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Poker tournaments in January certainly saved the best for last as huge prize pools and first-place pay outs dominated the online poker scene yesterday. PokerStars first upped the ante with a $2,000,000 guarantee in the Sunday Million and FullTilt quickly followed suit by doubling every one of their major tournament guarantees. Yesterday may have been the biggest day of online tournaments not associated with the WCOOP, SCOOP, or FTOPS events.

I’ve been hoping for some time now the Warm-Up could surpass the $1,000,000 prize pool mark and yesterday the “stars” finally aligned for Sunday’s earliest tournament. 5,268 players ponied up the $200+$15 entry fee creating a massive $1,053,600 prize pool which ironically was only the 3rd biggest event of the day. “Rawhide0728” and “SHOGUN1000” battled it out for the $164,817 first place check which is typically what players taking home for winning the Million after a chip-chop. Luckily a chop never materialized and SHOGUN1000 was able to hit a 10-outer, spiking a Jack on the turn to take down the title and only his second score over $10,000.

Seat 2: Rawhide0728 (6316027 in chips)
Seat 6: SHOGUN1000 (46363973 in chips)
SHOGUN1000: posts small blind 200000
Rawhide0728: posts big blind 400000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
SHOGUN1000: raises 600000 to 1000000
Rawhide0728: raises 5276027 to 6276027 and is all-in
SHOGUN1000: calls 5276027
*** FLOP *** [As 7s Td]
*** TURN *** [As 7s Td] [Jd]
*** RIVER *** [As 7s Td Jd] [Jh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Rawhide0728: shows [5d Kc] (a pair of Jacks)
SHOGUN1000: shows [Qc Js] (three of a kind, Jacks)
SHOGUN1000 collected 12632054 from pot

PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up $750k Guaranteed
5,268 Entrants; $1,053,600 prize pool

1. SHOGUN1000 $164,817
2. Rawhide0728 $122,744
3. androo11 $86,922
4. Reds Fan ’73 $59,528
5. Stenbek $44,778
6. JAMES-OO7 $34,242
7. Le Dolce $23,706
8. 1234palleB $13,170
9. smokingjoep $8,429

While the Warm-Up hit new heights it paled in comparison to the player pool in the Sunday Million. What’s interesting is PokerStars only upped the prize pool $500,000, yet about 10,000 more players than normal entered the event. Some of this could be attributed to the Turbo Takedown running at the same time, but one has to wonder where these people are every week. “OBVAMENTS” was at the Million final table for the 2nd time time in five weeks, improving his previous 6th place finish and $56,064 to a 4th place bust-out and $166,270.

The enormous $550,011 first place prize went to unheralded “OX45AL” who before yesterday had merely toiled at small-stakes tournaments and satellites before taking the plunge into one of the biggest online tournaments ever. This is quite the Cinderella story as before yesterday his biggest recorded cash on PokerStars was a $76 score back in June. While he has not played many tournaments, he does play a lot of cash games which more than likely proved beneficial with the deeper stacks in this tournament. Below are the final table stacks, bust-out hands, and pay-outs:

Seat 1: hunter10999 (2504305 in chips)
Seat 2: Kostya 77777 (22418630 in chips)
Seat 3: OX45AL (21630488 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (37219555 in chips)
Seat 5: Gmelkonyan (15680889 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (35982924 in chips)
Seat 7: austinlewis (18538063 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (31496958 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (8298188 in chips)

Seat 1: hunter10999 (4708610 in chips)
Seat 2: Kostya 77777 (16494325 in chips)
Seat 3: OX45AL (38820976 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (36379555 in chips)
Seat 5: Gmelkonyan (16540889 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (27732436 in chips)
Seat 7: austinlewis (12918063 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (35216958 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (4958188 in chips)
hunter10999: posts small blind 500000
Kostya 77777: posts big blind 1000000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
OX45AL: folds
celofyz33: raises 1000000 to 2000000
Gmelkonyan: folds
OBVAMENTS: folds
austinlewis: folds
eMarkM: folds
S.Takmaziyan: folds
hunter10999: raises 2608610 to 4608610 and is all-in
Kostya 77777: folds
celofyz33: calls 2608610
*** FLOP *** [7c Ac Qs]
*** TURN *** [7c Ac Qs] [2s]
*** RIVER *** [7c Ac Qs 2s] [6c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
hunter10999: shows [Ks Jc] (high card Ace)
celofyz33: shows [6s 6d] (three of a kind, Sixes)
celofyz33 collected 11117220 from pot

Seat 2: Kostya 77777 (10694325 in chips)
Seat 3: OX45AL (42120976 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (45388165 in chips)
Seat 5: Gmelkonyan (10582701 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (33032436 in chips)
Seat 7: austinlewis (10618063 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (32716958 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (8616376 in chips)
Kostya 77777: posts small blind 500000
OX45AL: posts big blind 1000000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
celofyz33: folds
Gmelkonyan: folds
OBVAMENTS: folds
austinlewis: raises 1000000 to 2000000
eMarkM: folds
S.Takmaziyan: folds
Kostya 77777: folds
OX45AL: calls 1000000
*** FLOP *** [3d Jd 8c]
OX45AL: checks
austinlewis: bets 8518063 and is all-in
OX45AL: calls 8518063
*** TURN *** [3d Jd 8c] [Qc]
*** RIVER *** [3d Jd 8c Qc] [9c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
OX45AL: shows [8s Tc] (a straight, Eight to Queen)
austinlewis: shows [Ks Qd] (a pair of Queens)
OX45AL collected 22336126 from pot

Seat 2: Kostya 77777 (5094325 in chips)
Seat 3: OX45AL (70899039 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (38152165 in chips)
Seat 5: Gmelkonyan (13065402 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (25032436 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (35810257 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (5716376 in chips)
Gmelkonyan: posts small blind 600000
OBVAMENTS: posts big blind 1200000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
eMarkM: raises 1800000 to 3000000
S.Takmaziyan: folds
Kostya 77777: folds
OX45AL: folds
celofyz33: folds
Gmelkonyan: raises 9945402 to 12945402 and is all-in
OBVAMENTS: folds
eMarkM: calls 9945402
*** FLOP *** [2c 3c 7s]
*** TURN *** [2c 3c 7s] [Ac]
*** RIVER *** [2c 3c 7s Ac] [Jh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Gmelkonyan: shows [Qd Qc] (a pair of Queens)
eMarkM: shows [Ad Ah] (three of a kind, Aces)
eMarkM collected 27930804 from pot

Seat 2: Kostya 77777 (6708650 in chips)
Seat 3: OX45AL (71019039 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (34977840 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (23232436 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (54515659 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (3316376 in chips)
celofyz33: posts small blind 600000
OBVAMENTS: posts big blind 1200000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
eMarkM: folds
S.Takmaziyan: folds
Kostya 77777: raises 5388650 to 6588650 and is all-in
OX45AL: folds
celofyz33: folds
OBVAMENTS: calls 5388650
*** FLOP *** [5s 7c 3h]
*** TURN *** [5s 7c 3h] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [5s 7c 3h 3d] [9h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
OBVAMENTS: shows [2d 2s] (two pair, Threes and Deuces)
Kostya 77777: shows [Kh As] (a pair of Threes)
OBVAMENTS collected 14497300 from pot

Seat 3: OX45AL (90579039 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (31737840 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (32701086 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (38075659 in chips)
Seat 9: S.Takmaziyan (676376 in chips)
eMarkM: posts small blind 600000
S.Takmaziyan: posts big blind 556376 and is all-in
*** HOLE CARDS ***
OX45AL: raises 3000000 to 3600000
celofyz33: folds
OBVAMENTS: folds
eMarkM: folds
Uncalled bet (3000000) returned to OX45AL
*** FLOP *** [7c Ac 3s]
*** TURN *** [7c Ac 3s] [6d]
*** RIVER *** [7c Ac 3s 6d] [9h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
OX45AL: shows [Jh Js] (a pair of Jacks)
OX45AL collected 87248 from side pot
S.Takmaziyan: shows [Jc 4s] (high card Ace)
OX45AL collected 2269128 from main pot

Seat 3: OX45AL (108485015 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (34027315 in chips)
Seat 6: OBVAMENTS (27263611 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (23994059 in chips)
celofyz33: posts small blind 700000
OBVAMENTS: posts big blind 1400000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
eMarkM: folds
OX45AL: raises 2800000 to 4200000
celofyz33: raises 29400000 to 33600000
OBVAMENTS: calls 25723611 and is all-in
OX45AL: folds
Uncalled bet (6476389) returned to celofyz33
*** FLOP *** [Ad 9d Ks]
*** TURN *** [Ad 9d Ks] [5h]
*** RIVER *** [Ad 9d Ks 5h] [Kd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
celofyz33: shows [Ac 8c] (two pair, Aces and Kings)
OBVAMENTS: shows [Th Tc] (two pair, Kings and Tens)
celofyz33 collected 59007222 from pot

Seat 3: OX45AL (70545015 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (101890926 in chips)
Seat 8: eMarkM (21334059 in chips)
eMarkM: posts small blind 700000
OX45AL: posts big blind 1400000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
celofyz33: raises 1607200 to 3007200
eMarkM: raises 18186859 to 21194059 and is all-in
OX45AL: folds
celofyz33: calls 18186859
*** FLOP *** [9s 6h 9d]
*** TURN *** [9s 6h 9d] [Qd]
*** RIVER *** [9s 6h 9d Qd] [Ac]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
eMarkM: shows [Ks 7c] (a pair of Nines)
celofyz33: shows [Js Qc] (two pair, Queens and Nines)
celofyz33 collected 44208118 from pot

Seat 3: OX45AL (144703178 in chips)
Seat 4: celofyz33 (49066822 in chips)
celofyz33: posts small blind 700000
OX45AL: posts big blind 1400000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
celofyz33: raises 1549800 to 2949800
OX45AL: raises 5450200 to 8400000
celofyz33: raises 40526822 to 48926822 and is all-in
OX45AL: calls 40526822
*** FLOP *** [3h 7c Ks]
*** TURN *** [3h 7c Ks] [4d]
*** RIVER *** [3h 7c Ks 4d] [Jh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
OX45AL: shows [Qh Qc] (a pair of Queens)
celofyz33: shows [4c Ac] (a pair of Fours)
OX45AL collected 98133644 from pot

PokerStars Sunday Million $2M Guaranteed
19,377 Entrants; $3,875,400 prize pool

1. OX45AL $550,011
2. celofyz33 $332,540
3. eMarkM $244,616
4. OBVAMENTS $166,270
5. S.Takmaziyan $133,016
6. Kostya 77777 $99,762
7. Gmelkonyan $66,508
8. austinlewis $44,228
9. hunter10999 $29,929

The Sunday $500k took full advantage of the added number of tournament players online as the weekends biggest buy-in event saw a 50% increase in its player pool yesterday. Over 1,500 of the world’s best online tournament grinders were on hand including 9th place finisher “rubenrtv” who has final tabled Main Events in both the SCOOP and ECOOP series last year. Overall he had six $20,000+ scores to his name and two over $120,000.

Christian “C.K.” Kruel finished 2nd in the $500k for $94,020. This was the biggest score of his online career, surpassing a $61,145 win in the Super Tuesday just four week ago. On the live scene he has nearly $250,000 in earnings including an 8th place finish at the PCA in 2005 for $73,700. Eventual winner “Doommy” has had a lot of success in re-buys having won and finished 2nd in the $109r in November on consecutive nights.

Seat 7: Doommy (11524424 in chips)
Seat 9: C.K. (4145576 in chips)
C.K.: posts small blind 65000
Doommy: posts big blind 130000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
C.K.: raises 178888 to 308888
Doommy: raises 441112 to 750000
C.K.: raises 3382576 to 4132576 and is all-in
Doommy: calls 3382576
*** FLOP *** [Ks 6h 9s]
*** TURN *** [Ks 6h 9s] [As]
*** RIVER *** [Ks 6h 9s As] [8c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Doommy: shows [8h 8d] (three of a kind, Eights)
C.K.: shows [Ah 5c] (a pair of Aces)
Doommy collected 8291152 from pot

PokerStars Sunday $500k Guaranteed
1,567 Entrants; $783,500 prize pool

1. Doommy $125,361
2. C.K $94,020
3. vikt777 $70,515
4. papamat25 $51,515
5. TMoney0209 $37,216
6. Highpothead $28,990
7. IAmSoSo $21,155
8. bigegypt $13,711
9. rubenrtv $7,835

The $215 re-buy final table had a bunch of the biggest names in tournament poker. 9th-place finisher “BadcardsAA” took home less than $5,000 for his efforts which is merely pocket change to someone with more than $1,250,000 in earnings on PokerStars alone. A lot of his success has come in the $1,050 Super Tuesday with multiple final table appearances including a win last November for $74,961. Busting in fourth-place was STR-frequenter “bigegypt” who scored the 8th $20k+ score of his career yesterday. He has won a lot of midstakes events including the $125k Guaranteed on FullTilt for just under $50,000 in October.

Even with all of the final table fire power, the heads-up battle came down to the best two players at the table. Mike “Sowerss” Sowers and “HEMIpowerSWT” competed for the $53,118 first-place check which was nowhere near either player’s career high score. Sowers has had major success in some of the biggest online tournament including a 2nd place finish in the WCOOP High-Roller $10k buy-in event for $448,500 last September. He also finished runner-up in FTOPS Event #12 last February for $221,680. HEMIpowerSWT has yet to crack a six-figure score but does have five $40k+ scores to his name including two wins in the $109r, a third in the Sunday Warm-Up, and a 2nd place finish in the $500k last May. The tournament came down to a fairly standard hand as two strong hands got all the money in PF with Sowers coming out on top.

Seat 7: HEMIpowerSWT (415412 in chips)
Seat 8: Sowerss (1782588 in chips)
HEMIpowerSWT: posts small blind 12500
Sowerss: posts big blind 25000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
HEMIpowerSWT: raises 387912 to 412912 and is all-in
Sowerss: calls 387912
*** FLOP *** [3h 6s 7c]
*** TURN *** [3h 6s 7c] [Tc]
*** RIVER *** [3h 6s 7c Tc] [4h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Sowerss: shows [Jc Jd] (a pair of Jacks)
HEMIpowerSWT: shows [Js Qh] (high card Queen)
Sowerss collected 830824 from pot

PokerStars Sunday $215r $150k Guaranteed
390 Entrants; $272,400 prize pool

1. Sowerss $53,118
2. HEMIpowerSWT $40,179
3. El_Cañonero $29,964
4. bigegypt $22,881.60
5. Turbotiff $15,663
6. Edu__Parra $12,258
7. shampusik $9,534
8. D.J.777 $6,810
9. BadcardsAA $4,767

Capping off a strong day on tournaments on PokerStars was the Sunday Second Chance which saw an extra $100,000 in entry fees yesterday. The last tournament of the day on PokerStars proved to be quite rewarding for a few players including “bgibson45” and “PureProfitFo” who each took home the biggest scores of their career. Unfortunately for bgibson45 he took a bit of a bad beat when he got all of his stack in as a big favorite but was outflopped by his opponent’s dominated hand.

Seat 1: bgibson45 (309416 in chips)
Seat 6: PureProfitFo (5093584 in chips)
bgibson45: posts small blind 20000
PureProfitFo: posts big blind 40000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
bgibson45: raises 265416 to 305416 and is all-in
PureProfitFo: calls 265416
*** FLOP *** [Ks 6c 6s]
*** TURN *** [Ks 6c 6s] [4d]
*** RIVER *** [Ks 6c 6s 4d] [7h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
PureProfitFo: shows [Kd 5d] (two pair, Kings and Sixes)
bgibson45: shows [Ac 5c] (a pair of Sixes)
PureProfitFo collected 618832 from pot

PokerStars Sunday Second Chance $200k Guaranteed
1,801 Entrants; $360,200 prize pool

1. PureProfitFo $63,539.28
2. bgibson45 $48,826
3. MTLKINGO $36,020
4. OLD TIME GIN $26,114.50
5. blurred1 $18,730.40
6. vovo_leo $15,128.40
7. BrightStripe $11,526.40
8. kleath $7,924.40
9. AAGaryAA $5,042.80

FullTilt decided to give its three Sunday majors a big boost yesterday, doubling each tournament’s respective guarantee. The added money was enough to entice record number of entrants for tournaments like the Sunday Brawl which saw its prize pool surpass the $800,000 mark for the first time in a long while. Many of FullTilt’s very own were on hand to take a shot at the $161,884 first place prize including Isaac “menlo” Baron who made a deep run, ultimately busting in 41st place. Baron was joined by Soren Kongsgaard who also found himself vying for a final table spot before being eliminated in 39th place.

Fifth-place finisher “mrvogt” has seen plenty of success on both PokerStars and FullTilt where has more than $1,400,000 in cashes combined. He stands out at the tables due to his Gold-jersey FTOPS avatar due to his win in Event #3 in 2008 for $76,545. Mrvogt nearly won the Sunday Million on Stars in 2008 as he finished in 4th place for just under $69,000. Eventual winner “ozram” shipped the biggest score of his career by a wide margin, easily besting a $13,433 win four weeks ago in the $23.5k re-buy on FullTilt.

FullTilt Sunday Brawl $800k Guaranteed
4,088 Entrants; $817,600 prize pool

1. ozram $161,885
2. swingindoubleds $99,747
3. HustleHyene $71,949
4. mcpickl $50,691
5. mrvogt $36,792
6. SoooSick $24,528
7. Dahladino $16,352
8. COCHOTE $11,446
9. MRIBAS $8,176

The Sunday $750k suddenly became the $1,500,000 guaranteed yesterday as the tournament looked to tangle with PokerStars’ bigger events. Unfortunately for FullTilt they picked the wrong day to try to compete with the Million but this tournament was huge nonetheless. FullTilt professional Eric Froehlich who once held the record for the youngest player to win a WSOP bracelet nearly made the final table as he took 22nd place and $4,016 for his efforts. One other professional cracked the top-100 as Scott Clements also made a nice run before falling in 70th place. More than 50 FullTilt sponsored professionals played in the $1.5M which is one of the biggest turnouts by the “red pros” in some time.

The heads-up battle did not last long as “BankOfSweden” and “extassyman” guaranteed themselves each a $210,000 payday. Before yesterday neither play had registered a big score on FullTilt which more than likely contributed to the decision to chop the prize pool and call it a day. The nice thing about this tournament being chopped? Well, it was the only major of the day that did not come to a complete finish which is a nice change of pace.

FullTilt Sunday $1.5M Guaranteed
7,578 Entrants; $1,515,600 prize pool
*2-way chop

1. BankOfSweden $212,045
2. extassyman $210,050
3. zhuoyu19791979 $125,795
4. xTrumptightx $93,967
5. SIGGYFREUD $68,202
6. NLife $48,499
7. nowa1 $32,282
8. kmillionaire83 $22,431
9. guillet76 $15,762

The Sunday Mulligan capped off FullTilt’s nice day of tournaments and the final table did not disappoint. There were plenty of big names on hand but they all busted quite early, leaving a bit to be desired from the rail. 8th place finisher “thechemist83” won this very event last April for more than $52,000 but only took home $6,835 for his efforts yesterday. Two top-100 ranked pros joined him on the rail shortly thereafter as “antesvante” and “UFman2” finished in 6th and 7th place respectively. Ante has had plenty of success on both FullTilt and PokerStars including a win in the Million last April for more than $227,000. He also won the Sunday $500k and nearly shipped the Super Tuesday in the past three weeks! Needless to say he’s off to one of the best starts in 2010. UFman2 is also known as “PiKappRaider” and won multiple FTOPS Events in 2009 for more than $350,000 in prizes. Two FullTilt professionals made the final 100 as Lee Watkinson finished in 61st place while Martin Klaeser took 51st.

FullTilt Sunday Mulligan $400k Guaranteed
2,136 Entrants; $427,200 prize pool

1. WormNorton $87,127
2. CoeJassidy $56,390
3. ferndog79 $41,866
4. Marsall1121 $31,613
5. antesvante $22,214
6. SThoro1985 $14,525
7. UFman2 $9,826
8. thechemist83 $6,835
9. MSUsFinest $5,126