Sunday Million: It's WestCliff21 with a wire-to-wire win as VinceVegaMFR's three-peat run ends in fifth

Eleven players in the history of the Sunday Million have won it twice, but no one has ever won it three times. Tonight, Brazil's Guilherme "VinceVegaMFR" Cheveau had the opportunity to make history. He won his first Sunday Million in February 2014, snagged his second title a year and a half later in July 2015, and was going for the hat trick today. Cheveau took little more than 20 big blinds to the final table, but managed to score a crucial double-up in the early going to vault him to second in chips behind WestCliff21. However, one too many short stacks doubled up at Cheveau's expense. Back to the 20 BB he started with, Cheveau three-bet shoved with a small suited ace, but ran straight into WestCliff21's pocket queens and fell short of the historic three-peat in fifth place. WestCliff21, however, took the chip lead he brought to the final table and rode it all the way to the end. It was a thoroughly dominating performance that never saw him in trouble at the final table, and ended with a well-deserved first title and a $142k score.

Today's Million drew 4,915 players to the felt. 692 of them earned a share of the $1,000,000.00 prize pool, with $142,335.70 set aside for the champion.

After eleven and a half hours of play, the blinds were up to 100,000/200,000 and ten players remained. With the action folded to him in the small blind, chip leader WestCliff21 moved all-in for 11.47 million with A♥J♦ and youngblood51 called with 3♥3♦. The big ace won this race as WestCliff21 paired his jack on the J♥8♠7♦9♦9♣ board and sent youngblood51 to the rail on the final table bubble.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: WestCliff21 (13,059,033 in chips)
Seat 2: Raise0_0Me (2,356,867 in chips)
Seat 3: VinceVegaMFR (4,344,956 in chips)
Seat 4: SinkedShrimp (7,533,551 in chips)
Seat 5: Heartthrob10 (7,995,294 in chips)
Seat 6: 68ioweyou1 (1,415,800 in chips)
Seat 7: Paulman 87 (2,452,728 in chips)
Seat 8: MkMyWishFish (2,233,976 in chips)
Seat 9: nodnek111 (7,757,795 in chips)

Four players took stacks of less than 12 BB to the final table and two of them were eliminated within the first five hands. On Hand #3, 68ioweyou1 three-bet shoved for 1.83 million with A♥Q♦, but VinceVegaMFR's pocket eights held up to send him home in ninth place. Two hands later, Raise0_0Me pulled the same move, three-bet shoving for 1.95 million with A♠J♥. Initial raiser WestCliff21 called with 3♣3♠ and the baby pair prevailed on the 6♦2♣2♠7♥7♦ board, ending Raise0_0Me's run in eighth place. WestCliff21 moved up to 18.2 million on the hand-- more than twice the chips of his closest competitor, Heartthrob10.

Heartthrob10, however, fell on hard times when he doubled up VinceVegaMFR. With the board reading 7♣6♠2♠6♥ on the turn, VinceVegaMFR check-raised to 2.89 million, only to have Heartthrob10 come back over the top for all 7.42 million of his chips. VinceVegaMFR called, his set of sevens with 7♠7♦ up against Q♣Q♦. Heartthrob10 didn't get the queen he needed on the river and VinceVegaMFR doubled to 14.4 million, good for second in chips.

Heartthrob10 was left with only 1.55 million, but doubled to 3.35 million on the next hand when his A♥Q♦ held up against SinkedShrimp's A♠T♥. On the hand after that, Heartthrob10 doubled again when WestCliff21 missed his open-ended straight draw vs. his pair of tens. Heartthrob10 was back in it with 7 million in chips, and was (believe it or not) now the fourth-largest stack.

Down to 1.53 million, MkMyWishFish survived with a lucky double-up through VinceVegaMFR. Up against Q♥Q♦, MkMyWishFish's A♣8♣ made two pair on the A♥J♥J♦ flop and turned jacks full of aces with the J♣. Paulman 87 also got a reprieve thanks to VinceVegaMFR, his A♣Q♠ turning an ace against T♥T♣. Paulman 87, however, could not make it two for two. With the blinds up to 125,000/250,000, he open-shoved for 3.48 million with pocket sevens and WestCliff21 called with A♦K♠. A king hit the flop, another landed on the turn, and Paulman 87 hit the rail in seventh place. MkMyWishFish followed in sixth place a short time later when his A♦4♦ fell short against WestCliff21's 8♦8♥.

With five players remaining, WestCliff21 was still the runaway chip leader with close to 20 million, nodnek111 was second with 9.6 million and VinceVegaMFR was third with 7.2 million. However, with the blinds up to 150,000/300,000, WestCliff21 opened for 730,000 from the cutoff and VinceVegaMFR looked down at A♣2♣ on the button. He moved all in for 7.17 million and WestCliff21 snap-called with Q♦Q♣. VinceVegaMFR needed to see an ace or a whole lot of clubs to keep his run at a third Sunday Million title alive. The flop did not cooperate, falling J♣8♦6♠. The K♠ turn was no help either, and the 8♥ river brought VinceVegaMFR's incredible run to an end in fifth place.

vincevegaMFR_milly.jpgGuilherme "VinceVegaMFR" Cheveau, pictured with his wife (who accidentally slapped him in the face the first time he won the Million)

After eliminating VinceVegaMFR, WestCliff21 was up to 27.7 million and his three opponents were all below 10 million in chips. Heartthrob10 rose past that mark when he doubled through SinkedShrimp, his pocket kings crushing pocket threes. SinkedShrimp was left with less than 5 million and a few hands later, the final four decided to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's how they stacked up at the time:

WestCliff21: 27,288,500
Heartthrob10: 10,606,104
nodnek111: 6,369,666
SinkedShrimp: 4,885,730

WestCliff21 wasn't that interested in negotiating, and really who could blame him with those stack sizes? Although his ICM share came out to a little over $107k, WestCliff21 told the others that he'd be willing to take a $122k share and play for the remaining $20k. The other three weren't exactly into that and agreed only to the ICM numbers. With negotiations at a standstill, Sinked Shrimp declared, "lets play then," and cards went back in the air with no deal in place.

SinkedShrimp didn't hang on much longer and ultimately open-shoved 2.92 million on the button with K♠7♥. Nodnek111 called with A♦3♠ and flopped an ace, sending SinkedShrimp home in fourth place. Then, with the blinds up to 200,000/400,000, Heartthrob10 three-bet shoved for 4.17 million with K♥Q♠ and initial raiser WestCliff21 called with A♥6♥. WestCliff21 rivered a pair of aces on the 8♦5♣2♥9♠A♣ board and Hearttthrob10 had to settle for third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 1: WestCliff21 (36,738,504 in chips)
Seat 9: nodnek111 (12,411,496 in chips)

WestCliff21 had a 3 to 1 chip lead going in to heads-up play. However, nodnek111 struck first. WestCliff21 opened for 950,000 on the button, nodnek111 three-bet to 2,100,900 and WestCliff21 called. Both players checked the Q♥5♣4♦ flop. The turn came the 2♠ and nodnek111 led out for 1,969,628. WestCliff21 called. The river fell the K♥ and nodnek111 made it 3,782,685 to do. WestCliff21 gave up his hand and nodnek111 raked in the 8.2 million pot without a showdown.

Unfortunately for nodnek111, that would be the last pot he'd win in this tournament. WestCliff21 won the next eight hands and on the ninth, he called nodnek111's 911,200 opening raise. The flop came down K♦J♠9♠ and WestCliff21 checked to nodnek111, who bet 875,104. WestCliff21 raised to 2.6 million, nodnek111 moved all-in for 10.2 million and WestCliff21 called.

WestCliff21 K♣9♦
nodnek111 K♥4♦

Nodnek111 needed running fours to survive, but the 5♣ turn left him drawing dead and WestCliff21 locked up the win.

Congratulations to WestCliff21 on his first Sunday Million title! He banked $142,335.70 for the win, while runner-up nodnek111 earned $99,886,60.

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PokerStars Sunday Million results for 12-11-2016
Players: 4,915
Prize pool: $1,000,000.00
Places paid: 692

1. WestCliff21 (Austria) $142,335.70
2. nodnek111 (United Kingdom) $99,886.60
3. Heartthrob10 (Brazil) $70,097.20
4. SinkedShrimp (Greece) $49,192.10
5. Guilherme "VinceVegaMFR" Cheveau (Brazil) $34,521.40
6. MkMyWishFish (Czech Republic) $24,226.00
7. Paulman 87 (Mexico) $17,001.00
8. Raise0_0Me (China) $11,930.70
9. 68ioweyou1 (Canada) $8,372.60

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million