Micro Millions II: 41g3r goes out like a lion in Event 45
A poker-playing woman that I dated a few years back once told me she'd prefer to get pocket aces late in the tournament instead of early in the tournament, in order to maximize their value. She felt that while getting off to a good start in a tournament was important, the aces were much more useful at the end. Tournament poker, she theorized, is all about how you finish.
41g3r put on a clinic in finishing off 2012 MicroMillions II Event 45, $3.30 PL/NLHE (The Big Game Format).
At $3.30 - a fraction of the usual TV buy-in for The Big Game - 5,161 players decided to see how playing the game pot-limit pre-flop changes things up. They tripled the $5,000 guarantee for Event 45, generating a prize pool of more than $15,000. 675 places were paid; the champion was guaranteed $2,432.24 for being the person to most successfully adapt to the new format.
By now you've probably read about PokerStars Team Online player Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra's ironman attempt to play all 100 MicroMillions II events. Coimbra's getting sleepy but he's still grinding away. Event 45 was a bust, however. Coimbra finished in 1,325th place, 650 places out of the money.
At the other end of the spectrum, these nine players finished 666 places into the money and assembled at the final table, each with an eye on that $2,400 1st-place prize.
Seat 1: cuni23 (5752520 in chips)
Seat 2: shahter-pv (4100639 in chips)
Seat 3: Strannik1981 (2153996 in chips)
Seat 4: Giraffii (5140481 in chips)
Seat 5: OLEG6227 (1503830 in chips)
Seat 6: 41g3r (2917562 in chips)
Seat 7: KENT_07REG (582660 in chips)
Seat 8: SirMaoo (2306754 in chips)
Seat 9: OzDazzler (1346558 in chips)
Level 41: Blinds 40k-80k, ante 10k
Average stack: 2.86 million (36 BBs)
Giraffii starts strong...
The fact that the tournament was played pot-limit before the flop seems to have allowed the last nine players to reach the final table with deeper stacks than has been typical for the MicroMillions II. Most other NLHE final tables have had an average stack of about 20-25 BBs, but in Event 45 the average was 36 BBs. The inability to jam pre-flop also demanded more skillful play post-flop.
Despite all that, the final table didn't wait long to eliminate its first player. KENT_07REG started the sixth hand of the final table with 452k, about 5 big blinds. They were all in the pot pre-flop after an open-raise to 200k by Giraffii that was called by 41g3r. Both of those players called the raise and checked down a 5♥Q♥3♦2♥4♣ board. At showdown, KENT_07REG's pocket jacks were rivered by 41g3r's A♣T♣, with the latter player making a wheel to claim the pot and notch the elimination. KENT_07REG received $123.86 for the 9th-place showing.
The next elimination came in post-flop play, as befits the format of Event 45. Strannik1981 opened for 300k in the 50k-100k level. Giraffii called from the button to a flop of A♥8♥K♣ which both players checked. On the turn J♠ things got crazy. Strannik1981 led for 200k, then shoved for 1.35 million total over a raise to 650k by Giraffii. Giraffii called with 4♥7♥, a naked flush draw, against Strannik1981's K♦T♦, a pair of kings. The river was heart, the J♥, to fill Giraffii's flush and knock out Strannik1981 in 8th place.
Blinds increased to 70k-140k, giving the shortest stacks more of an opportunity to three-bet shove pre-flop. A pot raise to 612,500 didn't quite put OLEG6227 all in pre-flop, but small blind SirMaoo obliged by re-raising to 2.1 million. That folded all other players and allowed OLEG6227 to put 273k more into the pot with pocket 5s. SirMaoo showed down pocket kings. An all-wheel card flop of 4♣2♣A♠ gave OLEG6227 six outs, but the turn and river blanked out. OLEG6227 retired to the rail as the 7th-place finisher.
It looked like it might be Giraffii's final table when Giraffii notched another elimination at the start of the next level (80k-160k). OzDazzler was second to act pre-flop and opened for a full pot raise to 680k. Sitting in the small blind, Giraffii three-bet shoved to 2.27 million. OzDazzler had less than that, and called off 751k more to go all in with K♣Q♥. It was terrible news for OzDazzler when Giraffii showed down K♥K♠ and it never got any better on a 4♣A♣4♦J♥7♠ board.
Down to five players, the chips were very evenly distributed. 41g3r led with 7.1 million, followed by three players with between 5.3 and 5.7 million. shahter-pv, a player who to that point of the final table had been nearly invisible, pulled up the rear with about 2.0 million.
...but 41ger finishes stronger
It was at that point that 41g3r began to take over the final table. This big pot against cuni23 helped springboard 41g3r into the lead:
From there it was almost all 41g3r. shahter-pv made a good show of things for a while, yo-yo'ing from short stack to big stack to short stack to big stack. But that wild ride eventually ended with shahter-pv back on the short side of things.
Blinds increased all the way to 150k-300k without an elimination. 41g3r retained a big chip lead, leaving short-stacked players like cuni23 and shahter-pv in danger of busting. But instead it was Giraffii who busted first in a raised pot against 41g3r. Pre-flop, 41g3r made it 600k and Giraffii called from the big blind. Giraffii check the 8♥K♦9♥ flop and was greeted with an all-in shove for 10.2 million from 41g3r. Giraffii called off 4.4 million and was all in with [khJ♥. 41g3r had the better kicker, K♣Q♣, and took down the pot with small-card blanks on the turn and river. Giraffii finished in 5th place.
41g3r notched the 4th-place elimination as well by winning a flip against SirMaoo with A♦Q♦, all in pre-flop. SirMaoo's pocket 9s led until an "ace from space" spiked on the river to give 41g3r the best hand and the pot.
In the span of just a few minutes, the big stack became a monster stack. Only the two short stacks stood in 41g3r's way to total final-table domination and a MicroMillions II title. cuni23 was the first out, all in pre-flop with K♣9♦. It didn't hold against 41g3r's J♦4♠ on a board of J♣8♣T♠4♥A♥. shahter-pv wasn't far behind cuni23 to the rail, as just three hands later shahter-pv, down to about 488k, made a desperation shoved with 8♦2♣ that didn't pan out against 41g3r's A♦2♠. An ace on the flop left shahter-pv drawing thin; a blank on the turn left shahter-pv drawing dead.
The final table started out looking like it belonged to Giraffii. But the important thing in poker is not where players start; it's how they finish. The end of Event 45 was all 41g3r, the latest MicroMillions II champion.
2012 MicroMillions II Event 45 $3.30 PL / NLHE (The Big Game Format) results:
1st: 41g3r ($2,432.24)
2nd: shahter-pv ($1,803.76)
3rd: cuni23 ($1,277.34)
4th: SirMaoo ($874.78)
5th: Giraffii ($658.02)
6th: OzDazzler ($503.19)
7th: OLEG6227 ($348.36)
8th: Strannik1981 ($193.53)
9th: KENT_07REG ($123.86)
We're approaching the halfway point of the 2012 MicroMillions II. It's not too late to take part in the festivities. Get all the information you need about how to do so at the MicroMillions home page.