Sunday Million: Patient money_hunte's big comeback earns $95K atop five-way deal (11-19-17)
The typical journey for a short-stacked player at a Sunday Million final table ends almost as soon as it begins. money_hunte's path tonight was anything but typical. The player from the Netherlands entered the final with fewer than 20 big blinds but got off to a good start by doubling with pocket aces. That win, and a knockout a few hands later, provided the spark that lit money_hunte's way to a five-handed deal. A near-perfect run, once most of the money was distributed, helped him earn this week's title in an hour and a half.
money_hunte took a hard road to the final table, only climbing above the average stack eight and a half hours into the tournament, before slipping back as the field narrowed, surviving on blinds as the final table closed in. Brazilian AlexGelinski finally popped the bubble, winning with pocket kings against andrey130220's A♥ 7♦ to set our line-up for this week:
Seat 1: Rsiatat (6,373,325 in chips) past SCOOP-Medium finalist
Seat 2: AlexGelinski (14,867,502 in chips) past Sunday Kickoff champion
Seat 3: Bruno "foster18" Politano (2,972,740 in chips) 2014 WSOP Main Event finalist
Seat 4: 8_Spizzico_9 (1,866,222 in chips)
Seat 5: João "soleeJ" Ferreira (6,303,145 in chips) TCOOP 2017 finalist
Seat 6: rafa0509416 (7,196,395 in chips)
Seat 7: money_hunte (3,036,318 in chips)
Seat 8: acerb1c (5,566,007 in chips)
Seat 9: Romans "RovoDice" Voitovs (6,658,346 in chips) past Sunday Million and WCOOP finalist
money_hunte, in danger from the very beginning, picked up pocket aces to double to 6.6 million early on against rafa0509416's A♦ K♦. That would have been enough to stay competitive but an even bigger win 15 minutes later that stack further.
Romans "RovoDice" Voitovs came in looking to improve on his previous Sunday Million final table appearance, in which he shared in a five-way deal for more than $122,000 in January 2013. But his aggression in that pursuit did him in. He opened the betting on his final hand with a min-raise to 400,000, drawing calls on the button from João "soleeJ" Ferreira and in the big blind from money_hunte. RovoDice took the lead with a 432,425-chip bet, driving soleeJ out of the hand. money_hunte called, checked again after the 5♥ turn, and called a million-chip bet to bring the 5♣ on the river. The action went the same as before and this time RovoDice's bet was all-in for 2.6 million. money_hunte called and showed A♠ 5♠ for five full of aces; RovoDice had fired a third barrel after two semi-bluffs with K♦ J♦ and departed in ninth.
AlexGelinski scored two quick knockouts before the break to expand the lead.
The action kept up but the eliminations didn't. For most of the next half-hour the shorter stacks prevailed. rafa0509416 doubled with 8♣ 8♥ against Rsiatat's A♠ K♣, Rsiatat's J♣ J♥ held against soleeJ, and 8_Spizzico_89's 9♣ 9♠ stayed ahead against money_hunte's A♠ K♦, making it look like the hourly break would arrive with the table still eight-handed.
Then AlexGelinski scored two quick knockouts to expand the lead. Bruno "foster18" Politano was first to go. He jammed for 2.7 million chips in the small blind with K♦ 9♣ after AlexGelinski opened on the button with A♣ T♣, but missed the board completely and left in eighth. AlexGelinski opened the next hand with J♦ J♠ in the cutoff and called when soleeJ shoved for 3.2 million in the small blind, taking down the pot with jacks and deuces after the river and sending soleeJ to the rail in seventh.
rafa0509416 looked almost certain to be the next out. The Russian player open-shoved for 3.9 million chips with A♦ J♥ and was dominated by caller 8_Spizzico_9's A♣ Q♠. Then came the 9♦ 7♥ T♠ flop and 8♣ turn, making a jack-high straight for rafa0509416, and the K♣ river finished the win. 8_Spizzico_9 got some of those chips back on the next hand, though. The player from Malta isolated in the small blind with A♠ T♦ to end up heads-up with Rsiatat, who had opened all-in for 3.6 million from the cutoff seat with 7♦ 7♣. Aces beat sevens after the board came A♥ 5♠ 4♦ 9♠ 5♥ and Rsiatat was out in sixth.
That left five players with stacks ranging from rafa0509416's 7.8 million to AlexGelinski's 17.4 million. With blinds and antes at 150,000/300,000/30,000 and set to go up again soon, money_hunte suggested looking at numbers for a deal. The others agreed and within ten minutes they had an ICM chop, leaving $20,000 and the title up for grabs.
money_hunte got the second-smallest share of that deal and looked likely to exit next, losing a coin flip with pocket treys to 8_Spizzico_9, whose A♣ T♦ made a pair of tens on the river. Then money_hunte tangled in a three-way pot with A♥ Q♣ against 8_Spizzico_9's 7♦ 5♦ and AlexGelinski's K♣ K♦. The board came 9♥ 8♥ 7♥ 5♥ Q♥, giving money_hunte the 14-million-chip pot, and sending 8_Spizzico_9 to the rail in fifth.
money_hunte took the lead, then fell back after having pocket kings cracked.
Wins in the next two hands, including 11.5 million with a full house against AlexGelinski, gave money_hunte a 30-big-blind lead. Then money_hunte picked up K♦ K♣, limped in under-the-gun, and called when AlexGelinski jammed with A♠ 7♠. The A♣ on the flop was enough to give AlexGelinski the 21.8-million chip pot, and money_hunte was back in the middle pack again.
acerb1c won the next big pot five minutes later. The Canadian called all-in for 8.6 million chips with A♦ T♣ after rafa0509416 open-shoved on the button with K♠ J♠, winning with a pair of aces after the board came A♣ J♥ 4♠ 7♦ 2♥. That left rafa0509416 with less than two big blinds' worth of chips, which went in with A♦ 9♣ under the gun on the next hand. AlexGelinski called with A♣ 8♣ and made eights full of aces to end rafa0509416's tournament in fourth.
money_hunte trimmed the field by one more five minutes later.
The Dutch player limped in from the small blind with 7♣ 5♣ and called acerb1c's big-blind raise to 1.4 million chips, bringing a 3♦ 5♦ 2♦ flop. money_hunte check-called 1.8 million there and another 3.8 million on the 8♠ turn before checking one final time after the 7♥ river. acerb1c jammed for 8.2 million but showed down king-high with K♠ Q♦ after money_hunte called with two pair, exiting in third.
That gave money_hunte the lead as the heads-up match began, a fact that came into play five hands later after money_hunte opened for 1.3 million chips on the button with 9♣ 9♠ and AlexGelinski shoved for 24.8 million in the big blind with 6♣ 6♥. money_hunte called with 5.1 million chips behind and stayed ahead as the board fell T♦ 4♠ 8♥ 4♦ 2♥, capping off a remarkable comeback win for the former short stack.
It's always tough to pull off a victory after starting from behind. Congratulations to money_hunte for staying patient to make it happen on the big stage, and to the other four players who shared in the deal!
Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entries: 5,484 (4,476 entries, 1,008 re-entries)
Prize pool: $1,096,800
Places paid: 998
1. money_hunte (Netherlands) $91,813.82*
2. AlexGelinski (Brazil) $95,711.58*
3. acerb1c (Canada) $77,408.64*
4. rafa0509416 (Russia) $69,813.85*
5. 8_Spizzico_9 (Malta) $77,402.07*
6. Rsiatat (Romania) $25,211.81
7. João "soleeJ" Ferreira (Mexico) $17,692.21
8. Bruno "foster18" Politano (Brazil) $12,416.43
9. Romans "RovoDice" Voitovs (Latvia) $8,713.52
* denotes results of a five-way deal leaving $20,000 for the winner
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.