Philipp Salewski Becomes First PokerStars Sunday Live Million Champion

German player Philipp Salewski emerged victorious at the first ever PokerStars Sunday Million Live tournament and went home with the champion trophy and €111,674 in first-place prize money. The first inaugural Sunday Million Live became the biggest poker tournament to take place in continental Europe as it drew the unprecedented attention of 5,045 players, who signed up for the live event, competing in various live Day 1 tournaments and online qualifiers.

The first Sunday Million Live in PokerStars’ history took place at the King’s Casino, located in the picturesque Czech town of Rozvadov, which is quickly becoming one of the most attractive tournament poker destinations in the world, with major events being held on its premises on a regular basis.

As Day 1 of the Sunday Million progressed, the massive field gradually dwindled down to 512 survivors. They all returned to attack the tables on the following day, but as blinds continued to swell at a rapid pace, only few of them survived. Chip leaders were changing just as quickly. After 15 levels of grinding, only 27 players survived to proceed on Day 3.

The final day of the tournament saw Andrei Kurdyukov joining the table as a leader with 13,5 million in chips, with the soon-to-be Sunday Million Live champ Salewski coming second on the chip count list with roughly half of the Russian’s stack. Following Simon Schobel’s elimination in 10th place, the final table was formed with nine players competing for the champion title and the hefty top prize.

Salewski Makes it to the Nine-Handed Final Table

The nine-handed battle at the final table commenced with Salewski remaining second in chip count. The difference in chips between him and leader Kurdyukov was insignificant, to say the least. The volatility participants have witnessed on the previous two days of the tournament shifted to the final table as well.

It was difficult to maintain one’s position and Patrick Vogelsanger was the first to go down, after his pocket sevens failed him against Dominic Kabas’ pocket queens. Vogelsanger was joined by Markus Kowalski (€15,500 for 8th place), Filip Zak (€21,400 for 7th place), Werner Nather (€29,000 for 6th place), and former chip leader Kurdyukov (€39,680 for 5th place).

After the elimination of Kurdyukov, the four players took a break to negotiate on a potential deal. They agreed to chop the pot between themselves and leave €10,000 for the top finisher. Shortly after, Karel Kovarik finished in 4th place for a prize of €76,522. The table was down to its last three survivors – Salewski, Kabas, and Jozef Komorny from Slovakia.

Komorny managed to increase his stack through Kabas but his triumph did not last for long. Ironically, it was Kabas to cause his elimination after he bet 2.5 million in chips on the flop. Komorny called Kabas’ bet and shoved on the turn, only to have his opponent accept his challenge and have his [8c][6c] fail him against Kabas’ [6d][3s]. The board read [4s][3c][2h][6h][Qc] so Komorny had no other option but to settle for the third-place finish with €81,093 in prize money.

Kabas started the intense heads-up battle with 57.2 million in chips, while Salewski was the shorter stack with 43.7 million. At this point, the small blind had escalated to the mind-blowing 1 million while the big blind was twice its size. Salewski managed to collect several pots, which significantly improved his situation.

The final hand of the tournament saw the German hold [As][Js] against Kabas’ [Kc][7h]. Salewski responded to his opponent’s shove with a snap-call. The board read [3s][4h][4s][4d][Qd] and did nothing for either player but Salewski’s higher kicker secured him the champion’s trophy and the first-place prize of €111,674. Kabas settled for the runner-up position and €92,011 in prize money. The Sunday Million Live champion crown secured Philipp Salewski his best live cash to date, with his previous record being $10,835.

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