MicroMillions: Dig it! ditch395 wins Event #76, $5.50 NLHE [Knockout]

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngIf you look up "knockout" in the dictionary, you'll learn that the word means "an act of knocking someone out, esp. in boxing." It's also a quick way to make a dollar during the MicroMillions, at least if you're playing in one of its handful of tournaments with bounties on each player's head.

Event 76, the latest knockout tournament in the series, drew a big crowd today as 14,778 players put up the $5.50 entry fee for a chance to claim $1 per knockout. The $60.589.80 prize pool they built was significantly larger than the $25,000 guarantee, and it generated a $7,583.36 top prize. That carrot dangled in front of the players and kept them moving forward for more than eight hours until the final table was within sight. At six levels per hour, that's a lot of poker to make it through - and a lot of potential reward at the end of it all.

Down to two

You can't do much at the final table without picking up the chips necessary to get there, and the most crucial time of all is when the tournament is down to its last two tables. The good news for anyone who finds themselves in such a position is that there are plenty of ways to go about handling it.

Some players in this event, like Canada's Louongo and Greece's vergoulinio, were able to build their stacks by simply picking up big hands preflop and playing them correctly. The leader with two tables left, the Netherlands' aptly named dutchpoker13, won big pots by that same method but then played power poker to increase those gains. And still others, like Russia's Ozonni, flopped huge hands and maneuvered their opponents into being too aggressive before taking advantage of desperately short-stacked players moving in light.

Spain's pituabe and Brazil's MR_TRINDADE both picked up big hands preflop against highly aggressive opponents with lesser holdings and jumped to the top of the leaderboard with 12 players left. MR_TRINDADE lost about half of his stack in a T♥ T♦-v.-A♦ J♣ coin flip with Belgium's ditch395, but a final-table-bubble pot with A♦ Q♦ for trip aces against vergoulinio stacked the Brazilian back up to nearly 11M chips.

Just two hands later, vergoulinio would send the tournament to its final table. After three-betting all-in for 3.57M from the big blind with A♠ 6♣ and getting called by ditch395, who held K♣ Q♠, a K♥ T♣ 2♠ flop was all it took to send the Greek player out in 10th place ($242.35).

A light at the end of the tunnel

With vergoulinio's departure complete, this was the final table lineup:

MicroMillions Event 76 final table.jpg

Seat 1: Ozonni (8,558,487 in chips)
Seat 2: Louongo (3,396,174 in chips)
Seat 3: pituabe (14,369,389 in chips)
Seat 4: KIDCHAMP84 (4,359,514 in chips)
Seat 5: vugugu (4,003,826 in chips)
Seat 6: Budalonch (5,430,759 in chips)
Seat 7: dutchpoker13 (11,831,205 in chips)
Seat 8: MR_TRINDADE (10,932,309 in chips)
Seat 9: ditch395 (11,008,337 in chips)

The first orbit of play at the final table consisted mostly of raise-and-fold poker, though chip leader pituabe did take one 6M-chip pot down uncontested on the turn after check-raising dutchpoker's 1.5M-chip bet on a 5♣ 6♥ 6♠ A♦ board. Just two hands after that the ice would be broken on the first hand of the 150K/300K/37.5K level. Louongo moved all-in from the cutoff for 2.73M with T♣ 9♣. Fellow Canadian KIDCHAMP84 put in an isolation raise from the small blind and was able to get heads-up with A♥ Q♣; the Q♥ J♦ T♦ 7♦ 4♣ teased Louongo with outs but eventually busted him in 9th place ($363.53).

The next elimination came during the next orbit when Spain's Budalonch opened with an all-in bet of 4.09M in middle position and MR_TRINDADE had the good fortune to pick up A♦ A♣. That was a long way ahead of Budalonch's K♠ T♥, and it stayed there as the board came down 2♣ 5♠ 6♦ 5♣ 8♣. Budalonch was out in 8th place ($545.30) and moments later the remaining players took a five-minute break.

Three players now sat clustered at the top of the leaderboard: Belgium's ditch395 with 17.96M chips, pituabe with 17.06M, and MR_TRINDADE with 16.05M. The other five players all held less than 10M, with Lithuania's vugugu bringing up the rear at 2.54M. The first major action after the break saw ditch395 expand the lead, picking up J♠ J♥ and calling from the big blind after dutchpoker13 moved all-in for 4.58M from the button with 7♣ 7♦. The sevens never came close to winning as the board fell 2♥ 6♠ 9♥ 6♥ T♦, sending dutchpoker13 out in 7th place ($1,060.32).

"Short bursts of terror"

A few hands later, after the blinds and antes had prgoressed to 200K/400K/50K, there would come a quick burst of activity that shortened the table even further. First, short-stacked vugugu's tournament life was on the line with 6♦ 6♣ against the K♥ 8♣ of KIDCHAMP84, but the sixes held for a double-up to 5.40M chips. Now the shortest stack, Ozonni moved all-in under the gun for 4.77M chips on the next hand with A♣ K♠ and was called by pituabe with Q♣ Q♠. The board read 5♥ 6♣ J♣ 8♣ by the turn, giving Ozonni the nut flush draw, but the 2♥ on the river sent the Russian player out in 6th place ($1,635.92). And on the very next hand vugugu and MR_TRINDADE locked horns, the former with K♦ K♥ and the latter with A♥ A♠, his second pocket pair of aces of the final table. Both players flopped a set, but the set of aces held through the 5♣ K♠ A♦ 7♣ 3♥ board to bust vugugu in 5th place ($2,241.82).

There was some quick talk of a deal among the remaining four players, but pituabe stayed silent so there were no negotiations. Soon afterward the blinds went up to 250K/500K/62.5K and pituabe grabbed the single largest pot of the tournament so far - and the chip lead - in a hand against MR_TRINDADE. pituabe opened for 1M and MR_TRINDADE called from the big blind to see a flop of K♥ Q♠ 6♠. MR_TRINDADE checked and then called pituabe's 2M-chip bet, and then check-called against when the turn was the 5♦. After checking the T♠ river, MR_TRINDADE finally folded to a bet of 6M from pituabe, dropping to 14.23M. Meanwhile the 12.75M-chip pot boosted pituabe to a stack of 29.45M.

Over the rest of the level most of the pots were of the raise-and-take-it variety, though ditch395 did siphon some chips off pituabe's stack to take the lead. When the blinds went up to 300K/600K/75K KIDCHAMP84 finally found an advantageous spot to get all-in, shoving for 6.38M chips from the button with A♦ 8♥, and even got a call from ditch395 with A♣ 2♠. But the board came 5♣ 4♥ 6♣ 3♠ T♠, giving ditch395 a six-high straight and sending KIDCHAMP84 out in 4th place ($2,847.32).

On the very next hand ditch395 would claim another bounty in a hand that went down in a slightly unexpected fashion:

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With that, pituabe's tournament came to an end in 3rd place ($4,059.51) and the other two players were ready for the final showdown:

MicroMillions Event 76 heads up.jpg

Seat 8: MR_TRINDADE (17,570,720 in chips)
Seat 9: ditch395 (56,319,280 in chips)

They didn't actually get to playing right away, however, as they agreed to look at the numbers for a deal. After navigating a language barrier with the help of the multilingual PokerStars host, they accepted a deal that gave ditch395 $6,562.10, MR_TRINDADE $5,810.74, and the eventual winner an extra $500.

After a lot of back and forth the first big confrontation came, and it truly was a big one:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

With the pot split by the 6♦ on the river, MR_TRINDADE would have to find another spot to double up. Five hands later he had that chance, though not in quite the same position as the previous time. After a standard opening raise from ditch395 on the button, MR_TRINDADE shoved for 21.47M holding K♠ 7♦; ditch395 called with A♣ 9♦ and caught top pair on the A♥ J♥ 5♣ flop. The Q♠ brought a wrinkle in the form of a gutshot straight draw for MR_TRINDADE, but the 3♥ river dashed his hopes and brought the tournament to an end.

For a fine late-game performance, ditch395 took home the previously agreed amount from the deal plus another $500 for a total of $7,062.10. MR_TRINDADE's take was $5,810.74, a healthy prize for the runner-up.

MicroMillions Event 76, $5.50 No-Limit Hold'em (Knockout)
14,778 entrants, $60,589.80 prize pool, $14,778 bounty pool
2,025 places paid

1st place - ditch395 (Belgium) - $7,062.10*
2nd place - MR_TRINDADE (Brazil) - $5,810.74*
3rd place - pituabe (Spain) - $4,059.51
4th place - KIDCHAMP84 (Canada) - $2,847.72
5th place - vugugu (Lithuania) - $2,241.82
6th place - Ozonni (Russia) - $1,635.92
7th place - dutchpoker13 (Netherlands) - $1,060.32
8th place - Budalonch (Spain) - $545.30
9th place - Louongo (Canada) - $363.53
* - denotes results of a two-way deal

If you're looking to score a few MicroMillions knockouts of your own, you have a few more days to get in on the action. Check out the full schedule here.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions