Sunday Million: MORTIIIIIIII is one singular sensation, ending pokerjoe485's second- chance run

In a game of skill, the best continually rise to the top. So with our sample size of Sunday Million finalists growing by nine each week, it makes perfect sense why we see more and more players making repeat final table appearances. However, this time, four players were doing just that. Aussie_star1 took seventh place back in 2015, pokerjoe485 finished ninth in 2013, Vladislav "vladulaNko" Donchev came in fifth only two months ago, and cheese9 went out in seventh place this past October in addition to a 73rd-place finish in the massive 10th Anniversary Million last March. While cheese9, vladulaNko, and Aussie_star1 fell out of contention, pokerjoe485 remained and managed to survive in the presence of a surging MORTIIIIIIII. The Swedish Sunday Warm-Up champ rocketed into the chip lead during four-handed play and ran roughshod over his opponents to go into heads-up play with a 3 to 1 chip lead over pokerjoe485. Although pokerjoe485 scored a crucial double-up to put himself within striking distance of the title, MORTIIIIIIII roared back, scoring over $129k and his first Sunday Million title.

5,260 players bought in to this week's Million, resulting in a $1,052,000.00 prize pool. 728 places were paid with $149,645.28 up top.

The blinds were up to 100,000/200,000 with ten players remaining when MAMOHT_T open-shoved for 2.35 million from UTG with A♠J♦. Having him slightly covered, Aussie_star1 reshoved on the button and revealed Q♥Q♣. Although MAMOHT_T improved to a pair of jacks on the flop, the queens held up on the K♦J♣7♣K♥2♠ board and he hit the rail on the final table bubble.

Sun_Million_FT_020517.jpg

Final table chip counts

Seat 1: good2850 (13,432,252 in chips)
Seat 2: Aussie_star1 (5,121,651 in chips)
Seat 3: sekk3r (7,318,903 in chips)
Seat 4: pokerjoe485 (8,190,985 in chips)
Seat 5: vladulaNko (2,999,168 in chips)
Seat 6: MORTIIIIIIII (5,271,184 in chips)
Seat 7: Kyle Aiken (5,784,793 in chips)
Seat 8: rrrui (1,163,280 in chips)
Seat 9: cheese9 (3,317,784 in chips)

Rrrui arrived at the final table with less than six big blinds and on Hand #1, the action folded to him on the button. Rrrui moved in for 1.14 million with pocket deuces and good2850 looked him up with K♦9♥ in the big blind. The deuces held on the Q♥T♣4♥ flop, as pokerjoe485 picked up a gutshot straight draw. The Q♦ turn made rrrui two pair, but the K♣ spiked on the river, makng pokerjoe485 kings up, and ending rrrui's run in ninth place.

The blinds were up to 125,000/250,000 when the action folded to cheese9 in the cutoff. Holding A♥A♦, he moved in for 2.56 million and had to be thrilled to get a call from sekk3r in the big blind with T♥T♣. Sekk3r, however, hit a set of tens on the K♦T♦5♥ flop. Cheese9 got a ray of hope with a flush draw when the 5♦ turned, but the 8♣ river sent him packing in eighth place. Although cheese9 didn't capture a Sunday Million title tonight, this was his second SM final table in the last four months and third Top 75 finish in under a year.

Later in the same level, pokerjoe485 picked up 9♦9♠ and opened for 524,780 from middle position. VladulaNko three-bet shoved for 2.02 million with A♥K♥ and pokerjoe48 called. The nines won this race with a set on the T♣9♣6♠2♠6♥ board and vladulaNko, who took fifth place in this tournament only nine Sundays ago, exited in seventh place.

VladulaNko's departur left MORTIIIIIII as the short stack, but he changed that in short order when he doubled through pokerjoe485, his A♣K♥ turning an ace vs. pocket tens. MORTIIIIIIII moved up to 10.3 million in chips, while pokerjoe485 sank to 5.7 million. MORTIIIIIIII climbed to 14.9 million over the next ten minutes, but gave away a decent chunk when he doubled up Aussie_star1, whose pocket sixes held against A♠Q♣ to take his stack up to 8.25 million. Then, with the blinds up to 175,000/350,000, MORTIIIIIIII opened for 745,500 from UTG and Kyle Aiken three-bet shoved for 7.4 million. Good2850 reshoved for 11.9 million behind him and MORTIIIIIIII gave up his hand. Kyle Aiken's A♦Q♣ was up against Q♥Q♠, and did not improve on the K♦8♦6♥8♣J♥ board, sending him home in sixth place.

Good2850 seized the chip lead on that hand with 20.8 million, while his four opponents all sported stacks between 6.7 million and 9 million. However, two hands later, sekk3r flopped two pair with A♠2♥ on an A♥5♦2♦ board. After check-calling a bet from sekk3r on the flop and going check-check on the 2♠ turn, good2850 picked the worst time to pull the trigger and moved all-in for 19.2 million when the 7♦ rivered. Sekk3r snap-called with his full house, while good2850 showed an unimproved K♦T♥. Sekk3r doubled to 14.95 million and took the chip lead, while good2850 slipped to 13.45 million.

Sekk3r retained the chip lead as play moved into the 200,000/400,000 level, while Aussie_star1 fell to 3.6 million in chips. When the action folded around to good2850 in the small blind, he moved all-in for 12.42 million and Aussie_star1 decided to call off his remaining chips with K♥Q♦. It was a good call, as good2850 turned over 8♦9♣. However, his hopes were crushed when the flop fell 8♥5♥5♠, making good2850 top pair. The 6♣ turn and 4♦ river were of no help to Aussie_star1, and he hit the rail in fifth place.

Sekk3r was still in terrific shape with the chip lead four-handed... until he made a button shove with A♦9♣ and ran headlong into MORTIIIIIIII's pocket jacks in the big blind. MORTIIIIIIII turned a set of jacks and rivered jacks full on the 8♣5♦4♦J♦8♦ board, doubling his stack to 19 million. Sekk3r was left with 8.15 million, and five hands later, he found A♦3♥ UTG and moved in for 5.42 million. Good2850 called with 9♠9♥, and the pocket nines held, ending sekk3r's run in fourth place.

At this point, the final three agreed to pause the action and discuss a potential deal. Here's how they stacked up at the time:

MORTIIIIIIII 21,857,589
good2850 20,138,192
pokerjoe485 10,604,219

Pokerjoe485 requested ICM numbers from the final table host. The formula awarded $108,304.94 to MORTIIIIIIII, $106,669.09 to good2850 and $93,381.21 to pokerjoe485. Good2850 and pokerjoe485 agreed to these numbers, but MORTIIIIIIII said he needed $110,000 to close the deal. Good2850 immediately offered up $1,000 and pokerjoe485 said he'd take an even $93k to push MORTIIIIIIII's number upwards. MORTIIIIIIII agreed to these terms, and with $20,000 still on the table for the winner, cards went back in the air.

It didn't take long for the action to heat up again. On the fourth hand after they made the deal, good2850 opened for 1.1 million on the button and MORTIIIIIIII called from the big blind. Both players checked the A♠9♦3♣ flop. The turn came the 5♠ and MORTIIIIIIII checked to good2850, who bet 1,248,000. MORTIIIIIIII called. The river was the 6♥ and MORTIIIIIIII led out for 1,227,775. Good2850 raised to 6,287,314 and MORTIIIIIIII called. Good2850 had only K♦T♥ for ace-king high, and MORTIIIIIIII took down the 17.67 million pot with 7♠9♣, for a pair of nines. WIth that read, MORTIIIIIIII broke the 30m mark while good2850 fell to 10.8 million.

As the level finished out and the blinds rose to 300,000/600,000 MORTIIIIIIII was up to 31.8 million when he opened for 1,278,000 on the button. Pokerjoe485 three-bet to 3,298,780, MORTIIIIIIII four-bet to 30 million straight and pokerjoe485 called all-in. Pokerjoe485's T♥T♦ had the advantage over MORTIIIIIIII's A♦9♦, and although MORTIIIIIIII picked up a pair of nines on the flop, the board ran out a safe Q♣9♣5♥J♣3♣, giving pokerjoe485 a double-up to 26.9 million. However, on the next hand, the money again went in before the flop, pokerjoe485's 3♣3♦ up against MORTIIIIIIII's J♠J♦. MORTIIIIIIII flopped a set of jacks and doubled to 37.1 million, leaving pokerjoe485 on 8.32 million.

Six hands later, it was good2850 who made a move, open-shoving for 5.31 million on the button with K♠6♣. Pokerjoe485 called with 5♦5♣ in the small blind. Although good2850 made top pair on the 6♥4♦3♠ fop, pokerjoe485 turned the 7♥ to make a seven-high straight. The river was the A♦ and good2850's evening came to an end in third place, sending us to a rather lopsided heads-up match.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 4: pokerjoe485 (13,646,192 in chips)
Seat 6: MORTIIIIIIII (38,953,808 in chips)

Pokerjoe485 lost a couple of small pots and was down to 10.3 million when MORTIIIIIIII limped in on the button. Pokerjoe485 shoved with K♦3♠ and MORTIIIIIIII called with A♦9♥. MORTIIIIIIII's ace-high held up on the J♥8♥6♦ flop, but pokerjoe485 spiked the K♥ on the turn to survive and double up to 20.7 million. MORTIIIIIIII fell to 31.9 million. On the next hand, pokerjoe485 four-bet shoved on a J♦9♣7♥ flop and MORTIIIIIIII folded, conceding a 12 million pot. Pokerjoe485 took a slim chip lead with 26.72 million vs. MORTIIIIIIII's 25.87 million.

But just as pokerjoe485 built his stack back up, it all came crashing down. Pokerjoe485 called MORTIIIIIIII's 1,278,000 button raise with J♠9♦ and hit a 9♣5♠4♦ flop. Pokerjoe485 checked, MORTIIIIIIII bet 1,340,000, pokerjoe485 raised to 3,268,770, MORTIIIIIIII three-bet to 6.5 million, pokerjoe485 shoved and MORTIIIIIIII called with T♦T♠. Pokerjoe485 needed serious help and the Q♠ turn wasn't what he was looking for, nor was the river A♦. MORTIIIIIIII doubled to 51.74 million and pokerjoe485 was crippled to only 857,868.

Pokerjoe485 doubled up twice, then moved in on the button for 3.36 million with J♥3♣. MORTIIIIIIII thought for a bit before making the call with T♦6♦. MORTIIIIIIII made a pair of sixes on the A♣6♠5♥ flop leaving pokerjoe485 looking for a jack or running straight cards. The K♣ turn didn't help, and the 8♦ river locked up victory for MORTIIIIIIII.

Congratulations to Sweden's MORTIIIIIIII, already a Sunday Warm-Up champ and now a Sunday Milion winner. He banked $129,686.15 for the win, while runner-up pokerjoe485 earned $93,000.00.

redblueyellow_ chips.jpg

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 2-5-2017

Players: 5,260
Prize pool: $1,052,000.00
Places paid: 728

1. MORTIIIIIIII (Sweden) $129,686.15*
2. pokerjoe485 (Austria) $93,000.00*
3. good2850 (Canada) $105,669.09*
4. sekk3r (United Kingdom) $51,717.37
5. Aussie_star1 (Australia) $36,293.68
6. Kyle Aiken (Costa Rica) $25,469.86
7. Vladislav "vladulaNko" Donchev (Bulgaria) $17,873.90
8. cheese9 (Canada) $12,543.31
9. rrrui (Brazil) $8,802.61

*denotes a three-way deal

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Million