Sunday Million: kingarthurcc's quest ends in victory

"Cut down a tree with a herring? It can't be done." - King Arthur, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"

With only 12 1/2 big blinds to start the final table, we may as well have asked the same of kingarthurcc. Not only did he have little to fight with, but was up against the towering chip lead of carnic777 and a worthy rival in Danny "THE__D__RY" Ryan, who was on his own quest to become only the tenth player to win the Sunday Million twice. Ryan's first title came back in November 2008 and at this final table he was by far the most experienced player. Ryan, however, was felled in the early going while kingarthurcc kept sticking around. As his opponents ran pairs into pairs, ace-king into queens, kingarthurcc made it all the way to three-handed play where he struck a deal as the short stack. However, after carnic777 hit a lucky river card to make a flush and eliminate nicolasb, kingarthurcc found himself a contender in the final battle. Kingarthurcc hit a rush early in heads-up play and snatched the chip lead away when he picked up kings against eights at the perfect time. Carnic777 never recovered and kingarthurcc captured the Holy Grail of online tournament victories, a Sunday Million title.

5,730 players bought in to this week's Million, taking the prize pool up to $1,146,000.00. 855 places were paid with $177,630.00 up top.

The blinds were up to 100,000/200,000 and ten players remained when nicolasb limped in from UTG. Noogaii called from the small blind and overflow737 moved all-in for 1.79 million from the big. Nicolasb elected to fold, but Noogaii called. Overflow737 turned over A♥9♥ and had Noogaii's A♠5♠ dominated. Overflow737 was safe through the turn on the 8♥2♦2♠3♦ board, but the 5♥ spiked on the river, pairing Noogaii's kicker and sending overflow737 to the rail on the final table bubble.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: BuyMyLunch (5,927,072 in chips)
Seat 2: THE__D__RY (5,187,460 in chips)
Seat 3: Fred.Seg01 (5,321,275 in chips)
Seat 4: carnic777 (10,356,963 in chips)
Seat 5: Weshero (7,010,107 in chips)
Seat 6: Noogaii (6,673,830 in chips)
Seat 7: kingarthurcc (2,553,498 in chips)
Seat 8: nicolasb (5,184,721 in chips)
Seat 9: TomvanNL (9,085,074 in chips)

Overflow737's departure left kingarthurcc as the table short stack. However, on the second hand, he three-bet shoved with pocket jacks that held up against Weshero's pocket tens and doubled to 5.95 million. Two more hands passed before THE__D__RY opened for 430,000 and Fred.Seg01 reraised to 1,000,000. THE__D__RY shoved for 5.94 million and Fred.Seg01 called, his K♦K♣ trouncing THE__D__RY's 9♦9♠. To top it off, the flop fell A♦K♥6♦, making Fred.Seg01 a set of kings and THE__D__RY was left with only a million in chips. THE__D__RY lasted for little more than an orbit before he ran pocket sevens into carnic777's pocket jacks. THE__D__RY needed a miracle to keep his hopes of a second Sunday Million title alive, but they were roundly crushed when the board ran out T♦9♥2♥K♦5♣, ending his run in ninth place.

danny_ryan_million.jpgDanny "THE__D__RY" Ryan, ninth place

Fifteen minutes later, the blinds were up to 150,000/300,000 and Weshero found 8♦8♥. He moved in for 3.89 million from middle position, but unfortunately for him, BuyMyLunch woke up with 9♥9♦ in the big blind. Weshero got no help on the board and exited in eighth place. Later in the same level, Fred.Seg01 four-bet shoved preflop with A♠K♠ and TomvanNL called with Q♣Q♥. Although TomvanNL flopped a set of queens, Fred.Seg01 flopped an ace-high flush on the Q♠J♠6♠3♥T♣ board. He moved up to 12.5 million in chips while TomvanNL hit the rail in seventh.

As six-handed play dragged on for more than thirty minutes, short stack nicolasb doubled up twice, first through kingarthurcc when his Q♦5♣ hit running diamonds to make a flush against 7♣8♥, then through carnic888 when pocket tens held up against A♣3♣. Armed with 9 million now, nicolasb was back in the hunt. Meanwhile, Fred.Seg01's stack dwindled to 4.2 million, and with A♠7♦ he three-bet shoved preflop from the big blind. Initial raiser carnic777 called with A♦8♠, and his eight kicker played on the A♣6♥5♣K♥Q♠ board, eliminating Fred.Seg01 in sixth place.

One orbit later, the blinds were up to 250,000/500,000 and Noogaii made a stand with 8♦8♠, three-bet shoving for 7.11 million from the small blind. Nicolasb called with 9♥9♠ and the larger pair held up to end Noogaii's run in fifth. A short time later, BuyMyLunch made the exact same move with A♣T♦ and carnic777 looked him up with A♦9♠. BuyMyLunch got very unlucky to see the flop fall 9♦5♥3♠ and went out in fourth place when he couldn't catch up with carnic777's pair of nines.

Shortly after play turned three handed, carnic777, nicolasb, and kingarthurcc agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's how they stacked up at the time:

carnic777 31,688,818
nicolasb 16,498,914
kingarthurcc 9,112,268

When the host presented the final three with ICM figures, nicolasb told his opponents he would only agree to a deal that gave him his ICM share plus an additional $4k. Carnic777 and kingarthurcc countered with a $1k donation from each of their shares, hoping it was enough to make nicolasb blink. Electing to wait for it was a good decision as nicolasb relented and accepted the deal terms. With $20,000 still on the table, action resumed.

Kingarthurcc chipped up nicely when he flopped top pair on a 4♥3♠2♠ board and bet 910,800 from position. Carnic777 called and they both checked the 9♥ on the turn. The river was the K♥ and carnic777 fired 1,654,789. Kingarthurcc smelled a rat and called. Sure enough, carnic777 had only a busted straight draw with 5♠7♦ and kingarthurcc took down the 7.1 million pot with J♠4♣.

On the very next deal, carnic777 min-raised to 1.2 million on the button and nicolasb called from the big blind. Nicolasb check-called 1,546,123 on the K♥6♠2♠ flop and checked again when the 8♦ turned. Carnic777 bet 2,654,841, nicolasb raised all-in for 10.1 million and carnic777 called. Nicolasb turned over K♣2♣ for top and bottom pair while carnic777 revealed J♠T♠ for a flush draw. Nicolasb would take the chip lead with 26.2 million if he could fade a spade... but the 4♠ appeared on the river, sending him home in third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 4: carnic777 (43,432,143 in chips)
Seat 7: kingarthurcc (13,867,857 in chips)

Kingarthurcc started heads-up play with a nice rush, winning the first four pots to take his stack up to 22 million. Then, he was fortunate enough to pick up K♥K♦ and raise the button only to have carnic777 shove into him with 8♦8♥. Kingarthurcc's kings held and he doubled to 43 million.

One hand later, carnic777 made it 1.2 million on the button and kingarthurcc shoved from the big blind. Carnic777 called, his Q♦T♣ up against A♦K♠. Kingarthurcc's quest was all but over on the K♥Q♣8♣ flop that made him top pair. Although carnic777 picked up a gutshot on the turn with the 9♠, the river safely fell the 4♦ and kingarthurcc locked up his first Sunday Million title.

Congratulations to kingarthurcc on joining the ranks of Sunday Million champions! He banked $132,304.01, but thanks to the three-handed deal, runner-up carnic777 escaped with the lion's share of the prizepool at $140,453.19.

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PokerStars Sunday Million results for 6/5/2016
Players: 5,730
Prizepool: $1,146,000.00
Places paid: 855

1. kingarthurcc (China) $132,304.01*
2. carnic777 (Belgium) $140,453.19*
3. nicolasb (Argentina) $129,488.80*
4. BuyMyLunch (United Kingdom) $64,347.90
5. Noogaii (Ireland) $48,132.00
6. Fred.Seg01 (Canada) $36,672.00
7. TomvanNL (Netherlands) $25,212.00
8. Weshero (Poland) $14,325.00
9. Danny "THE__D__RY" Ryan (Mexico) $8,938.80

* denotes a three-way deal

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million