Sunday Million: Tight squeezes, big pairs lead ad144 to $148K victory (10-1-17)

When it came to big pocket pairs, the United Kingdom's ad144 had it both ways at this week's Sunday Million final table. After entering with the chip lead, ad144 had to crack a pair of aces with pocket nines - on the river, no less - just to stay alive when the table was still eight-handed. Later, when pocket kings came around twice within a single orbit, they held up both times to give ad144 a massive chip lead. The whole experience turned out to be a preview of the heads-up battle against past Super Tuesday champion CrownUpGay. After entering with the lead and cutting a deal, then losing the lead and hitting a three-outer to stay alive, one more pair of pocket kings closed things out to give ad144 a first career Sunday Million title.

With WCOOP 2017's varied Sunday Million Special Editions now in the rear-view mirror, the tournament was back to the regular $215 buy-in and million-dollar guarantee this week for the first time since August. The robust field combined for a prize pool that set up a scheduled first-place prize worth more than $160,000. After nine hours of poker they were down to just three tables and ad144 first moved into the lead. The U.K. player would take over again with 16 players left and hold on to the top spot until the final table lineup was set:

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Seat 1: Vitor "VitinhO Dzi" Dzivielevski (4,660,552 in chips)
Seat 2: deivid29 (3,824,832 in chips)
Seat 3: knockoutian (11,518,894 in chips)
Seat 4: CrownUpGay (5,589,378 in chips)
Seat 5: JAGUARRRRRRR (9,545,728 in chips)
Seat 6: Mikal "mikal12345" Blomlie (4,573,626 in chips)
Seat 7: ad144 (12,044,741 in chips)
Seat 8: Regadeitor (2,217,725 in chips)
Seat 9: Therealkuch (5,824,524 in chips)

The first hour of the final table was eventful, and it started with a suitably eventful first orbit for Regadeitor. The short-stacked player from Mexico doubled up to 4.8 million chips on the seventh hand, making a set with K♥ K♠ against knockoutian's Q♦ Q♥. Two hands later Regadeitor jammed with A♥ 9♥ in the small blind after JAGUARRRRRRR opened for 660,000 from the hijack seat. JAGUARRRRRRR called with T♦ T♥, the board fell 6♥ K♣ Q♣ 3♠ 5♠, and Regadeitor left the tournament in ninth.

The next two shortest stacks met before the flop a bit later. Past SCOOP and Super Tuesday finalist deivid29 opened the action all-in for 2.2 million chips in the cutoff seat. Three-time WCOOP champ and 2012 WCOOP Player of the Year Mikal "mikal12345" Blomlie, who would have been left with just four big blinds' worth of chips if he called and lost, called after some thought with A♥ 6♠. Neither player's hand improved and deivid29 bowed out in eighth.


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Blomlie picked off a few small pots in the next 15 minutes and then doubled up to 15.2 million chips with J♠ J♣ after raising on the button and calling ad144's small-blind re-raise with A♣ T♥. Five hands later he was poised to eliminate ad144, who had opened for 1.2 million under the gun with 9♥ 9♦ and then jammed after Blomlie re-raised with A♣ A♠. But the 4♥ 6♦ 8♣ 5♥ 7♠ board made a nine-high straight to bail ad144 out with an 18.7-million-chip pot.

mikal12345 lost a flip seven hands later with K♥ Q♥ against CrownUpGay's pocket eights, putting him back in last place again with about six big blinds' worth of chips when the table went on break at 2:55 a.m. ET. He stole the blinds a few times before opening all-in from the cutoff seat with A♥ 7♣ a few minutes after the break; past Sunday Million finalist Vitor "VitinhO Dzi" Dzivielevski called in the big blind with A♣ K♦ and took down the pot to bust Blomlie in seventh.

Three KOs, two hands, one heads-up opponent

ad144 shook up the final table with two huge wins about 15 minutes later. First the player from the U.K. min-raised with K♣ K♥ under the gun. Before the action got back around again Therealkuch had shoved for 4.5 million chips in the cutoff with A♣ T♣ and knockoutian had re-shoved for 9.5 million in the small blind with Q♠ Q♦. ad144 called and the board came 5♠ T♠ 3♣ 5♥ 6♥, busting Therealkuch in sixth and knockoutian in fifth. Four hands after that ad144 picked up K♥ K♣ again and min-raised under the gun, then called when VitinhO Dzi jammed for 12.1 million on the button with 9♦ 9♣. ad144 hit an unnecessary set on the river to knock out VitinhO Dzi in fourth.

Three knockouts and 27 million chips in profit from just those two pots left ad144 with a stack twice as big as the other two remaining players' combined. Within minutes CrownUpGay's A♣ Q♥ had held up against A♥ 8♣ to bust JAGUARRRRRRR in third, consolidating the rest of those chips, and the tournament host was called in to provide numbers for a heads-up deal. It took a little negotiation but they were back in play 20 minutes later with $20,000 on the table for the winner.

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CrownUpGay won a crucial race just minutes in with A♦ 9♦ against ad144's K♥ J♠ to pull to within 16 big blinds and make a match out of it. ad144 pushed back and expanded the lead again briefly but soon CrownUpGay took over, making an eight-high straight in a limped pot with 6♣ 4♦ on the same board that gave ad144's 8♦ 5♠ two pair minutes later to reverse their fortunes from where they'd started.

ad144 squeaked back ahead after check-raising on the turn and open-shoving on the river of a 7♣ J♣ 9♣ 8♦ T♥ board, which drove CrownUpGay out of the pot. CrownUpGay squeaked back ahead by about five big blinds before ad144 limped on the button for 900,000 chips, then re-raised to 9 million after CrownUpGay bumped the bet to 3.2 million. CrownUpGay called there and then, holding 7♦ 5♦ for bottom pair, check-called ad144's 18.3-million-chip shove on the 6♥ T♦ 5♠ flop. ad144's A♠ 4♣ was in rough shape with 15.8-percent equity on the flop and 6.8-percent after the Q♣ turn, but the A♥ river won the 54.8-million-chip pot with a pair of aces. CrownUpGay doubled up once after that with pocket fours, but ad144's K♦ K♥ held up against T♠ 7♣ on the final hand to close out the tournament.

It was a wild ride for ad144, who locked up the extra cash against top competition in the end to set a new career-best score here at PokerStars by more than $143,000. Congratulations on the big win!

10/1/17 Sunday Million ($215 NL Hold'em) results
Entrants: 5,980 (4,864 entries, 1,116 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $1,196,000
Places paid: 1,052

1. ad144 (United Kingdom) $148,801.83*
2. CrownUpGay (Untied Kingdom) $126,000*
3. JAGUARRRRRRR (Bulgaria) $79,523.95
4. Vitor "VitinhO Dzi" Dzivielevski (Brazil) $55,807.51
5. knockoutian (United Kingdom) $39,164.09
6. Therealkuch (Switzerland) $27,484.19
7. Mikal "mikal12345" Blomlie (Norway) $19,287.65
8. deivid29 (United Kingdom) $13,535.61
9. Regadeitor (Mexico) $9,498.99
* - denotes results of a heads-up deal leaving $20,000 for the winner


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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in Sunday Million