MicroMillions: TITANnvkz unsinkable in Event 92, $2.20+R NLHE (Action Hour, 6-max)

micromillions-thumb-blog.pngFor those who truly enjoy action, rebuy events are one of the great joys of tournament poker. The prize pools tend to be far larger than freezeouts with comparable buy-ins, and those who build their stacks during the rebuy period tend to find themselves with lots of room for post-flop play when that period ends. That room to maneuver makes play resemble a cash game much more than a typical tournament.

That holds even more true in Action Hour tournaments like today's event. In these tournaments, the end of the rebuy period coincides with a hard reset of the blind structure. In this case that meant returning to blinds of 20/40 on Level 7 after the end of Level 6, which had featured blinds of 60/120. If it doesn't sound like a big difference, consider that a player who had tripled his 5,000-chip starting stack to 15,000 during the first hour period would have 100 big blinds on Level 7 of a standard rebuy tournament. In this event, the same player who tripled up to 15,000 chips during the rebuy period would find himself with an extra 25 big blinds. Those extra bets can make a lot of difference in the right situation.

By the time this event's Action Hour was complete the prize pool contained 6,043 buy-ins and 2,881 add-ons, building it to a total of $27,094. It would be a long haul to the final table, but the light at the end of the tunnel was a top prize of $4,134.95.

Room to maneuver, even late

It's not uncommon for many or even most of the players to be severely short-stacked when the endgame rolls around, but that wasn't the case in this event. With the field down to just two tables the average stack was 6.81M, worth 42.5 big blinds on Level 49 (80K/160K/20K). That gave more than enough room for most of the players to try to steal a pot here and there and pick their spots for making a big play. It also gave the chip leaders more ability to pressure their shorter-stacked opponents, who wouldn't necessarily be committed to every single pot they played.

Shurike981 held the lead with 11 players left, but TITANnvkz jumped ahead thanks to a 13.06M-chip pot won by virtue of hitting a set of sevens against 12X18H10T's set of deuces. An 8.44M-chip pot on the next hand with A♦ K♥ against Razladin's A♥ 5♣ boosted TITANnkvz to 19.07M overall, nearly 7M chips ahead of wielo25 and Shurike981 in second and third places. TITANnvkz would climb as high as 27.22M chips at one point before falling back a bit during the lengthy hand-for-hand period on the final table bubble.

Once Leanne1976 of Canada left in 11th place ($230.29) the rest of the field hailed from Europe. Germany's 85Andre85, Poland's wielo25, Romania's luckk144, and Switzerland's fmn1 were each the only representative of their respective countries, while the other six players all hailed from Russia - yet another fine showing for that country in this MicroMillions series. Two of them - Soprano19200 (9th, $298.03) and 12X18H10T (8th, $298.03) - would falter before the final table bubble, but the others all progressed once 85Andre85 was eliminated in 7th place ($298.03).

Final Table™ - now 67% Russian!

With the blinds and antes at 200K/400K/50K, these six players still had a chance to win as the final table began:

MicroMillions Event 92 final table.jpg

Seat 1: wielo25 (2,237,780 in chips)
Seat 2: Shurike981 (8,714,416 in chips)
Seat 3: fmn1 (14,581,020 in chips)
Seat 4: Razladin (20,502,223 in chips)
Seat 5: TITANnvkz (23,700,243 in chips)
Seat 6: radik1983 (5,201,818 in chips)

TITANnvkz relinquished the chip lead to Razladin after the latter made a good call on the river in this three-way pot:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

The player at the table most in need of chips was wielo25. Those chips came a few orbits into the final table via a flopped set of sevens after getting all-in with 7♥ 7♣ against fmn1's A♥ K♦. Now holding a stack worth 6.02M, wielo25 spotted another chance to double up three hands later when chip TITANnvkz raised to 1.2M on the button; the Polish player shoved all-in with A♣ Q♥, and it was another coin flip when TITANnvkz called with T♣ T♦. This time there were no saving cards as the board fell 8♥ 6♣ 2♠ J♦ 9♣, and wielo25's run came to an end in 6th place ($460.59).

Shortly afterward the players took their last five-minute break of the tournament, returning to 250K/500K blinds and 62.5K antes. Soon after coming back, Razladin would hold on to the chip lead but bring the top players a bit closer together in chips. After opening for the minimum with A♠ 2♠, Razladin then called Shurike981's 7.01M-chip all-in bet. The latter's A♦ K♠ held up for a pot worth 14.84M chips, but Razladin soon got back all the lost chips and more. First he picked off multiple pots uncontested, and later he showed down pocket queens on a 5♥ 7♦ T♥ K♣ 5♦ board for a 10.31M-chip pot at the expense of TITANnkvz.

TITANnkvz managed to right the ship three hands later, though, thanks to this 28.11M-chip pot:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

Within five hands of that pot two players would be knocked out. The first was radik1983, who moved all-in with 8♥ 8♣ but busted in 5th place ($812.82) when Shurike981's Q♥ J♥ flopped a queen. The very next hand saw TITANnvkz open for the minimum under the gun before fmn1 moved all-in for 6.76M from the small blind. Razladin raised to 12.92M to isolate and succeeded, showing down T♥ T♦. It was A♥ 2♠ for fmn1, but the K♥ 7♦ 6♦ 7♠ 8♦ board left the Swiss player out in 4th place ($1,412.68).

Three contenders, three Russians

The remaining players all hailed from Russia, guaranteeing yet another MicroMillions win for the motherland. They sat like so:

Seat 2: Shurike981 (15681786 in chips)
Seat 4: Razladin (34672744 in chips)
Seat 5: TITANnvkz (24582970 in chips)

Razladin held the advantage with the blinds and antes at 300K/600K/75K, but a win wasn't in the cards. After dropping one 11.32M-chip pot to TITANnvkz, another worth 17.02M to Shurike981, and a third worth 9.82M to TITANnvkz, Razladin's stack was down to just 8.04M. With a little over 13 big blinds, Razladin opened for 1.8M on the button holding K♣ 7♣. When TITANnvkz moved all-in, Razladin made the call and found himself up against 4♣ 4♣. The K♥ Q♦ J♠ flop was great news, but the 4♠ on the turn was a dagger to the heart. The 7♥ made a 3rd-place exit ($2,167.52) official.

MicroMillions Event 92 final table heads up.jpg

TITANnvkz held 47.7M chips to Shurike981's 27.23M as heads-up play began. The lead would shift to Shurike981's side of the table on the fourth hand of heads-up when TITANnvkz wasn't willing to call a 10.2M-chip bet on the river with the board reading 4♣ J♦ J♣ A♠ 5♦. Shurike981 continued to stay in front for the next 17 hands but couldn't pull away entirely, so TITANnvkz was able to jump ahead again by winning an 11.4M-chip pot uncontested on the turn of Hand #22 with the board reading A♦ 7♠ 6♠ K♦.

As it turned out, the lead wouldn't change again. Two hands later, with blinds at 400K/800K, Shurike981 opened the betting for 1.6M on the button and TITANnvkz called from the big blind to see a flop of A♠ T♥ K♠. TITAnvkz led out for 1.6M into the 3.4M pot, and Shurike981 raised to 5.6M. After a call from TITANnvkz, the turn brought the 9♠. TITANnvkz checked this time, bringing a bet of 10.4M into a pot of 14.6M from Shurike981. Once again TITANnvkz called, and the river was the 9♥. TITANnvkz checked again, and after a bit of thought Shurike981 moved all-in for 16.08M. TITANnvkz called and showed down J♠ 4♠ for a spade flush, good enough to beat A♥ 7♠ and win the tournament.

For being the last player standing after 10 hours and 22 minutes, TITANnvkz earned $4,134.95 and one of the last places on the list of MicroMillions winners. Shurike981, meanwhile, won $2,980.34 - not the top prize, but not a bad return for a day's work.

MicroMillions Event 92, $2.20+R No-Limit Hold'em (Action Hour, 6-max)
4,623 entrants, 6,043 rebuys, 2,881 add-ons
$27,094 prize pool, 600 places paid

1st place - TITANnvkz (Russia) - $4,134.95
2nd place - Shurike981 (Russia) - $2,980.34
3rd place - Razladin (Russia) - $2,167.52
4th place - fmn1 (Switzerland) - $1,412.68
5th place - radik1983 (Russia) - $812.82
6th place - wielo25 (Poland) - $460.59

The Action Hour might be over, but MicroMillions isn't - at least not before the end of today. There are still four more events you can enter, including the $1M guaranteed, $22 buy-in Event 98. Check out the MicroMillions page for full details.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions