Sunday Million: After four-way deal, 99-minute duel ends in victory for G A W (11-6-17)

As is the case for many players, some of the biggest moments in the career of Romanian player G A W have come on a Sunday. Up until now those have mostly come in the Sunday Warm-Up, including one final table appearance back in 2009 and another during a WCOOP 2017 Special Edition. Tonight though G A W upped the ante in the Sunday Million. After striking a four-way deal and battling for 99 minutes against an experienced heads-up opponent, the Romanian player claimed this week's title.

G A W first came into the chip lead with about 12 tables left and held onto it for more than 30 minutes before sliding back toward average-stack territory as the field continued to dwindle. Past SCOOP-Medium High Roller heads-up NLHE semifinalist and WCOOP heads-up NLHE quarterfinalist beginner27 similarly held an average stack throught the tournament until there were just two tables remaining. beginner27 maintained that leading stack for the next two hours, carrying over to the final table against these other eight players:


Seat 1: vanselow (4,384,332 in chips)
Seat 2: toffeblue (3,687,898 in chips)
Seat 3: bianchettibh (2,563,028 in chips)
Seat 4: hello_totti (6,911,422 in chips)
Seat 5: Deividas K (2,777,495 in chips)
Seat 6: Prezes_PL (2,422,292 in chips)
Seat 7: Ottodif (7,890,911 in chips)
Seat 8: G A W (9,415,328 in chips)
Seat 9: beginner27 (17,327,294 in chips)

The first 30 minutes of play consisted mostly of blind-stealing with the occasional double-up for a short-stacked player who got their chips in ahead. Deividas K, who made Sunday Million and TCOOP finals back in 2016, and Prezes_PL both got theirs with A-K, while vanselow's came courtesy of Q♣ Q♥ against beginner27's 5♦ 5♥. Then SCOOP 2015 Main Event finalist hello_totti was dealt 5♥ 5♠ and opened the action all-in for 5.5 million chips. G A W called in the big blind with A♣ A♦, the board ran out five-less, and hello_totti left in ninth.

The rest of the first hour of play went better for the big stacks, starting just a few hands later. Brazilian player bianchettibh, who bubbled the Sunday Million final back in January of this year, survived that early stretch of play with a stack worth about seven big blinds and then picked up Q♣ Q♥ in early position and moved all-in. The action folded to the small blind and beginner27, still holding the chip lead, took the cheap gamble with A♦ 9♦. It paid off when the board came J♥ 8♣ 3♦ 2♦ 7♦, making a runner-runner diamond flush and ending bianchettibh's best-yet Sunday Million run in eighth.

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The first clash between two of the short stacks came a few minutes later. Ottodif got in ahead with A♥ K♠ against Prezes_PL's A♣ 2♦ and stayed there, making a full house and leaving the Polish player with less than two big blinds' worth of chips. Two hands later Prezes_PL survived with A♦ 4♥ against beginner27's A♣ T♣ when the board made both players aces and deuces with a king kicker, and that was enough to earn a pay jump. Fellow short stack toffeblue opened the action all-in on the next hand with K♠ K♥ and only vanselow, who had A♦ A♥ in the big blind, called. The board ran out jack-high and toffeblue left in seventh; Prezes_PL was forced in on the big blind with 8♦ 3♠ two hands later and followed in sixth.

While the short stacks desperately tried to survive, almost every pot that didn't see one of them double up was taken down early by either beginner27 or G A W. Deividas K managed to steal the blinds and antes a few times, but the Lithuanian player fell back into last place when vanselow doubled up with 4♦ 4♣ against G A W's A♦ T♦. Two orbits later Deividas K, with the 200,000-chip small blind and 400,000-chip big blind looming, was dealt A♣ 4♠ and moved all-in after vanselow folded under the gun. Ottodif isolated on the button with J♣ J♥ and made a set on the flop, which held up through the river of the 9♣ K♠ J♦ Q♥ 3♥ board to end Deividas K's tournament in fifth.


After beginner27 took down the next six pots in a row the other three players got the U.K. player to talk over a deal. They eventually got what they wanted, but beginner27 drove a hard bargain. It took 25 minutes of discussion before the leader, who coaxed several thousand dollars out of the other players after seeing the ICM numbers, was satisfied enough to finalize the numbers on the deal.

With their agreement now officially on the books, the remaining field was cut in half in just two hands. Ottodif picked up J♦ J♥ in the small blind on the first hand and open-shoved for 8.9 million chips; G A W called with A♠ T♣ in the big blind and caught an ace on the flop to bust Ottodif in fourth. beginner27 opened all-in from the small blind on the next hand, but with 9♥ 6♣; vanselow called for 4.6 million with A♥ 4♠ but fell in third when beginner27 made trip sixes.

They got the deal they wanted, but beginner27 drove a hard bargain.

That post-deal breeziness stopped immediately. beginner27's lead was only about 12 big blinds over G A W and both players were up for a battle. They played for a half hour, trading the lead back and forth like a hot potato, and decided to keep going when the scheduled 3:55 a.m. ET break approached. The trend of trading the lead continued for another half-hour until G A W finally took down two big pots within a span of four hands.

The first of those wins came in a limped pot that had a 4♠ Q♠ 3♥ flop. beginner27 led with a minimum bet of 900,000 chips and called when G A W raised to 2.7 million, then check-called another 4.5 million after the J♥ turn. That brought the 4♦ on the river. This time beginner27 check-folded to an all-in bet, giving G A W the lead with 35.1 million chips to beginner27's 22.2 million.

Three hands later G A W opened small on the button with A♣ A♠ and checked behind beginner27 on the K♠ J♥ J♣ flop. G A W called 3.3 million after the 2♦ turn and another 8.6 million after the 3♣ river, earning the pot when beginner27 showed Q♣ T♥ for just the pair of jacks the flop had brought.

Losing that pot took beginner27's stack down to 9.7 million chips, worth just under 11 big blinds, and it looked like things were probably over a few minutes later after the player from the U.K. got in with 4♣ 4♠ only to see G A W call and flop two pair with A♥ Q♣. But the river of the Q♠ A♦ 7♣ 2♦ 4♥ delivered the two-outer necessary to keep the game going with a five-big-blind difference between the two players' stacks.


They got back to their previous habit of trading the lead before G A W finally slipped up and re-raised all-in with A♦ 9♣ from the big blind after beginner27 min-raised with A♥ Q♠. Then G A W got a break from the board too when it brought two kings and two deuces, splitting the pot when both players' aces played as kickers for the two pair.

They hit the next scheduled break about 10 minutes later and again chose to play through it, this time with beginner27 holding the lead by about 12 big blinds. G A W turned that around within minutes thanks to being dealt A♥ K♦ when beginner27 got K♠ Q♦. The chips went in and beginner27 was left with 12.8 million chips with the blinds and antes at 600,000/1,200,000/120,000.

It looked like another comeback was in the making two minutes later when beginner27 moved in with K♦ K♠ and G A W called with A♦ 3♦. Even after G A W made two pair on the Q♠ A♥ 3♠ flop, it still seemed like the board might come up with a winning combo for beginner27 - more so when the 2♠ gave nine outs to a flush to go with the last two kings in the deck. But the 4♣ river dashed those hopes, bringing one very entertaining heads-up duel to an end.

It was a successful ending for both of the heads-up finalists. beginner27 missed out on the title but still walked away with a six-figure score, a new career best by more than $80,000. And G A W, who earned the extra post-deal cash, also set a new career best by just over $80,000. Congratulations to them both, and to vanselow and Ottodif for sharing in the deal!

11/5/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 5,738 (4,680 entries, 1,058 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $1,147,600
Places paid: 998

1. G A W (Romania) $120,684.75*
2. beginner27 (United Kingdom) $118,652.81*
3. vanselow (Costa Rica) $69,651.18*
4. Ottodif (Sweden) $84,660.98*
5. Deividas K (Lithuania) $37,590.09
6. Prezes_PL (Poland) $26,379.53
7. toffeblue (United Kingdom) $18,512.39
8. bianchettibh (Brazil) $12,991.52
9. hello_totti (Russia) $9,117.10
* - denotes results of a four-way deal leaving $20,000 for the winner

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million