Sunday Million: NNNXX marks the spot with a $180k score

Once again, the Sunday Million had the potential for a repeat champion. Among the final nine were two players who had grabbed the brass ring once before. Russia's uyra99 won the Million almost exactly five years ago, cashing out $254k on January 4, 2010, while Bernardo "bedias" Dias, had a more recent win, taking home $233k for his victory on March 23 of last year. However, both champions found the rail one after the other, leaving the five first-timers to duke it out. After a long, painstaking deal negotiation that split up the majority of the remaining prize pool, Portugal's NNNXX rode his chip lead to the winner's circle, banking $180,000 and capturing his first major online title.

As many in the PokerStars universe basked in the Bahamian sun at the PCA, 7,225 players bought in to this week's Sunday Million, pushing the prize pool up to a $1,445,000.00 total. 1,080 places were paid with first place taking home $216,750.00.

When the field dwindled to 45 players, kettlingur held a commanding chip lead with 6.34 million while fred_volpe occupied second place with 3.55 million. Kettlingur held on to the lead until two tables remained and dennishtm zoomed into the top spot with 18 million in chips after he eliminated rasek26 (17th) and tonny1976 (14th). As the final table bubble loomed, bedias fell to less than ten big blinds, but breathed a sigh of relief when fellow short stack AKLJ90 open-shoved for 2.12 million and was called by Mossos. AKLJ90's pocket fours didn't improve against Mossos's pocket sixes and he ended his run on the final table bubble.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: alina23a (14,012,892 in chips)
Seat 2: -demis-13 (4,434,756 in chips)
Seat 3: fred_volpe (7,860,072 in chips)
Seat 4: Mossos (9,572,129 in chips)
Seat 5: bedias (2,688,152 in chips)
Seat 6: dennishtm (12,285,856 in chips)
Seat 7: NNNXX (5,753,557 in chips)
Seat 8: uyra99 (11,048,693 in chips)
Seat 9: kettlingur (4,593,893 in chips)

Greece's -demis- 13 was the first to bust from the final table, and in quite unlucky fashion. All-in with J♥J♦ against dennishtm's 7♣7♥, -demis-13 watched as a seven hit the flop, making dennishtm a set of sevens. Ten minutes later, fred_volpe led out for 1,345,005 on a J♥3♥2♣ flop and NNNXX raised to 2.8 million. Fred_volpe shoved for 8.43 million and NNNXX called, his set of threes leading fred_volpe's 8♥9♥. Fred_volpe needed a heart but made a worthless two pair instead as the 9♠ and the 8♦ hit the turn and river, sending him to the rail in eighth place.

After eliminating fred_volpe, NNNXX took the chip lead with 19.7 million. By now, bedias was down to only 2.86 million with the blinds up to 250,000/500,000. With the action folded to him on the button, bedias open-shoved with Q♠T♥ and NNNXX called from the big blind with A♣3♣. Although bedias made top two when the flop fell Q♣T♦5♦, NNNXX hit running cards to make Broadway as the K♣ turned and the J♠ rivered. Bedias's run at a second Sunday Million title in less than a year came to an end with a seventh-place finish and a $31,067.50 consolation prize.

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Bernardo "bedias" Dias, seventh place

With the blinds up to 300,000/600,000, uyra99 open-shoved for his remaining 4.7 million and alina23a reshoved from the small blind with A♣K♣. Uyra99's J♠T♣ did not improve and our potential for a repeat champion evaporated as he exited in sixth place.

Following urya99's elimination, the final five players agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's how they stacked up when the music stopped:

NNNXX 26,143,480
alina23a 17,244,706
Mossos 14,702,634
dennishtm 7,643,608
kettlingur 6,515,572

The players requested ICM numbers to begin the negotiations and final table host Lex Veldhuis of PokerStars Team Online complied, supplying the following figures.

HostJoshuaC (Administrator): NNNXX:$150,831.68
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): alina23a:$133,459.49
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Mossos:$126,701.37
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): dennishtm:$101,014.59
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): kettlingur:$95,657.52
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $20,000.00

Mossos, kettlingur and dennishtm were all quick to agree to the proposed deal, but chip leader NNNXX wanted to see the chip count chop numbers as well. Although his opponents made it clear they would not accept a chip chop deal, NNNXX insisted at a look and Veldhuis complied.

HostJoshuaC (Administrator): NNNXX:$171,938.65
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): alina23a:$133,579.74
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Mossos:$122,621.93
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): dennishtm:$92,193.41
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): kettlingur:$87,330.92
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $20,000.00

Mossos, kettlingur, and dennishtm reiterated their desire for an ICM chop but NNNXX wasn't willing to settle. He offered to close the deal with a $165,000 share, a number that didn't sit well with anyone but him. Although the other four were willing to give up enough to get NNNXX to $155,000, he wouldn't budge.

NNNXX: can u give numbers with me getting 165k
kettlingur: hahahaha
L. Veldhuis (TeamOnline): zzz
Mossos: seriously whats wrong with you?

At last, kettlingur proposed that all four of them give up a small piece to get NNNXX's share up to $160,000-- otherwise, he was ready to put the cards back in the air. Veldhuis, a deft facilitator throughout the process, did the calculations and laid the following figures on the table:

HostJoshuaC (Administrator): NNNXX:$160,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): alina23a:$131,664.65
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Mossos:$122,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): dennishtm:$100,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): kettlingur:$94,000.00
HostJoshuaC (Administrator): Left To Play for place 1: $20,000.00

NNNXX finally accepted the deal and with all parties in agreement, the action resumed.

Alina23a quickly put a hurt on NNNXX when her 4♣5♣ turned a wheel. NNNXX called her turn and river bets only to watch the 18m pot shipped across the table. Alina23a moved up to 26.5 million and five hands later, eliminated dennishtm. All the money went in on a A♦Q♦6♣ flop and alina23a's A♣T♦ won the kicker war against dennishtm's A♠5♦, ending his run in fifth place.

A few hands later, Mossos opened for a min-raise to 1.2 million and kettlingur defended his big blind. Kettlingur check-called Mossos's 1,176,000 bet on the K♣8♠2♦ flop and checked again when the 5♥ turned. Mossos bet 2.4 million, kettlingur shoved and Mossos called all-in. Mossos's K♦7♥ was in dire shape against kettlingur's flopped two pair with K♥2♥ and the 3♦ river sent him home in fourth place.

As play turned three-handed, alina23a led with 31 million, kettlingur was second with 26.1 million and NNNXX was the short stack with 15.1 million. However, the tables were turned when NNNXX doubled on a coinflip vs. alina23a, his A♣J♥ rivering an ace against her pocket sixes. Alina23a plummeted to 11.7 million in chips and was down to 7.3 million when she open-shoved on the button with A♠3♥. Kettlingur called with 2♠2♣ and his baby pair hung on to win, the board running out K♥7♠5♥4♠T♥. For third place, alina23a took home a career-high score of $131,664.65.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 7: NNNXX (17,492,629 in chips)
Seat 9: kettlingur (54,757,371 in chips)

NNNXX quickly turned this lopsided match around, doubling through kettlingur when his K♣7♦ outpipped K♠6♠ on a K♥Q♦3♠K♦2♦ board. NNNXX moved up to 41.5 million while kettlingur fell to 30.7 million.

NNNXX kicked it into overdrive and chipped away at kettlingur, reducing his stack to 16.3 million before the final hand played out. Holding pocket sevens, NNNXX opened for 1.6 million, kettlingur shoved with Q♠J♥ and NNNXX quickly called. NNNXX's sevens held on the T♣5♦2♦ flop and turned a set with the 7♦ to lock up the Sunday Million title.

Congratulations to NNNXX on a hard-fought win! He banked $180,000 while runner-up kettlingur earned $94,000.

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PokerStars Sunday Million results for 1-11-2015

Players: 7,225
Prizepool: $1,445,000.00
Places paid: 1,080

1. NNNXX (Portugal) $180,000.00*
2. kettlingur (Iceland) $94,000.00*
3. alina23a (Romania) $131,664.65*
4. Mossos (Germany) $122,000.00*
5. dennishtm (Germany) $100,000.00*
6. uyra99 (Russia) $44,795.00
7. Bernardo "bedias" Dias (Brazil) $31,067.50
8. fred_volpe (Brazil) $17,340.00
9. -demis- 13 (Greece) $11,198.75

*= reflects the results of a five-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