MicroMillions: bilton11 banks bucks for Belgium in Event #24 ($5.50 PLO 6-Max, Turbo)

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngLess than a quarter of the way through the inaugural MicroMillions, I'm going to go out on a limb and declare PokerStars' newest tournament series a smashing success. The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy notwithstanding, micro-stakes players are relishing in the opportunity to turn loose change into big bucks and have turned out in droves, more than doubling the guaranteed prize pool in 22 of the 24 events completed thus far. The seventh course on today's tasting menu was a $5.50 PLO contest, the 6-max turbo format resulting in a total running time of just over three and a half hours.

7,502 players turned out for Event #24, more than doubling the $15,000 guaranteed prize pool to $37,510. 960 players earned a share of it with first place taking home $5,631.45. Three red spades turned out to pot-repot-shove, including Polish Team Pro Marcin Horecki, Flying Dutchman Marcel Luske, and Team Online's Shane "shaniac" Schleger. Unfortunately, all three bowed out short of a cash finish.

Two players lost their tournament lives on the final table bubble, exiting off different tables during hand-for-hand play. Locksmith40 put the last of his chips in the middle before the flop against theczar19, his A♠K♠J♥9♠ up against K♥Q♥9♦5♦. However, theczar19 flopped two pair and turned kings full, the board running out K♦8♣5♣K♣6♣ to give locksmith40 the boot. Meanwhile, Bartoslav took his A♠Q♥6♠3♠ up against 190885's A♣Q♦J♣T♦. Although Bartoslav flopped a pair and a straight draw, 190885 hit running clubs to make the nut flush. By virtue of their chip counts to start the hand, locksmith40 finished in seventh place ($375.10) while Bartoslav took sixth ($562.65).

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Final table chip counts

Seat 1: Manfred75 (374,128 in chips)
Seat 2: bilton11 (3,479,149 in chips)
Seat 3: theczar19 (16,550,994 in chips)
Seat 4: wadudeserv (9,136,733 in chips)
Seat 6: 190885 (7,968,996 in chips)

If the screen name theczar19 looks familiar to you, you're not alone. It belongs to Bryan Piccioli, a decorated young online player who has won everything from the Saturday Supersonic to the $109 rebuy. Most recently, he made his second-largest career score with a runner-up finish in the Super Tuesday on November 1, banking over $66,000. With 16.5 million in chips, theczar19 arrived at the final table with almost twice the amount of his closest competitor, wadudeserv. But with stratospheric 250,000/500,000 blinds, it wouldn't take long to find a winner.

How long? Try 10 minutes.

Mandred75 folded two hands before committing his remaining 374,128 from under-the-gun. Theczar19, wadudeserv and 190885 came along for the ride, the flop falling J♠J♣4♦. Both blinds folded to theczar19's flop bet and the cards went on their backs, Manfred75's 9♠7♥6♦4♠ drawing nearly dead to theczar19's Q♣J♥8♣3♥. The Q♥ on the turn made theczar19 jacks full and sealed Manfred75's fifth-place elimination.

Although bilton11 arrived at the final table hanging by a thread, he scored a crucial double-up when his A♠T♠T♥7♥ turned an ace against wadudeserv's K♠Q♣9♥6♠. Left with less than five big blinds, wadudeserv took his A♦6♠5♠2♦ up against 190885's K♦Q♥9♣5♥. 190855 flopped a queen and turned two pair, ending wadudeserv's run in fourth place.

Once play turned three-handed, bilton11 hit the gas and didn't let up, making a successful series of preflop three-bets and squeeze plays to take his chip count from 9 million to 21 million. With the blinds up to 500,000/1,000,000, 190885 opened for 3 million holding A♣J♠9♣5♠ and shoved his remaining 4.87 million on the K♦Q♣2♣ flop. Bilton11 called with K♣Q♦J♥2♠ for top two pair. 190885 needed to find a club to make the nut flush but was drawing dead on the turn when the K♠ fell, improving bilton11 to kings full. 190885 bowed out in third earning $2,813.25, an hourly rate just north of $800.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 2: bilton11 (29,084,878 in chips)
Seat 3: theczar19 (8,425,122 in chips)

Bilton11 held a 5 to 1 chip lead going in to heads-up play and it took only four hands for him to close out this final table. After a few swaps of the blinds, theczar19 put the rest of his chips in on a J♠2♣2♦ flop only to have bilton11 roll over the nuts:

Congratulations to bilton11, the pride of Belgium, on a MicroMillions title and a $5,631.45 score. For his runner-up finish, Bryan "theczar19" Picciolo earned $3,938.55

PokerStars MicroMillions Event #24 ($5.50 PLO 6-Max Turbo) results

1. bilton11 (Belgium) $5,631.45
2. theczar19 (Mexico) $3,938.55
3. 190885 (Spain) $2,813.25
4. wadudeserv (Germany) $1,687.95
5. Manfred75 (Finland) $937.75
6. Bartoslav (Czech Republic) $562.65

More than 70 MicroMillions events are still on the docket. Head over to the MicroMillions page for more information and a full schedule.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in MicroMillions