop came 2♦T♦A♠, and after NHalabardzie checked 1Don'tStop1 continued for 1,564,000. NHalabardzie responded by check-raising to 4.25 million, 1Don'tStop1 made it 7 million even, NHalabardzie pushed all in, and 1Don'tStop1 called with the chips left behind.

NHalabardzie: 2♣2♥
1Don'tStop1: A♦9♦

1Don'tStop1 had flopped top pair of aces and the nut-flush draw while NHalabardzie had a set of deuces. The turn was the J♥ and 1Don'tStop1 was still drawing live, but the river was the 6♣ and it was all over -- NHalabardzie had won.

Congratulations to NHalabardzie for taking down this week's Sunday Million to earn a handsome $192,500 first prize, and kudos as well to 1Don'tStop1 for making it to the heads-up deal to ensure a nice payday of $167,836.06.

3/1/15 Sunday Million ($215 No-Limit Hold'em) results
Entrants:  6,809
Prize pool: $1,361,800.00
Places paid: 990

1. NHalabardzie (Poland) -- $192,500.00*
2. 1Don'tStop1 (United Kingdom) -- $167,836.06*
3. PickyTooth (Canada) -- $108,944.00
4. kry19kry (Russia) -- $74,899.00
5. NCRL1 (Denmark) -- $57,195.60
6. üä-qaypö.wsx (Austria) -- $43,577.60
7. AVI-MBP (Israel) -- $29,959.60
8. mikki696 (Austria) -- $16,341.60
9. Noseblow (Sweden) -- $10,553.95

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


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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Million