MicroMillions: Stunning reversal lands (((FOX)))017 Event #70 title ($4.40 NLHE 4-Max)

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngLife can turn on a dime, or so goes the saying. And tournament lives are fraught with the same unpredictability. Having aces against kings no more guarantees a win than a chip and a chair spells elimination. For much of this evening, this event was dominated by a single player, and seemed to be moving toward an inevitable conclusion. That is, until three hands changed everything. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

The MicroMillions continued drawing ridiculous crowds, 11,588 players turning out for Event #70, a $4.40 NLHE 4-max. The prize pool topped out at $46,352, nearly doubling the $25,000 guarantee. 1,600 players cashed, with first place set to earn $4,355.73. Polish duo Grzegorz "DaWarsaw" Mikielewicz, and Marcin Horecki were the lone Red Spades in the field. Neither finished in the money, although Horecki is still tied for 7th place in the MicroMillions Player of the Series Race with 30 more events to go.

As the final table bubble loomed, xiaoxiaumao held about half the chips in play and faced two short-stacked opponents on his three-handed table. PIMPEMM found A♥T♣ on the button and moved in for 2.2 million, xiaoxiaumao calling from the big blind with A♦8♥. Although the ace-ten held up through the turn, xiaoxiaumao spiked the 8♣ on the river to send PIMPEMM to the rail in sixth place.

MicroMillions Event 70 FT.jpg

Final table chip counts

Seat 1: xiaoxiaumao (30,236,172 in chips)
Seat 2: chrow (3,699,904 in chips)
Seat 3: MasterK 1986 (10,674,724 in chips)
Seat 4: (((FOX)))017 (6,903,348 in chips)
Seat 5: akakakak0627 (6,425,852 in chips)

With three times as many chips as second-place MasterK_1986, xiaoxiaumao was clearly running the show. While the others scrambled to get everyone together on looking at chip count chop numbers, xiaoxiaumao landed another haymaker. The action folded to him in the small blind, xiaoxiaumao raised to 625,000 and chrow shoved for 3.4 million. Xiaoxiaumao's K♥Q♣ held on against K♣J♣ and chrow exited in fifth place, earning $597.94.

Moments later, xiaoxiaumao decided to put his closest competition to the test. Holding A♥Q♥, xiaoxiaumao four-bet shoved and MasterK_1986 called off his remaining 9.9 million with pocket jacks. Again, the challenger's hand was good through the turn, but xiaoxiaumao hit another improbable river card, an ace falling to end MasterK_1986's run in fourth place ($948.36).

Xiaoxiaumao was up to 44.2 million, akakakak0627 had about 25 big blinds with 7.4 million and (((FOX)))017 was the short stack with 6.3 million. With both opponents on the ropes, xiaoxiaumao relentlessly attacked the blinds, winning 13 of the next 15 hands. However, it was someone else's turn to spike the river. All-in with K♦Q♠ against xiaoxiaumao's A♥3♥, (((FOX)))017 rivered a queen to double up. It was barely a dent in xiaoxiaumao's stack and winning 12 of the 15 pots that followed went a long way toward recovery. But (((FOX)))017 wasn't done yet.

Holding Q♠J♦, (((FOX)))017 open-shoved for a little over 6 million, only to have xiaoxiaumao snap-call and table A♠A♣. The 5♣4♥3♠ flop left (((FOX)))017 drawing only to running cards. Well, there was one of them on the turn, the Q♥. But still, could he really pull another queen or jack? The answer, boys and girls, is yes. The Q♦ landed on the river and (((FOX)))017 dodged bullets, doubling up to 12.5 million.

Two hands later, akakakak0627 and xiaoxiaumao saw a T♠8♠5♥ flop for 1.25 million apiece. Both players checked the flop, as well as the Q♠ on the turn. The river was the J♥ and akakakak0627 check-called all-in for his last 1.76 million with K♦T♥, only to realize he'd been had. Xiaoxiaumao turned over a set of eights and akakakak627 hit the rail in third place, collecting $1,524.51.

Heads-up chip counts

Seat 1: xiaoxiaumao (46,272,716 in chips)
Seat 4: (((FOX)))017 (11,667,284 in chips)

Xiaoxiaumao held 80% of the chips in play. Heads-up lasted only five hands. And still, he wasn't able to close it out. Here's what happened.

Hand #3 saw (((FOX)))017 open-shove for 10.7 million holding 7♠8♠. Xiaoxiaumao called with Q♥9♥, but a seven hit the flop. (((FOX)))017 doubled to 21.5 million, then picked up pocket threes on the next hand. He three-bet shoved preflop and xiaoxiaumao called with Q♣J♣. (((FOX)))017 flopped a gutshot straight draw and turned a pair of jacks, good enough for another double-up, this time to 43.2 million. For the first time at the final table, xiaoxiaumao gave up the chip lead.

With the way heaven-sent river cards seemed to dictate the flow of this final table, it was only appropriate that this event ended with a two-outer. (((FOX)))017 moved in with J♦J♣ and xiaoxiaumao called with A♦K♥. The K♠5♣4♣ flop made xiaoxiaumao top pair and he improved to kings up when the 4♦ hit the turn. But one card away from doubling back up to 30 million in chips, xiaoxiaumao's tournament life turned on a dime. The J♠ on the river made (((FOX)))017 jacks full of fours and just as quickly as he lost the chip lead, xiaoxiaumao was on the rail in stunning fashion.

Congratulations to (((FOX)))017 for beating the odds and earning a MicroMillions title along with $4,355.73. For his runner-up finish xiaoxiaumao took home $2,630.93.

PokerStars MicroMillions Event #70 ($4.40 NLHE 4-Max) results

1. (((FOX)))017 (Russia) $4,355.73
2. xiaoxiaumao (China) $2,630.93
3. akakakak0627 (Spain) $1,524.51
4. MasterK_1986 (Germany) $948.36
5. chrow (Hungary) $597.94'

Don't miss out on the final weekend of the MicroMillions. Tournaments are running around the clock through Sunday. Check out the MicroMillions page for a full schedule and satellite information.

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in MicroMillions