Along with the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, real money online poker has seen a surging interest in turnouts and overall action.
The 14th Anniversary Sunday Million, hosted by Pokerstars, was no exception when it posted a hefty guarantee of $12.5 million in winnings. When the tournament was initially marketed back in January, it seemed like a tall order for the platform with an affordable buy-in of $215. There was every chance the operator could miss its ambitious guarantee and fail to cover its largest online poker tournament in history.
The special tournament was meant to surpass its existing record back in December 2011 wherein a $10 million Sunday Million was hosted for its 10th birthday celebration, attracting a field of 62,116 entries to generate a $12.4 million prize pool.
The few events larger than the mentioned was the partypoker MILLIONS Online back in 2018 and its following in 2019. For the prior, a $5,300 buy-in was posted, drawing 4,367 entrants to create a record-setting $21,385,000 prize pool. In 2019, partypoker increased the buy-in to $10,300 to better align the online event with the live MILLIONS events, all of which have a $10,000 buy-in.
This, however, limited accessibility for a majority of players and failed to surpass the record of its predecessor.
As Sunday approached, there was no question that the stupendous tournament would exceed everyone’s expectations. Within the first couple of hours of late registration, the tournament sailed through its 62,500-entry target. Entries kept coming as the players eagerly tailed the increasing guarantee. With late registration open until the start of Day 2, a cap of five re-entries allowed per person and multiple satellites running throughout Monday daytime, it was no doubt that the tournament would be a huge success in online poker history.
Finally at 5pm on Monday, late registration was closed and players all over the world were ready to battle it out on the virtual felt to grab their chance at a massive payout. The event attracted 60,898 unique players and an additional 32,188 re-entries to build a prize pool of $18,603,200, exceeding the guarantee by 48.8%. The 14th Anniversary Sunday Million has certainly set a new bar for high turnouts in real money online poker.
AAAArthur for an Massive Win of $1.1 Million
Brazilian recreational player, AAAArthur, was in for a lucky day as he emerged triumphant among the humongous field, walking away with a seven-figure score. Given that the Brazilian merely satellited into the Sunday Million for $11 and a previously recorded biggest cash of $90, the impressive payout would surely be a big boost for the player’s bankroll. On the final table draw, AAAArthur only recorded a holding of four big blinds, a weak comparison with salonteskis’ fifty two big blind chip count. The champion slowly managed to climb the ranks to second in chips by the time the first break arrived.
With four players left in the tournament, a deal was proposed based on ICM, setting aside $50,000 for the winner. Fairly active throughout the final table, Lithuanian player, salonteskis, extended the chip lead for a majority of the period but was unfortunately the first to bust out after the deal was made, walking away with $826,919.68.
With three left in the running, AAAArthur was in for a significant lead having over a billion in chips while second to follow, Stefan “CrAzY_sTeFaN” Piele Dragos recorded 335 million, roughly 20 big blinds. The pressure was on as the blinds continued to increase, forcing British player “caroline2963” to shove blind on blind with jack-five suited for 14 big blinds. The board was of no help to caroline2963 as CrAzY_sTeFaN’s king-eight off suit completed a full house on the river and the prior was sent home with $786,873.65.
Just a few moments later, a champion was crowned with CrAzY_sTeFaN eliminated as runner up for $921,328.12. By Level 67: 10,000,000-20,000,000, 2,500,000 ante, the final hand saw AAAArthur raising to 80,000,000 and calling a shove from CrAzY_sTeFaN for 600,349,310. AAAArthur with the deuces, needed a huge help from the board to outwin the Romanian’s pocket fives. Although very much behind, AAAArthur luckily flopped a full house with Dragos needing a jack or a five. The runout bricked and AAAArthur added an extra $50,000 to his initial guaranteed payout of $1,142,802.46.
14th Anniversary Sunday Million Final Table Results
|2||Stefan “CrAzY_sTeFaN” Piele Dragos||Romania||$921,328.12*|
|6||Marios “Jully-19” Mansour||Cyprus||$225,108.02|
|9||Paulius “D3cor” Vaitiekunas||Lithuania||$71,869.74|
*denotes four-way deal