Sunday Million: thx4urm0n3y makes the Milly great again (8-6-17)

thx4urm0n3y was on familiar ground as this week's Sunday Million drew to a close. The player from Canada had seized the chip lead with 35 players left and didn't really look back until the game was heads-up. By that time a deal had already been struck and based on the the chip lead and history - a Milly win in February of this year and a runner-up finish after chopping heads-up in 2014 - thx4urm0n3y looked like a good bet to lock things up quickly.

But diidums, the player across the table who had entered the final table in a virtual tie for last place, wouldn't say "die." The Brazilian fought for the better part of 40 minutes and forced thx4urm0n3y to evade elimination multiple times. The outcome of the tournament was in plenty of doubt the whole time. Then thx4urm0n3y suddenly brought it all to a halt by winning two huge pots back-to-back, ending diidums's resistance and laying claim to a second career Sunday Million title.

It took just shy of 12 hours to trim this week's thousands of entries to the final table. thx4urm0n3y had the edge in chips and Sunday Million experience over these other eight players:

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Seat 1: Luis-Dtox (5,277,581 in chips)
Seat 2: Julian "soydelmillo" Menéndez (10,453,665 in chips)
Seat 3: domprofresor (3,153,728 in chips)
Seat 4: diidums (3,653,006 in chips)
Seat 5: cesarecasali (4,604,888 in chips)
Seat 6: thx4urm0n3y (13,597,382 in chips)
Seat 7: bluedarkch (5,636,872 in chips)
Seat 8: Sanderssi (8,506,206 in chips)
Seat 9: DSmunichlife (6,156,672 in chips)

There was a bit of time for the short stacks to maneuver with blinds and antes at 100,000/200,000/20,000, but it didn't matter when the two shortest-stacked players at the start of the final table both got dealt big pocket pairs nine minutes in. domprofresor flat-called LAPT Colombia 2011 champion Julian "soydelmillo" Menéndez's under-the-gun min-raise to 400,000 chips with A♦ A♥ and then, after soydelmillo folded, called all-in for 36,164 chips less than diidums's all-in bet in middle position. diidums got in behind with Q♦ Q♠ but nailed the 9♥ 8♥ Q♣ flop. The 3♣ turn and 7♦ river changed nothing, diidums scooped the 6.95-million-chip pot, and domprofresor was out in ninth.

soydelmillo stayed active and moved into contention for the lead before losing a key 8.1-million-chip pot to thx4urm0n3y, who made a flush on the river with T♥ 8♥ after calling soydelmillo's check-raise on the turn of the 2♥ 3♥ 5♦ 9♦ 9♥ board. thx4urm0n3y quickly rattled off two more big wins to climb above 21 million chips, two and a half times bigger than the nearest stack. Then soydelmillo called with A♣ T♥ in the big blind after Luis-Dtox jammed with A♠ 8♠ in the small; both players paired their kickers on the 4♥ T♠ 5♣ 3♣ 8♦ board and Luis-Dtox left in eighth.

The last hand before the end of the 1:00 a.m. ET hour saw diidums call all-in for 4.66 million chips in the big blind after bluedarkch opened for 522,000 and DSmunichlife re-raised all-in for 5.62 million on the button. bluedarkch folded, leaving diidums's K♥ K♠ heads-up against DSmunichlife's A♣ Q♥. The Q♠ 6♥ 6♦ 2♥ 3♣ board didn't provide enough help and DSmunichlife's second Sunday Million final of the year - after taking fifth back in June - ended in seventh.

Brazil's cesarecasali also put everything on the line with pocket kings a few minutes later, but without the same result. cesarecasali raised small under the gun and then called when thx4urm0n3y re-raised to 3,195,435 chips - exactly cesarecasali's remaining stack. thx4urm0n3y was behind with A♥ K♠ before the flop but jumped ahead on the turn of the Q♥ 7♠ 6♥ A♣ 7♦ board, sinking cesarecasali's kings in sixth.

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The first 15 minutes or so after the break had seen plenty of action but little of it involved soydelmillo. When he did got involved again, though, he ended up check-calling 2.79 million chips on the river with the board reading 8♦ Q♣ 9♥ 6♥ 4♠ - and then mucking when thx4urm0n3y, who had called a min-raise on the button before the flop, turned over Q♦ J♠ for top pair, jack kicker.

Left with a little less than eight big blinds's worth of chips, soydelmillo called it all off in the big blind with K♠ Q♣ on the next hand after Sanderssi shoved with 9♠ 7♥ in the small. Both players connected with the 7♦ K♦ 2♥ flop but the 9♣ turn made two pair for Sanderssi. The T♠ river was the end of the line for soydelmillo in fifth.


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That win moved Sanderssi into second position with 14.1 million chips, just over half of thx4urm0n3y's leading stack of 27.6 million. bluedarkch (10.6 million) and diidums (8.5 million) agreed to talk over a potential deal, but after thx4urm0n3y asked for an extra $6,400 over ICM, bluedarkch asked for even more - an extra $10,000 above ICM - despite being in the middle of the pack. The others pointed out that bluedarkch had no leverage and was already set to earn more than $95,000 but bluedarkch held firm. That sank the deal and play continued.

Unfortunately for bluedarkch, the cards broke the other players' way after that. Chasing a gutshot draw with A♥ 7♠ led to a lost 6.2-million chip pot against Sanderssi, whose Q♥ T♣ had flopped middle pair with an open-ended draw. bluedarkch did get 3♠ 3♥ to hold up for 5.6 million a few hands later against thx4urm0n3y's K♦ 4♦, but all of those chips went in after min-raising on the button with A♠ 4♥ and hitting top pair on the 7♣ A♥ 9♦ flop. bluedarkch called off the rest on the K♠ turn and 2♣ river but diidums had flopped two pair with A♦ 7♠ in the big blind, earning the 10.3-million-chip pot and busting bluedarkch in fourth.

With the lone holdout now gone, deal talks resumed. Within minutes thx4urm0n3y was guaranteed $148,000 as the leader, the other two players locked up six-figure scores of their own, and play was back underway. Sanderssi earned one early pot but most of the action was between thx4urm0n3y and diidums, including the pot when diidums doubled to 24.7 million with K♥ Q♠ against thx4urm0n3y's K♦ J♦. The player from Finland eventually moved in for 3.9 million on the button with Q♥ 9♣ and got action for thx4urm0n3y, who had K♥ J♥ in the big blind. The board fell 3♦ 4♦ 7♦ K♦ K♠, thx4urm0n3y's trip kings earned the 8.1-million-chip pot, and Sanderssi left in third.

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thx4urm0n3y had the edge by 25 big blinds as heads-up play began. diidums erased it completely on the second hand, five-betting all-in after thx4urm0n3y re-re-raised to 6,000,000 chips on the button and getting the past champ to fold.

What looked likely to be the key pot of the tournament came just five minutes later when diidums raised small on the button with 8♥ 5♣ and made three of a kind on the 8♣ 7♠ 8♦. thx4urm0n3y check-raised diidums's modest 1.1-million-chip bet to 2.3 million, then fired another 2.2 million on the 3♥ turn. diidums called there and then once more when thx4urm0n3y led for 8.8 million into the 11.5-million-chip pot; thx4urm0n3y had been bluffing with 9♦ 4♦ and was left with just 9.7 million after diidums's trip eights won the hand.

thx4urm0n3y was in dire straits but the path back to the lead turned out to be navigable. First was a double with 6♦ 6♥ against diidums's K♠ J♣. Then the Canadian check-raised all-in for 9.9 million after flopping bottom pair with Q♠ 3♣. That held up against two overcards - diidums called with K♦ 5♦ for king high - on the 9♣ 4♥ 3♠ 8♦ Q♥ board to make two pair.

Back to within one more double-up of the lead, thx4urm0n3y still couldn't get any real traction. The past champ slipped back behind for another 10 minutes before finally getting in with A♠ 9♥ in the big blind against diidums's 2♠ 2♦. The A♣ on the flop locked up the 28.1-million-chip pot and had thx4urm0n3y within eight big blinds of the lead.

diidums took the next pot in dramatic fashion. The player from the U.K. opened the action all-in for 22.1 million chips on the river with the board reading 5♦ 6♣ 8♣ 8♥ 9♦, after check-raising the flop and calling a raise on the turn. thx4urm0ney folded and was left with just 17.4 million chips, only to turn a full house with Q♣ 5♥ on the next hand. diidums's Q♠ 8♣ had made top pair on the same flop, so thx4urm0n3y got paid and took over the lead after winning the 34.8-million-chip pot.

The match remained close before thx4urm0n3y won back-to-back pots to close it out. In the first the Canadian raised the button with A♥ J♣ and got paid on every street as that starting hand became two pair on the 4♦ A♣ 7♦ J♦ 8♥ board, walking with a 24.7-million-chip pot. diidums opened on the button with A♠ 9♥ on the next hand and called all-in when thx4urm0n3y shoved with 7♥ 7♦. The pair stayed ahead as the board came 8♣ J♣ 2♠ K♠ T♥, bringing a hard-fought heads-up battle to its conclusion.

It was a tough but profitable conclusion for diidums, who put up a fierce fight despite never having previously made a final table playing at PokerStars. As for thx4urm0n3y, this makes two career Sunday Million victories to go with that runner-up finish a few years back - a great track record by anybody's standards. Congratulations to both players, and also to fellow deal-maker Sanderssi, for shining in the Sunday Million spotlight.

8/6/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 6,104 (4,980 entries, 1,124 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $1,220,800
Places paid: 1,007

1. thx4urm0n3y (Canada) $168,000.23*
2. diidums (United Kingdom) $118,315.98*
3. Sanderssi (Finland) $110,833.83*
4. bluedarkch (China) $60,638.11
5. Julian "soydelmillo" Menéndez (Argentina) $41,966.46
6. cesarecasali (Brazil) $29,044.17
7. DSmunichlife (Germany) $20,100.96
8. Luis-Dtox (Brazil) $13,911.38
9. domprofresor (Romania) $9,627.83
* - denotes results of a three-way deal that left $20,000 for the winner


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million