MicroMillions: HOLDINTRIPZZ holdz the secret to success in Event #45 ($3 NLHE 6-Max)

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngIt is not difficult to understand the thinking behind this marvelous MicroMillions series.

Day after day, huge numbers of people join the action on PokerStars, playing for sums of money that quite accurately represent how the majority of people view poker: as a bit of fun. MicroMillions recognises the contribution these players make to the startling success of the global game, and lays on the full-star treatment for these lower-stakes battlers.

It's a chance to sample the same structures, games and celebrity of the high-stakes games for a mere fraction of the cost.

This afternoon, the player taking the first walk up the red carpet is HOLDINTRIPZZ of the United Kingdom, who has just triumphed in Event #45, a $3 (+$0.30) no limit hold 'em six-max affair.

HOLDINTRIPZZ took close to nine hours to wrap up victory, besting a field of 5,268 runners. To do that he had to better some stars -- Team Pro's Marcin "Goral" Horecki, for example, who finished 371st for $6.79 -- and had to rise from the short-stack at the start of the final table.

But by the time he had managed it, there was a cheque of $2,413.41 waiting. Suddenly it doesn't seem so micro after all.

In truth HOLDINTRIPZZ is something of a micro-stakes ninja. Within the past year, he has won two massive tournaments with buy-ins of less than $10 on PokerStars. He earned $3,700 for beating 3,357 players in The Big $8.80 in November, and last month beat a field of 5,981 for another grand in a $1 buy-in event. The lad could go far.


But back to today's tournament and the start of the final table. Here's how the six of the best lined up after they had battled all the way through to the last hurdle:

Seat 1: gamebox2089 (Austria) - 3,661,704
Seat 2: awalkerp15 (Canada) - 4,607,118
Seat 3: Billiam753 (Canada) - 5,848,530
Seat 4: CarlosW1973 (Peru) - 4,102,408
Seat 5: Marcelombs (Brazil) 4,876,522
Seat 6: HOLDINTRIPZZ (United Kingdom) - 3,243,718


The final table line up

It represented a remarkably even spread, with a little more than two million between the leader, Billiam753, and the short stack, HOLDINTRIPZZ. With the blinds at 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante), even the latter had more than 40 big blinds to play with. This final table had legs.

Or did it?

Within the first couple of orbits CarlosW1973 offered an inquisitive "deal?" into the chat-box. HOLDINTRIPZZ and awalkerp15 seemed amenable to the negotiations, suggesting they could at least look at what they would receive if the tournament was ended there and then. But Marcelombs eventually broke the silence of the other three with a polite, "sorry, no."

And so they did play on (even though mutterings of a deal would not cease for a good 30 minutes or so).


On the very first hand of final table play, gamebox2089 lost a pot of three million chips to Marcelombs, and would spend the next 34 hands as the short stack. He pulled off a couple of blind steals with all in manouevres, but was in danger of getting gobbled up by the antes when he managed to find pocket kings at just the right time.

And didn't he play them sneakily too. After Marcelombs min-raised to 240,000 from under the gun, gamebox2089 might have fancied shoving all in for what amounted to about 17 big blinds. Instead he three-bet to 600,000, which got the call from Marcelombs.

The flop came 7♦3♥T♥ and that prompted Marcelombs, who was sitting with J♣T♣ to move all in. Snap went the trap, as gamebox2089 called with his kings.

RSS readers click through for replay

He ended up making a set when another cowboy appeared on the river, and with that he moved to beyond four million in chips and was back at the races.


As gamebox2089 now looked on, Marcelombs assumed the short stack. But he too managed to secure a double up and was seeming comfortable when our chip leader, Billiam753, set about his task of ploughing through the field.

Marcelombs found A♦9♥ and opened to 320,000 from early position. Billiam753 had a big stack, and so was perfectly within his rights to make a call, closing the action on the big blind. The flop came 5♠T♦7♣ and Billiam753 checked.

Marcelombs made a continuation bet of 480,000 but all of a sudden was being asked a question for his entire stack as Billiam753 moved all in. Marcelombs called the check-raise and if he had feared the worst, those apprehensions had been well founded. Billiam753 had hit top pair with his mighty T♥3♥ and no ace came to rescue Marcelombs. He was out in sixth for $252.86.

Quite apart from eliminating players when you hit, there's another reason sometimes to mix it up with hands like ten high. It's called advertising, and other players are inclined to believe you might be "at it" when you finally do pick up a legitimate hand.

Certainly the advertising worked wonders for Billiam753, who could not have been more delighted that on the very next hand he picked up pocket kings. And what's more, he took a leaf out of gamebox's book and he slow played them too, luring and unfortunate CarlosW1973 into his trap.

As other players were busy "gg"-ing Marcelombs, Billiam753 made was seemed to be an innocuous limp from the small blind. CarlosW1973, in the big, checked his option and the two players went to a 2♣7♥9♦ flop.

Billiam753 check-called CarlosW1973's bet of 480,000, and then he check-called a shove of 1,977,408 on the 5♦ turn. CarlosW1973 had flopped top pair with his Q♥9♠, but Billiam753 flipped his expertly concealed K♠K♣ and that was the end of the road for CarlosW1973.

RSS feed readers click through for animation of Billiam753's slow-played kings


At four-handed players took a break, and it's difficult to imagine how much better for HOLDINTRIPZZ the break could have been. At this stage he was the tiniest of tiny stacks (see below) and probably expected to be next out.


At the break

But if fact he was to begin a sensational comeback, which would only end with him top of the podium. gamebox2089 was next to fall, taking $800.47 for his fourth place. But from then on, it was all about HOLDINTRIPZZ, who got his first double up with the following monster hand.

It was a straight race pre-flop between HOLDINTRIPZZ's [10h][10c] and awalkerp15's A♠Q♠, but the board ran T♠Q♣Q♥T♦4♣, which was something for everyone. Especially HOLDINTRIPZZ.

RSS readers click through for replay of quads versus full house

It's not often you lose a hand with queens full, but HOLDINTRIPZZ's quads were mightier than even that.


awalkerp15's immune system had taken a battering by that battle with HOLDINTRIPZZ, and the latter continued his rampage, the former hit the road.

The hand that sealed it was another stinker for awalkerp15. HOLDINTRIPZZ raised from the small blind, making it 440,000 to go. awalkerp15 found 8♦8♠ in the big blind and defended with a call.

The flop of 6♥4♠3♥ probably looked like a dream for those pocket eights and awalkerp15 snap-called when HOLDINTRIPZZ moved all in. But HOLDINTRIPZZ had been sitting with 3♣4♦, which made a full house by the river. As the auto-dealer announced: "awalkerp15 finished the tournament in 3rd place and received $1264.32."

It is impossible to overstate how dominant HOLDINTRIPZZ was at this time. This screen-shot of the hand histories shows the raw data: a succession of six-figure wins for HOLDINTRIPZZ punctuated by meagre earnings from the others.


The extent of HOLDINTRIPZZ dominance three-handed

When they got heads up, Billiam753, who had been an immovable chip leader throughout, was now faced with an irresistible force. Billiam753 decided to play ultra-aggressively heads up, and took down a handful of pots, including a big double up.

But when you're hot, you're hot, and HOLDINTRIPZZ hit when it mattered most. On what turned out to be the final hand, HOLDINTRIPZZ raised to 550,000 and Billiam753 shipped all in for 9,011,460. (He had seen HOLDINTRIPZZ call big shoves before.)

HOLDINTRIPZZ called again and tabled K♥J♥. Billiam753 must have been ecstatic. He had J♠A♣. But nothing is certain until the final card is dealt, and the board ran, in order, Q♠3♦4♥6♥K♦. The king on the end was the bingo card for HOLDINTRIPZZ, who completed his sensational rise.

That was that. After a slow start, and a lot of chat about a deal, it ended in a flash and with the payouts distributed precisely as advertised. That meant a couple more grand for HOLDINTRIPZZ and a few bad beat stories for everyone else. Congratulations and commiserations. You know which for whom.

MicroMillions Event #45: $3+$0.30 No Limit Hold 'em 6-Max, $10,000 Guaranteed - Final table results

1 - HOLDINTRIPZZ (United Kingdom) - $2,413.41
2 - Billiam753 (Canada) - $1,738.44
3 - awalkerp15 (Canada) - $1,264.32
4 - gamebox2089 (Austria) - $800.47
5 - CarlosW1973 (Peru) - $474.12
6 - Marcelombs (Brazil) $252.86

A little less than a week remains on the MicroMillions schedule which means you still have plenty of time to get in on the action. Check out the main page for all tournament and satellite information, as well as the leader board and statistics pages.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in MicroMillions