Sunday Million: pejacpoker powers through, picks up $146k

It's fair to say the pay jumps at a Sunday Million final table can be life-changing. While ninth-place money can buy a lovely vacation, first or second could put a roof over your head for years to come. Nowhere was this dilemma more evident than tonight's finale, where it took more than eighty minutes to go from nine-handed play to seven-handed. However, from there the floodgates opened and over the course of the next quarter hour, five players busted out in rapid succession, including the once-dominant chip leader, Jazzer32. Big_frae and pejacpoker got heads-up with nearly equal stacks and after a dizzying eight-minute heads-up battle, pejacpoker came away with a Sunday Million title and a $146k score.

After four weeks of WCOOP Special Editions, the Million returned to its usual form and attracted 5,137 players. 728 of them earned a share of the $1,027,400.00 prize pool, with $146,146.72 up top.

The blinds were up to 50,000/100,000 with ten players remaining when a dramatic runout burst the final table bubble. Ashley Jones was the short stack with only 1.77 million and found K♠K♥ in the big blind just as pejacpoker opened for a 200,000 button min-raise and frase1977 three-bet to 500,000. Ashley Jones moved in for 1,762,995, pejacpoker gave up his hand and frase1977 called with A♣T♦. Ashley Jones hit a boffo K♣7♦4♥ flop and made top set, but the J♣ turn cracked the door open for frase1977 with a gutshot straight draw. Anything but a queen would give Ashley Jones a double-up, but sure enough, the Q♥ landed on the river. Frase1977 made a Broadway straight and advanced to the final table while Ashley Jones departed in tenth place.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: Fiskin1 (5,639,954 in chips)
Seat 2: mt1ps (5,741,958 in chips)
Seat 3: big_frae (5,647,658 in chips)
Seat 4: tokyostars (4,449,581 in chips)
Seat 5: Jazzer32 (11,452,980 in chips)
Seat 6: pejacpoker (4,465,831 in chips)
Seat 7: elmerixx (3,693,344 in chips)
Seat 8: frase1977 (7,317,686 in chips)
Seat 9: cheese9 (2,961,008 in chips)

On only the second deal of the final table another wild hand unfolded. Pejacpoker opened for 200,000 from UTG and got two callers-- elmerixx and Fiskin1. The flop came down 9♣7♦7♥ and pejacpoker led out for 200,000. Both opponents called. The turn brought the A♦ and pejacpoker checked over to elmerixx, who bet 475,200. Fiskin1 folded and pejacpoker called. When the J♦ rivered, pejacpoker led out for 800,000, elmerixx raised to 2.2 million and pejacpoker shoved for 3.57 million total. Elmerixx called and revealed 9♥9♠ for nines full of sevens... but pejacpoker turned over 7♠7♣ for flopped quads! Elmerixx was suddenly on the rail ninth place, while pejacpoker moved up to 8.76 million, good for second in chips. This capped off an incredible day in the Sunday Majors for elmerixx-- only a few hours prior he finished second in the Sunday Warm-Up for $40,477.31.

Jazzer32 had a comfortable chip lead with 14.5 million when he picked up Q♥5♥ and decided to open for 556,778 from UTG+1. Big_frae called from the big blind and they saw an A♥J♣2♠ flop. Big_frae checked, Jazzer32 made a 959,037 continuation bet and big_frae called. The turn brought the 2♥, giving Jazzer32 a flush draw. Again, big_frae checked and this time Jazzer32 took a free card and checked behind. The river was the T♦, not exactly the heart Jazzer32 was looking for, and big_frae checked a third time. With only queen-high to go with the ace and pair of deuces on the board, Jazzer32 fired out 3,000,000, setting big_frae all-in. After a beat, big_frae called off his remaining 2,793,859 and successfully picked off Jazzer32's bluff with A♠9♥ for aces up.

Big_frae moved up to the #2 spot with that 8.9 million pot, but Jazzer32 retained the chip lead with 10.2 million and quickly worked his stack back up to 12.4 million. Then, with the blinds up to 125,000/250,000, the action folded to big_frae on the button. He made it 600,000 to go, tokyostars folded the small blind and Jazzer32 moved all-in from the big blind with A♦Q♠. Big_frae called and turned over A♣K♥. Big_frae's dominating hand held up and he doubled to 11.8 million, good for the chip lead, while Jazzer32 tumbled to 6.6 million.

Eight-handed play slogged on for another ten minutes before mt1ps open-shoved for 1.21 million from the cutoff and big_frae called on the button with K♥J♣. Although mt1ps's A♥7♠ had the preflop lead, the J♦J♠T♠ flop made big_frae trips. There were no miracle running cards for mt1ps and he departed in eighth place.

While it required an hour and twenty minutes to go from nine players to seven, it took a mere fifteen to get from seven to two. Four hands later, the blinds were up to 150,000/300,000 and tokyostars opened for a min-raise. The action folded to cheese9 in the small blind and he moved all-in for 6.75 million with A♠K♦. Tokyostars called with 9♣9♠. The nines held up on the J♥8♣6♠Q♦5♠ board and cheese9 was out of luck and on the rail in seventh place.

Four hands after that, new chip leader tokyostars opened for 600,000 with A♦7♣ and pejacpoker moved all-in for 7.6 million from the small blind. Tokyostars called and was up against K♥J♠. Tokyostars's ace-high was good on the 8♦4♥2♥ flop and he paired his kicker when the 7♠ turned, but pejacpoker hit the J♥ on the river to make top pair and double to 15.7 million. Tokyostars was left with only 5.25 million and about five minutes later, he three-bet shoved preflop with K♣9♣. Initial raiser big_frae called with pocket threes. Although tokyostars picked up a flush draw on the flop, he didn't improve any further on the 8♠7♣2♣Q♥A♦ board and went out in sixth place.

Moments later, pejacpoker opened A♠K♦ for a 700,000 raise and frase1977 reraised all-in for 3.5 million from the small blind with 9♠9♥. This race was all but over when the flop came down Q♦J♠T♣, making pejacpoker a Broadway straight. The 2♠ turn left frase1977 drawing dead and he exited in fifth place.

Then, on the next deal, Fiskin1 open-shoved for 3.81 million on the button and big_frae called from the small blind. Although Fiskin1's A♣K♠ had big_frae's A♥6♥ dominated, big_frae flopped a flush draw and filled it on the turn, the 9♥3♥3♠4♥9♣ board ending Fiskin1's run in fourth place.

When three-handed play commenced, big_frae held the chip lead with 27 million, pejacpoker was second wtih 19 million and Jazzer32 was the short stack with 5.3 million. However, only three minutes passed before Jazzer32 open-shoved on the button with A♠5♠ and pejacpoker looked him up from the small blind with A♥9♣. Pejacpoker's kicker played on the A♣J♦6♠4♦K♠ board and Jazzer32 had to settle for third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 3: big_frae (26,741,217 in chips)
Seat 6: pejacpoker (24,628,783 in chips)

Big_frae and pejacpoker felt each other out for a few hands and were nearly dead even in chips when they engaged in their first major heads-up confrontation. With the blinds at 175,000/350,000, big_frae opened for 700,000 on the button and pejacpoker three-bet to 2.1 million. Big_frae called and they saw a 7♣6♦3♥ flop. Pejacpoker led out for 2,222,222 and big_frae called. The turn brought the A♣ and pejacpoker checked. Big_frae fired 3.85 million and pejacpoker smooth-called. The river was the 8♠ and again, pejacpoker checked. Big_frae made it 7.35 million to go and pejacpoker called with A♥T♥. Pejacpoker's aces were good against big_frae's 4♠4♥ and he raked in the 31.1 million pot. Pejacpoker moved up to 41.4 million in chips, leaving big_frae on 9.9 million.

Only two minutes later, pejacpoker open-shoved on the button and big_frae called all-in.

pejacpoker Q♥9♠
big_frae A♦K♥

A favorable board could have put big_frae right back in contention, but tonight belonged to pejacpoker. The 9♥3♠2♣ flop gave him top pair and left big_frae looking for an ace or a king to survive. The T♥ turn was no help, neither was the T♦ river, and pejacpoker locked up the win.

Congratulations to Greece's pejacpoker, our newest Sunday Million champion! He banked $146,146.72 for the win, while runner-up big_frae earned $102,558.56.

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PokerStars Sunday Million results for 10-2-2016
Players: 5,137
Prize pool: $1,027,400.00
Places paid: 728

1. pejacpoker (Greece) $146,146.72
2. big_frae (New Zealand) $102,558.56
3. Jazzer32 (Serbia) $71,972.45
4. Fiskin1 (United Kingdom) $50,508.01
5. frase1977 (Germany) $35,444.99
6. tokyostars (Japan) $24,874.27
7. cheese9 (Canada) $17,455.93
8. mt1ps (Canada) $12,249.99
9. elmerixx (Finland) $8,596.76

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Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million