Sunday Warm-Up: LevotonKala's comeback yields $110k

new_sunday_warmup_thumb.PNGToday's Sunday Warm-Up saw 3,519 players buy in to create a $703,800 prize pool-- a healthy 8% uptick over last week. 540 players earned a slice of the pie with first place set to earn a potentially life-changing $110,497.77. When the final river was dealt, that money was headed to Finland in the hands of LevotonKala, who made a tremendous comeback in the late stages of the final table after being whittled down to ten big blinds with six players remaining.

The Red Spade Army made five cashes among them: Team Online's Jorge Arias (531st), PokerStars Challenger George "gkap13" Kapalas (379th), and Team Pros Pat Pezzin (297th), Sebastian Ruthenberg (253rd), and Martin Hruby (189th).

Ten-handed play dragged on for the better part of two levels as short stacks kept doubling up to survive. Abn0x had similar hopes when he shoved for his last 1.84 million on the button holding pocket threes, but ran into gtzy69 in the big blind, who was lying in wait with pocket queens. Abn0x found no help on the board and departed in tenth place, setting the final table.

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Final table chip counts:

Seat 1: LevotonKala (5,475,156 in chips)
Seat 2: Blom21 (1,378,100 in chips)
Seat 3: Marcotjow (2,840,851 in chips)
Seat 4: bearbeer123 (2,852,495 in chips)
Seat 5: ace2chico (3,088,068 in chips)
Seat 6: PSMozak (6,054,942 in chips)
Seat 7: gtzy69 (6,202,632 in chips)
Seat 8: 4bet_me (4,019,636 in chips)
Seat 9: Littlemoon75 (3,278,120 in chips)

With the blinds up to 80,000/160,000, Blom21 needed to make a move quickly. A bit more than an orbit in he was already down to 818,000 when he picked up A♠K♠. PSMozak opened for 320,000, gtzy69 called, Blom21 shoved, and with the action back on PSMozak, he four-bet to 1.6 million to isolate. It did the trick and gtzy69 gave it up. PSMozak turned over 7♠7♦ and although Blom21 got an ace on the flop, PSMozak hit a set of sevens and sent Blom21 home in ninth place ($5,630.40).

Marcotjow was in the middle of the pack with eight remaining but decided to pull the trigger with A♣Q♠ after Littlemoon75 opened for a min-raise to 400,000 from under-the-gun. Littlemoon75 had a real hand, though, and quickly called with pocket queens, the board running out jack-high to give him the 7 million chip pot. Marcotjow collected $8,797.50 for eighth place.

LevotonKala was sitting on 4.45 million in chips in the big blind when bearbeer123 open-shoved for 2.56 million from UTG. LevotonKala called with Q♥Q♠, but bearbeer123 turned an ace to win the race with A♥K♥. LevotonKala was left with 1.9 million-- less than ten big blinds-- while bearbeer123 moved into safer territory with 5.37 million. LevotonKala picked up the blinds to stay afloat and had to be thrilled when a preflop raising war broke out between two of the largest stacks, gtzy69 and PSMozak.

With the blinds up to 125,000/250,000, PSMozak opened for a min-raise to 500,000 from the cutoff. Gtzy69 three-bet to 1.5 million on the button, the blinds folded, and PSMozak came back over the top, moving all-in for 4.92 million. Gtzy69 called, turning over K♥K♣ while PSMozak tabled Q♠Q♣. A jack-high board gave the 10.4 million pot to gtzy69, while PSMozak unexpectedly departed in seventh place, earning $15,835.50. The hand put gtzy69 in the chip lead with 11.6 million, Littlemoon75 close behind with 11.2 million.

Meanwhile, LevotonKala was still hanging in there with 2.53 million. After his nemesis bearbeer123 opened for 540,000 from UTG, LevotonKala moved all-in from the big blind with pocket eights and bearbeer123 called with A♣Q♦. This time the coin fell on Finland's side, the board running out J♠2♠4♣J♥K♥ to double LevotonKala to 5.28 million.

Only a few hands after crushing PSMozak's queens with pocket kings, gtzy69 picked up A♦A♥ in the big blind, just as ace2chico moved all-in for his last 8.5 BB with K♦J♣ from the small. Although ace2chico paired his jack on the flop, he couldn't crack gtzy69's aces and hit the rail in sixth place, earning $22,873.50.

4bet_me staved off elimination, doubling through Littlemoon75 when his K♥6♣ four-flushed against A♣4♣. 4bet_me only hung on to those chips for nine hands, however, open-shoving for 1.86 million with A♥5♠. Littlemoon75 called with A♠T♦ from the small blind, his dominating hand holding up to send 4bet_me home in fifth place ($29,911.50).

With four players remaining, LevotonKala turned into a serious force when he doubled through gtzy69 with Q♠Q♥ against T♠T♥. The hand took him up to 9 million in chips, leaving bearbeer123 as the short stack. Bearbeer123 made his last stand with A♣8♠, three-bet shoving for 3.7 million only to run into Littlemoon75's A♦9♦. Kickers played on the Q♥6♥7♣6♠5♣ board and bearbeer123's run ended in fourth place with a $40,468.50 score.

LevotonKala took the chip lead three-handed after flopping two pair and turning a full house against Littlemoon75. The hand took LevotonKala up to 15.2 million while Littlemoon75 fell to 9.2 million:

LevotonKala continued to roll, taking a 7.4 million pot off gtzy69 when his K♥7♦ turned two pair. Two minutes later, he raided Littlemoon75's stack, picking up a 4.89 million pot with second pair to crack the 20 million mark. LevotonKala was clearly in control at this point, with both his opponents on about 6.6 million each. The short stacks went to war, however, when gtzy69 opened for 900,000 with K♥9♥ on the button and Littlemoon75 found A♣A♦ in the small blind. Littlemoon75 decided to smooth-call, and LevotonKala folded. Gtzy69 couldn't have asked for a better flop, hitting straight and flush draws when it came down Q♥T♣6♥. Littlemoon75 checked, gtzy69 bet 600,000, and Littlemoon75 raised to 2.1 million. Gtzy69 called, then hit his flush on the turn when the 5♥ fell. Littlemoon75 did the bidding for him and bet his last 3.5 million, gtzy69 having him slightly covered. Gtzy6 beat him into the pot, the river falling the 6♣ to eliminate Littlemoon75 in third place and set the heads-up battle.

LevotonKala had a 1.6 to 1 advantage going in to heads-up play:

Seat 1: LevotonKala (21,665,644 in chips)
Seat 7: gtzy69 (13,524,356 in chips)

LevotonKala and gtzy69 traded blows for the first ten minutes, exchanging a few mid-sized pots that left the chip counts nearly where they were at the start of the match. LevotonKala, however, significantly widened the gap between them in a hand that didn't even reach a showdown. LevotonKala opened for a min-raise to 600,000, gtzy69 three-bet to 1.5 million and LevotonKala called. The flop fell 9♠5♦3♥ and gtzy69 led out for 1.2 million, LevotonKala making the call from position. When the 6♠ hit the turn, gtzy69 fired another 1.2 million and LevotonKala raised to 4.29 million. Gtzy69 gave it up and LevotonKala raked in the 7.86 million pot, moving up to 25.5 million in chips.

Six hands later, it was all over. Holding 3♦6♦, LevotonKala min-raised to 800,000, gtzy69 (with 10.3 million behind) three-bet to 2 million with A♠K♥ and LevotonKala called. Both players connected on the A♥7♦6♣ flop, gtzy69 flopping top pair while LevotonKala hit bottom pair. Gtzy69 led out for 1.6 million and LevotonKala called. The turn, though, was the 3♥, making LevotonKala a very well-disguised two pair. Gtzy69 bet 3.6 million, LevotonKala raised to 7.2 million, and gtzy69 called off his remaining 3.12 million only to see the devastating results. The river was the T♠ and after being nearly down to the felt, LevotonKala had all the chips in front of him and $110,497.77 waiting in his PokerStars account. For his runner-up finish, gtzy69 earned $82,344.60.

Sunday Warm-Up Results for 10-9-11

1. LevotonKala (Finland) $110,497.77
2. gtzy69 (Australia) $82,344.60
3. Littlemoon75 (Switzerland) $58, 063.50
4. bearbeer123 (Sweden) $40,468.50
5. 4bet_me (Germany) $29,911.50
6. ace2chico (United Kingdom) $22,873.50
7. PSMozak (Bulgaria) $15,835.50
8. Marcotjow (Netherlands) $8,797.50
9. Blom21 (Finland) $5,630.40

Don't forget, next week is Double Vision Sunday! Two versions of the Sunday Warm-Up will run, the first at 11:00am Eastern, with the second one starting 30 minutes later. Check out the Sunday Warm-Up page for more details.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up