Christmas Eve, naturally, brings familial and traditional obligations that can keep many of us from the online poker table. In a giving tradition, however, almost every major online site left its normal Sunday guarantee intact for its players. This created a huge overlay in several major events and represented incredible opportunities for those who had the chance to play.
Poker Stars Sunday Million
Poker Stars never fails to eclipse its pre-event guarantee, except, perhaps, on Christmas Eve. 4,125 Stars players were on hand, making for an overlay of $175,000 --- in cash terms, the largest of the night. 600 places played, with $158,100 the winner's share. At just over $9 million in chips, 'Bhoth' held a narrow lead over 'themerkman' and 'poofter' as the final table of this holiday-edition Sunday Million began. The narrower field also meant that the blinds forced the action at a sooner point, and with blinds already at $100,000/$200,000 the chips were poised to fly.
'amils1' found A-T to be poison twice running, first losing most his chips to 'Rags2Racks' and his pocket queens, then dropping the remainder when he ran into themerkman's suited A-J. 'beauW' departed next, his pocket fours reeled in by Bhoth's K-Q on a board of Q-8-6-9-J. 'RebelYell7' bowed out soon after, his all-in A-Q catching a queen on the flop but still never ahead of Rags2Racks's pocket aces. At this point, perhaps in the holiday spirit, the remaining players easily agreed to a six-way chop, leaving $30,000 for the eventual winner.
Following the deal, 'poofter's luck ran bad, and his final $1.8 million vanished when his pocket kings fell to themerkman's A-Q when an ace flopped. themerkman did it again on the next hand, sending Rags2Racks to the rail on a hand where Rags2Racks tried a big re-raise steal with A-4, but found a caller in themerkman's pocket nines. 'FrankTheT@nk' then took down a couple of huge pots to challenge Bhoth for the lead, but Bhoth claimed the next victim, sending 'omba' to the sidelines in fourth; on that hand, Bhoth started with K-J and omba with Q-T, with the short-stacked omba all-in before the flop. The board brought 7-4-7-A-8, missing everyone, keeping Bhoth's king kicker in play, and narrowing the field to three.
Six hands later it was down to two, when themerkman pushed with a suited K-4 and Bhoth made the call with pocket sixes. A four flopped but the board brought nothing else over an eight, and Bhoth began the head-to-head match up against FrankTheT@nk with a re-widened lead. The two played only ten hands heads-up, and only one pot of any size, the final one. Both players attacked the pot pre-flop, with Bhoth raising, FrankTheT@nk re-raising, and Bhoth making the call. The flop came 9-8-5, and FrankTheT@nk made the push, holding K-Q, and Bhoth, with 7-5 for bottom pair, made the key call. The turn and river brought an eight and a six, which filled Bhoth's straight and finished his run to the victory.
Poker Stars Sunday Million - Final standings:
* 1st ($119,350): Bhoth
* 2nd ($66,334): FrankTheT@nk
* 3rd ($51,163): themerkman
* 4th ($49,133): omba
* 5th ($52,943): Rags2Racks
* 6th ($60,377): poofter
7th ($20,600): RebelYell7
8th ($15,100): beauW
9th ($10,000): amils1
* --- six-way deal for remaining prize money; $30,000 to eventual winner
Full Tilt $300,000 Guaranteed
Full Tilt did trim $50,000 from this event's standard weekly prize pool, but that still left extra money on the table for the players. 1,383 players contributed $276,600 to the prize fund, but that still meant a $23,400 overlay was up for grabs. First prize here figured out as $56,400, with 216 players claiming a payday in this event. 'apestyles' held a narrow lead as final-table action commenced, with just over $800,000 in chips.
The first elimination arrived only five hands in, as 'demartini777,' with A-K, had to wait until the river to snare a king and send the all-in pocket tens of 'bmdddd' to defeat. Eighth and seventh were decided in a single hand, when demartini777 found another fortunate river card, a five that transformed his pocket-eights start into a nine-high straight; 'Dunnowho' started with pocket jacks, and 'TheWacoKidd,' with Q-7, flopped two pair, but both fell to the fateful river five.
'lucko21' fell next, the victim of a bad beat by 'TheDustyMan' when TheDustyMan tried to buy lucko21's big blind, holding Q-T. lucko21 re-raised all-in with pocket jacks, but bowed out when TheDustyMan's three-out queen appeared on the river. TheDustyMan pulled off another river knockout a dozen or so hands later, flopping an open-ended straight draw and connecting on the river to send 'SLYEYES35' and his top-pair/top-kicker on the flop to the tail in fifth. Shortly after, 'Imper1um's deep run in this one ended in fourth, his K-9 falling to TheDustyMan's A-8 when the Q-2-Q-T-3 board improved neither player.
apestyles took down several big hands in this span to grab the lead, even as TheDustyMan notched the knockouts, but demartini777 made it a three-way fight after his pocket tens stood up against apestyles' A-T. TheDustyMan soon claimed a big pot from apestyles behind a rivered two pairs to climb over $2 million, and though apestyles battled back, his night ended when his A-2 ran afoul of TheDustyMan's pocket eights on a board that arrived 4-7-7-3-3.
The DustyMan's lead approached a 9:1 margin as he and demartini777 began battling for the win. With less than $500,000 in chips, demartini777 was in an all-in push mode, and he doubled through once to extend the fight. On the final hand, dmartini777 looked poised to square the match after he induced TheDustyMan to make a call for a third of his stack; the board after the flop read a rainbow 6-K-2, demartini777 showed K-J for top pair, and TheDustyMan's call showed only 7-6 for a modest middle pair. Fate brought another six on the turn, however, and with a meaningless ten on the river, TheDustyMan's rush to the win was complete.
Full Tilt $300,000 Guaranteed - Final standings:
1st ($56,400): TheDustyMan
2nd ($34,950): demartini777
3rd ($24,150): apestyles
4th ($18,600): Imper1um
5th ($14,100): SLYEYES35
6th ($10,080): lucko21
7th ($7,350): Dunnowho
8th ($5,700): TheWacoKidd
9th ($4,380): bmdddd
Mansion Poker $20,000 Added
Stupendous value here, as part of Mansion Poker's $250,000 value-added holiday giveaway. Sunday's event saw $20,000 in bonus money literally dropped into the prize pool of this event, a $200+15 tourney that saw 145 players join the fun. While not an overlay in the strictest sense, the $20,000 Mansion added to the $29,000 contributed by the players made for positive-value expectations of about 69%, among the most generous of the entire night. 18 entrants cashed and first prize was a pleasing $14,700, a nice holiday bonus for the fortunate winner.
'plankz' claimed the first knockout at the final table in this one, his 9-8 starting hand turning into a straight that finished off a short-stacked 'Scorbles.' 'Beauregard' fell next, crippled a few hands earlier by Steely in a showdown where Beauregard was dominated and never caught up, his last few thousand chips disappearing when his A-5 proved no match for 'rev hockey's pocket queens. 'Arevirr,' already beneficiary of a big suckout at the final table, then had his pocket kings hold up against 'sniper111's A-Q when the board arrived 9-A-K-6-3; the huge pot continued a rush that took Arevirr from the brink of elimination to a short-lived lead. A long dry run of cards for 'capnshades' meant a sixth-place finish, his last chips disappearing behind a modest 7-5 that went to 'Steely,' priced in with an 8-5 that still played when the board offered 6-K-Q-3-3.
Soon after, Arevirr found himself on the wrong end of that A-Q vs. K-K matchup against Steely; Steely held the kings and the kings were good. Steely followed that hand by catching pocket aces moment later, taking the last few of 'Pablo Diablo's chips in the process. A J-7-6 flop gave Pablo Diablo, holding 6-5, five outs, but none of those arrived and the field narrowed to three. plankz then took a huge pot off Steely, doubling through after Steely tried an all-in push steal; plankz's A-8 started ahead of Steely's Q-T and stayed there when neither player improved. Steely then pushed his remaining chips behind a T-9 holding, which rev hockey called with A-K, and a J-9-Q-2-A board spelled the end of Steely's night.
plankz still held a 5:2 margin over rev hockey, and looked to keep applying the pressure. He quickly ground rev hockey down to the brink, and finally finished rev hockey off when, holding A-J, a Q-Q-A flop gave plankz top two pair and a solid kicker, which stood up for the win.
Mansion $20k Added - Final standings:
1st ($14,700): plankz
2nd ($9,800): rev hockey
3rd ($6,321): Steely
4th ($4,018): Pablo Diablo
5th ($3,087): Arevirr
6th ($2,352): capnshades
7th ($1,764): Sniper111
8th ($1,274): Beauregard
9th ($833): Scorbles
Ultimate Bet $200,000 Guaranteed
Another huge overlay defined the Christmas Eve edition of Ultimate Bet's $200,000 Guaranteed. Just 624 players were on hand, translating to a $75,200, or 60.3%, overlay. Because of the tightened field only 70 players cashed, but the rewards for cashing were also higher with first prize bumping up to $49,000 for this event.
'Kip88' opened up a large lead as the final ten assembled, his $450,000 in chips more than double his nearest competitor. The first knockout occurred just a few hands in, when 'caligurl22's pocket kings stayed ahead of 'tmay_420's nines, and the field narrowed to eight when 'olegus's A-K fell to Kip88's pocket sevens, and then to seven on the next hand when the shortest stack 'creekhouse,' forced to go in with Q-2, ran into 'xizent' and his flopped trip kings.
With blinds already at $5,000/$10,000, several players remained on the edge and the showdown wars continued. Three consecutive hands brought the next three knockouts. First, 'supameng' departed in seventh when his A-K found no help against pocket threes on a board of Q-8-4-6-2. Then, 'Ianaba's K-J failed to overtake Kip88's K-Q when the board brought 2-5-A-A-3, and finally, 'UNIKORN's night ended in fifth when his pocket fives couldn't catch caligurl22's nines, the board on that hand showing 3-A-7-Q-3. four players remained, all closely bunched after 'bryguy136' doubled through against Kip88, catching an A to make his A-K a winner against Kip88's sevens.
The tourney ended with a flurry. caligurl22's night ended with fourth-place money after pushing with the board showing 2-5-4-6, her (presumably) A-6 for top-pair/top-kicker looking strong but drawing dead, as Kip88 held K-3 for the made straight. Then xizent, holding tens, pushed after a flop of 7-8-6, but bryguy136 had pocket sevens and had flopped a set, and the jack and five that completed the board missed xizent's six outs.
bryguy136 held a narrow lead as he and Kip88 started heads-up action and moments later the two got their chips in before the flop, with bryguy136 holding K-Q and Kip88 having another middle pair, this time fives. The J-A-7-A-6 missed bryguy136's holdings and Kip88 suddenly owned 90% of the chips in play, and the end arrived when bryguy136 pushed a pair of deuces only to find Kip88 with the fives yet again. The board arrived 8-Q-J-8-A, missing both the two deuces and the counterfeit chances for the split, and with it, Kip88's win was in the books.
Ultimate Bet - $200,000 Guaranteed - Final standings:
1st ($47,000): Kip88
2nd ($29,500): bryguy136
3rd ($19,500): xizent
4th ($13,500): caligurl22
5th ($11,000): UNIKORN
6th ($9,000): Ianaba
7th ($7,000): supameng
8th ($5,000): creekhouse
9th ($3,500): olegus
10th ($2,000): tmay_420
Party Poker $200,000 Guaranteed
Party Poker's Sunday $200,000 Guarantee found 572 players on hand, meaning this event had an overlay of $85,600, or 74.8% --- just another stop in the happy Christmas Eve parade. 80 players were each guaranteed at least $600 in winnings. A lengthy final-table bubble ensued before bursting, with 'mksnumberone' the early leader at just under $540,000 in chips. The first knockout occurred when 'finolicious's pocket nines won a race against 'Dead_Santa's A-Q, and a short-stacked 'kiprosoff888' quickly followed in ninth, his final K-4 outclassed by 'Pok3rCh1c's A-J when another jack arrived on the flop.
Soon after, 'deleteyou' lost a race with suited A-K to 'Yabai's pocket jacks, with the set-making jack again hitting on the flop. The all-in race left deleteyou with only 65 chips after the next hand's ante, and those also went to 'Yabai.' Seven-handed action lasted several dozens of hands, with 'XX_GALTEN_XX' climbing to the top of the board, and then Pok3rCh1c ran into XX_GALTEN_XX aces on the way to bowing out in seventh. SERGE0476 then parlayed a lowly pocket deuce into a two-pair hand that sent mksnumberone to the rail in sixth, and fifth went to 'finolicious' after XX_GALTEN_XX rivered a flush.
After a bad beat to 'baby505050,' SERGE0476 was down to fumes, and bowed out when his A-2 feel to Yabai's flopped set of jacks. After hard-edged negotiations, the three remaining players then hammered out a deal that made then-chipleader Yabai the nominal winner of the event.
Party Poker $200,000 Guaranteed - Final standings:
** 1st ($37,800): Yabai
** 2nd ($28,000): baby505050
** 3rd ($24,000): XX_GALTEN_XX
4th ($12,200): SERGE0476
5th ($10,200): finolicious
6th ($8,200): mksnumberone
7th ($6,200): Pok3rCh1c
8th ($4,400): deleteyou
9th ($3,200): kiprosoff888
10th ($2,400): Dead_Santa
** --- three-way deal for remaining prize money