MicroMillions: Karmic victory for MarinaFrank in Event 40, $2.20 NLHE (2R, 1A)

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngIn tournament poker, it's rare that the player with the most chips doesn't try to exert maximum pressure and leverage from those chips when it comes time to make a deal. Yet in 2012 MicroMillions Event 40, $2.20 No-Limit Hold'em (2R, 1A), heads-up chip leader MarinaFrank offered an even chop heads up, then went on to win anyway after the deal wasn't accepted.

Going into Event 40, all players knew that their minimum exposure was $2.20. Their maximum exposure, should they take both rebuys and the add-on, was $8.20. The 20,333 players executed 28,344 rebuys (an average of 1.4 each) and 8,517 add-ons (an average of 0.4 each). That made the investment of the hypothetical "average player" $5.80 and the total prize pool more than $114,000, almost six times the guarantee that PokerStars set for the event.

Two Team PokerStars Pros were mixed among the thousands of players vying for the 1st-place prize of more than $11,000. Christophe "chrisdm" DeMuelder finished in 1613th place ($16.01). He was topped by Marcin "Goral" Horecki (1063rd place, $22.87), a man who seems to be playing as many of these MicroMillions events as he can.

The final table saw these nine players square off:


Seat 1: MarinaFrank (20970688 in chips)
Seat 2: vijumoto (10842320 in chips)
Seat 3: brapez (37313535 in chips)
Seat 4: ocliw66 (41457468 in chips)
Seat 5: verbovoi (57695091 in chips)
Seat 6: Just Aliceee (18383848 in chips)
Seat 7: fishfinge574 (39428280 in chips)
Seat 8: Bart4Simpson (25831488 in chips)
Seat 9: 0darkrider0 (34047282 in chips)

Blinds 500k / 1MM, ante 125k

Slow and steady?

With an average stack of 31.7 million, there rated to be plenty of play at the final table. Of course the very first hand upended that notion. After an open to 2 million by Just Aliceee, Bart4Simpson three-bet jammed for 25 million. The big blind, brapez, re-jammed for 37 million with A♠K♥, a slight dog to Bart4Simpson's J♠J♣. Jacks held this time around, vaulting Bart4Simpson to 2nd in chips.

A series of lost small pots ground Just Aliceee down to 11.3 million as blinds went up. Just Aliceee three-bet shoved that stack with A♣K♥; MarinaFrank had opened pre-flop with pocket 7s and called the all in. 7s were best on a 5♣8♦J♠T♠J♣ board. Just Aliceee was the first player eliminated from the final table.

One hand later, Just Aliceee had company. brapez open-shoved for 7.5 million pre-flop and was called by ocliw66 and 0darkrider0. ocliw66 shoved a jack-high flop for 31.4 million, chasing 0darkrider0 out of the flop. ocliw66's pocket queens had the lead against brapez's middle pair of 10s on a T♣J♣4♦ flop. Nothing changed by the river.

Coming out of the 10pm break, verbovoi and fishfinge574 played a massive 85-million chip pot that resulted in verbovoi's elimination in 7th place and made fishfinge574 the new chip leader. Take a look:

RSS readers click through to see replay

The long haul

Over the next few levels the chips began to even out. The most notable hand saw Bart4Simpson pick up pocket kings against vijumoto's pocket aces, doubling up vijumoto, who was the lone short stack at the time. By the time the 800k-1600k level began, the stacks ranged from 20 to 35 big blinds each. fishfinge574 was the most active player and took the worst of it in a hand against MarinaFrank that went to the river. Each player put in about 16 million chips; at showdown MarinaFrank's pocket 10s dragged the pot on a board of 2♠5♦6♠3♥A♥.

At blinds of 1 million and 2 million with a 250k ante, things started to pick up pace. Seemingly without realizing it, vijumoto became the shortest stack and began trending dangerously towards blinding out. vijumoto's stack dwindled all the way to 2.8 million before vijumoto took a flop. Facing a bet and a call on a [10d]4♠J♠ board, vijumoto folded with just 619,280 behind. vijumoto survived on all in to grab a few chips (still fewer than the big blind); the second all in, with K♠J♥, resulted in vijumoto's elimination when fishfinge574's A♥Q♠ held on an all-small board.

Unbelievably, pocket kings ran into pocket aces for a 2nd time at the final table just a few hands later. ocliw66 played the aces craftily by limping; fishfinger574 obliged with a raise. Cue up a re-raise shove and a call. Aces held again, doubling up ocliw66 to more than 80 million and leaving fishfinge574 with about 17 million.

fishfinge574 seemed on the cusp of rebuilding once again when 0darkrider0, sitting in the big blind, called fishfinge574's open-shove for 16.9 million. fishfinge574 was in a dominating position with A♣Q♣ against A♥5♦, but the board rolled out 2♠4♥J♥5♥7♠ to pair 5s for 0darkrider0, ending fishfinge574's wild run at the final table in 5th place.

That pot seemed to spur 0darkrider0, who quickly extended the chip lead to 115 million. MarinaFrank was in 2nd place with 75 million; ocliw and Bart4Simpson battled back and forth in the 45 million to 50 million range. Then, a gut-wrenching turn and a jaw-dropping river for 105 million chips:

RSS readers click through to see replay

With blinds up to 1.5 million and 3 million, the champion of the event was far from decided. The spread between 4th-place player ocliw66 (52 million) and chip leader Bart4Simpson (85 million) represented only 11 big blinds. Yet nobody mentioned doing a deal, and flops become a rarity. It took two reasonably "big" hands dealt simultaneously to take a flop. MarinaFrank opened pre-flop with a raise; ocliw66 three-bet all in with A♥Q♣. MarinaFrank, the bigger stack, snap-called with pocket jacks and collected the 109-million-chip pot on a ten-high board. ocliw66 was the 4th-place finisher.

Sprint to the finish

About ten hands later, Bart4Simpson, the new short stack with 54 million at blinds of 2 million and 4 million, open-shoved K♣4♣ from the small blind. 0darkrider0 snapped it right off with A♥K♠ in the big blind, then flopped an ace to leave Bart4Simpson drawing dead by the turn.

MarinaFrank had a slight chip advantage to start heads-up play, 156.8 million to 129.1 million. Despite that slight advantage, which MarinaFrank extended to 170 million to 115 million, at the 11pm break MarinaFrank offered to chop the remaining prize money in half and just play for the $400 set-aside. 0darkrider0 never responded to the offer.

The two players played small pots back and forth. Until they didn't. The final hand was three-bet pre-flop to 20 million by 0darkrider0. MarinaFrank called from the button to a flop of 9♥8♦6♥. 0darkrider0 continued for 36 million, then called all in versus MarinaFrank's shove. MarinaFrank showed down two pair, 9♠8♠; 0darkrider0 showed two overcards and an inside straight draw, Q♠T♥. It was over by the turn, as a repeat 8 filled up MarinaFrank and left 0darkrider0 drawing dead.

2012 Micro Millions Event 40 $2.20 No-Limit Hold'em (2R, 1A) results:

1st: MarinaFrank ($11,451.69)
2nd: 0darkrider0 ($9,135.02)
3rd: Bart4Simpson ($6,863.28)
4th: ocliw66 ($5,147.46)
5th: fishfinge574 ($4,003.58)
6th: vijumoto ($2,859.70)
7th: verbovoi ($1,715.82)
8th: brapez ($1,029.49)
9th: Just Aliceee ($686.32)

As fun as it is to read about the MicroMillions events, it's more fun to play them. Get all the information you need to get in the game at the MicroMillions home page.

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in MicroMillions