Sunday Million: ihaterivers sails to a $194k win

On a return trip to the final table of the Sunday Million, poker pro Chad "ihaterivers" Walker put on a clinic in big-stack play en route to his first major online title. Having finished eighth in the Milly in June of last year, the American ex-pat topped his career-best online score of $160k, earned in a third-place finish in the 2014 WCOOP. It only took three hands of heads-up play for ihaterivers to put away Argentina's Conglomo222, who in another eye-popping feat, finished in second place tonight after coming in 12th last week.

That's not to mention the couples' last longer that was still going strong well into the tournament's tenth hour. Both halves of poker couple Kristen "krissyb24" Bicknell and Manig "swordfish007" Loeser made the final four tables. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Bicknell busted out in 32nd place, while Loeser advanced to the final table and finished seventh.

The conclusion of the 2016 World Series of Poker (and the ensuing "recovery" week) no doubt contributed to the bumper field of 6,842 entries in this week's Million. 980 players earned a share of the $1,368,400.00 prize pool with $194,371.87 up top.

When ten players remained, the blinds were up to 100,000/200,000. Short stack Tibikuss found A♠8♦ and moved in for his last 1.38 million from the cutoff, only to have Conglomo222 reshove from the small blind. Conglomo222 turned over A♥T♣ and his dominating hand held up on the 7♥7♣7♠3♠4♦ board, sending Tibikuss to the rail and the rest of the field to the final table.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: Conglomo222 (14,445,495 in chips)
Seat 2: Cäsaro (5,940,116 in chips)
Seat 3: zipp1986 (7,628,293 in chips)
Seat 4: ihaterivers (11,614,359 in chips)
Seat 5: swordfish007 (4,057,854 in chips)
Seat 6: kefffff (4,843,345 in chips)
Seat 7: eilev (2,525,091 in chips)
Seat 8: willywonko37 (7,612,252 in chips)
Seat 9: SuperdupaMAN (9,753,195 in chips)

One of the shorter stacks to start the final table, Manig "swordfish007" Loeser saw the action fold to him in the small blind and he made it 604,150 to go with Q♠J♦. Kefffff called and they saw a J♥6♦2♥ flop. Loeser led out for 594,160 with top pair, kefffff moved all-in for 4.9 million and Loeser called. Kefffff revealed T♥6♥ for middle pair and a flush draw. The A♣ turn did nothing for kefffff and the J♣ river gave Loeser trips to win the 10.7 million pot. Kefffff was left with only 246,000 and committed it preflop on the next hand, with initial raiser ihaterivers and big blind eilev coming along to see the T♠5♠2♣ flop. Eilev checked, ihaterivers bet 450,000, and eilevl moved in for 2.78 million. Ihaterivers called.

eilev 9♣9♥
ihaterivers Q♦T♦
kefffff T♥7♦

The turn brought the J♦, the river was the 3♥ and ihaterivers's tens with a queen kicker took down the pot, ending kefffff's run in ninth place and eilev's in eighth. Second in chips to start the final table, ihaterivers moved past Conglomo222 to take the lead with 15.75 million.

Swordfish007 lost more than two-thirds of his stack in a hand where he limped in from the small blind, then called willywonko37's 820,000 raise. He check-called wollywonko37's flop, turn, and river bets on the T♠9♥2♠A♥6♦ board, but could not beat A♠T♦ at showdown. Willywonko37 raked in the 14.1 million pot while swordfish007 slipped to 3.5 million.

Little more than an orbit later, the blinds were up to 175,000/350,000 and the action folded to swordfish007 in the cutoff. He moved in for 3.51 million with A♥Q♠ and Conglomo222 called from the big blind with 5♣5♠. Conglomo222's pocket pair won the race on the K♣9♣6♣8♥2♥ board and swordfish007 hit the rail in seventh place.


Manig Loeser and Kristen Bicknell (photo by @swordfish007)

When play turned six-handed, ihaterivers held a comfortable lead with 25.6 million, Conglomo222 sat in second with 18.8 million, and the other four held stacks ranging from 2.5 to 11.7 million. Cäsaro was the shortest of the bunch and when ihaterivers made a UTG raise to 750,000, he moved all-in for 2.49 million with A♠3♦. Ihaterivers called the additional 1.75 million with 9♣T♣ and hit a boffo flop when the first three fell T♥T♦3♣. The 3♠ turn made ihaterivers tens full and Cäsaro went out in sixth place.

Next to make a stand was SuperdupaMAN, who moved in for his last 14BB with J♣T♦ on the button. Conglomo222 looked him up with 5♥5♣ in the small blind, and the pair held up on the nine-high board, ending SuperdupaMAN's run in fifth.

With that pot, Conglomo222 moved up to 26 million, ever closer to ihaterivers' 28.4 million. However, he lost a bit back when he doubled up zipp1986, his A♠Q♦ falling to pocket jacks in a 10 million pot. As the tournament went to its hourly break, ihaterivers polled his opponents about a potential deal. Although zipp1986 was willling to talk, willywonko37 put the kibosh on it.

No sooner did the break end, when willywonko37 opened for 1.2 million and zipp1986 three-bet shoved for 10 million. Willywonko37 called, his pocket sevens up against A♠K♣. A king hit the flop for zipp1986 and willywonko37 was crushed, only 2.2 million remaining in his stack. However, the resilient Russian doubled twice in the next three hands to muscle back up to 8.3 million.

Just as willywonko37 rebounded, zipp1986 took a tumble. All-in preflop with A♠Q♠ against Conglomo222's pocket nines, zlpp1986's stack crumbled when Conglomo222 flopped a set of nines and turned nines full on a K♦9♦5♦K♥Q♥ board. Five hands later, zipp1986 open-shoved for 5.02 million with Q♣9♣ on the button and willywonko37 called with A♠4♣ from the big blind. Willywonko37 flopped a pair of fours and they held up to send zipp1986 home in fourth place.

Three-handed play began with ihaterivers holding 30 million, Conglomo222 was close behind with 24.7 million and willywonko37 was the short stack with 13.7 million. That's when the pot of the tournament unfolded.

Willywonko37 folded the button and Conglomo222 raised to 1.6 million from the small blind. Ihaterivers three-bet to 4.7 million and Conglomo222 called. Both players checked the J♠8♦2♠ flop. The turn came the 9♥ and Conglomo222 checked to ihaterivers, who bet 4.5 million. Conglomo222 called. The river was the 3♠, putting a potential flush on board. Again Conglomo222 checked. With 20 million behind and Conglomo222 holding 14.4 million behind, ihaterivers bet 10 million into the 18.5 million pot. Conglomo222 had a lengthy tank before deciding to call. Ihaterivers turned over 8♠9♦ for two pair and Conglomo222 mucked. Ihaterivers raked in the 38.5 million pot while Conglomo222 was left with only 4.4 million.

Two hands later, the clouds parted for Conglomo222 as he doubled through willywonko37, his K♦Q♠ turning a pair of queens against willywonko37's A♣5♦. Shortly thereafter, Conglomo222 open-shoved on the button for 10.4 million and willywonko37 called all-in from the big blind. Willywonko37 was in terrific shape with J♣J♦ against 7♦7♠, but a seven on the flop reversed his fortune. Conglomo222 took down the pot with a set and willywonko37 was suddenly on the rail in third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 1: Conglomo222 (17,204,518 in chips)
Seat 4: ihaterivers (51,215,482 in chips)

It only took three hands for ihaterivers to put away Conglomo222. Conglomo222 folded to a turn raise on the first hand and in the second, ihaterivers flopped middle pair and got two streets of value before they checked down the river on a Q♠6♥8♦A♣J♦ board. Ihaterivers' 4♣8♠ held up and Conglomo222 was left with 3.18 million.

On the final hand, ihaterivers moved in on the button and Conglomo222 called.

ihaterivers Q♥T♥
Conglomo222 A♣T♣

Ihaterivers' hand was dominated, but a queen hit the flop, the board finishing out Q♦3♥2♣2♥6♠ to lock up the win.

Congratulations to ihaterivers on joining the ranks of Sunday Million champions! He banked $194,371.87 for the win, while runner-up Conglomo222 earned $134,518.09.


PokerStars Sunday Million results for 7-31-2016
Players: 6,842 (5,693 entries, 1,149 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,368,400.00
Places paid: 980

1. Chad "ihaterivers" Walker (Anguilla) $194,371.87
2. Conglomo222 (Argentina) $134,518.09
3. willywonko37 (Russia) $93,097.04
4. zipp1986 (Netherlands) $64,430.56
5. SuperdupaMAN (Norway) $44,590.95
6. Cäsaro (Austria) $30,860.43
7. Manig "swordfish007" Loeser (Austria) $21,357.71
8. eilev (Norrway) $14,781.18
9. kefffff (Paraguay) $10,229.61

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million