Sunday Million: Matt "VegasDietz" Dietrich victorious, three repeat final table feat

"Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker every year? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas?" - Mike McDermott, Rounders

In its most literal sense, Mike McD's quote is rather inaccurate in the post-boom era. However, the sentiment still rings true. How else can Fedor Holz be explained? What about Jason Mercier? Two weeks ago, we witnessed $trateGema finish the Million in 3rd place for the second consecutive week. Tonight, three players made their second trip to the final table of the Sunday Million and one familiar face, that of former November Niner James Akenhead, had a shot at his second title.

It takes a dollop of luck and loads more skill to blaze past over five thousand players. Seven weeks ago on July 10th, Finland's donki4 did just that and then some, taking sixth place in the Million for $38,592. DeLaBijen finished third for $113k back in 2013. And Akenhead won it outright in January of 2012, earning over $213k.

However, tonight belonged to Matt "VegasDietz" Dietrich. He arrived at the final table with only 13 big blinds and remained near the back of the pack until DeLaBijen ran pocket jacks into his pocket kings during six-handed play. VegasDietz took the chip lead into the negotiations that led to a four-way deal, and from there, he steamrolled his way to a first-place finish. Donki4 bested his previous finish with a runner-up performance tonight, while DeLaBijen scored a second career bronze medal.

The Million's ongoing experiment with re-entires soldiered on and this week, the wheel landed on a single re-entry format. There were 5,889 entries in total, as 4,959 unique players made 930 re-entries. The prize pool topped out at $1,177,800.00 and 836 players earned a share of it, with $167,388.52 set aside for the champion.

The blinds were up to 100,000/200,000 and ten players remained when a-leahy7 made a button shove for his last 1.8 million. Asprin1 called from the small blind, his K♥Q♥ trailing a-leahy7's A♥8♦. However, Asprin1 found relief in the K♣7♣4♠ flop that made him top pair. A-leahy7 needed an ace or running straight cards to survive but received neither, and exited on the final table bubble.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: B1GL1P$$$ (8,734,853 in chips)
Seat 2: VegasDietz (2,654,850 in chips)
Seat 3: 39REDMAN (6,869,903 in chips)
Seat 4: Asprin1 (8,248,992 in chips)
Seat 5: John-Han (1,746,931 in chips)
Seat 6: ryo1980 (7,865,756 in chips)
Seat 7: _major_958 (3,276,383 in chips)
Seat 8: DeLaBijen (11,805,430 in chips)
Seat 9: donki4 (7,686,902 in chips)

VegasDietz, the second-shortest stack remaining, saw the action folded to him in the small blind and moved in for 11BB with K♣7♣. 39REDMAN called from the big blind with a dominating A♣7♦, but a king hit the flop and VegasDietz doubled to 4.85 million. Instead it was _major_958 who became the final table's first casualty, as he three-bet shoved A♥T♥ and went up against ryo1980's pocket fives. The fives held up and _major_958 hit the rail in ninth place.

When the blinds rose to 150,000/300,000, John-Han was hanging on with less than 4BB and got his chips in the middle with K♦T♣ preflop. B1GL1P$$$ answered the call with A♦J♠. John-Han hit top pair on the K♣Q♣4♦ flop, only to have the lead snatched away when the A♥ turned. Just when John-Han was ready to pack it in, the K♠ miraculously hit the river and he doubled to 2.62 million. Less than ten minutes later, John-Han was back down to 1.6 million and open-shoved from UTG with pocket nines. Asprin1 called from the big blind with A♠6♦ and didn't get any help on the T♠8♥7♥Q♠2♦ board, leaving him on only 1.2 million in chips. On the next deal, the action folded to Asprin1 in the small blind and he pushed all-in with 7♦T♣. John-Han called with Q♦4♣ and instantly hit two pair on the Q♠4♦2♠ flop. Asprin1 was drawing dead when the 6♦ turned, and saw his quest for a second Sunday Million title come to a close with his eighth-place finish.

james_asprin1_akenhead.jpgJames "asprin1" Akenhead, pictured earlier this year at the FPS Monaco

By the time play turned seven-handed, DeLaBijen had surrendered the chip lead he brought to the final table. He lost even more ground to donki4, who doubled to 12.8 million at DeLaBijen's expense when pocket queens held up against A♥9♥. Down to 10.8 million and holding pocket sixes, DeLaBijen called ryo1980's opening raise and saw a 4♣5♥7♦ flop. Ryo1980 led out with a 927,220 continuation bet and DeLaBijen called with an open-ended straight draw. The turn brought the J♦ and ryo1980 fired another 2.09 million. DeLaBijen called and they went to the river, which fell the 3♠, making DeLaBijen a seven-high straight. Much to his delight, ryo1980 moved all-in for 10.9 million and DeLaBijen called all-in for less. Ryo1980 showed only A♥3♣ for a pair of threes and DeLaBijen reclaimed the chip lead with the 22.4 million pot. Ryo1980 was left with only 4 million and went out a few hands later in seventh place when his pocket jacks fell to DeLaBijen's A♣K♥.

During six-handed play, DeLaBijen (23.5m) and donki4 (17.1m) were controlling the action while the other four had stacks under 5 million. Then, with the blinds up to 175,000/350,000, donki4 moved in for 17.6 million on the button with 2♥2♠ and VegasDietz called all-in for 3.48 million from the big blind. VegasDietz's A♦T♦ flopped top two pair on the A♥T♣7♣8♥4♣ board and he doubled to 8.05 million. Fellow short stack John-Han wasn't as fortunate and went out in sixth place when he shoved A♥8♦ from the small blind into DeLaBijen's Q♠Q♣ in the big.

DeLaBijen held the chip lead with 22.2 million when he picked up J♦J♣ and opened for 800,000. VegasDietz found K♥K♣ and three-bet to 1,787,771. DeLaBijen shoved and VegasDietz called all-in for 6.4 million. The kings held up on the A♥Q♣Q♠4♦6♠ board and VegasDietz doubled to 17 million, good for the chip lead.

B1GL1P$$$ was down to 13 big blinds when he three-bet shoved from the big blind with A♣T♦, but DeLaBijen called with A♣Q♠. DeLaBijen's dominating hand held up and B1L1PS$$$ hit the rail in fifth place.

The blinds were up to 250,000/500,000 when VegasDietz first broached the subject of a deal.

VegasDietz: interested in looking niow? or rather play?
DeLaBijen: maybe last three
DeLaBijen: if I make it hehe

Chips shuffled around the table for another couple of orbits, but when the stacks evened up, everyone was ready to open up discussions. Here's how they stacked up at the time:

VegasDietz 16,131,155
donk14 15,082,522
39REDMAN 14,548,659
DeLaBijen 13,127,664

Given the stack sizes, the difference between chip chop and ICM wasn't much, each player earning in the neighborhood of $100,000 each. DeLaBijen signed off on the ICM numbers, VegasDietz was willing to meet in the middle, but donki4 was looking for about a $3,000 raise to his $100k share. 39REDMAN agreed to give up a little over $1,400 from his share, but donki4 insisted on the whole amount.

donki4: 103 and i agree
donki4: you can give me the 1k extra if you want to deal
VegasDietz: i will meet u in the middle and give up $500 to get u to 102.5k but cant do more than that
VegasDietz: thts more thn fair and u dont have edge over me so thts v generous

Donki4 relented and the deal closed. With $20,000 and the title still on the line, cards went back in the air.

VegasDietz chipped up to 23 million during four-handed play. With the blinds up to 350,000/700,000, VegasDietz opened for 1.67 million from the small blind and 39REDMAN shoved for 14.5 million from the big. VegasDietz called, his A♥T♠ up against. K♣Q♥. The T♦6♣6♥ flop made VegasDietz tens and sixes, leaving 39REDMAN drawing only to a king, a queen, or running cards. Fours fell on the turn and river, ending 39REDMAN's run in fourth place.

When three-handed play commenced, VegasDietz held the lead with 37.9 million, donki4 was second with 11.8 million and DeLaBijen was the short stack with 9.2 million.

It wasn't long before donki4 opened for 1.4 million on the button and DeLaBijen three-bet shoved from the big blind with K♥Q♣. Donki4 called with 8♦9♦ and hit a nine on the turn to send DeLaBijen home in third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: VegasDietz (35,240,572 in chips)
Seat 9: donki4 (23,649,428 in chips)

The chip counts had barely budged when donki4 open-shoved for 24.4 million on the button and VegasDietz snap-called. Seriously, you won't believe their hands.

donki4 2♣3♠
VegasDietz A♥A♠

VegasDietz's aces reigned on the K♦J♦4♦7♦6♠ board and he locked up the win.

Congratulations to Matt "VegasDietz" Dietrich on an astounding comeback. He banked $122,108.00 for the win, while donki4 earned $102,475.04.


PokerStars Sunday Million results for 8-28-2016
Players: 5,889
Prize pool: $1,177,800.00
Places paid: 836

1. Matt "VegasDietz" Dietrich (Canada) $122,108.00*
2. donki4 (Finland) $102,475.04*
3. DeLaBijen (Netherlands) $96,307.34*
4. 39REDMAN (United Kingdom) $98,000.00*
5. B1GL1P$$$ (Malta) $38,400.75
6. John-Han (Russia) $38,400.75
7. ryo1980 (Romania) $18,392.99
8. James "asprin1" Akenhead (United Kingdom) $12,729.42
9. _major_958 (Germany) $8,809.70

*denotes a four-way deal

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million