Sunday Million: L1VeYRdrEamS's comeback denies Timonpoika a second title (5-28-17)

L1VeYRdrEamS's Sunday Million tournament life teetered on the edge of elimination for more than an hour and a half at this week's final table. The Australian player survived four separate all-in confrontations and emerged from the chaos, short-stacked but battle-tested, with all the motivation a poker player could ever need to mount a comeback in the form of a $46,000 pay jump and the title of Sunday Million champion.

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On the other side of the table, Timonpoika rode the incoming chip lead to four-handed play, briefly slipped into second place before making a big call and winning a monster pot via coin flip, and then quickly knocked out the rest of the competition. Already a Sunday Million winner once before, the Finn was on the verge of a second title with 85 percent of the total chips in play and one more opponent to eliminate. A second coin flip didn't go as well for Timonpoika, though, and L1VeYRdrEamS was suddenly holding a 30-big-blind chip lead. Half an hour later the underdog was indeed living the dream, having turned a short stack into Sunday Million glory.

Despite taking such different routes to heads-up play, Timonpoika and L1VeYRdrEamS started out the final table 1-2 in the chip counts with blinds and antes at 60,000/120,000/12,000:

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Seat 1: TrankiNLVida (2,808,852 in chips)
Seat 2: escobar (1,764,778 in chips)
Seat 3: Timonpoika (12,476,356 in chips)
Seat 4: disquesi! (7,920,065 in chips)
Seat 5: vladulaNko (5,724,208 in chips)
Seat 6: TeddyPunk182 (4,174,873 in chips)
Seat 7: chaavees (1,189,845 in chips)
Seat 8: L1VeYRdrEamS (10,150,263 in chips)
Seat 9: yeye0808 (1,240,760 in chips)

Timonpoika scored the first knockout of the final table with J♣ J♦. The Finn, the only caller when escobar moved all-in for six big blinds with 4♠ 4♥, won unimproved to bust escobar in ninth. Then disquesi! took over the chip lead by less than one big blind with two knockouts in a three-hand span. First the SCOOP 2017 finalist's A♦ T♥ turned the T♣ to beat chaavees's A♣ K♦ and bust the Brazilian in eighth. Then disquesi! was the only caller, with A♦ A♥, after TrankiNLVida shoved for six big blinds with A♠ K♣, which missed the board completely to send the Uruguayan packing in seventh.

Now the chip leader, disquesi! was the favorite for a third straight knockout a few minutes later, having called with K♣ K♥ after L1VeYRdrEamS moved in with A♠ Q♣ from the small blind over the top of a raise and a call. The A♣ on the flop gave L1VeYRdrEamS the double to 11 million chips, good for second place, but that didn't last long. disquesi! snuck back ahead two hands later, the only caller with A♠ Q♦ in the big blind after TeddyPunk182 opened all-in with K♥ Q♣; a king on the flop looked likely to keep the Swiss player alive, but an ace on the river was the exit to sixth place.

Past Sunday Warm-Up winner and Sunday Million finalist vladulaNko's Q♣ Q♦ busted yeye0808 in fifth a few minutes later when yeye0808's A♦ 8♦ missed the board entirely.

L1VeYRdrEamS entered four-handed play with just over 16 big blinds, less than half what each of the other three players was holding, and had to fend off the opposition twice to stay alive. A♣ K♥ held up against vladulaNko's A♠ Q♥ first. Then a steal with A♦ 4♥ in the small blind became a pair of fours with the 4♠ on the flop, all that was needed to stay ahead of Timonpoika's Q♠ T♠ in the big blind.


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That loss, the third in a row for the the Finn, dropped Timonpoika into second place behind disquesi! and set up a major confrontation three hands later. Timonpoika opened the action under the gun with a small raise to 770,000 chips and then faced a decision for another 10.2 million after disquesi! moved all-in on the button. Timonpoika gave it some thought and then pulled the trigger on the call, putting this run for a second Sunday Million title on the line with A♣ K♥ - a slight underdog, it turned out, to disquesi!'s 6♣ 6♥. The board fell K♠ 5♥ 7♥ A♠ 3♦, and Timonpoika's dream of a second title stayed alive with two pair for the 22.7-million-chip win.

After a 15-minute stretch of small pots, L1VeYRdrEamS survived a coin-flip with T♣ T♥ against vladulaNko's Q♦ J♣, making a set of tens on the flop to reduce the Bulgarian player's stack to just three and a half big blinds. Three hands later A♥ J♦ similarly failed vladulaNko, falling to Timonpoika's A♣ Q♣ in fourth place after the latter made two pair on the Q♠ 5♠ 5♣ T♦ A♠ board.

Timonpoika was the clear leader now with 27.3 million chips, more than double disquesi!'s 12.4 million and even further ahead of L1VeYRdrEamS. That cushion looked like it was going to come in handy after the Finn opened the betting all-in for 27.2 million chips on the button with A♥ 8♦ and disquesi! called in the small blind with 8♠ 8♥. But the J♦ A♦ Q♦ 9♦ 3♠ board was all Timonpoika, going from a pair of aces to a flush that left disquesi! drawing dead in third place.

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And so the two leaders from the start of the final table ended up facing off against one another, Timonpoika the overwhelming favorite - by chip count - to bag a second career Sunday Million title, L1VeYRdrEamS the underdog with nothing to lose by getting aggressive. The Aussie did just that, doubling that incoming heads-up chip stack by the 2:55 a.m. ET break to set up a massive breakthrough just minutes after returning from it. The Aussie defended the big blind all-in with 6♠ 6♦ against Timonpoika's raise, and after a spell in the time bank, the Finn called with A♠ 9♥; the pair stayed ahead on the flop and turn before making a set to win the 31.6-million-chip pot on the 6♣ river.

Though the duel would continue for another half-hour, the final key pot came just three minutes later. Timonpoika led for 1.32 million on the button, L1VeYRdrEamS called in the big blind with J♥ 9♦, and then both players checked after the flop came J♣ Q♠ K♥. Timonpoika called 1.54 million on the J♠ turn and then called once more after L1VeYRdrEamS check-raised with a full house on the 9♥ river. Jacks full of nines earned the 20.5-million-chip pot, leaving the former chip leader and prospective repeat champion with less than 20 big blinds.

L1VeYRdrEamS kept up the pressure for another half hour. Though Timonpoika managed to avoid elimination four separate times, L1VeYRdrEamS never relinquished the chip lead, and the final hand saw Timonpoika shove for just under 10 big blinds on the button with Q♥ 4♦. L1VeYRdrEamS called with A♠ 2♦ and made trip deuces on the 4♠ 2♥ 2♠ to close the tournament out in style.

Timonpoika's run at a second Sunday Million title may have come up one spot short, but it added another six-figure score to the Finn's tournament resume. As for L1VeYRdrEamS, the newest winner of the Sunday Million, the question now is which dream will become reality next. Congratulations to both of them on a tournament well-played!

5/28/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 4,745
Total prize pool: $1,000,000
Places paid: 773

1. L1VeYRdrEamS (Australia) $150,179
2. Timonpoika (Finland) $103,935.70
3. disquesi! (Slovakia) $71,931.70
4. vladulaNko (Bulgaria) $49,782.30
5. yeye0808 (Romania) $34,453.30
6. TeddyPunk182 (Switzerland) $23,844.30
7. TrankiNLVida (Uruguay) $16,502.10
8. chaavees (Brazil) $11,420.80
9. escobar (Sweden) $7,904.10


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million