Sunday Warm-Up: TKO for vladulaNko earning a $109K victory

new_sunday_warmup_thumb.PNGMarathon. Usually the word marathon is used to describe a foot race of 26.2 miles, with the current world record at a breath taking two hours three minutes and thirty-eight seconds. Figuring this reporter has been training several months for a distance of half that amount, HOPING to run under that time, it is good that there are poker tournaments to report on and no dreams of trying to clock sub five minute miles running for money. A marathon poker tournament would describe a lengthy time spent at the tables beyond the norm. Such as the heads-up battle between vladulaNko and PIPI tapis! that took the better part of an hour to settle the $500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up title this week.

The board with dollar amounts next to their names was little bare of Red Spades this evening. Only Matthias de Meulder (283rd place, $405.65) and Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen (223rd place, $489.58) would find two of the 540 spots paying out a sizable $699,400.00 prize pool.

Twelve players would return from the ninth hourly break with 50K/100K ante 10K and an average stack just shy of three million chips, and with nearly 30 big blinds spread out along those dozen players, no one would bust during the first 15 minutes back from the break.

Then as the blinds moved up to 65K/130K ante 13K, the eliminations towards bursting the final table bubble starting pouring in. First, it was alvikom's pocket fours 4♦4♥ holding all-in preflop against Butros' J♦T♥ despite a flush scare on the turn 3♥ 5♠ 8♥ 6♥ 4♠ to end Butros' night in 12th place ($4,196.40).

5AULIU5 was shipped to the rail swiftly in two hands. With the blinds still at 65K/130K ante 13K 5AULIU5 would lose an all-in preflop battle with o_omx after pocket threes 3♦3♠ failed to catch up to o_omx's nines 9♦9♠ for a 3.3 million chip pot. Then, while still holding 2.8 million chips, 5AULIU5 was unfortunate enough to catch A♦Q♣ and got into a raising war with PIPI tapis! who called 5AULIU5's all-in bet with pocket kings K♣K♠. From near the chip lead to out in 11th place ($4,196.40) after the board produced exactly zero aces 8♣ 2♣ 7♣ 6♠ 9♥ for 5AULIU5 as the final table bubble would move into the 80K/160K ante 16K level.

LosChief unfortunately would be regulated as the bubble boy tonight after struggling with a short stack, and shoving just over a million chips with Q♣K♠, o_omx from the button would look up the bet with a call holding J♠A♣. Two aces on the flop and a double paired board by the river A♦A♠3♥8♠3♦ sent LosChief to the rail as the remaining nine met up on Table 19 for the final table below:

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Seat 1: Goldboy2005 (2130569 in chips)
Seat 2: PIPI tapis! (8041542 in chips)
Seat 3: pbychkov (4042654 in chips)
Seat 4: 4rebmun (3440975 in chips)
Seat 5: alvikom (1969556 in chips)
Seat 6: o_omx (5059151 in chips)
Seat 7: GEGENTOP (3595056 in chips)
Seat 8: ynd! (3327632 in chips)
Seat 9: vladulaNko (3362865 in chips)

Goldboy2005 finishes out of medal contention

Thanks to the increase from 3,187 players last week to 3,497 this week, our first elimination from the final table would not happen until the 100K/200K ante 20K level! vladulaNko would make a min-raise from early position as Goldboy2005 to the immediate left shoved 1.97 million chip holding A♦Q♦. Folded back around to vladulaNko with big slick A♣K♦ the dominating hand quickly made the call and as the all-low 8♦ 7♥ 4♠ 7♦ 2♣ board left Goldboy2005 off the podium in ninth place ($5,595.20). Last seen at the inaugural Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) Event #45, Goldboy2005 managed a seventh place showing there for $6,791.40


Like getting slapped in the face with a bar of soap attached to a porcupine

Losing while holding a dominating hand happens in poker. A lot. But, watching that lucky card hit the board not once but twice during the final table of a potentially year changing Sunday Major may touch a few nerves. Watch the video below of the near three million chip pot between o_omx and alvikom:



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Pocket queens Q♠Q♠ for alvikom came in as heavy favorite over o_omx's Q♥ K♠ and even more so after the 8♥T♠T♣ flop. But, two out of the three kings in the deck would make a rude appearance on the turn K♦ and river K♣ to end alvikom's night in eighth place ($8,742.50).


You do not KO vlad, vlad KOs you!

As the blinds moved up to 125K/250K ante 25K the luck of o_omx would run out. Holding 2.99 million chips found a pair of jacks J♣J♥ in the cutoff at the wrong time and open shoved...

... right into vladulaNko's aces A♠A♦ in the big blind.

An ace on the flop T♦ A♥ 3♣ 3♦ Q♠ would solidify the win as o_omx left with $15,736.50 in seventh place. No stranger to big final tables, o_omx also final tabled the Super Tuesday back in March collecting $20,400 for the sixth place effort.


Boom! Boom! Pow!

Still in the 150K/300K ante 30K level, back-to-back eliminations would whittle our final table from five to three.

First, pbychkov holding the bottom rung on the chip ladder with just 1.85 million called the bullying blind versus blind shove from PIPI tapis! holding J♥Q♣. The two facecards would hold a preflop advantage over PIPI tapis!'s 9♣5♦ but not a post-flop advantage as two pair would quickly appear for the bully 6♥ 9♠ 5♣ 7♣ 2♦ as pbychkov fell victim to not having enough chips finishing in fifth place ($29,724.50).

On the very next hand, 4rebmun and GEGENTOP would both take a long look the 9♣A♥8♦ flop and decided to create the tournament's largest pot to this point at 11.5 million as GEGENTOP raised all-in for 4.9 million and 4rebmun made the call holding two pair 9♠8♥. GEGENTOP top pair A♦3♣ failed to improve on the Q♣ turn and 7♦ river and collected $40,215.50 in fourth place.


PIPI! PIPI! TAPIS!

Sounds like the start of a children's game similar to Red Rover. But, instead of running from one end of the field to the other without getting caught, PIPI tapis! was calling out both 4rebmun and vladulaNko to come right on over with their chips after taking down seven hands in a row. On the fifth hand of this streak, with the blinds still at 150K/300K ante 30K, 4rebmun would try to push PIPI tapis! off pocket jacks J♣J♥ preflop with a series of re-raises. The player from Malta was going nowhere as 20.9 million chips found their way to the middle as 4rebmun turned over A♥T♣. The better preflop hand would prevail as the 3♠ 8♣ Q♦ 9♥ 4♥ shipped the megapot to PIPI tapis! as 4rebmun earned $57,700.50 in third place. 4rebmun added a Sunday Major final table to the 2012 WCOOP Event #51 final table from last month finishing in eighth place.


Are we there yet?

Some heads-up battles for the Sunday Warm-Up title take one or two hands. Others perhaps a 15 minute level. After 40 minutes of tonight's race for the $109,806.97 first prize, both players would be sitting 17 million chip stacks and blinds of 250K/500K ante 50K.

Then as the blinds moved up to 300K/600K ante 60K, vladulaNko fresh off losing a huge 16.5 million chip pot and down to nine million chips, would find a river saving card after getting it all-in preflop with 3♦A♦ against PIPI tapis!'s pocket eights 8♦8♣. A tournament saving river card 3♣ K♣ K♥ J♦ J♠ negated the pocket eights, our two combatants went back to being nearly all-square.

Missing one full hour by a matter of a few seconds, vladulaNko and PIPI tapis! would bring their heads-up battle to a close with a massive 32.3 million chip pot all-in preflop. Watch the ending of this week's Sunday Warm-Up below:



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This reporter cannot remember the last time the blinds got to 400K/800K ante 80K (likely pre-Black Friday if one had to guess) but tonight's near 11 hour 38 minute marathon would come to a close with PIPI tapis! shoving 16 million chips preflop with J♣A♠ and getting a call from vladulaNko's big slick A♣K♠. A pair on the flop opened the door for a split pot, but the 7♠ 7♣ 6♥ 9c] 5♣ board held up for vladulaNko to claim the $109,806.97 first prize as this week's Sunday Warm-Up champion!


$500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up results (10-14-12):

Players Entered: 3,497
Places Paid: 540
Buy-In: $215.00
Prize Pool: $699,400.00
First Place: $109,806.97

1. vladulaNko (Bulgaria) $109,806.97
2. PIPI tapis! (Malta) $81,829.80
3. 4rebmun (Canada) $57,700.50
4. GEGENTOP (Germany) $40,215.50
5. pbychkov (Russia) $29,724.50
6. ynd! (Taiwan) $22,730.50
7. o_omx (Mexico) $15,736.50
8. alvikom (Ukraine) $8,742.50
9. Goldboy2005 (Russia) $5,595.20


David Aydt is a freelance contributor from Minnesota and very tired after running a 10K race this weekend.

David Aydt
@PokerStars in Sunday Warm-Up