Women's Sunday: mtt_baller makes it rain

Three of today's final nine had been here before. Kristiine'88 celebrated her third Women's Sunday final table in ten weeks. Roxieforu05 finished ninth two weeks ago and mtt_baller was back for the first time since her third-place finish last April. Separating them all from the elusive title was a fearless chip leader, Canadian pro Gillian "gillepp" Epp, who arrived at the final table with twice the stack of second place. Epp, too was after her first Women's Sunday title, but she'd have to wait for another day. This week it was mtt_baller's turn to make it rain, the Peruvian working her way off the short stack to bring home the win.

268 players gathered for this week's Women's Sunday, creating a $13,400 prize pool. 45 ladies earned a share of it with first place set to earn $2,592.90. Team Online's Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome and Friend of PokerStars Charlotte Van Brabander joined the field with $50 bounties on their heads and went out one after the other in 75th and 76th place respecively.

Only two hours and fifteen minutes after cards went in the air, the tournament reached the money. Among the cashing players was PokerStars Women writer Jennifer "jenium" Shahade, playing from her second residence in Jerusalem, Israel. Shahade nearly made the final two tables, but went out in 19th place when her A♥K♠ fell to roxieforu05's pocket jacks in a preflop all-in.

Gillepp seized the chip lead with 18 players remaining and grew it steadily as the field continued to thin. When 13 players remained, gillepp held over 170,000-- nearly twice that of second-in-chips roxieforu05. Once ten were left, play went hand-for-hand, a single deal resulting in two eliminations. The blinds up to 1,500/3,000, babziev open-shoved for her last 9 BB from under-the-gun, and mtt_baller insta-reshoved from one spot behind her. Babziev's J♣T♥ was racing against pocket eights, but mtt_baller hit a set on the T♣8♣6♥ flop. The 7♠ on the turn gave babziev a bit of hope with a straight draw, but mtt_baller's hand held, the A♠ falling on the river to end babziev's run in tenth place.

Simultaneouly, gillepp opened for a min-raise from the small blind and Sonya Spades moved all-in for 76,000 from the big. Gillepp called with 9♠9♣ only to find her hand up against T♠T♦. However, just as it looked like Sonya Spades would be heading to the final table second in chips, the 9♦ spiked on the river, making gillepp a set of nines. Instead, Sonya Spades was on the rail in ninth place, bewildered, but $234.50 richer.

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: Q_Spins98 (134,352 in chips)
Seat 2: kristiine'88 (49,801 in chips)
Seat 3: Pituniya (81,679 in chips)
Seat 4: roxieforu05 (131,071 in chips)
Seat 5: whalestar (38,354 in chips)
Seat 6: gillepp (256,825 in chips)
Seat 8: mtt_baller (63,160 in chips)
Seat 9: PinkPepper1 (48,758 in chips)

roxieforu05 grinds out PinkPepper1

Roxieforu05 brought the third-largest stack to the final table but had a rough go of it early on, her stack dwindling from 131,000 to 54,000 during eight-handed play. Conversely, Pituniya was the biggest gainer, moving up to 142,000 from 81,000. Pituniya dealt PinkPepper1 a blow, betting her off a K♦7♠4♣9♥8♣ board on the river. Down to less than ten big blinds, PinkPepper1 open-shoved for 38,638 with A♣8♠ and roxieforu05 reshoved behind her with T♠T♦. Roxieforu05's pocket tens held up on the queen-high board to move her up to 105,000 in chips while PinkPepper1 went out in eighth place, earning $321.60.

Pituniya picks off kristiine'88

Whalestar could have easily been the next to go after moving all-in for her last eight big blinds with pocket fives. Gillepp called with pocket eights, but had them snapped off when whalestar flopped a set of fives and doubled to 95,000. Despite the setback, gillepp retained the chip lead with 195,000.

Instead, seventh place went to kristiine'88. With the action folded to her in the small blind, kristiine'88 moved in for 70,000 with K♦J♠ and Piuniya called with T♠T♦. Pituniya's tens held on the A♠9♠8♦4♦A♦ board and kristiine'88 departed with a $455.60 score. Today marked kristiine'88's third appearance at a Women's Sunday final table in 2013-- she also finished fourth on January 13th and eighth on January 27.

gillepp breaks 300k, Q_Spins98 sinks whalestar

Gillepp inflicted some major damage on Q_Spins98's stack when her Q♥9♦ rivered queens up. After firing on the nine-high flop with top pair, gillepp fired again on the turn when the board paired deuces. Holding K♥J♥, Q_Spins98 tried to bluff gillepp off her hand with a raise, but gillepp called. When a queen came on the river, gillepp check-called Q_Spins98's 30,000 bet and raked in the 155,500 pot, her stack up to 305,000.

Q_Spins98 sunk below 100k after that pot, but not for long. After three-betting pre, Q_Spins98 moved all-in for 60,000 on a A♠K♠J♥ flop and whalestar called all-in for less. Q_Spins98's A♦J♠ led with two pair, and although whalestar's A♥7♣ made aces up when the 7♥ came on the turn, it wasn't enough. The river was the 3♥ and whalestar was eliminated in sixth place.

Q_Spins98 sunk by gillepp's two-outer

Unfortunately, Q_Spins98 couldn't hang on for much longer. Dealt Q♣Q♦, she opened for a 3x raise to 18,000, then snap-called gillepp's small-blind shove. Gillepp turned over T♠T♥, but was once again granted a post-flop miracle when the T♦ fell on the turn. Gillepp moved up to 406,000 and Q_Spins98 hit the rail in fifth place, earning $763.60.

Surging short stacks

Having managed her short stack quite well thus far, mtt_baller made a move on gillepp, shoving for 82,000 over her 12,000 opening min-raise. Gillepp called, her A♣8♠ dominated by A♠9♣. Mtt_baller dodged a slew of outs when gillepp flopped the nut flush draw, the board running out T♣6♣3♣J♥2♥ to double her stack to 173,000. Moments later, Pituniya opened from the small blind for 84,000 and roxieforu05 called off her remaining 49,000 from the big. Roxieforu05's A♦8♦ held against J♠5♠ and she doubled to 115,000.

Roxieforu05 made it to the next level before shoving for 83,000 with A♠T♣. Gillepp called on the button with A♣Q♠. Unable to improve, roxieforu05 was eliminated in fourth place, collecting $1,105.50.

Pituniya withers

After playing second fiddle for most of the final table, Pituniya caught up to gillepp in terms of chip count when her A♣7♠ flopped top pair against pocket queens. Mtt_baller remained the short stack, but some diligent grinding brought her chip count up by another 100k. Soon enough, the three were in a virtual tie, Pituniya with 272,000 and mtt_baller and gillepp with 266,000 each.

Gillepp regained momentum when she picked up A♦A♥ and got three streets of value from mtt_baller. Moments later, gillepp won another sizable pot. On a J♠T♠6♦T♣2♦ board, Pituniya bet the flop and turn, but check-folded to gillepp's 70,000 bet on the river. Pituniya sunk to 153,000 in chips and went out a short time later to mtt_baller, her K♦4♣ failing to improve against A♥9♠. For third place, Pituniya picked up $1,474.00.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 6: gillepp (450,389 in chips)
Seat 8: mtt_baller (353,611 in chips)

Mtt_baller and gillepp traded pots for the rest of the level and by the time the blinds increased to 6,000/12,000, the chip counts weren't far from where they'd started. However, things really got moving on a 9♣8♣7♣ flop. Mtt_baller checked his straight and flush draws with A♣6♠, gillepp bet 24,000 with 7♦9♠, and mtt_baller raised to 67,555. Gillepp shoved and mtt_baller called, the pot swelling to 714,000. Gillepp's two pair were good through the 4♥ turn, but mtt_baller caught the J♣ on the river to make the nut flush.

Suddenly, gillepp was left with only 89,000 and had a long road back to win this thing. She doubled to 138,000 when her A♥T♦ flopped ace against pocket fours and doubled to 307,000 when pocket nines held against A♠J♦. Her third try, however, wasn't as successful. Gillepp three-bet shoved for 245,000 with K♦J♥ and mtt_baller looked her up with K♥Q♦, the dominating hand holding up to close out the win for mtt_baller.

Congratulations to mtt_baller on a come-from-behind Women's Sunday victory. She took home $2,592.90 for the win while runner-up gillepp banked $1,943.00.

PokerStars Women's Sunday results for 3-10-2013

Players: 268
Prizepool: $13,400
Places paid: 45

1. mtt_baller (Peru) $2,592.90
2. Gillian "gillepp" Epp (Canada) $1,943.00
3. Pituniya (Belarus) $1,474.00
4. roxieforu05 (Canada) $1,105.50
5. Q_Spins98 (Switzerland) $763.80
6. whalestar (Switzerland) $589.60
7. kristine'88 (Latvia) $455.60
8. PinkPepper1 (Germany) $321.60
9. Sonya Spades (Russia) $234.50

Kristin Bihr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in Women's Sunday