MicroMillions: RomaShamin roars back to win Event 38, $5.50 NL Draw

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Five-Card Draw is one of the oldest forms of poker around. Mark Twain grew up playing it on riverboats while traveling the Mississippi River before the American Civil War. It's the game the legendary frontiersman Wild Bill Hickok was playing when he was killed in the Black Hills mining camp of Deadwood back in 1876. And by the time Herbert O. Yardley published his 1957 primer The Education of a Poker Player, Draw was a quaint old pastime compared to then-modern games like Five-Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo.

Many of those other older forms of poker have a reputation for being fairly slow. Though it is advanced in age like those games, Draw can't be lumped in with them when it comes to speed. With two betting rounds, one draw, and six seats at the table, the action in Draw is structured to move. Add in larger antes than you'd find in hold'em - in this tournament they were worth half the small blind - and there's every inducement for a player to get involved when even a remotely decent opportunity presents itself. Small wonder, then, that 2,372 players turned up for this event today. They built up a prize pool worth $11,860, with 300 places set to pay and $1,869.28 earmarked for the winner.

Big moves for RomaShamin

Draw's quick pace meant that the field was reduced to just 12 players in a little over six hours. By then the blinds were 12.5K/25K with 7.5K antes, and Ukraine's verhovinec held the lead with 2.16M chips. Near the other end of the leaderboard was Russia's RomaShamin, sitting in 10th place with 718K in chips. While the other short stacks were hanging on for their tournament lives, RomaShamin commenced to moving steadily upward on the strength of some well-timed 400K+ pots and another worth 1M chips, won when three jacks was good to beat amkarovec's pair of aces. Within a single blind level RomaShamin managed to seize the overall chip lead, stacking up as high as 2.78M. With the final table looming, the sky appeared to be the limit before this stunner of a hand ate away at RomaShamin's stack and put Austria's karpfen in the thick of things:

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That cooler took the field down to seven players, at which point hand-for-hand play commenced. With the chip stacks evened out to a degree and an $82 pay jump from 7th place to 6th, everyone seemed to shift into a lower gear. Two players from Spain, valetudo22 and playman119, had stacks worth less than 10 big blinds and trailed the rest of the field by more than 1.3M chips.

Neither, as it turned out, was ready to vacate his seat just yet. While valetudo22 bravely held on, squeezed between the giant stacks of Germany's chismann and the Netherlands' AlwaysPlayJJ on Table 120 and having to pick spots carefully, playman119 actually managed to wrest away the table chip lead for a bit against karpfen111 and RomaShamin on Table 99, where the chips were distributed a little more evenly. Finally, 34 minutes after it began, hand-for-hand play would end with the elimination of karpfen in 7th place ($154.18) on this hand:

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Six seats, six players

With that, the final table lineup was set:

Seat 1: verhovinec (2,509,777 in chips)
Seat 2: chismann (3,069,480 in chips)
Seat 3: valetudo22 (365,818 in chips)
Seat 4: playman119 (2,818,138 in chips)
Seat 5: RomaShamin (2,336,352 in chips)
Seat 6: AlwaysPlayJJ (760,435 in chips)

MicroMillions Event 38 final table.jpg

During the 34 minutes of hand-for-hand play the blinds and antes had gone from 20K/40K/10K to 40K/80K/20K. With 240K going from the players' stacks to the middle of the table during each orbit, valetudo22 and AlwaysPlayJJ were both feeling the pressure from the first hand of the final table. A playable situation didn't come around for valetudo22 until the blinds and antes had reduced the Spaniard's stack to just 40K in chips. After playman119 put in an isolation raise from the button, AlwaysPlayJJ opted for a re-raise, drawing a fold from playman119. AlwaysPlayJJ stood pat on a diamond flush, while valetudo22 took three cards and ended up with A♠ Q♠ A♥ Q♥ K♦ for two pair. That made valetudo22 the first to exit the final table, earning $236.96 for 6th place.

After another eight hands of play the remaining players opted to discuss a deal. Within minutes they had come to an agreement, with the money awarded according to chip stacks and $100 left on the table for the eventual winner. Shortly afterward AlwaysPlayJJ would go out holding his namesake hand, two jacks, against the aces and treys of playman119. That gave AlwaysPlayJJ $765.35 for finishing in 5th place, and the 2.02M-chip pot moved playman119 into the chip lead with 3.72M.

Shockingly, the next hand would see another elimination. After playman119 opened for 300K under the gun, chismann raised to 820K from the small blind. After a moment's thought playman119 moved all-in, and nearly as quickly chismann made the call for 3.1M and the single biggest pot of the tournament. Both players stood pat. chismann turned up 7♦ 6♣ 5♦ 4♥ 3♥ for a seven-high straight, but playman119's K♥ Q♥ 9♥ 8♥ 5♥ was good for a king-high flush. That sent chismann out in 4th place ($1,209.20) and gave playman119 a sizable advantage with 6.88M in chips.

Nothing seemed to go playman119's way for the next few levels, though. Well over 90 percent of the pots going to either verhovinec or RomaShamin as the blinds and antes progressed through the 60K/120K/30K level and up to 70K/140K/35K. The majority of those were claimed by RomaShamin, who picked up slightly stronger hands than the other two players and employed a policy of relentless aggression to chip up as high as 8.1M and maintain a stranglehold on the chip lead. A full 25 minutes after the field was reduced to three, heads-up play would finally arrive after this action-packed hand:

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Spirited match, spirited ending

With playman119 out in 3rd place ($1,127.48) and the blinds and antes at 80K/160K/40K, the final two players both had plenty of room to play some poker:

Seat 1: verhovinec (7,321,526 in chips)
Seat 5: RomaShamin (4,538,474 in chips)

And play poker they did. RomaShamin got the better of the early exchanges, slowly chipping up before claiming three seven-figure pots in a row to grab an 8.29M-to-3.56M lead. Then verhovinec fought back, grabbing 2.5M- and 2.9M-chip pots to move back in front by a small margin. From there the two continued to trade blows, their stacks staying within a few big blinds of the other. Finally, on the 62nd hand of their match, both players drew the kind of hands destined to end up in a major collision.

It all started with RomaShamin in front by just 36,948 chips, less than the 50K ante. On the button, verhovinec came in for a minimum raise to 400K. RomaShamin made a re-raise to 800K, after which verhovinec put in a fourth bet for an even 2M. RomaShamin then moved all-in and verhovinec called. With 11.82M chips up for grabs, RomaShamin took just one card, while verhovinec took two. RomaShamin one card made T♥ T♠ T♣ J♥ J♣ for a full house, which was good enough to beat verhovinec's three of a kind with 4♥ 4♦ 4♠ 7♣ 2♦.

For finishing second, verhovinec claimed the previously agreed upon $960.82. Meanwhile RomaShamin claimed the extra $100 for the winner, walking away with $1,305.13. It was a fitting result for a such a strong late-game performance, not to mention a fantastic return on a $5.50 investment.

MicroMillions Event 38, $5.50 No-Limit Draw
2,372 entrants, $11,860 prize pool
300 places paid

1st place - RomaShamin (Russia) - $1,305.13*
2nd place - verhovinec (Ukraine) - $960.82*
3rd place - playman119 (Spain) - $1,127.48*
4th place - chismann (Germany) - $1,209.20*
5th place - AlwaysPlayJJ (Netherlands) - $765.35*
6th place - valetudo22 (Spain) - $236.96
* - denotes results of a five-way deal

Know something else that moves as fast as Draw? The MicroMillions. There might be 100 events on the schedule, but we've already committed the results of nearly half of them to the history books. You can learn all about who has entered the annals of PokerStars' newest tournament series at the MicroMillions page.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions