In his tenth trip to a GGPoker Super MILLION$ final table, Aleks Ponakovs picked up his first victory in the event this week, besting the 235-entry field and taking home the $475,125 first-place prize.
It was a bit of a positive reversal of fortune for Ponakovs who, over the past two weeks, made back-to-back final tables. Last week, he started the final table as the chip leader, sights set on the win, only to fall in fifth place for $172,271. This week, he started the day fifth in chips and made it all the way to the end, defeating two-time Super MILLION$ champ – and former #1-ranked online player in the world – Andras Nemeth to earn the win.
It’s always an easy statement to say that the Super MILLION$ final table is one of the toughest in any given week, but this week there were simply no soft spots with top-tier players in every single seat. Ponakovs had to navigate a table that included the likes of Seth Davies, Chris Klodnicki, Ole Schemion, Rodrigo Selouan, and Elio Fox.
In fact, last week’s Super MILLION$ champ, Sung Joo ‘ArtePokerTV’ Hyun started the day on the short stack. About 15 minutes into the final table, made a move to try and out of the bottom of the chip. counts. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000, Hyun moved all-in for roughly 10 big blinds holding the . After Elio Fox folded his big blind, Andras Nemeth made the quick call holding , putting Hyun at risk. The board ran out keeping Nemeth’s kicker in play and ending Hyun’s back-to-back bid in ninth place for $59,390.
Nearly 45 minutes later, with the blinds now at 40,000/80,000, Seth Davies shipped his roughly 400,000 chip short stack in the middle with . Nemeth in the small blind decided to flat with his and Rodrigo Selouan made the call in the big blind with the . The flop came and the action checked through. The turn was the and once again the action went check-check. The completed the board and Nemeth put out a small bet which prompted Selouan to immediately fold. Nemeth showed down his pocket kings leaving Davies to be eliminated in eighth place for $77,020.
The very next hand, Ole Schemion opened from middle position to 160,000 holding and, once again, it was Nemeth looking to stack another opponent. On the button, Nemeth raised to 360,000 holding . When the action folded back to Schemion, he shipped for just over 1.7 million and Nemeth made the call, leaving Schemion to flip for his tournament life. The flop came keeping Nemeth ahead but giving Schemion additional straight outs and backdoor flush outs as well. The turn changed nothing and when the river came the , Schemion’s day was done in seventh place for $99,882.
With the blind up to 50,000/100,000 a major clash took place between Selouan and Elio Fox. Fox raised from the button to 250,000 with the and after Nemeth folded his small blind, Selouan moved all-in for nearly 5 million. Fox snap-called for his tournament, creating a more than 7.5 million chip pot. Fox was way ahead until the flop came down giving Selouan bottom pair but also providing Fox with flush outs to go with his king. The turn was the , which added additional outs for Fox. It was practically a coin flip headed to the river but when the hit, Selouan’s full house sent Fox to the rail to collect his $129,532 sixth-place prize.
Although Selouan took over the chip lead with that hand, during an extended period of five-handed play Nemeth soared up the chip counts. When, at 100,000/200,000 Brazil’s Tauan Naves open-ripped his final 1.7 million from the button with the , Nemeth followed by moving the chip lead all-in with the almighty . Selouan folded the big blind and Naves needed to hit in order to survive. The board ran clean for Nemeth’s pocket fives and Naves was out in fifth, which was good for $167,982.
Nemeth continued his assault on the table when, at 125,000/250,000, Chris Klodnicki moved all-in from the small blind for just over 2.8 million with the and Nemeth woke up with in the big blind. The flop kept Nemeth in the lead but provided Klodnicki with some additional outs. The turn increased Klodnicki’s straight opportunities but also gave Nemeth flush outs. However, neither came to pass as the hit the river and Nemeth’s ace-king remained best. Klodnicki picked up $217,846 for his fourth-place run.
With three left, Selouan was on the short stack. He picked up on the button and put in a raise to 500,000. Ponakovs, who was looking for his first elimination of the final table, looked down at in the small blind and moved all-in for more than 8 million. Nemeth folded his big blind and Selouan made the call, only to find himself dominated. The flop gave both players a pair, but turn and river meant that Ponakovs’ kicked would play. Selouan, who started the day as the chip leader, settled for third place and a $282,511 payday.
That hand was a big swing in terms of chips and when heads-up play began, Ponakovs held a very slight chip lead over Nemeth. It only took a few hands for Nemeth to wrestle back the lead, but Ponakovs was not about to fold so easily. For the better part of thirty minutes the players traded blows, each taking turns grabbing and relinquishing the chip lead.
Eventually, the momentum turned in favor of Ponakovs and in a big hand where Nemeth moved all-in on the river with a made straight where Ponakovs turned a flush, Ponakovs opened up a 10:1 chip lead. On the final hand, with the blinds at 200,000/400,000 Nemeth moved all-in on the button for 3.5 million holding and Ponakovs made the call with his . There was no extra drama in the board. Andras Nemeth was denied his third career Super MILLION$ title, finishing as the runner-up for $366,372, and Aleks Ponakovs, in his tenth Super MILLION$ final table, walked away with his first victory and this week’s $475,125 first-place prize.
Super MILLION$ Final Table Results (2/22)
Aleks Ponakovs – $475,125
Andras Nemeth – $366,372
Rodrigo Selouan – $282,511
Chris Klodnicki – $217,846
Tauan Naves – $167,982
Elio Fox – $129,532
Ole Schemion – $99,882
Seth Davies – $77,020
Sung Joo ‘ArtePokerTV’ Hyun – $59,390