Sunday Million: Second fiddle no more, LEXER1986 scores $185k win

Making the final table of the Sunday Million is a feat few believe they'll ever repeat. Yet, this week's edition had three players with the opportunity for a second chance at victory. Sammy "illraiseyou8" Lafleur final tabled the Million last April and left in sixth place with nearly $41k. Germany's USA_20080920 was runner-up back in January 2009 for a $108k score, and LEXER1986 of Ukraine came away with a $152k payday after a three-way deal, but fell one spot short of the title. LEXER1986 had another close run at a major title in the 2014 SCOOP, where he lost to Dan "w00ki3z" Cates in the final round of the $2,100 Heads-Up PLO championship. The $60k score eased some of the pain, but a title was still out of reach.

Tonight, that all changed for LEXER1986. On his last trip to the Sunday Million final table, he entered with the chip lead, got heads-up holding the chip lead, and was crippled in an ugly hand where he lost a kicker battle after turning the same two pair as his opponent. This time, he was stuck in the shadow of a dominating chip leader, AlexS1, and wiggled his way out of two instances when he was all-in for his tournament life with a dominated hand. Down 2.3 to 1 in chips, LEXER1986 could have taken a lucrative deal when heads-up play began, but instead trusted in his abilities to play for the nearly $48k pay jump from second to first. His leap of faith paid off, as LEXER1986 dismantled heads-up specialist AlexS1 in twenty minutes and went from Sunday Million bridesmaid to Sunday Million champion.

The second Sunday Million of 2016 drew 5,989 players, whose buy-ins combined to create a $1,197,800.00 prize pool. 855 places were paid with first place set to earn $185,661.70.

The blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 on the final table bubble when two of the smaller stacks went to war. Bjl90 led off with a min-raise to 500,000 and ranksster called from the big blind to see the A♣3♦8♠ flop. Ranksster checked, bjl90 made it 412,500 to go and ranksster raised to 1.25 million. Bjl90 called. The turn came the 2♥ and ranksster moved in for his remaining 1.33 million. Bjl90 quickly called and tabled A♦J♥ for a pair of aces and a jack kicker, but ranksster's A♠3♣ had flopped two pair. However, the river spelled disaster for ranksster as the 8♣ fell, counterfeiting his two pair. Now bjl90 had the superior hand with aces and eights with a jack kicker, and a dumbfounded ranksster hit the rail in tenth place.


Final table chip counts

Seat 1: spytnic (7,207,662 in chips)
Seat 2: NORSKHOPP (3,987,747 in chips)
Seat 3: illraiseyou8 (5,781,460 in chips)
Seat 4: gordinho AM (7,141,600 in chips)
Seat 5: USA_20080920 (1,544,484 in chips)
Seat 6: LEXER1986 (9,879,290 in chips)
Seat 7: marquinhosss (6,013,525 in chips)
Seat 8: AlexS1 (10,161,364 in chips)
Seat 9: bjl90 (8,172,868 in chips)

The final table lost its first player six hands in when NORSKHOPP made a button shove for 3.46 million with A♠8♦ and illraiseyou8 reshoved from the small blind with A♣T♠. A ten hit the flop and NORSKHOPP's run came to an end in ninth place.

USA_20080920 was down to only three big blinds when he made a stand with Q♥J♥ and got two callers. USA_20080920 rivered a queen-high flush and tripled to 3.02 million, but was back down to 1.44 million when the blinds rose to 200,000/400,000. USA_20080920 found 8♦8♠ and moved in, but unfortunately ran smack into AlexS1's Q♠Q♦. There was no miracle on the board and USA_20080920 had to settle for eighth place on his return trip to the Sunday Million final table.

USA_20080920's departure left marquinhosss as the short stack, but he doubled up in short order via a 4.56 million small blind shove with A♣J♣. Chip leader AlexS1 called with K♣T♦ in the big, but failed to improve on the J♥6♥4♥5♣2♣ board. However, two hands later, AlexS1 opened for 800,000 on the button and bjl90 shoved for 6.45 million from the small blind with A♣2♣. AlexS1quickly called with J♦J♠. Although bjl90 paired his ace, a jack came with it on the A♥J♥4♠ flop. The 3♠ turn gave bjl90 a ray of hope with a wheel draw, but the 9♠ river sent him home in seventh place, while AlexS1's chip lead grew to 23.3 million.

With the blinds still at 200,000/400,000, LEXER1986 three-bet shoved for 5.31 million with A♥T♥ and initial raiser gordinho AM called with A♦K♠. LEXER1986 was in rough shape with a dominated hand, but the T♣9♣4♣ flop turned his frown upside down by pairing his ten. Gordinho AM didn't improve on the 6♥ turn or the 2♣ river and LEXER1986 squirmed away with a double-up to 11.5 million. Gordinho AM was left with only 1.42 million and was eliminated in sixth place a few hands later when his Q♦6♦ did not improve vs. AlexS1's K♦7♠.

The blinds rose to 250,000/500,000, leaving illraiseyou8 on less than 10 BB. Holding K♠J♠, he open-shoved for 5.07 million on the button and marquinhosss looked him up with A♥T♦ in the big blind. The J♦J♣8♠ flop made illraiseyou8 trips and the board paired eights on the river to improve him further to jacks full. Illraiseyou8 doubled to 10.6 million, but three hands later, those chips were in the middle again after a preflop three-bet shove with A♣T♥. AlexS1 snap-called with Q♠Q♥. Illraiseyou8 got no help on the 9♦6♦5♦2♠5♥ board and hit the rail in fifth place. AlexS1's chip count soared to a massive 35.8 million, nearly four times the chips of second-place LEXER1986, who held 9.4 million.

Moments later, LEXER1986 opened for 1 million and marquinhosss moved all-in for 5.4 million from the small blind. LEXER1986 called, his 4♦4♣ in great shape against 2♥2♦. Marquinhosss did not improve on the Q♦T♥6♦A♥A♠ board and went out in fourth place.

As three-handed play commenced, AlexS1 was sitting pretty with 36.2 million, LEXER1986 was up to 15.9 million, and spytnic was the short stack with 7.8 million.

AlexS1 kept the pressure on both opponents and had chipped up to 42.7 million when spytnic moved all-in for 5.8 million on the button. LEXER1986 reshoved for 11.3 million from the small blind and AlexS1 got out of the way.

spytnic A♠Q♣
LEXER1986 A♣4♥

The Q♥4♦2♥ flop paired both players, spytnic in the lead with a pair of queens. The 3♠ turn didn't change much, but the 4♣ arrived on the river like a bolt of lightning, making LEXER1986 trip fours and striking down spytnic in third place.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 6: LEXER1986 (17,739,401 in chips)
Seat 8: AlexS1 (42,150,599 in chips)

Right as heads-up play was to begin, both LEXER1986 and AlexS1 agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. As AlexS1 made clear, he didn't play for this amount of money on the regular:

AlexS1: lexer
AlexS1: i normally dont battle for uh
AlexS1: 80k HU

The ICM numbers awarded AlexS1 just over $157k and LEXER1986 $146,300 with $20k left to play for. LEXER1986, however, was inclined to play it out for all the marbles.

AlexS1: let me know ur thoughts
AlexS1: just FYI no brag im a hu pro im sure someone can vouch me in the hu sng world
LEXER1986: lets play
AlexS1: u wanna play it out?
AlexS1: i like the way u think boy
LEXER1986: yes

When cards went back in the air, LEXER1986's confidence immediately started to shine through. He chipped up to 23 million in short order and won a 15.3 million pot off AlexS1 when his Q♠7♣ flopped bottom two pair and turned queens full of sevens. LEXER1986 got value on the turn and river and took a slight chip lead with 30.7 million to AlexS1's 29.1 million.

AlexS1 and LEXER1986 traded a few more pots before LEXER1986 went on a tear and won six hands in a row to move up to 35.2 million in chips. In the most significant of those hands, AlexS1 check-called LEXER1986's flop and turn bets on a 7♦4♦2♣6♥ board. The river fell the 9♣ and AlexS1 checked a third time. LEXER1986 bet 9.18 million, about 3/4 of the pot, but this time, AlexS1 couldn't do it. He gave up his hand and LEXER1986 raked in another 12.2 million.

After chopping one pot, LEXER1986 kicked it back into gear and won another five in a row, all without a showdown, to top 46 million in chips. The tables now entirely turned, AlexS1 put together enough fire to take down the next three hands, but he wouldn't survive the fourth.

With the blinds at 400,000/800,000, AlexS1 limped in on the button and LEXER1986 raised to 2.4 million. AlexS1 reraised all-in for 21.45 million and LEXER1986 called.

AlexS1 A♥8♣
LEXER1986 K♣Q♣

AlexS1's ace-high kept the lead on the T♥6♥2♠ flop, but LEXER1986 turned top pair with the Q♦ to wrest it away. AlexS1 needed a river ace to survive but got the T♣ instead, as LEXER1986 at last locked up a Sunday Million title.

Congratulations to LEXER1986, bridesmaid no more, on his Sunday Million victory! He banked $185,661.70 for the win, while runner-up AlexS1 earned $137,747.00.


PokerStars Sunday Million results for 1-10-2016

Players: 5,989
Prizepool: $1,197,800.00
Places paid: 855

1. LEXER1986 (Ukraine) $185,661.70
2. AlexS1 (Canada) $137,747.00
3. spytnic (Russia) $97,021.80
4. Marco "marquinhosss" Chaiben Filho (Brazil) $67,256.47
5. Sammy "illraiseyou8" Lafleur (Canada) $50,307.60
6. gordinho AM (Brazil) $38,329.60
7. bjl90 (Australia) $26,351.60
8. USA_20080920 (Germany) $14,972.50
9. NORSKHOPP (Sweden) $9,342.84

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million