The first Sunday Million of 2018 was a Winter Series Monday Million, just like the last one of 2017 was. The tournament kicked off on New Year’s Day with a million dollars guaranteed and a Progressive KO payout structure in place, then ticked over to Tuesday for a second day of play with less than 100 players remaining. Hong Kong’s VistaDT23 ended Day 1 in 20th place but eventually popped the bubble to take the chip lead to the final table, where a slow but steady approach led to victory and a new career-best cash of more than $116,000.
VistaDT23 cruised along with an average-sized stack for most of Day 2 before briefly taking the lead with three tables left. With 10 players left that stack was again average-sized, but it got a big boost when VistaDT23 picked up A♣ A♥ in the small blind and Lithuania’s efkinis24 opened on the button with A♠ 10♣. VistaDT23 re-raised, efkinis24 jammed, and VistaDT23 called and won the pot when the board fell 4♠ 8♣ Q♦ 10♠ Q♣. efkinis24 was out in 10th place and VistaDT23 had 76 big blinds to work with as the final table began.
Seat 1: SmilleThHero (4,966,864 in chips, $4,215.21 bounty)
Seat 2: VistaDT23 (60,714,112 in chips, $5,456.99 bounty)
Seat 3: Manuel “fellatiado” Ruivo (34,216,333 in chips, $6,571.16 bounty) SCOOP-High finalist in 2017
Seat 4: Diego “Die Ventura” Ventura (38,674,474 in chips, $3,262.87 bounty) 2015 PCA Main Event runner-up with past SCOOP & Super Tuesday wins, took third in the 6-2-13 Sunday Million
Seat 5: GE21 (10,895,669 in chips, $5,498.39 bounty)
Seat 6: Eli “Timunim” Fagundes (11,406,420 in chips, $3,726.15 bounty) past SCOOP & WCOOP finalist
Seat 7: lamogiaris (57,325,975 in chips, $7,499.56 bounty)
Seat 8: ANTONBEYONCE (43,461,663 in chips, $3,480.06 bounty)
Seat 9: PhilLaak3991 (34,188,490 in chips, $2,472.65 bounty) SCOOP-Low runner-up in 2016
It didn’t take long for SmilleThHero to pick up 3♥ 3♣ in early position and jam for about seven big blinds. Peru’s all-time leading money winner, Diego “Die Ventura” Ventura, called with J♦ J♠ in the hijack seat and won the pot to end SmilleThHero’s journey in ninth. A small pair did in Brazil’s GE21, too. GE21’s 5♠ 5♦ was more than enough to move all-in for four big blinds under the gun 20 minutes later, but ANTONBEYONCE called with K♥ 9♥ in the hijack and flopped a king, knocking out GE21 in eighth.
With the third-largest stack at the table, Die Ventura was able to survive losing a 74-million-chip pot with pocket queens in the big blind against lamogiaris, who had opened the action with A♠ A♦ before eventually four-betting all-in. He picked up A♠ A♣ himself two hands later but split the pot with lamogiaris, whose disadvantage with K♠ 6♥ was negated when the 4♦ 6♣ 5♠ 2♥ 3♣ board gave both players a six-high straight.
By the time Ventura finally picked up A♣ K♥ on the button 20 minutes later and doubled through lamogiaris, who called in the big blind with Q♦ 8♦, the 24 million chips he won were only worth 20 big blinds. The hour closed out with the ouster of Eli “Timunim” Fagundes, who opened the action all-in for 17.9 million under the gun with A♠ 10♥ and ran into PhilLaak3991, who was holding A♥ A♦ in the cutoff seat. A turned pair of tens wasn’t enough and Timunim left in seventh.
Winning with rockets just before the break gave PhilLaak3991 the second-largest stack at the table with 55 million chips, but the player from Hungary would end up being the next out. After dropping a few small pots PhilLaak3991 was still in good shape 25 minutes later, but there wasn’t much to be done about picking up J♦ J♠ on the button when ANTONBEYONCE had K♦ K♥ in the cutoff seat. PhilLaak3991 ended up with a set of jacks, but ANTONBEYONCE made a king-high straight on the 9♠ 6♦ Q♣ 10♣ J♥ board to take down the 56-million-chip pot and bust PhilLaak3991 in sixth.
Die Ventura’s long uphill battle finally ended two hands later. fellatiado opened for 3.7 million chips on the button with A♠ 5♠ and Die Ventura called in the small blind with K♠ Q♣. He bluffed all-in for the other 2.6 million chips in his stack on the A♥ 4♠ 5♥ flop and fellatiado snap-called with two pair, which took the pot to bust Die Ventura in fifth.
VistaDT23 hadn’t claimed any bounties yet at the final table, but the player from Hong Kong had expanded on the incoming chip lead via small pots and led the way at what was now a four-handed table, holding about three-quarters as many chips as the other players’ stacks combined. The player from Hong Kong was able to stretch that lead in a pot against second-place ANTONBEYONCE, who opened the action with a raise to 4.8 million chips in the small blind. VistaDT23 called with Q♥ 8♥ in the big blind and then called another 5.2 million after picking up a flush draw on the K♦ A♥ 4♥ flop. Both players checked the 7♥ turn and then ANTONBEYONCE check-called another 16.9 million, mucking when VistaDT23 revealed the winning flush.
That pot gave VistaDT23 more than half the chips at the table and dulled the action for a bit. Then three consecutive hands decided by pocket pairs took the roster down to three players and rearranged their places in the chip counts.
lamogiaris took the first hand, winning a race with J♣ J♦ against ANTONBEYONCE’s A♥ Q♠ for 83.4 million chips. Left with 10 big blinds, ANTONBEYONCE moved in from the small blind on the next hand with 7♣ 7♦. VistaDT23 called with 10♥ 10♠ in the big blind, took the 40.4-million-chip pot, and busted ANTONBEYONCE in fourth.
Then, just after all three players agreed to look over numbers for a three-handed deal on the following hand, came the most momentous of the three pots. fellatiado moved in from the small blind with 6♣ 6♥ and lamogiaris called with A♣ A♠. What looked sure to become a heads-up negotiation instead remained three-handed after fellatiado spiked a six for a set on the flop.
That win boosted fellatiado into second place as the table went on break to make a deal. VistaDT23 tried to extract some extra cash above ICM but finally relented when the other players wouldn’t give in, locking in guaranteed career-best PokerStars cashes for all three players after 20 minutes of negotiation. Then, after a few minutes of small-ball, lamogiaris moved in from the big blind for 29.3 million chips after VistaDT23 opened for 4.4 million on the button. VistaDT23 called and showed 9♣ 9♦, which trailed lamogiaris’s J♦ J♣ but quickly made a set on the 7♥ 9♠ K♦. lamogiaris still had two outs at that point but they evaporated when the 9♥ fell on the turn to five VistaDT23 four of a kind. The 4♠ on the river finalized lamogiaris’s departure in third.
fellatiado was outchipped 5-to-2 as heads-up play began and fought hard in the early going to reduce that ratio to 2-to-1. Then VistaDT23 played J♠ 6♣ in position and made two pair on the turn and river after fellatiado’s A♥ 5♦ had flopped a pair of aces. His progress erased, fellatiado continued to fight until he finally made his stand a few minutes later.
fellatiado three-bet to 17.6 million from the big blind after VistaDT23 raised to 5.5 million on the button. VistaDT23 called and both players checked the 3♣ 10♠ K♣ flop, bringing the 5♣ on the turn. This time fellatiado led for 15.7 million chips, about a quarter of his stack. VistaDT23 called that bet and then called one more time when fellatiado jammed on the 7♠ river, showing down a pair of tens with J♥ 10♦. That was good for the 158-million-chip pot – fellatiado had been bluffing with Q♣ 2♦ – and the victory.
fellatiado may not have been able to overcome his chip deficit heads-up, but his combined take from the deal and bounties set a new personal best cash here on PokerStars by more than $47,000. lamogiaris’s take in third was a new personal best by more than $52,000, and VistaDT23’s late run ensured a new best by more than $100,000. Congratulations to all three dealmakers, particularly VistaDT23 for the win!
Winter Series Event #19-Medium ($215 NL Hold’em Progressive KO, Monday Million) results
Entrants: 5,917 (4,287 entries, 1,630 re-entries)
Total prize pool: $1,183,400 ($591,700 regular, $591,700 bounty)
Places paid: 836
1. VistaDT23 (Hong Kong) $81,641.02* + $35,967.07 in bounties
2. Manuel “fellatiado” Ruivo (Poland) $52,309.63* + $9,156.40
3. lamogiaris (Greece) $48,797.75* + $7,399.59
4. ANTONBEYONCE (Russia) $27,874.86 + $8,297.14
5. Diego “Die Ventura” Ventura (Peru) $19,291.66 + $5,270.48
6. PhilLaak3991 (Hungary) $13,351.35 + $4,235.73
7. Eli “Timunim” Fagundes (Brazil) $9,240.22 + $3,626.17
8. GE21 (Brazil) $6,394.97 + $5,398.42
9. SmilleThHero (Germany) $4,425.79 + $4,115.24
* – denotes results of a three-way deal leaving $23,668 for the winner
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Jason Kirk is a Freelance Contributor to PokerStars Blog.