AntiTop1 tops field in 3/20/11 Sunday Warm-Up

sunday-warmup-thumb.jpgTalk about March Madness. For the third straight week -- and fifth in the last six -- the $750,000 guaranteed Sunday Warm-Up saw the total prize pool exceed one million dollars. Like a back-up guard coming off the bench to drain three after three, the Warm-Up has suddenly caught fire!

A total of 5,018 came out for the $215 buy-in no-limit hold'em tourney this week, with the top 720 finishers due to split up $1,003,600. And barring any last-second deal-making, a prize of $156,995.47 awaited the player managing to win that last, buzzer-beating hand... "One Shining Moment" he or she would long remember, no doubt.

It took a little over four hours for the tourney to reach the cash, with tukker1988 being the unfortunate player to be eliminated just shy of the money in 721st. At that point, gottama and Rocketmist both led the way with a little over 300,000, with bfarmer111, KasparovAKs, and Moem not too far behind.

Only two members of Team PokerStars made the money in this one, Clayton "cnew27" Newman and Dusty "Leatherass9" Schmidt, both of Team Online.

20mar11sundaywarmupclaytonnewman.jpgOnce the cash bubble burst, Newman was on the short stack, down to less than eight big blinds. He soon reraised that stack all in with A♥K♠ and was isolated by 23noraB with A♠Q♦. The flop came Q♥2♠6♠, putting 23noraB out in front, and the 5♠ turn didn't help Newman, either. The Q♠ on the river sealed it, and Newman was out in 642nd, good for $331.18.

20mar11sundaywarmupdustyschmidt.jpgSchmidt hung on a while longer before open-shoving his nearly 18-big blind stack from the cutoff with A♦7♣ only to get called by David_Wain on the button who held A♥K♣. A seven on the flop put Schmidt ahead, but the K♥ on the turn gave the advantage back to his opponent, and one card later Leatherass9 was out in 369th ($421.51).

At the six-hour-and-15-minute mark, just 100 players remained, with SlowDoke having pushed out in front with just over 1.5 million, rh300487 next with a little more than 1.28 million, and badbeatman06, breaker1987, and Kuppustahead all in the 1.0-1.2 million range.

Players continued to hit the rail, with the big stacks getting bigger. After exactly eight hours of play just 27 players remained, gathered around three tables. AntiTop1 had risen to the top of the counts with more than 4.19 million, with Nenad "serb2127" Medic in second with 4.08 million and Rasdam in third with 3.77 million.

Just 20 minutes later they were down to 18, with Rasdam out in front with 6.65 million, Comandr_Cool next with 5.04 million, and AntiTop1 4.91 million. Then, a short while after they'd crossed the nine-hour mark, SlowDoke hit the rail in 10th place, and the final nine were set:


Seat 1: serb2127 -- 1,548,252
Seat 2: zavor -- 5,320,346
Seat 3: laibaby64 -- 8,712,791
Seat 4: Easy Folding -- 3,731,658
Seat 5: thewrongway -- 1,381,088
Seat 6: petteytheft -- 6,310,653
Seat 7: Rasdam -- 7,834,190
Seat 8: Comandr_Cool -- 4,531,944
Seat 9: AntiTop1 -- 10,809,078

AntiTop1 had pushed back out in front as the final table began. But with laibaby64 and Rasdam not that far behind, there was a lot more game to go. And like we've seen time and again in the first rounds of the NCAA tournament, there were still some exciting comebacks and finishes due to occur.

The first big confrontation would come nearly two orbits into the final table. With the blinds up to 125,000/250,000, Rasdam -- who within the previous couple of hands had slipped below the 4 million-chip mark -- opened with a UTG raise to 1 million. It folded to zavor who reraised all in from middle position for 6,175,346. The table folded back to Rasdam who called with the 2,866,505 he had left.

Rasdam tabled Q♠Q♥, but zavor had the equivalent of a #1 seed with A♠A♣. The board came 5♠K♥5♣J♦6♦, and suddenly Rasdam went from contending for the chip lead to out in ninth.

Just three hands later thewrongway, short-stacked with just 376,088, pushed all in from middle position, then Comandr_Cool reraised from the button to 502,716. AntiTop1 folded from the small blind, and serb2127 called the reraise from the big blind, committing nearly half his stack to do so.

The flop came 4♥Q♠T♦, prompting an all-in push for 546,076 from serb2127. Comandr_Cool conceded by folding, and serb2127 showed A♣J♠ -- no pair, but better than thewrongway's K♠8♠. And it was still better after the 9♦ turn and 5♠ river, sending thewrongway home in eighth.

They reached the nine-and-a-half-hour break, and soon after came a huge 15.5 million-chip pot won by AntiTop1 with K♠K♣ versus laibaby64's 8♠8♥. Then came an even bigger pot, resulting in the next elimination from the tourney.

The hand began relatively quietly with zavor opening from the button with a minimum-raise to 500,000. laibaby64 made it 1,221,222 from the small blind, Easy Folding made what was likely an easy fold, then zavor suddenly pushed all in for 10,661,726 total. laibaby64 made the call with his remaining chips, making a total pot of 17,566,044.

laibaby64 had the preflop edge with Q♣Q♦ versus zavor's T♣T♦. But like a lower-seeded team pulling an early round upset, the 6♥T♥A♦9♦9♣ board gave zavor a full house and sent the favorite in the hand, laibaby64, to the sidelines in seventh place.

A half-dozen hands later Nenad "serb2127" Medic raised to 581,123 from UTG+1, then petteytheft reraised all in for 3,705,653 from the small blind. Comandr_Cool folded, then serb2127 -- covered by petteytheft -- called with the 1,470,393 he had left. petteytheft showed A♦K♣ and Medic Q♣Q♥. It was game on, with two big hands, like a couple of evenly-matched conference champs, set to battle.

The flop came Q♠2♠T♦, giving serb2127 a set of queens, and after the 9♥ turn it appeared Medic was about to earn a needed double-up. But like a last-second steal and dunk to snatch victory away, the J♦ landed on the river, giving petteytheft a Broadway straight and sending Medic -- owner of both a WSOP bracelet and WPT title -- out in sixth.

Such an exciting hand deserves a spot on the highlight reel:

RSS readers click through to see replay

With five left zavor was now out in front with more than 20 million, AntiTop1 next with 14.8 million, petteytheft third with 6.15 million, Easy Folding fourth with 5.72 million, and Comandr_Cool the shortest stack with 3.27 million.

The blinds had moved to 200,000/400,000 (with a 40,000 ante) when Comandr_Cool open-pushed all in from the small blind for 3,894,768 with 7♦6♦ and AntiTop1 called from the big blind with 3♠3♦. The 5♥2♦8♠ flop gave Comandr_Cool an open-ender, but the turn was the J♥ and river the 3♣, and Comandr_Cool was out in fifth.

The Final Four

Soon after the tourney became four-handed, talk of a deal arose and a time-out was called. At that stage AntiTop1 led with 21.4 million, zavor was next with 16.07 million, and petteytheft and Easy Folding both sat with a little over 6 million each. "Chip chop" numbers were produced (leaving $10,000 on the table), and AntiTop1 and zavor both typed "agree."

petteytheft typed "agree," too, technically. But then he typed a little more, declaring that he was "going to agree that those numbers are incorrect in my mind."

The back-and-forthing began, with petteytheft noting "I have sports betting losses to pay for tonight... I'm going to need more fellas." Asking for as much as $13,600 more, petteytheft even said he'd "bet it all on San Diego State basketball next game" and give the others some of his winnings.

We know what you're thinking -- what could go wrong with a plan like that? Easy Folding was also looking for more, but the others weren't going for any of it, and after more than 10 minutes of talk play finally resumed.

A few hands after they started back, petteytheft scored a fortuitous double-up through Easy Folding when he picked up A♦A♥ versus Easy Folding's A♠T♦. Shortly after that hand, Easy Folding was reraising all in for 1,527,425 after an opening raise from AntiTop1 and the latter called, showing K♦7♠ to Easy Folding's J♦5♣. The community cards came 2♥Q♣9♠J♥K♣ and Easy Folding was out in fourth.

After that knockout the tourney was paused again, and once more "chip chop" numbers were produced. Once again, petteytheft was asking for more, repeatedly referring to a friend who was instructing him the numbers being offered weren't fair. The discussion went on for more than 10 minutes once again, with petteytheft's opponents growing increasingly frustrated. No deal was struck, and the three turned back to battling via cards and chips.

After some time zavor scored a 15 million-plus chip double-up through petteytheft when his A♠7♥ outran the latter's pocket deuces. That hand left petteytheft with but 1,658,946, all of which went in on the next hand with 9♥5♠ versus AntiTop1's A♥[10s]. Five cards later -- J♥7♦7♠[10d]Q♥ -- petteytheft was out in third.

Heads Up

With everyone else busted like so many brackets, they were down to two -- the championship, so to speak -- with AntiTop1 enjoying a more than 2-to-1 lead with 35,077,966 to zavor's 15,102,034. After just one hand the two quickly agreed to the deal (leaving $10K for the winner) that couldn't be reached with petteytheft, and soon the play resumed, the last seconds of the tourney clock about to expire.

It wouldn't take long -- just the eighth hand of heads-up play -- before the final score was determined. With the blinds at 250,000/500,000, AntiTop1 raised to 1 million from the small blind/button, then zavor pushed all in for 12,152,034 total. AntiTop1 called, showing A♥J♠, not the hand zavor wanted to see while holding A♠T♥.

The flop and turn -- 9♥4♥Q♣Q♥ -- evoked chop possibilities... perhaps "overtime" and another chance for zavor? But the 6♠ on the river was the final horn for zavor, and nearly 11 hours after the tourney had tipped off, AntiTop1 was the champ.

RSS readers click through to see replay

Congratulations to AntiTop1 for advancing through the tourney to become this week's Sunday Warm-Up champion!

Sunday Warm-Up results for 3/20/11 (*reflects two-way deal):
1st: AntiTop1 ($148,123.67)*
2nd: zavor ($125,791.20)*
3rd: petteytheft ($82,797)
4th: Easy Folding ($56,703.40)
5th: Comandr_Cool ($42,653)
6th: serb2127 ($32,617)
7th: laibaby64 ($22,581)
8th: thewrongway ($12,545)
9th: Rasdam ($8,028.80)

Still one more week of March Madness here on PokerStars, including next Sunday's big $1 million guaranteed "Sunday Storm" (formerly known as the Sunday 1/4 Million, featuring just an $11 buy-in). For more on that bit of insanity read here.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Sunday Warm-Up