Can we call it the Sunday Brazilian?
Brazil is the largest country in South America, occupying more than half the continent. Meanwhile the country took up a third of the real estate at this week’s Sunday Million final table, with three players making the final nine.
One of those three came away with the win — S.totuli who captured the biggest chunk of the prize pool by winning $107,200.94 following a three-handed deal.
It wasn’t easy, though, with heads-up taking nearly two hours before the final hand was won.
Here’s the story of how S.totuli did it, along with some input from a fellow Brazilian who made the final table as well.
By the time late registration ended there were 11,881 entries all told (including 3,439 re-entries), which meant a guarantee-busting prize pool of $1,118,100 would be divided among the top 2,150 finishers.
Three red spade sporters entered this week’s Milly — Leo Fernandez (once), Ben “Spraggy” Spragg (twice), and Lex “L. Veldhuis” Veldhuis (four times) — but alas none among them was able to last into the money.
It would take more than 12 hours for the field to be whittled down to a final nine, at which point Benfica10 of Canada enjoyed the chip lead with just over 25 million (almost 72 big blinds). Meanwhile the chase pack was crowded and not that far behind with several players — including S.totuli — hovering around the 14-17M chip range.
The Brazilian Ivan Douglas Ludwig, a.k.a. IvanDouglasu, was one of those in that group of challengers, though he knew he was in for a tough challenge himself here.
“I play poker for about six years with my friends in my small town where fun is guaranteed,” he told PokerStars Blog. For IvanDouglasu, online poker is just a “spare time” hobby, his attention more often focused on “engineering college and work.”
“I’ve always played less expensive tournaments,” he explained, adding how “this was the most expensive… tournament I’ve ever played.
His Sunday Million experience to that point had already showed him the game was a little tougher than the small-stakes fun he enjoys with friends. And things weren’t going to get any easier now that he’d reached the final table.
“It is a very difficult tournament, where players are of a high level,” he noted. “The difficulty is always great.”
After playing cautiously for the first few orbits, IvanDouglasu lost significant chips to fellow countryman S.totuli in a pot that didn’t go to showdown. “I played a hand badly,” he noted afterwards. “I saw the mistake… which cost me a lot of chips and in the end I ended up folding.”
He’d lose a few more in a subsequent hand versus volldemar88, which meant IvanDouglasu was down to less than 10 big blinds when he opened with Q♦J♣ from middle position, got three-bet all in from the button by Benfica10 who had A♥J♠, and IvanDouglasu called.
The board didn’t help him, and IvanDouglasu was out in ninth. But he wasn’t that disappointed with his $9,204.68 cash.
“It’s the highest prize I’ve ever made in online poker to date,” he said. “I am very happy for the value gained… and for my performance, where I can show myself what I am capable of. Thanks to PokerStars for always having great tournaments and the best online poker platform.”
It had taken about 25 minutes for the field to be reduced from nine to eight. And in fact, it would only take about that long for them to get down to two.
First 123jeffrey went out in eighth after ace-six was outdrawn by rodtrader‘s queen-jack. Then Sergio1306 lost a race with pocket tens versus S.totuli’s ace-queen to fall in seventh. Next paila02 ran ace-jack suited into TheZQ‘s pocket queens and when the big pair held the were down to five.
It wasn’t long after that the third Brazilian, rodtrader, fell in fifth after flopping two pair versus Benfica10’s top pair, then getting counterfeited on the turn to bust. Then it was TheZQ getting it in good, having raised the button with A♥K♣ then calling an all-in reraise from S.totuli who was in the small blind with A♦9♥. But not one but two nines came on the board, and TheZQ was out in fourth.
With S.totuli on top with about 51.9 million, Benfica10 next with 35.2 million, and volldemar88 third with a little under 31.7 million, the tournament was paused and players soon agreed to a three-handed “ICM”-based deal leaving $20K aside for the winner.
Once the deal was done and play resumed, it took only a single hand to go from three players to two.
Benfica10 opened from the button with K♥Q♠, volldemar88 jammed from the big blind with A♦10♦, and Benfica10 called. The 4♦K♠4♥ flop put Benfica10 in front, and while the 6♦ turn gave additional flush outs to the at-risk player the 10♣ river didn’t do the trick, and volldemar88 was done in third.
With that pot Benfica10 enjoyed the chip edge to begin heads-up with almost 67.3 million versus S.totuli’s 51.5 million. Benfica10 would increase the advantage in the early going, too, and was soon approaching the 100 million-chip mark.
Then came a key preflop all-in in which S.totuli survived with king-nine versus ace-ten when two kings came on the board, bringing S.totuli back up to 44 million. Benfica10 built back up again, getting up over 100 million this time as S.totuli dropped to less than 20 million.
That’s when another big hand arose — one which you can watch (along with the entire final table) by going to the “Replay” tab in the PokerStars client.
S.totuli limped from the button with Q♠J♠, Benfica10 checked with 6♥5♣, and the flop came 9♥A♠7♦. Benfica10 check-raised that flop and S.totuli called. Then after the 4♣ turn Benfica10 bet enough to put S.totuli all in, and after some time in the tank S.totuli made a big, difficult call. The river king meant queen-high was good, and S.totuli was back up out of the danger zone.
S.totuli ended up all in again with an open-ended straight draw on the flop versus Benfica10’s top pair and the straight came. They battled onward, with S.totuli chipping up into the lead.
Finally Benfica10 picked up K♥5♥ and jammed an almost 22-BB stack from the button, but S.totuli had A♠K♠ and was quick to call. The board came 8♠Q♦2♥9♥9♣ and it was all over — S.totuli had won!
For the next two weeks (August 18 and 25), the Sunday Million will be played as a Progressive Knockout tournament, meaning players can collect cash by eliminating players as well as by surviving into the tournament’s latter stage and into the money.
Stick with PokerStars Blog for blow-by-blow coverage of these KO events in the coming weeks.
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