The definitive account of the Sunday Million (July 28).
They say the cream rises to the top.
Two weeks ago, long-time crusher Conor “1_conor_b_1” Beresford took down the $109 Sunday Million for a massive $112K score. This week another beast–Ole “wizowizo” Schemion–came close, finishing in fifth for $31,874.
But while it’s always exciting to see big names like Schemion (almost) go the distance, the biggest weekly online tournament continues to provide life-changing scores for both pros and recreational players alike. Heck, even an “average Joe” or a shrimp fisherman can make the final table and a five-figure payday–both of which happened this week, on July 28th.
We think that’s pretty exciting, too.
The tournament saw an uptick to 11,300 entries, producing a $1.13 million prize pool and $114,934 reserved for the winner. However, the final three players made a deal to chop it up, and when Czech poker pro Jakub “Olli444” Oliva came out on top, he won $97,937 for his largest online score to date.
Here’s how it all went down, with help from some of the final table players.
When the Sunday Million had just nine players remaining of the 11,300 who entered, all eyes were on Ole Schemion. Playing under his PokerStars screenname “wizowizo”, Schemion’s presence at the table didn’t go unnoticed by the others.
“I was aware it was Ole Schemion right next to me, my friends railing me made sure of that,” the eventual runner-up—Finland’s “Goatse”—told PokerStars Blog. “I was fortunate to have position on him. I just happened to run better than him in this tournament, but it is always great to go up against the very best.”
It was Oliva who entered the final table with 45 big blinds and the chip lead, and he rated the German highly too. “I think only ‘wizowizo’ was among the best players, otherwise the rest were average players,” Oliva said a couple of days after his victory had sunk in.
Oliva started playing poker a few years back, and developed his game through what he called “intense studying”. Now a professional, he makes his living grinding both online and live in mid to high stakes tournaments.
“My biggest result was in a World Series of Poker (WSOP) circuit event four months ago. I came third for $101K,” he said, just pipping the amount he won Sunday night. “For the whole Sunday Million I was above the tournament average. It was only on the last two tables that the journey to the final table became complicated, and I found myself on a short stack. I won some pots again, though, and I entered the final table as a chip leader.”
“Goatse213” recognised that Oliva was a good player. “I think I had a bad spot having ‘Olli444’ on my direct left, he was playing really well and limited my options,” “Goatse213” said.
Meanwhile Schemion’s stack sat around the middle of the pack. He quickly found a big boost when he eliminated Uruguay’s “IlDepredator” in ninth ($8,840).
Schemion min-opened the button with A♦4♥, and “IlDepredator” defended his big blind with K♣6♠ to see a 3♦6♦5♠ flop fall. This gave Schemion an open-ender and he put in a c-bet when checked to. “IlDepredator” then shoved his 11-big-blind stack with top pair, and Schemion made the call. A deuce hit the turn to complete Schemion’s straight draw, and he then had a comfortable stack to play with.
Belgium’s “moneymach301” was the next to fall. His stack has dropped down just three big blinds when he picked up K♠K♥ under the gun, and naturally all of it went in. Action folded around to “Olli444” in the small blind who made the call with A♥J♣, and he ended up rivering a straight to eliminate “moneymach301” in eighth ($12,181).
Down to seven, the money jumps were already huge. “esbjerdr”, a shrimp fisherman from Denmark, told us this was his best result to date.
“One time I finished in the top 16, but that was maybe five or six years ago,” he said. “I lost most of that money in a cash game, but I learned from it and now I only play tournaments. I also play a lot of live tournaments where I live in Denmark.”
Another player enjoying his time at the final table was Finland’s “Goatse213”.
“I started playing poker with a few friends back in 2005 or so,” he explained. “We played in home games and I got intrigued really quickly. I normally focus on live poker, mostly cash games, but from time to time I like to play some online tournaments.”
That decision proved particularly fruitful on July 28th. While it ended with nice scores, their journeys towards the final table were far from smooth.
“Throughout the Sunday Million I was near the top of the chip counts,” “esbjerdr” remembered. “At one point I had almost 21 million in chips, but then I doubled up a lot of small stacks and lost a lot.”
“Goatse213” had the opposite experience. “I lost a big flip with like 250 players left and was crippled down to about eight big blinds, but managed to claw my way back up.”
By the time he reached the final table, he had one of the biggest stacks. One nice pot which went “Goatse213”’s way at the final table happened during seven-handed play. Holding the chip lead, he opened with J♠9♠ from early position and picked up one caller—“esbjerdr”–who had 10♣10♦ in the small blind. The flop produced two nines giving “Goatse213” trips, and when “esbjerdr” check-shoved and couldn’t find another ten, his tournament came to an end ($16,786).
“Goatse213” continued the good all-in form when he won a huge flip to KO Belarus’ “Dj_Sun_Rusma” in sixth ($23,131). The latter jammed for 16 big blinds under the gun with A♦K♣, and “Goatse213” called with 7♦7♥ in the cutoff. The pocket pair held up.
“Obviously you need to have your good hands hold up on the final table,” “Goatse213” said. “I don’t remember a specific hand which helped me get that far, but obviously I won all of the big all-ins when I needed to.”
The same can’t be said for Schemion. He went out in fifth.
Schemion min-opened the cutoff with 16 big blinds left holding A♥9♦, and Russia’s “IIewxa” defended his big blind with J♥10♥. On a K♦6♥3♣ flop, Schemion c-bet when it checked to him. “IIewxa” floated and picked up an open-ender on the Q♠ turn, which he checked again. Schemion didn’t slow down, firing again and leaving himself nine big blinds behind. Call.
The A♠ hit the river, giving Schemion top pair but “IIewxa” the nut straight. “IIewxa” now led with a shove, putting Schemion to the test for it all.
Deep into his time bank, Schemion made the call and saw the bad news. He banked $31,874 for his efforts, and they were down to four.
With Oliva, “Goatse213” and “IIewxa” all above 30 million at the 400K/800K blind level, the player who found himself in the most trouble was the UK’s Robert “USARtist” Gough. He had 16 big blinds, but at this point, he was just amazed to be in such a great position.
“I’ve played poker for years, as far back as before the Moneymaker Effect. I never had much to shout about prize wise; before last Sunday my biggest win was $1,800,” he said.
Gough usually only plays $11 tournaments, but always tries to satellite in to the Sunday Million when he can.
(Speaking of satellites, this week’s best ROI belonged to the UK’s “x1267bb”, who qualified for just $0.50 and won $937 after finishing in 131st place. Canadian player “PERCOSET” managed to get 13th place, good for $6,415.23 after qualifying for just $11).
Gough’s previous best milly run was somewhere around 250th, but things started to click this week and he found himself running super deep.
“It started slowly as I struggled for hands early on, but I got into a rhythm after a few double ups,” he said. “From there I just grinded my way through. I hit a royal flush at a good time with the J♠10♠ and doubled up nicely.”
Still, he was in tricky spot versus three similar big stacks. At this stage, though, he had nothing to lose.
An hour of four-handed play went by, in which time Gough really found nothing to play with. His chips dwindled down to just four big blinds, and when “IIewxa” set him all in from the small blind holding 7♦7♥, he called it off with a hopeful 8♠4♠. He found no help on the board, but with $43,922 now sitting in his account, he had no complaints.
“I never thought I would win an amount like this, it just doesn’t happen to people like me,” he said jubilantly. “It’s an unbelievable feeling. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me, I’m just an ‘average Joe’ poker player, nothing special. But it’s the best feeling after more than 14 hours of playing. I’m going to celebrate by taking a nice holiday, but first I plan to win next week’s Sunday Million!”
Having built his stack up and delivered the fourth-place KO, “IIewxa” now held a dominating chip lead. Three-handed began with stacks at 63 million (“IIewxa”), 34 million (Oliva), and 16 million (“Goatse213”).
A few hands in and play stopped to look at numbers. “There were no negotiations, we all just agreed to ICM numbers immediately. I was so tired that it felt good to strike the deal at that point,” said “Goatse213”.
“IIewxa” locked up $83,566, Oliva secured $77,937, and “Goatse213” banked $77,365. There was still $20,000 to play for though, and after seeing his chip stack fall to the shortest position, “IIewxa” exited in third.
Oliva min-opened to 4 million on the button with A♦J♠, and when “IIewxa” found Q♦J♦ in the small blind he jammed 11 bigs for 22M. Oliva made the call, and as you can see below, it took a pretty sick runout to eliminate him.
With that they were heads-up, but the duel didn’t take long. Oliva created a 2:1 chip lead, and when “Goatse213” opened 7♠7♥ only to be shoved on by Oliva holding A♣K♥, all the money went in. An ace hit the turn, and that was all she wrote for “Goatse213”.
“It feels great obviously, but I have not celebrated yet,” he said. “Maybe I’ll take my other half for a great dinner. Pokerwise, I’ll now be participating in a few live tournament series, though I haven’t decided which ones and where. Maybe somewhere warm during the winter so I could combine a tournament series and a holiday.”
As for Oliva, who now plans to play EPT Barcelona followed by a full WCOOP schedule, he had just three words to sum his win up:
“A nice feeling.”
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