Snowking_85 wins a slugfest in the Sunday Warm-Up

A whopping 3,837 players took to the field for the last Sunday Warm-up before Christmas in 2008, and 585 of those players found at least $383.70 in their stocking by the end of the day. As the stores began to close on the east coast for shoppers, the final nine players gathered for their shot at the big money, including an impressive $99,762.00 for first place.

As the final table bubble neared, chip leader dan82mur amped up the aggression, taking out several players on the final table bubble to increase his chip lead. After a lengthy hand-for-hand period, etn99 busted in 10th place and the final table was set, with dan82mur taking a big chip lead into the final nine.

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Caution was the watchword to kick off the final table, as the players took their time committing chips to the pot. Finally, with blinds at 100,000/200,000 and a 20,000 ante, liverdracon moved all in preflop from late position. He found action in the form of cadillacsa moving all in over the top with As-Qc. Liverdracon tabled Qh-9c, and needed help to stay alive. The board brought a little help, but not enough for liverdracon, as it ran out 6h-5h-3h-Qd-Ad to give cadillacsa two pair and send liverdracon packing in 9th place ($6,599.64).

With the first elimination, the floodgates cracked open and players began to be willing to commit chips to the pot. Next time around, it was eitishoo moving all in preflop with pocket jacks and snowking_85 making the call with Ac-Jh. That cracking sound you heard? That was the sound of an ace on the turn cracking eitishoo's jacks as the board ran out 4s-7h-2c-As-4c. Aces and fours for snowking_85 was good enough to best eitishoo's jacks and fours and send eitishoo home in 8th place, good for $9,592.50.

In an ironic 7th-place exit, AhKhQhJh10h moved all in preflop with Ah-Kd and found one caller in jas21, who showed Ac-Qc. The flop was certainly interesting, coming down Js-10c-9d to give both players the inside straight draw. The 4h on the turn was no help for anyone, but the Kh on the river made jas21's Broadway straight and busted AhKhQhJh10h in 7th place for $15,348.00.

Cadillacsa made a move from early position when he open-shoved with Ac-5c, but he ran into trouble when jas21 made the call with Ah-As. Cadillacsa needed help to stay alive, and the flop left him drawing even thinner when it came down Js-Ad-2c. Jas21 made a set on the flop, and cadillacsa needed running straight cards to survive. The Qc on the turn left him drawing dead, and when the 7d hit the river, cadillacsa was done in 6th, with $23,022.00 for his troubles.

Raising with marginal hands from the button is a tried and true method of increasing your stack late in a tournament, and there was plenty of that on display at the final table. It went wrong for OMGSHIPIT when he shoved all in from the button with Ks-7d, but only because snowking_85 woke up with a real hand in the small blind. Snowking_85 made the easy call with Ah-Kc, and OMGSHIPIT was dominated. The flop brought a pair for both players, as it came down 2c-Qs-Kd. OMGSHIPIT needed a seven to survive, but it was not to be as the turn and river ran out 6d-Qc to send OMGSHIPIT home in 5th place ($30,696.00).

With OMGSHIPIT's elimination, the remaining four players were very close in chip stacks. Talks of a deal surfaced but were quickly quashed, and play continued. Four-handed play continued for quite a while as the players jockeyed for position, and when the dam finally broke, it was ael1979 headed to the rail in 4th place with $38,370 for his troubles. Ael1979 raised preflop, and snowking_85 made the three-bet in position. After a long think, ael1979 moved all in over the top with Jh-10d. Snowking_85 quickly called with Ad-Qh, and the flop made things even uglier as it came down 2d-10s-As. Ael1979 picked up a pair, but so did snowking_85 with the ace. The Qc on the turn made two pair for snowking_85, and only a ten on the river would save ael1979. It was not to be, as the river brought the 3d, and snowking_85 took a commanding chip lead with three players left.

Dan82mur had built a stack repeatedly by aggressively stealing the blinds and antes and making solid moves in position. Every once in a while, he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and that's exactly what happened to him when pay got short-handed. After getting called on an all-in shove with 8-6o, he found himself the short stack and needing to make something happen. He made his move from the button with Qh-3h, and jas21 made the call with pocket nines. Dan82mur needed to pick up a queen to stay alive, but the board ran out 2h-Ac-7s-5c-Jh and he was done in 3rd place. $46,044 is a pretty good day's work, and that's what dan82mur collected for his 3rd-place finish.

That big hand left the remaining players close to even in chips as heads-up play began, as jas21 and snowking_85 battled it out for the top spot. Heads-up play was a lengthy duel, with jas21 taking a 2:1 chip lead going into the last break of the evening. Snowking_85 wasn't going to go easy, though, as he climbed back into contention to bring things close again. As the back-and-forth heads-up match continued, it was snowking_85 with the chip lead going into the final big hand. After a raise from snowking_85, the flop came down 10h-Qs-9h. Snowking_85 led out with a bet and jas21 moved all in over the top with Kh-10d for second pair and a straight draw. Snowking_85 made the quick call with 9s-10s for flopped two pair. The 9d on the turn ended all hope for jas21, and when the Ah hit the river, jas21 was done in 2nd place ($69,066.00). Snowking_85 came out on top after a tough back-and-forth heads-up battle, and pocketed $99,762.00 for his first-place finish, with no chop.

Congrats to snowking_85 on a hard-fought victory, and to all the 585 players who cashed in this week's Sunday Warm-Up!

@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up