Micro Millions II: stepikbakins rides the big stack to victory in Event 26

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngStarting a final table with a big chip stack is a huge advantage for players hoping to win the tournament. 2012 MicroMillions II Event 26, $2.20 NLHE (2R, 1A), came down to the two players who started the final table in just such a position - as the biggest stacks. Of the two, stepikbakins proved the better on this day, vanquishing boygood02 after a short heads-up battle to become the latest MicroMillions II champion.

The maximum possible investment in Event 26 was $8.20 - one buy-in, two re-buys and one add-on. The 9,114 players combined for 12,589 of those re-buys, and another 3,546 add-ons. A little mathemagics shows that the average investment for each Event 26 player was thus about $5.75. 1,170 players received a minimum return of $10.09. The maximum return - the winner's share of more than $7,500 - was a tidy sum that could pay off some debt, go towards the down payment on a new home, or just be rolled back over into playing more poker. At the MicroMillions stake levels, a lot more poker.

Team Online player Andre "acoimbra" Coimbra continued his iron-man quest to play all 100 MicroMillions II events in Event 26. He came up just a bit short this time around, bowing out in 1,356th place, about 200 places shy of the money. No player wearing the Red Spade made an appearance in the ranks of the cashers.

The final table bubble lasted a surprisingly lengthy 15 minutes. guideguy's elimination in 10th place allowed these nine players to take their places at the final table:

MM2 Event 26 final table.jpg

Seat 1: aviardi (14135049 in chips)
Seat 2: lilly-grace3 (7479310 in chips)
Seat 3: arto2009508 (7061354 in chips)
Seat 4: Katti2010 (2853436 in chips)
Seat 5: F.T.S220 (6386653 in chips)
Seat 6: boygood02 (20530823 in chips)
Seat 7: 1973runnerz (5093178 in chips)
Seat 8: vaarao11 (31572346 in chips)
Seat 9: stepikbakins (31132851 in chips)

Level 49: Blinds 300k-600k, ante 75k
Average stack: about 14.0 million (about 23 BBs)

After that lengthy mini-bubble, the players showed no reserve about putting chips into the pot. lilly-grace3 notched the first elimination of the final table by opening the button to 1.8 million and then calling another 900k when short stack Katti2010 moved all in for 2.7 million total. Katti2010's Q♣8♣ needed to improve against lilly-grace3's suited ace, A♦T♦. Both players completely missed the board, allowing lilly-grace3 to notch the elimination with unimproved ace-high. Katti2010 finished in 9th place and earned a payout of $391.35.

The short stacks persevered from there, as 1973runnerz, F.T.S220 and arto2009508 (with pocket aces!) all scored small double-ups to keep themselves barely in the tournament. More double-ups followed. As the blinds rolled up to 500k and 1 million, however, only three of the remaining players had stacks that were larger than 8 big blinds. The dam was ready to burst.

25 minutes and a rash of double-ups after Katti2010's elimination, the tournament found its 8th-place finisher. Blinds were 600k and 1.2 million when arto2009508 wound up all in from the big blind. F.T.S220 limped into the pot first to act with K♠J♣ and notched two eliminations, as small blind lilly-grace3 called as well and then shoved a T♦T♠6♦ flop for 1.5 million more. lilly-grace3's K♥6♥ was in the lead for both pots, but a J♦ turn improved F.T.S220 to the eventual winner. arto2009508 showed down 2♦9♠, a hand that missed the board completely, and exited in 8th place. lilly-grace3 was the 7th-place finisher by virtue of starting the hand with more chips than arto2009508.

Two short stacks still remained: 1973runnerz and aviardi, who had about 6 million each. 1973runnerz doubled through F.T.S220 aviardi doubled through 1973runnerz; and then 1973runnerz doubled again through vaarao11. While the short stacks pushed the chips around the table, the big stacks stepikbakins and boygood02 sat back and waited for opportune spots, taking down the periodic pot to keep their relative chip advantage.

It was vaarao11 who proved the next unlucky victim. Dealt A♣3♣ on the button, vaarao11 shoved it right into small blind (and big stack) stepikbakins' pocket aces. Poker almost seems unfair when the big stacks also get big hands. There was no miracle for vaarao11, who finished in 6th place.

The hits kept on coming for stepikbakins after the 12pm break, as stepikbakins eliminated F.T.S.220 in this hand:

RSS readers - click through to see replay

Why stop there? stepikbakins notched yet another eliminated by isolation three-betting to 23.8 million after 1973 runners opened all in to 12.6 million from the button. It was another relatively big hand for stepikbakins, of course. Pocket 10s easly bested 1973runnerz's pocket 3s on a board of 2♦6♥8♦2♥K♠. stepikbakins increased to about 84 million; 1973runnerz hit the rail and collected $2,545.09 for 4th place.

But stepikbakins luck didn't hold. aviardi doubled through stepikbakins a few times to climb up to about 25 milion, almost level with boygood02, and knock stepikbakins back down to about 65 million. aviardi kept charging, winning pot after pot to climb all the way to the chip lead with 60 million, prompting former chip leader stepikbakins to remark, "v nice comeback aviardi". The biggest boost came from picking off a stepikbakins bluff with 9♦8♣ on a 6♥5♥5♠9♥A♠ board.

Yet somehow it all went south for aviardi as the other remaining player, boygood02, picked up the chip lead torch and ran with it. On aviardi's final hand, aviardi opened pre-flop to 4.5 million, then faced a massive all-in three-bet from boygood02 to 40.8 million. aviardi called all in with the better hand, A♦7♣ to A♥5♥ for boygood02, but the 5♠ spiked on the river to pair boygood02 and knock aviardi out in 3rd place.

boygood02 started heads-up play against stepikbakins with the chip lead but stepikbakins soon leveled the stacks at about 62 million each. That was where the chips all got in pre-flop. stepikbakins' pocket 10s held on against boygood02's Q♣5♣ despite a threatening board of Q♦T♥A♣4♣9♠. The marathon final table ended in a flash, leaving stepikbakins with all the chips and the title of MicroMillions II Event 26 champion.

When the other players were all short, stepikbakins stayed patient, advantageously playing a big stack to not jeopardize stepikbakins' chances of winning it all. That, combined with a timely run of cards to secure a few knockouts in a row, is what saw things clear for stepikbakins in Event 26. I don't know whether stepikbakins used any of the re-buys or the add-on, but for a $7,500 1st-place prize, it doesn't much matter.

2012 MicroMillions II Event 26 $2.20 NLHE (2R, 1A) results:

1st: stepikbakins ($7,582.97)
2nd: boygood02 ($5,554.78)
3rd: aviardi ($3,787.35)
4th: stepikbakins ($2,545.09)
5th: F.T.S220 ($2,019.92)
6th: vaarao11 ($1,514.94)
7th: lilly-grace3 ($1,009.96)
8th: arto2009508 ($580.72)
9th: Katti2010 ($391.35)

It's hard to believe today is already Day 4 of the 2012 MicroMillions II. Check out all the action so far, and the schedule of upcoming events, at the Micro Millions home page.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in MicroMillions