Sunday Million: Drudz777 abides, chops heads-up with mahmuttt88 for $133K (4-23-17)

In a large-field tournament like the Sunday Million, the final table is a lot like the playoffs in professional sports. The big stacks are the higher seeds, their regular-season performance having earned them an advantage, while the short stacks are the underdogs. But as in sports, being the underdog means nothing at all once the game really begins. Just getting to the playoffs means you have a chance to win, as both this week's winner and runner-up will testify. After facing an uphill fight at a shorthanded table against two accomplished opponents, mahmuttt88 and Drudz777 defied the odds to get heads-up. And then, with a deal already in the books, Drudz777 upped the ante by mounting one last unlikely comeback to become the latest Sunday Million champion.

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After 11 hours of poker, this week's 5,129-player field had been reduced to its final two tables. Ukraine's Anjeyyy, a past Sunday Million finalist and WCOOP 2015 Super Tuesday Special Edition runner-up, was already the leader with 25 big blinds more than the nearest competitor when OYHEMAMUT moved in on the button with K♣ T♠. Anjeyyy called with A♠ K♠ and expanded that lead when the board came 9♣ 4♦ 4♠ 6♥ 2♦, busting OYHEMAMUT in 10th to set up this week's final table:

Seat 1: EdiNegeR (2,019,064 in chips)
Seat 2: Anjeyyy (17,000,780 in chips)
Seat 3: VegasWoi (4,509,574 in chips)
Seat 4: woody1234321 (2,254,939 in chips)
Seat 5: Tinas21 (2,273,182 in chips)
Seat 6: Thomas "WushuTM" Muhlocker (8,850,648 in chips)
Seat 7: Drudz777 (4,919,891 in chips)
Seat 8: mahmuttt88 (5,325,536 in chips)
Seat 9: Buckjeve22 (4,136,386 in chips)

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Half of the final table lineup collected its payouts before the first break. woody1234321, a TCOOP winner in both 2015 and 2016, was the first after jamming with K♥ J♣. mahmuttt88 called with J♥ J♠ on the button, the board came 8♥ 6♣ 7♣ 7♦ 5♣, and woody1234321 was out in ninth.

Six minutes later Canada's Buckjeve22 open-shoved for 2.5M with A♠ T♠ on the button and Anjeyyy called in the big blind with A♥ K♣. The board came within one spade of delivering a flush for the short stack, but it eventually read A♦ 5♠ J♠ Q♥ 5♦ and Buckjeve22 left in eighth.

TCOOP 2017 Mix-Max winner Tinas21 of Norway was next out after getting in for five big blinds with A♣ J♠. Original raiser and SCOOP 2015 and TCOOP 2017 winner Thomas "WushuTM" Muhlocker called with T♣ T♦, which held up on the 8♣ 2♣ 8♠ 3♣ 7♥ board to bounce Tinas21 in seventh.

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VegasWoi's shot at doubling up came minutes later with 9♣ 9♦ on the button, but Drudz777, who had T♦ T♥ in the big blind, was the only caller. The 6♥ 6♦ J♦ 4♥ 2♦ board, devoid of nines, ended VegasWoi's tournament in sixth.

WushuTM scored one more knockout before the break. He raised with T♦ T♥ on the button and isolated EdiNegeR, who had open-shoved for 1.7M with Q♥ 9♠. The threat of a gutshot straight draw never amounted to anything as the board fell [Q4h] T♣ 8♣ K♦ 7♦, giving WushuTM the win with a set of tens and eliminating EdiNegeR in fifth just as the final table went to its 1:55 a.m. ET break.

Turning the tourney upside down

Talk of a potential deal came up during the break, but play resumed six minutes after the hour without any agreement. Anjeyyy was still the clear leader with 26.7M chips, with WushuTM in second at 11.6M and Drudz777 (7.1M) and past WCOOP and Super Tuesday champion mahmuttt888 (5.7M) looking for a way back in. Both caught their breaks soon, with Drudz777's coming first.

Drudz777 min-raised to 600K and only WushuTM called, bringing a 4♦ 4♣ 9♥ flop. WushuTM check-called 485K there and both players checked the 3♦ turn, bringing the 6♣ on the river. WushuTM led for 1.36M and then went deep into the time bank when Drudz777 fired back all-in for 5.5M. WushuTM eventually called and tabled 9♠ 2♠ for nines and twos, but Drudz777's 6♥ 6♠ took the 13.4M-chip pot with a rivered boat, sixes full of fours.

mahmuttt888 shoved from the small blind a few hands later with T♣ 9♦ and outraced Anjeyyy's A♦ 6♥ in the big blind, flopping one ten and turning another to stay alive with 6 million chips. It was a relatively flimsy lifeline with the blinds and antes at 175K/350K/35K and rising, but it was enough to earn a pay jump just a few hands later after Anjeyyy opened the action all-in from the small blind and WushuTM called for 6.8M with A♥ J♦. It was a coin flip with Anjeyyy's 7♥ 7♠, one that went the way of the pocket pair after the board came 5♣ K♥ 3♦ 3♥ 8♣ and busted WushuTM in fourth.

Thomas Muhlocker

Thomas "WushuTM" Muhlocker, out in fourth

That left the table three-handed, with the two short stacks now facing one giant stack who had just eliminated the closest competition. Desperately short now, mahmuttt88 was able to double twice, first with K♠ 4♠ for a runner-runner wheel straight to beat Anjeyyy's flopped pair of aces with A♥ 9♥ and then, just minutes later, with A♣ K♣ against A♠ J♦ after raising the button and four-betting all-in before the flop after Anjeyyy played back. An unnecessary king hit the river to give mahmuttt88 the win.

Deal or no deal...or deal?

The entire dynamic of the table shifted after that second pot. mahmuttt88 had the lead with 19.1M chips, just ahead of Anjeyyy (18M) and Drudz777 (14.1M), with the 200K/400K/40K blinds and antes making everyone uncomfortable. Talk of a deal came up again and the numbers were set to give everyone a six-figure payday, with Anjeyyy set to take at least $108,000. But where the other two players agreed, the Ukrainian set a demand: $110,000 or play on. mahmuttt88 was having none of it and Drudz777 didn't want to make up the difference alone, so play continued.

Drudz777 remained the shortest of the three stacks over the next 40 minutes of play, which took the three players past the 2:55 a.m. ET break. mahmuttt88 was able to gain ground at Anjeyyy's expense and a big confrontation between the two seemed to be building. They both got all-in before the flop, only to split the 34.1M-chip pot when both held A-K. Two hands later, though, mahmuttt88's J♥ T♥ rivered a queen-high straight for a 12.4M-chip pot, leaving Anjeyyy only three big blinds ahead of Drudz777.

Three minutes later mahmuttt88 picked up A♣ K♦ again, this time in the small blind, and limped in. Anjeyyy jammed from the big blind and turned over 5♦ 5♥ when mahmuttt88 called. mahmuttt88 made a pair of kings on the flop and never looked back as the board fell T♣ 4♦ K♠ 3♦ 8♣, busting Anjeyyy in third.

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With the player who had led the tournament since well before the final table out of the way, mahmuttt88 and Drudz777 got the tournament host back in the lobby and quickly hammered out a deal that left $20,000 on the table for the winner and guaranteed both players no less than $113K.

Drudz777 was low on firepower but high on "nothing to lose," and the latter proved the more important quality with the deal already in the books. Two early pots came with mediocre holdings after calling down big bluffs by mahmuttt88, narrowing the chip deficit from 4-to-1 to 2-to-1. Then the Brazilian hit the gas pedal, doubling in chips over the next 10 minutes without taking down a single pot worth more than 13 big blinds.

Small-ball provided the lead for Drudz777 but big hands locked it up, starting with a turned straight. After coming in for a small raise on the button with 7♣ 6♣, Drudz777 bet just over a million chips when checked to on the 9♠ 3♥ 8♣ flop. mahmuttt88 check-raised to 2.8M and then led for 4.1M on the 5♠ turn before checking again on the K♥ river. A call there, and a muck when Drudz777 turned over the winner, left mahmuttt88 with 8.3M chips.

Three hands later mahmuttt88 jammed with T♠ 6♠ and Drudz777 called with A♥ J♣. The 2♦ 7♦ Q♣ 9♣ 3♠ played along with the favorite, and the tournament came to its end.

mahmuttt88 missed out on the extra $20K after the heads-up deal, but finishing runner-up for more than $128K still sets a new record for the Finn's biggest PokerStars cash to date. Meanwhile the extra money gave Drudz777 a total cash of $133,595.11, topping the Brazilian's previous best cash of about $2,200 by just a few dollars. Congratulations to both players on a very profitable Sunday!

4/23/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 5,129
Total prize pool: $1,025,800
Places paid: 845

1. Drudz777 (Brazil) $133,595.11*
2. mahmuttt88 (Finland) $128,245.95*
3. Anjeyyy (Ukraine) $75,772.76
4. Thomas "WushuTM" Muhlocker (Austria) $53,174.90
5. EdiNegeR (Bosnia and Herzegovina) $37,316.34
6. VegasWoi (Germany) $26,187.44
7. Tinas21 (Norway) $18,377.41
8. Buckjeve22 (Canada) $12,896.76
9. woody1234321 (Mexico) $9,050.53
* - denotes results of a heads-up deal that left $20,000 for the winner

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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million