Monday Million: iyisinabi tops four-way deal for $440K (12-26-16)

With Christmas Day landing on Sunday this year, the Sunday Million was postponed for a day - but in classic PokerStars fashion, the prize pool was doubled to $2,000,000. Dubbed the Monday Million, the event drew a field of players larger than the last month's worth of Sunday Million fields, setting up a scheduled first-place prize of close to half a million life-changing dollars. After 14 hours of poker a table of five Europeans, three South Americans, and one New Zealander convened, and after another two hours, including half an hour of negotiations - one German player walked away with $440,000 at the end of one of the richest online poker tournaments of 2016.


The Monday Million's already remarkable guarantee was shattered before the first hands of the day were ever dealt. In the end, three hours of late registration brought the total field up to a stunning 23,697 players, good for a $4,739,400 prize pool. The top 3,941 players would share in the cash starting about four and a half hours in, but there was a long, hard grind ahead to earn the big money waiting up top.

The field dwindled slowly - from 2,672 players remaining after five hours, to 1,305 left an hour after that, until there were 118 players left at the 10-hour mark. Colombia's Ospinav held the second-largest chip stack at that point and would remain at or near the top spot over the next four hours, joined at different points by Russia's Mars161 and Di Klu and Brazil's ohanaaa. All four of those players were among the final 10 who went on break at five minutes before 4 a.m. ET.

After returning it took another 33 minutes of hand-for-hand play before the bubble popped. Brazil's Kenshinznho called all-in with pocket jacks after fellow Brazilian kopakabritu opened all-in with A♦ Q♥. An ace on the river sent Kenshinznho packing, setting the lineup of one of 2016's richest final tables:

Seat 1: psycho_ginga (8,140,760 in chips)
Seat 2: ohanaaa (22,090,496 in chips)
Seat 3: vedholm (4,122,846 in chips)
Seat 4: kopakabritu (54,607,404 in chips)
Seat 5: iyisinabi (67,466,534 in chips)
Seat 6: Di Klu (16,344,560 in chips)
Seat 7: Mars161 (2,778,882 in chips)
Seat 8: MADnesS100 (52,865,552 in chips)
Seat 9: Ospinav (8,552,966 in chips)

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With the blinds and antes at 600K/1.2M/120K, nearly half the table was short-stacked, and the action moved along as quickly as one would expect in such a situation. The most desperate of the short stacks, Mars161, folded for most of the first orbit before calling all-in for less than a big blind with K♥ Q♠. iyisinabi had opened with 7♠ 6♠ to clear out the rest of the field and made two pair on the 6♣ Q♦ 8♥ 7♣ 2♦ board, knocking Mars161 out in ninth.

vedholm looked to be the next out two hands later after shoving with Q♠ 8♠ in the small blind and getting a call from SCOOP 2016 Low finalist kopakabritu, who held T♣ T♥. But two queens on the flop gave vedholm a double to 17.5M chips instead. Two hands later psycho_ginga shoved with A♦ A♥ in the hijack seat and got action fro Di Klu, who had K♠ 8♣ in the big blind. The 3♣ 3♠ 3♥ 6♦ 2♥ board brought no surprises, moving psycho_ginga out of the cellar.

Di Klu lost to another short stack on the next hand, dropping a pot with K♥ 8♥ to Ospinav's K♠ 9♥ when Ospinav caught a nine on the flop and another on the turn. Four hands after that Di Klu picked up K♣ Q♦ and moved all-in for 8.5M, only to have vedholm call with A♦ K♠ in the big blind. The 8♥ A♥ T♦ flop held out hope in the form of a gutshot Broadway draw, but it didn't come home on the 6♦ turn or K♥ river, and Di Klu was gone in eighth.

ohanaaa, a runner-up in an 8-max Low event during SCOOP 2016, was the next to double up. The Brazilian player called all-in from the big blind with J♦ J♥ after MADnesS100 open-shoved with 7♦ 7♠ in the cutoff seat, then caught middle set on the A♥ J♣ T♦ flop. The T♣ turn locked up the 43.7M-chip pot with a full house, moving ohanaaa into a solid third place in the chip counts. ohanaaa called from the small blind on the next hand with Q♠ J♣ after short-stacked Ospinav opened all-in with A♥ K♠. Ospinav's hand was live the whole way with a flush draw and overcards to the 8♥ Q♥ 3♥ flop that gave ohanaaa a pair of queens, but the T♣ and 3♣ turn and river brought no help and Ospinav bowed out in seventh.

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With a third of the final table gone in just 18 minutes, the 4:55 a.m. ET break arrived to give those remaining a chance to gather themselves - and maybe a quick snack or drink - before coming back to see who would be the last player to miss out on a six-figure payday. That turned out to be psycho_ginga, who moved all-in for less than two big blinds with 2♣ 2♥ two minutes after the break ended. Three players called, including iyisinabi, whose K♦ T♦ made top pair on the T♥ 3♠ 9♣ flop. psycho_ginga didn't hit the two-outer on the 6♠ turn or T♠ river and departed in sixth.

ohanaaa was the next to claim a knockout. Six hands after psyscho_ginga's exit, MADnesS100 opened all-in for 15.2M from the small blind with A♠ 6♣. ohanaaa called with A♣ J♣ and turned a Broadway straight on the K♥ 9♣ Q♥ T♣ 3♦ board to knock MADnesS100 out in fifth.

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After vedholm survived all-in with A♣ Q♣ against iyisinabi's Q♥ 3♠, the players decided to talk over the possibility of making a deal - and understandably so, given the enormous pay jumps coming up. Lasting to third place would earn the players an additional $70,000, with second place worth another $97,000 beyond that - but with the blinds and antes at 1M/2M/200K, even chip leader iyisinabi was only working with 55 big blinds at the four-handed table.

A $70K difference between the ICM and chip chop numbers proved to be the sticking point that would hold up negotiations for close to half an hour. iyisinabi wanted some sort of premium for holding more than half the chips in play, while everybody else wanted to secure a solid cash for themselves without giving away too much. Eventually a deal was reached that guaranteed iyisinabi $400,000 and left $40,000 on the table for the winner.

With everyone in agreement, play resumed. vedholm earned an early double-up to 23.5M after moving in with K♥ 9♦ from the small blind and beating big-blind defender kopakabritu's Q♣ 4♥. But moving in six hands later under the gun with A♠ 4♦ didn't pay off nearly the same. iyisinabi called with 55 big blinds behind and A♥ 8♦ in the hole, then caught middle pair on the 2♣ 9♥ 8♠ flop/ vedholm needed running fours but got 3♣ on the turn and 3♦ on the river instead. With that, vedholm collected $218,930.34 from the deal and left in fourth.

kopakabritu was the short stack now with 28.9M chips, but two stolen sets of blinds and antes and one double with A♥ 6♦ against ohanaaa's Q♠ J♣ moved kopakabritu into second place for a brief moment. ohanaaa, left with just 20.4M chips, quickly doubled with 4♣ 4♠, hitting bottom set on the 4♦ Q♦ 6♥ flop against iyisinabi's K♠ T♠. Three hands later A♠ T♠ won out over kopakabritu's K♣ Q♦ on a J♣ Q♠ 6♥ 9♦ 8♠, moving ohanaaa back into second place again and dropping kopakabritu's stack back to just under 12 big blinds.

kopakabritu was in full desperation mode and caught one break, a jack on the flop with Q♣ J♣ to beat iyisinabi's A♦ 8♥. But six hands later, kopakabritu's luck ran out after raising with A♣ T♣ on the button and calling all-in when iyisinabi three-bet-shoved from the small blind with A♦ K♠. Neither player improved on the 5♠ 8♣ 7♣ 3♥ J♦ board so the kickers played, giving iyisinabi the 111M-chip pot and sending kopakabritu out in third with a $291,000.66 share of the four-handed deal.

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iyisinabi's advantage at the beginning of heads-up play stood at 26 big blinds, not quite double ohanaaa's 86.2M-chip stack but within striking distance. ohanaaa turned on the aggression and moved the chip stacks in the other direction, though, and within 18 hands both players had 118M chips. And after trading the blinds and antes for two hands, they both ended up with nearly identical hands - A♦ Q♥ for iyisinabi, and A♥ Q♦ for ohanaaa, who had the bigger stack of the two players by a margin of less than two antes.

iyisinabi min-raised on the button, ohanaaa re-raised to 15M, iyisinabi jammed, and ohanaaa called to put everything on the line in what would, under most circumstances, have been just another chopped pot. But once the flop came down 6♦ 9♦ 4♦, iyisinabi had the nut flush draw and 66.4-percent equity. ohanaaa needed to dodge the last eight diamonds in the deck not once, but twice - but then the T♦ hit the turn, locking up the pot for iyisinabi. The 3♦ river made it official - after more than 16 hours of poker, the $2,000,000 guaranteed Monday Million had come to a close.

Congratulations are due to all the deal-makers, each of whom earned a new career-best PokerStars cash, but particularly for iyisinabi and ohanaaa. Holding out for more money in the deal guaranteed the German player $400,000 on a $215 entry, and taking down the title at the end was worth an extra $40,000. And while ohanaaa might have finished as the runner-up once again, ending this tournament in that position was worth a stunning $312,000. What a way to wind down 2016!

12/26/16 Monday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 23,697
Total prize pool: $4,739,400
Places paid: 3,941

1. iyisinabi (Germany) $440,000.85*
2. ohanaaa (Brazil) $312,000*
3. kopakabritu (Brazil) $291,000.66*
4. vedholm (Norway) $218,930.34*
5. MADnesS100 (Romania) $129,333.01
6. psycho_ginga (New Zealand) $92,991.29
7. Ospinav (Colombia) $66,861.55
8. Di Klu (Russia) $48,073.62
9. Mars161 (Russia) $34,565.39
* - denotes results of a four-way deal that left $40,000 for first place

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million