Sunday Million: Late run plugs powerpokerBR into $180K victory (7-2-17)

The stakes were high. Nearly two hours had passed at this week's Sunday Million final table and five players remained. Brazil's powerpokerBR had looked ready to hit the rail for much of the latter half of that time, hanging on with a short stack and looking for an opportunity to get back into the game. The two-time past Sunday Warm-Up finalist survived all-in three separate times during this crucial stretch of the tournament, once an underdog and twice a favorite, first staving off elimination and then taking over the chip lead with the blinds and antes at stratospheric heights. Those wins set the stage for a late run, propelled by one coin flip and two dominant hands, that left powerpokerBR the latest winner of the Sunday Million.

Twelve hours of poker narrowed this week's field from just over 6,000 players to these nine:

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Seat 1: PIVA STARS (3,245,572 in chips)
Seat 2: wyte123 (12,050,034 in chips)
Seat 3: letsgodody (6,747,288 in chips)
Seat 4: 12bcire (10,012,435 in chips)
Seat 5: powerpokerBR (4,048,618 in chips)
Seat 6: 3OutTrout (2,266,240 in chips)
Seat 7: motreanu90 (9,506,576 in chips)
Seat 8: RenanMattaa (7,558,649 in chips)
Seat 9: BluffedLife (4,704,588 in chips)

3OutTrout was first out tonight. The Canadian jammed for 2.02 million chips in the small blind after PIVA STARS opened the action on the second hand for 550,000 in middle position. PIVA STARS called with Q♠ Q♥, which topped 3OutTrout's A♦ J♦ after the board came 3♥ J♣ 5♥ K♠ 2♦ to end the Canadian's tournament in ninth.

The next 30 minutes saw multiple underdogs find a way to win when it mattered most. PIVA STARS looked sure to exit after three-betting on the button with T♦ T♠ and then calling all-in for 3.8 million chips when original raiser motreanu90, a TCOOP 2017 6-max NLHE runner-up, shoved with Q♦ Q♠. Then the Brazilian made tens full of nines on the river of a 9♥ J♥ 9♦ 6♠ T♥ board. Five minutes later BluffedLife shoved for 2.58 million chips in the big blind with A♥ 3♠, coming over the top of TCOOP 2017 Event #8 champion letsgodody's opener with 5♦ 5♣; letsgodody called with the edge but lost out when an ace came on the flop.

The rest of the hour played out without an elimination and the blinds and antes jumped to 150,000/300,000/30,000 when the players returned from the break, putting ever more pressure on the shortest stacks at the table. That pushed letsgodody to jam for 2.79 million chips in the big blind with A♦ T♥ after powerpokerBR opened in early position. The Brazilian called with A♥ J♥ and both players made two pair with their hole cards on the T♠ 5♣ J♣ 9♦ A♠ board, giving the 5.9-million-chip pot to powerpokerBR with aces and jacks and sending letsgodody to the rail in eighth.

A few minutes later TCOOP 2017 6-max NLHE finalist wyte123 opened the action under the gun by moving all-in for 3.9 million chips with A♠ T♥. The rest of the table folded except for PIVA STARS, who called in the big blind with A♦ 7♦ and a little more than two big blinds' worth of chips behind. The Brazilian was left with that cushion alone after the board came J♠ J♥ 9♣ Q♠ 4♦; two hands later PIVA STARS was gone in seventh after running 9♠ 6♦ into motreanu90's A♠ A♦.

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The blinds and antes continued to rise, driving the value of the average stack down as play moved on without a deal in sight. And the underdogs continued to thrive, too. RenanMattaa doubled to 11.1 million after defending the big blind with K♥ 4♥ and backing into a flush to top powerpokerBR's pair of queens with A♥ Q♠.

By the time 12bcire jammed 20 minutes later with A♣ J♦, the Dutch player's 4.2-million-chip stack - cut down to size after losing a few minutes earlier with A♦ K♠ against BluffedLife's A♥ T♥ - was worth a bit more than 10 big blinds. motreanu90 raised and successfully isolated with A♠ Q♣ on the button and fell behind to a pair of jacks after the flop came 7♣ J♥ K♥, before making a Broadway straight with the T♥ turn card. That gave motreanu90 the 9.3-million-chip pot and eliminated 12bcire in sixth.

The next 45 minutes were tense. The 250,000/500,000/50,000 level started a few minutes later with only two players holding more than 20 big blinds - BluffedLife, flush at 24.7 million chips from that earlier win over 12bcire, and motreanu90, only marginally ahead of the three short stacks at 11.8 million chips.

Rather than serving as ammunition for attacking the more desperate players, those stacks served as buffers against mounting losses. powerpokerBR stayed alive after defending the big blind with T♥ 9♦, flopping a pair of nines and calling when motreanu90 jammed with unimproved A♠ K♥. Then wyte123 woke up with J♣ J♠ in the big blind a few minutes later and called all-in for 9.79 million chips after BluffedLife open-shoved with 7♦ 6♥ in the small blind, winning with a jack kicker when both players made aces and kings on the A♥ K♦ A♣ K♠ 7♣ board.


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powerpokerBR doubled up twice more. The first came in the big blind with K♣ K♠ for 7.9 million chips against wyte123's poach attempt with 8♣ 5♣ in the small blind. The bigger win came 15 minutes later after powerpokerBR min-raised to 1.4 million chips in the cutoff seat with A♦ J♥ in the hole. BluffedLife shoved for 11.5 million chips total, holding Q♣ J♣, and was left with just over one big blind's worth of chips when the K♥ 6♦ A♥ 8♥ 9♦ board gave powerpokerBR a pair of aces.

BluffedLife managed to win two desperate pots but eventually re-raised all-in from the small blind with Q♦ T♥ over motreanu90's opener with J♠ J♣. The Romanian player called and made top set on the 9♣ J♥ 2♠ 4♥ 3♣ board to eliminate BluffedLife in fifth.

The road to four-handed play had been long and winding enough to leave all of the remaining competitors in desperate shape. powerpokerBR's leading 22.1-million-chip stack was worth just over 30 big blinds, not particularly far ahead of short stack wyte123's 8.4 million. The proper play, then, was to get aggressive and let the chips fall wherever they might.

RenanMattaa picked up 5♦ 5♠ on the button three minutes in and did just that, open-shoving for 9.7 million chips. powerpokerBR called in the big blind with A♦ 9♦ and made a pair of nines on the 9♠ 3♣ 2♦ T♠ 7♣ board, knocking RenanMattaa out in fourth.

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Three-handed play lasted for four minutes and ended after powerpokerBR min-raised to 1.4 million on the button with A♠ K♦. motreanu90 three-bet all-in for 17.2 million with A♦ T♦ in the small blind and lost on kickers when the board came 2♥ 9♥ 3♣ 3♥ 4♦, exiting in third.

powerpokerBR had 46.9 million chips to wyte123's 12.8 million as heads-up play started. Three hands in the Brazilian min-raised on the button with A♦ J♦ and called when wyte123 shoved with K♣ J♥. The board came 9♠ 4♠ 3♠ 9♥ T♠ and powerpokerBR earned the pot with a pair of nines and an ace kicker to close this tournament out.

Tonight's final table had enough twists and turns that it could have left anybody at the top of the pack. Congratulations to powerpokerBR and wyte123 for weathering the storm to come out ahead with the big money.

7/2/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 6,014 (4,969 entries, 1,045 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $1,202,800
Places paid: 1,007

1. powerpokerBR (Brazil) $180,234.73
2. wyte123 (Lithuania) $124,733.36
3. motreanu90 (Romania) $86,325.43
4. RenanMattaa (Brazil) $59,744.03
5. BluffedLife (Croatia) $41,347.69
6. 12bcire (Netherlands) $28,615.93
7. PIVA STARS (Brazil) $19,804.58
8. letsgodody (Russia) $13,706.26
9. 3OutTrout (Canada) $9,485.88


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million