Today's Sunday Warm-Up was the kind of tournament online poker players have come to expect from PokerStars each weekend. By the time late registration had closed the field totaled 2,917 players, building a $583,400 prize pool that handily topped the day's $500K guarantee. In all, 432 places paid, with a min-cash worth $309.20 and a win coming in at $91,594.42.
Team PokerStars Pro's Juan Maceiras, Marcin "Goral" Horecki and Sandra Naujoks showed up to play, as did Team PokerStars Online players Javier "El Canoñero" Dominguez and Anders "Donald" Berg and Greek PokerStars Challenger Stavras "IDOLLS" Kalfas. In the end Kalfas was the closest to a cash, but even his 810th place result wasn't within sight of the money.
An donut for the PokerStars players meant more money for everyone else, especially for those who managed to make the final table and its steep pay jumps. It looked as if The_swan06 would miss out on those bigger paydays just as the tournament was going to go on break after nine hours of play, getting all-in before the flop with T♦ T♥ against the J♥ J♣ of sharkmakker, but a board of Q♣ 7♦ 9♥ 8♣ 6♣ gave The_swan06 a ten-high straight and kept the field spread across two tables for a few more minutes. Instead it would be sharkmakker who bubbled the final table, moving in with Q♥ 7♥ on the first hand back from the break and failing to catch up to The_swan06's A♥ 6♦ to leave with a 10th-place consolation prize of $3,646.25.
That left nine players, whose stacks looked like this:
Seat 1: SafinRadik (3,183,026 chips)
Seat 2: progre69 (3,079,670 chips)
Seat 3: maicon178 (4,315,439 chips)
Seat 4: The_swan06 (3,864,882 chips)
Seat 5: micado74 (3,362,947 chips)
Seat 6: guillet76 22 (465,540 chips)
Seat 7: abeainy (2,424,761 chips)
Seat 8: Emaa (1,731,436 chips)
Seat 9: moderman22 (6,742,299 chips)
The shortest-stacked player among the last nine standing was guillet76, but that changed on the first hand of the final table:
Despite standing sixth of nine and having a decent stack of chips when the final table began, progre69 would be the first to leave. After dropping to about 1.9 million, and with the blinds at 50K/100K, progre69 made a pressure raise all-in with 9♥ 9♣ after the chip leader moderman22 had opened for 300K. Unfortunately maicon178 made a quick call behind with Q♣ Q♥ - not only a higher pair, but covering both suits so progre69 couldn't even hope for a four-flush. The board ran out K♦ J♠ 8♠ J♦ T♥ and progre69 was gone in 9th place, good for $4,667.20.
The next player out was Emaa. The German player had entered the final nine with the second shortest stack and was looking for any good chance to pick up chips. So when moderman22 limped in for 100K and the only other player to invest chips was micado74 with another limp on the buton, Emaa's A♦ Q♦ was more than good enough to move all-in for just over 1.58 million. It didn't take long for moderman22 to call with T♦ T♥ and when micado74 folded the other two were off to the races. The J♦ 2♠ 2♣ flop was no help, and the T♠ on the turn shut the door by giving moderman22 a full house. The inconsequential 8♣ fell on the river and Emaa grabbed $7,584.20 for 8th place.
Within another 10 minutes the blinds had moved up to 65K/130K with a 13K ante. Russia's SafinRadik had less than 10 big blinds left and was in desperate need of a chance to move ahead. Holding A♠ T♥ and facing an under-the-gun raise from The_swan06, SafinRadik decided to commit and made a third bet before calling all-in for just under 625K. The_swan06's A♥ J♦ had the Russian outkicked, and the 7♠ 4♥ 3♣ 4♦ Q♣ board brought nothing to change the situation. SafinRadik left in 7th place, earning $13,418.20.
By now the chip lead had shifted from moderman22 to maicon178. Holding both 7.18 million chips and the button, maicon178 opted for a call after moderman22 opened for 390K. Perhaps feeling a bit frisky after taking out a player on the previous hand, The_swan06 then reraised to 1.425 million from the small blind. That cleared moderman22 out of the way, but after some thought maicon178 decided to call and take a flop. Now holding 3.429 million - just 20,000 less than the size of the pot - The_swan06 thought for a long time and finally bet a curiously small 178,952. Immediately maicon178 moved all-in, getting the quick fold and moving up to a stack of 9.374 million.
The former short stack guillet76 had done a good job staying ahead of the structure after that early double-up at the final table, but with the blinds up to 80K/160K and antes at 16K a stack of 1.25 million was easily the shortest of the six remaining players. So when guillet76 picked up K♣ K♦, moved all-in under the gun and got called by The_swan06 in the big blind with 8♠ 8♦, it looked like another couple of orbits of comparative safety would probably be on the way. Instead the flop cruelly came 8♣ Q♣ J♥, giving The_swan06 a set and leaving only two kings and a backdoor flush draw to change the course of the hand. When the board ran out with the 4♠ and the T♣, guillet76 was out in 6th place for a payday of $19,252.20.
The bottom of the leaderboard was now occupied by Lebanon's abeainy with 3.22 million chips. With blinds of 100K/200K and a 20K ante each hand that wasn't as much as it had been just a few levels before, and within three orbits he had fallen to 1.73 million and was under even more pressure. So, in the small blind facing a min-raise to 400K from micado74, abeainy moved the last of those chips in the middle holding A♠ 9♦. That's a move that will work in that spot a lot of times, but this time micado74 happened to have K♦ K♣. The board delivered no ace or more exotic winning combination, the kings held up, and abeainy was out in 5th place for $25,086.20.
Now down to just four players, the field was still dominated by maicon178's 12.67 million chips. Relatively close behind was micado74 with 8.39 million, followed by The_swan06 with 4.95 million and moderman22 with 3.16 million. That balance was kept for about 17 hands before the next elimination. The hand began with the action folding to the small blind, where maicon178 opted to call for 400K. The_swan06 checked, bringing a flop of A♠ Q♦ J♦. Both players now checked, and the turn was the 3♦. Now maicon178 led out for 400K, a little under half the pot, and The_swan06 called with 3.37 million behind. Finally the river came the 3♥, and maicon178 checked once again. The_swan06 then bet 685K, and was quickly check-raised all-in for another 2.68 million by maicon178. After dipping into the time bank, The_swan06 called and saw the bad news: maicon178 had been lying in wait with A♦ 4♦ for the ace-high flush, beating The_swan06's A♣ 6♣ to bust the UK player in 4th place with $33,545.50.
The next player to bust would be moderman22, but it wouldn't happen on the very next hand all-in with A♠ 7♣ against the A♦ J♠ of micado74. That time the board came 7♥ 5♣ 4♥ 3♠ 6♦ to give both players a straight. Instead, 12 hands later, micado74 would raise to 600K in the small blind and moderman22 shoved for 5.63 million. Without too much deliberation micado74 called with 4♦ 4♥, which was slightly ahead of moderman22's Q♠ T♣. The former chip leader had a glimmer of hope when the flop came A♥ J♣ 3♥, but the 7♥ turn and A♣ river kept micado74 ahead and sent moderman22 packing in 3rd place with $48,433.86.
As the final matchup began the blinds were at 100K/200K with a 20K ante and both players were in good shape, micado74 trailing slightly with 13.43 million to maicon178's 15.74 million. The structure was such that they could have opted to play slow, but the first pot - where maicon178 three-bet to 1.2 million holding A♦ 4♦ out of position before the flop and took down the pot with a check-raise on the T♠ 5♠ 4♥ flop and then showed his cards - set the tone. Only three hands later the tournament would come to an abrupt end on this cooler of a hand:
Just like that, Kazakhstan's micado74 was out in 2nd place, good for a $68,257.80. Meanwhile the winner, maicon178, grabbed $91,594.42 and the notoriety that comes with conquering one of everyone's favorite Sunday online tournaments.
$500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-up results (07-03-11)
1st place: maicon178 (Netherlands) $91,594.42
2nd place: micado74 (Kazakhstan) $68,257.80
3rd place: moderman22 (Ireland) $48,433.86
4th place: The_swan06 (United Kingdom) $33,545.50
5th place: abeainy (Lebanon) $25,086.20
6th place: guillet76 (United Kingdom) $19,252.20
7th place: SafinRadik (Russia) $13,418.20
8th place: Emaa (Germany) $7,584.20
9th place: progre69 (Argentina) $4,667.20