The final table of this week's running of the Sunday Warm-Up featured several players who have previously enjoyed some time in the spotlight here at PokerStars, whether it was in one of our big tournament series or one of the Sunday majors. The record shows that experience can come in very handy when the big money is on the line. But there's nothing that says a first-timer can't be the king of the hill. Just being there to take advantage of opportunities is the only requirement.
This week's Sunday Warm-Up drew a field of 2,820 players, good for a $564,000 prize pool split up among the top 414 finishers. With $88,830 up top the race was on for one of the best scores of the week. About nine and a half hours after starting, this collection of players from around the globe was all that was left:
Seat 1: NeoForastero (1,168,146 in chips)
Seat 2: pol17pl (5,957,534 in chips)
Seat 3: Palsgaard1 (4,034,000 in chips)
Seat 4: joeyspanne88 (2,453,435 in chips)
Seat 5: serhiy1989 (2,203,160 in chips)
Seat 6: Adrian "Adrian900123" Marin (1,654,016 in chips)
Seat 7: CameleonBE (5,912,463 in chips)
Seat 8: powx4 (1,723,634 in chips)
Seat 9: T-Recz (3,093,612 in chips)
Blinds and antes were at 65K/130K/13K. Almost half the table had stacks worth less than 20 big blinds and were looking to make up ground as quickly as possible. But it was two of the medium stacks who would get tangled up with each other in the early going and end up setting the tone for the rest of the tournament. On Hand #5, Denmark's Palsgaard1 opened under the gun for 269K and was called by Germany's T-Recz. The flop came 3♦ 8♦ A♣, Palsgaard1 bet 305K, and T-Recz called; then T-Recz called again after Palsgaard1 continued for 765K on the A♥ turn. But the final bet of 2.1M on the K♣ river was too much and Palsgaard1 won the 2.99M-chip pot without a showdown.
powx4 can't fight the power
On Hand #12 the lone Australian at the table would be knocked out. The action folded to powx4 in the small blind and the Aussie player moved all-in for 1.11M with Q♥ T♦. T-Recz made the call in the big blind with A♠ 8♥, but the pre-flop advantage became a bit more precarious on the K♠ J♥ 3♦ flop. The 2♦ turn and K♦ river were no help, though, and ace-high held up to send powx4 to the rail in 9th place ($4,794).
NeoForastero falls to Palsgaard1
Mexico's NeoForastero was no stranger to success at big PokerStars final tables before today, having enjoyed both a MicroMillions win and a Sunday Rebuy win last year. But today's starting position as the short stack was too much to overcome.
On Hand #25, with just 625K left and blinds and antes now up to 80K/160K/16K, NeoForastero shoved with J♣ T♠ from middle position. The rest of the table folded around to the big blind, where past Sunday Warm-Up winner Adrian "Adrian900123" Marin of Romania sat with A♠ 3♥. Marin called and quickly fell behind when NeoForastero caught top pair on the J♥ 5♣ 9♦ flop, but the A♣ on the turn put Marin back in front. The 2♠ on the river put an end to the day for NeoForastero in 8th place ($7,625.28).
So long to serhiy1989
Palsgaard1 had taken the chip lead for the first time a few hands before NeoForastero's departure and moved ahead of second-place CameleonBE of Belgium, but the Dane would double the lead on Hand #32. The action began with Poland's pol17pl opening in the hijack for the minimum of 320K before Palsgaard1 made it 666K to go from the cutoff. Then Ukrainian player serhiy1989 jammed for 1.48M from the small blind with A♦ Q♠, getting pol17pl to fold but drawing a call from Palsgaard1 with J♥ T♥. The Dane moved into the lead on the 9♦ 5♣ T♠ flop, picked up a straight draw on the 7♥ turn, and won the 3.56M-chip pot with the 2♠ on the river. Getting in ahead wasn't good enough for serhiy1989, who left in 7th place ($13,254).
A cruel cooler for joeyspanne88
Only a few months removed from becoming a two-time Super Tuesday winner back in June, joeyspanne88 came into the final table hoping to add a Sunday Warm-Up title to an already impressive resume. A cooler would keep that from happening, though, on Hand #38, when joeyspanne88 was dealt Q♥ Q♣ on the button while Palsgaard1 held A♥ A♣ in the cutoff. Not even the hope of a backdoor flush was there - only one of the two queens or some crazy backdoor straight draw would do to grab the 5.78M chip in the middle and stay alive in the tournament. But by the river the board read 9♣ 6♦ 9♦ 6♣ 3♦ and joeyspanne88 was out in 6th place ($18,894).
Trouble for T-Recz
Palsgaard1 moved up to 11.8M with that win against joeyspanne88 and moved even further ahead of the pack with this win on Hand #46:
The Dane scooped up six of the next 10 pots, running over the other players, who were all similarly stacked and looking at a jump of nearly $8K if they could hold on for one more knockout. As it turned out the one who wouldn't make it was T-Recz, who moved all-in from the button for 1.75M on Hand #56 only to be called by Palsgaard1 with A♦ K♦. The dominated king fell even further behind on the 4♣ A♥ J♠ flop. Only running eights on the turn and river could save T-Recz from elimination, but they came 2♦ 9♥ and T-Recz left in 5th place ($$24,534).
No repeat win for Adrian900123
Adrian900123's hope for a second Sunday Warm-Up title was still alive with the field down to four players now, but it wasn't looking too good. Palsgaard1 now had 18.14M chips with the blinds and antes at 100K/200K/20K and none of the other three players held more than 3.92M. On Hand #64 the Romanian player picked up A♠ 8♣ and went with it, moving in for 3.36M under the gun, and looked good to double through Palsgaard1's A♥ 7♥ or at least earn a chop. The 2♥ J♠ Q♥ flop didn't change anything immediately but it did give Palsgaard1 nine more outs. The 9♠ on the turn didn't change anything, but the 7♦ on the river gave Palsgaard1 a pair and the 6.91M-chip pot. With that, Adrian900123's big for a second Sunday Warm-Up win ended in 4th place ($32,430).
A three-handed deal
Palsgaard1 was firmly in the lead with 20.49M to CameleonBE's 3.92M and pol17pl's 3.77M, but the Dane finally hit a bump in the road with play three-handed. pol17pl took down two pots from the leader back-to-back to climb over 6.5M, and then CameleonBE doubled to 6.96M with A♦ Q♣ against Palsgaard1's A♣ 8♦. With things a little narrower now, the three agreed to talk over a deal. After a bit of negotiation they agreed to give CameleonBE $53K, pol17pl $60K, and Palsgaard1 $78K, with $10K left on the table for the winner.
pol17pl peters out
Even with the deal in place, there was enough left to play for that nobody was ready to make a hasty move. By Hand #96 pol17pl had been up and down in the chip counts but was now firmly in third place with 4.62M. After CameleonBE opened for 625K in the small blind, pol17pl shoved with A♥ 4♦ and CameleonBE called with 5♦ 5♠. The 3♦ T♠ 6♥ J♣ 9♦ board offered no kind of help and with that pol17pl was gone in 3rd place ($53,084.72).
CameleonBE can't stop Palsgaard1
That left just these two players to fight over that last $10K:
Seat 3: Palsgaard1 (16,955,708 in chips)
Seat 7: CameleonBE (11,244,292 in chips)
The counts were a bit closer than they had looked like they might be just a few hands earlier, but the first hand of heads-up play saw Palsgaard1 move firmly back into the lead again:
On Hand #99, CameleonBE had a stroke of bad luck, four-betting all-in before the flop with K♥ 8♥ only to run into Palsgaard1's pocket jacks, but reversal was quick at hand when the board came 2♦ 5♥ 3♠ 4♣ 6♠ to give both players a six-high straight. From there, though, it was almost all Palsgaard1. The Dane won 8 of the next 11 pots before the decisive pot on Hand #111, when CameleonBE raised the minimum to 500K on the button and then snap-called an all-in move for an effective 6.05M by Palsgaard1.
The Belgian player held A♠ A♥ and looked to be in great shape to double up against Palsgaard1's K♠ J♣, but then the flop came J♥ 9♣ K♣ and a single pair of aces was no longer enough. Needing a third ace, running straight cards, or a paired board that didn't improve Palsgaard1's hand, CameleonBE instead got the 3♦ 2♠ and fell short of a win in 2nd place ($53,094.72). Palsgaard1, meanwhile, earned the extra $10K on the table for a total payday of $88,411.38 and a first Sunday Warm-Up title.
PokerStars $500,000 Guaranteed Sunday Warm-Up results (09-01-2013)
$564,000 prize pool
414 places paid
1st place: Palsgaard1 (Denmark) $88,411.38*
2nd place: CameleonBE (Belgium) $53,084.72*
3rd place: pol17pl (Poland) $60,979.90*
4th place: Adrian "Adrian900123" Marin (Romania) $32,430
5th place: T-Recz (Germany) $24,534
6th place: joeyspanne88 (Costa Rica) $18,894
7th place: serhiy1989 (Ukraine) $13,254
8th place: NeoForastero (Mexico) $7,625.28
9th place: powx4 (Australia) $4,794
* - denotes results of a three-way deal
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.