Sunday Million: Russia's tolstiykry Kicks Off New Year with $178,747.90 Win

The first PokerStars Sunday Million of the New Year was a big one with 6,289 entries (5,283 unique + 1,006 re-entries. At $200 + $15 a pop, the $1 million guaranteed prize pool was surpassed as 872 players earned a portion of a $1,257,800 prize pool. After nearly 14 hours of play, Russia's tolstiykry became the first Sunday Millions champ of 2017, good for $178,747.90.

It was a great start to 2017 for tolstiykry, who in one fell swoop won more than twice as much as he did in all of 2016 (according to Official Poker Rankings he won $70,388 last year). The year before that, he won $148,131, of which $116,249.76 came from topping a field of 28,640 entries to win the October 26, 2014 $55 Red Spade Open.

Despite the holiday, several Team PokerStars Pros were in action including Fatima de Melo, Stavros "IDOLLS" Kalfas, and Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome, though none managed to make the money.

Once the Netherland's Flamboyantz exited as bubble boy in 873rd place, the in-the-money finishes began to mount. Among the notables to earn a payday were Keven "Stammdogg" Stammen (240th-$926.74), Robin "robinho" Ylitalo (133rd - $1,134.03), and Lithuania's littleMiyaa, who on December 20 won the Super Tuesday for $71,041.94.

Jan_1_2017_sunday_million.png

Final table chip counts

Seat 1: geo4ever89 (5,931,759 in chips)
Seat 2: Aftret (2,171,738 in chips)
Seat 3: wonderboy_pl (5,059,870 in chips)
Seat 4: ACNRULES (10,889,961 in chips)
Seat 5: mahmuttt88 (7,339,335 in chips)
Seat 6: tolstiykry (21,745,956 in chips)
Seat 7: bob43155 (4,732,476 in chips)
Seat 8: artdav2010 (2,828,801 in chips)
Seat 9: Similarities (2,190,104 in chips)

Similarities, mahmuttt88 and artdav2010 Fall in Short Order

With the blinds at 125,000/250,000/25,000, action folded to Similarities (2,215,104) in the cutoff and he moved all in holding the A♠8♠ and ACNRULES (12,364,961) called from the big blind with the K♣Q♠.

Similarities was a 59.1% favorite to double, but not after the Q♦9♠J♦ flop paired ACNRULES. Neither the 9♦ turn nor 5♥ river helped Similarities, and he was the first to bust the final table.

Just four hands later, wonderboy_pl (5,722,370) opened for 525,000 from middle position and two spots over mahmuttt88 (4,545,723) three-bet all in from the cutoff. The button and blinds all folded, and it was off to the races.

mahmuttt88: T♦T♥
wonderboy_pl: A♠K♥

mahmuttt88 was looking to hold to stay alive, but that proved easier said than done as the board ran out 2♣6♣A♦J♠7♦ to give wonderboy_pl a winning pair of aces.

One hand after that, wonderboy_pl (10,793,093) raised to 525,000 UTG+1 with the A♦K♣ ad action folded to artdav2010 (1,878,801), who moved all in from the small blind holding the A♣T♠.

wonderboy_pl made the call and improved his lead by spiking Broadway on the T♣J♥Q♥ flop. The 2♠ turn left artdav2010 drawing to a king for a chop, but it wasn't in the cards as the 3♥ blanked on the river.

Aftret Has a Kicker Problem; ACNRULES and geo4ever89 Ousted Back-to-Back

After the blinds went up to 150,000/300,000/30,000, Aftret (2,906,738) shoved his stack holding the Q♣J♣ in the cutoff and wonderboy_pl (13,661,459) called from the button with the K♣Q♥.

Aftret was looking for some help, but he was left wanting as the board ran out a dry 8♥4♣7♦4♠2♥.

Once the blinds reached 250,000/500,000/50,000, wonderboy_pl (10,096,791) raised to 1.05 million from the cutoff and ACNRULES (4,869,127) three-bet all in from the button. The blinds folded and wonderboy_pl made a quick call.

wonderboy_pl: Q♥Q♦
ACNRULES: A♥K♣

It was another flip, but ACNRULES needed to hit to survive. That didn't happen though as the board instead ran out a dry J♥J♣4♣8♠4♥.

In the very next hand, action folded to bob43155 (33,176,128) in the small blind and he raised to 2.25 million, which had geo4ever89 (1,117,759) covered. He called off with the T♣4♠ and needed to get lucky to best the A♠Q♦ of bob43155.

The 5♦9♠J♥ flop didn't do much for him, but the 8♣ turn did deliver him an open-ended straight draw. Unfortunately for him, the J♠ river was a blank and he was out in fourth place.

wonderboy_pl Falls to tolstiykry

Not long after, wonderboy_pl (12,632,618) limped the button with the 3♠3♥ and tolstiykry (19,363,495) called the additional 250,000 from the small blind. bob43155 checked his option from the big and three players saw a flop of 4♣A♦9♠.

All three players checked, the 3♦ appeared on the turn, and tolstiykry led out for 709,500, which got bob43155 to fold. wonderboy_pl then raised to 2 million with his set, and tolstiykry called with his double gutshot straight draw.

The 6♣ river gave tolstiykry the straight, and he coyly checked to wonderboy_pl, who bet 3,866,667. tolstiykry then check-raised all in and wonderboy_pl called off his remaining 6.2 million only to discover the bad news.

tolstiykry Seals the Deal

Heads-up play began with tolstiykry holding 32,546,113 to bob43155's 30,343,887. The two declined to even discuss a deal, and before long tolstiykry pulled out to a lead. After jostling back and forth a bit more, tolstiykry eventually finished off his opponent to become the New Year's first Sunday Million champ.

Meanwhile, it was another bob43155 great finish for bob43155, who back in September won two WCOOP titles, including WCOOP-54 ($2,100 NL Hold'em [Sunday Million SE]) for $407,633.02.

pokerstars_chips.jpg

PokerStars Sunday Million results for 1-1-2017
Players: 6,289
Prize pool: $1,257,800.00
Places paid: 872

1. tolstiykry (Russia) $178,747.90
2. bob43155 (Mexico) $122,915.10
3. wonderboy_pl (Poland) $84,523.27
4. geo4ever89 (Romania) $58,123.06
5. ACNRULES (Canada) $39,968.73
6. Aftret (Norway) $27,484.81
7. artdav2010 (Russia) $18,900.20
8. mahmuttt88 (Finland) $12,996.84
9. Similarities (Canada) $8,937.42

Chad Holloway
@PokerStars in Sunday Million