Big, very big, bigger, and biggest. Everything about this final weekend of the PokerStars' 10th Anniversary celebration has grown in size. Big: tonight's Sunday Warm-up setting the tone for the night of huge prizepools and player fields. After averaging just under 3,600 players a week for the past four weeks, tonight's $500,000 guaranteed Sunday Warm-up nearly featured a one million dollar prizepool after 4,937 runners found 10,000 starting chips in front of them. Very big: 37 more players were punching their tickets to this year's PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Very Big $700 Mega Qualifier for a PCA package. Bigger: outside of WCOOP and SCOOP not many $10,000 buy-ins find their way to the Sunday Majors weekend, and the 10th Anniversary $10,300 buy-in High Roller tourney was hoping to pull in 50 players to meet the $500,000 guarantee. Instead 187 players found themselves playing for a $402,050.00 first prize with a very deep structure, to go with the very deep talent pool. Biggest: four days ago, Brad Willis reported on the $10 million guarantee Sunday Million looming near 5,000 players at the time. After the extended registration, 62,116 players packed into the Sunday Million with two million dollars for first place.
That's a lot of cash and thanks to those 4,937 entrants, the Sunday Warm-up we will be awarding $154,461.34 to one lucky player that will have a little extra to spend on Christmas gifts next week.
A quiet night for the Team PokerStars Pros and Team Online as they were shutout at the cashier's window tonight as 720 places paid. In what was a killer level for Team PokerStars Pros, Pierre "Zoutechamp" Neuville (804th place), George Danzer (806th place), Bryan Huang (810th place), and Matthias de Meulder (813th place) all were eliminated within ten spots of each other and just short of the money.
Near the final table Germany's -DrawingDad- was looking for a third major title of 2011. After collecting two SCOOP watches in Event #9 and Event # 21 he made it through 4,900 players in this tourney but fell short of the final table in 26th place ($2,419.13).
Norway's Bresnjev was looking for a second Sunday Warm-up in 2011 (finishing 4th in June) but J♦Qd] came up short against badgergav's big slick K♣A♣. With just 131,262 chips and 50K/100K ante 10K blinds, Bresnjev's scraps went to harif1988 on the next hand to finish in 15th place ($4,393.93).
No lengthy bubble tonight as the final table would start up just 15 minutes later after pulgask8 tried to bully MarkECOOP in a blind versus blind battle. pulgask8 would open raise enough from the small blind to force shortstacked MarkECOOP all-in. Holding A♣J♠ MarkECOOP called quickly for a little over one million chips as pulgask8 held "just" 8♦5♠. "Just" became trips on the T♥ 8♥ 7♣ 8♣ J♦ board as MarkECOOP took home $5,875.03 in tenth place.
Seat 1: NoMorePoka (6025202 in chips)
Seat 2: Bluffcracker (5235586 in chips)
Seat 3: RenRad 01 (2383358 in chips)
Seat 4: badgergav (3227715 in chips)
Seat 5: pulgask8 (4036068 in chips)
Seat 6: josbassen (6306567 in chips)
Seat 7: FU_15 (3788078 in chips)
Seat 8: harif1988 (15872930 in chips)
Seat 9: KKremate (2494496 in chips)
harif1988 would start out the final table with a massive chip lead and add three more million to that stack after just five minutes as the blinds would start out at 65K/130K ante 13K for final nine.
RenRad 01 had Team Online's Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen in his rail corner on Twitter (@mickeydp) which must have done some good as RenRad 01 would double up off harif1988 just after the blinds moved up to 80K/160K ante 16K for a 6.7 million chip pot.
23 million reasons to be happy
Going into the first hourly break of the Sunday Warm-up final table harif1988 would enjoy only 23 million chips in the tournament leading stack partly thanks to badgergav. With the blinds at 80K/160K ante 16K harif1988 would open to 480,000 as badgergav in the big blind shoved for 2.35 million holding A♥Q♣. harif1988's big stack made the call with pocket nines 9♦9♠ a little easier. And after an all low 2♣ 7♣ 3♥ 7♥ 5♠ board ran out, harif1988 had an extra 4.9 million chips whie badgergav took $7,899.20 in ninth place money.
Ok, that's not very nice
Holding three times as many chips as second place allows the player to apply plenty of pressure on the rest of the table. Just after the blinds moved up to 100K/200K ante 20K harif1988 did just that, pushing KKremate all-in after a series of raises in the blinds. Not pocket kings but a decent Q♣A♠ for KKremate as harif1988 showed 5♠K♦. A five on the door was plenty 5♣ 9♣ 8♠ 3♠ 7♥ as KKremate was creamed in eighth place ($12,342.50).
More hair raising play, or just harif raising again
Watch below as pulgask8 tries to topple the chip leader preflop:
The J♥A♣ for harif1988 and K♦Q♦ for pulgask8 started as a close race but the ace on the flop closed out yet another elimination for the chip leader as pulgask8 fell in seventh place ($22,216.50).
What harif wants, harif gets
harif1988 had the grip of a good movie you can't stop watching while flicking through the channels. You have seen Toy Story or a Harry Potter sequel several times but once Woody tries to find his way back to Andy's house, you're in for the rest of the movie. harif1988 has already eliminated nearly half the table and two hands after pulgask8 took off, NoMorePolka's shortstack found pocket tens T♣T♦ and called harif1988's 1.6 million chip three-bet of josbassen's raise. josbassen would call, but fold after the K♣J♠9♥ flop bet by the chip leader. Once again harif1988 found a winner, this time holding 6♠K♠ as he faded the turn 8♦ and 5♥ to knockout NoMorePoka in sixth place ($32,090.50).
Too bad this is not a Knockout tourney
If there were bounties on the player's heads, harif1988 would be collecting bounty number five after the blinds moved up to 125K/250K ante 25K Bluffcracker tried his luck again harif1988 all-in preflop for a 4.9 million chip pot. The only thing getting cracked was Bluffcracker's stack after his A♣Q♣ would fail to hit the 3♥ 5♠ K♣ 8♥ T♣ board as harif1988's pocket fours 4♥4♦ sailed to victory, dropping Bluffcracker off at the dock in fifth place ($41,964.50).
News Alert: someone besides harif1988 involved in an elimination
It finally happened. harif1988 was either getting a quick snack or the dog pulled the plug on his PC, but FU_15 and josebassen were allowed to push preflop and play out a hand without the chip leader looming over them. Watch it play out below:
Not a huge hand as FU_15 did not have many chips to push into the 3.7 million chip pot with the blinds at 125K/250K ante 25K but 9♦A♠ can look big during four-handed play. K♦8h] was enough for josbassen make the call as both players paired the flop 8♦2♠A♦. But, an unlikely two pair K♥ would hit the turn for josbassen overcoming the aces of FU_15 as the Q♠ safely hit the river ending FU_15's night in fourth place ($55,788.10).
At least they tried
A quick attempt at a deal was thwarted as josbassen wanted $115K despite holding a very short stack of around 4.5 million and new blinds of 150K/300K ante 30K. That shortstack would not last much longer after the attempted deal after raising to 3.6 million and holding 558,238 back, the raise would be called by the stack destroying harif1988. A♣9♣8♥ on the flop and harif1988 slyly checked as josbassen shoved pocket fours 4♠4♥ into the middle. Snap call. A♠9♦ for the chip leader as the turned aces full A♦ gave harif1988 another 8.7 million chips as josbassen became victim number six in third place ($81,460.50).
Endorsements by Team Online players is a good thing for bankrolls
RenRad 01 had Mickey Petersen rooting for him on the rail, and with a nine million to 40.3 million chip deficit RenRad 01 would need all the support the Team Online player could muster. The very first hand of heads-up play, RenRad 01 showed he was not going down easy doubling up to 18 million after A♥Q♥ edged out harif1988's 7♥A♣ after fading a gut-twisting all club flop.
Back from the 11th hour break RenRad 01 got a "good luck" from Team Online's Shane "shaniac" Schleger and boom a quick double up to over 20 million chips for RenRad 01. Despite being dominated 7♣8♥ to harif1988's 7♥A♣, RenRad 01 found an eight on the flop for the win cutting harif1988's lead to 28.5 million to 20.8 million.
Seven hands later after taking down five of six, RenRad 01 would complete the improbable comeback. With the blinds at 200K/400K ante 40K and now in the lead by about a million chips, RenRad 01 min-raised from the button, as harif1988 three-bet to two million. RenRad 01 four-bet to 4.01 million as harif1988 made the call to see the 4♦8♦K♠ flop. Undeterred by RenRad 01's four-bet, harif1988 led out for 4.4 million as RenRad 01's eight key got stuck and bet 8,888,888. harif1988 answered the raise with a shove for 20 million as RenRad 01 snap called with aces A♥A♠. RenRad 01 would need to fade another draw as harif1988 showed Q♦J♦ for a flush draw. 9♣ on the turn opened up three more outs, but the black 5♣ on the river hauled in the remaining 48 million tournament chips turning those into $154,461.34 in real cash as RenRad 01 became this week's Sunday Warm-Up champion!
$500,000 guarantee Sunday Warm-Up results(12-18-11)
1. RenRad 01 (Mexico) $154,461.34
2. harif1988 (Israel) $115,032.10
3. josbassen (Denmark) $81,460.50
4. FU_15 (Honduras) $55,788.10
5. Bluffcracker (Germany) $41,964.50
6. NoMorePoka (Russia) $32,090.50
7. pulgask8 (Spain) $22,216.50
8. KKremate (Brazil) $12,342.50
9. badgergav (United Kingdom) $7,899.20