MicroMillions 4: bezerdicova1 brings home the title in Event 38, $5.50 NLHE
Freezeouts are older than any other form of tournament poker. Yet in their fifth decade they remain remarkably similar to their roots. In the earliest days of the World Series of Poker the fields were small enough that the winner was the only player walking away with any cash. Later, when more players began to show up, the innovation of paying out more players with smaller prizes based on how deep they go was introduced. Other than some changes in how many people receive a payday without actually winning the tournament, not much else about freezeouts has changed since the first one.
Perhaps it's that familiarity that keeps bringing players back like Event 38 of MicroMillions 4 did. Once late registation closed the field totaled 11,198, a number good enough to more than double the guaranteed prize pool. A total of $55,990 was split among the 1,440 player who cashed, with $7,848.61 set aside for the winner.
As it turned out, nobody would earn quite that much money thanks to a big deal at the final table. Before they could get there, though, a few players had to fall by the wayside.
The blinds and antes were at 200K/400K/50K as these nine players began the final table:
Seat 1: Soonofpok (9,437,748 in chips)
Seat 2: stevenkstyle (3,478,856 in chips)
Seat 3: cleanerchen (1,923,748 in chips)
Seat 4: Mércurial (12,364,888 in chips)
Seat 5: tciiiiiiiii (9,382,997 in chips)
Seat 6: konradinho (4,069,253 in chips)
Seat 7: bezerdicova1 (6,568,748 in chips)
Seat 8: forstuvning (6,644,852 in chips)
Seat 9: \_/$\_/A&753 (2,118,910 in chips)
For 12 minutes the players took turns grabbing small pots from one another. Once the blinds and antes had reached 250K/500K/62.5K, Poland's konradinho was short-stacked with a little more than three big blinds and gladly went all-in with A♦ Q♥ after Germany's tciiiiiiiii raised in early position. When everyone else got out of the way tciiiiiiiii showed A♥ A♠. The Q♠ 5♣ 4♥ flop held out a little hope for konradinho, but the K♦ turn and A♣ river dashed it, sending the Polish player to the rail in 9th place ($380.73).
Just three hands later the two biggest stacks at the table would clash preflop, each with a big starting hand. The action opened with Switzerland's Soonofpok raising to 1.5M in middle position with A♣ K♥. The United Kingdom's Mércurial responded on the button with an all-in move for 14.7M chips with J♣ J♦. Soonofpok called and jumped into the lead with a pair of aces when the flop came down A♦ 3♦ 7♦, but Mércurial picked up a lot of outs. The 7♥ on the turn wasn't one of them, but the J♥ on the river was. That shipped the 22.32M-chip pot to Mércurial and eliminated Soonofpok in 8th place ($559.90).
Blinds and antes soon moved to 300K/600K/75K and the seven remaining players, only one of whom had more than 20 big blinds, agreed to discuss a deal. There was some tough haggling over the next 20 minutes but they eventually came to an agreement loosely based on chip stacks. With that out of the way, play resumed - and things moved very quickly.
With money mostly decided, the players stacked up like so:
Seat 2: stevenkstyle (3,878,856 in chips)
Seat 3: cleanerchen (1,747,496 in chips)
Seat 4: Mércurial (26,491,388 in chips)
Seat 5: tciiiiiiiii (9,508,340 in chips)
Seat 7: bezerdicova1 (6,443,748 in chips)
Seat 8: forstuvning (5,244,852 in chips)
Seat 9: \_/$\_/A&753 (2,675,320 in chips)
Six hands after that the player with the shortest stack, Germany's cleanerchen, moved in for 1.62M with K♣ J♠. Russia's bezerdicova1 called on the button with A♥ Q♣, and the 3♦ 7♠ 6♥ 9♦ 4♣ board changed nothing. With that cleanerchen was gone in 7th place ($1,920.46).
Two hands later Denmark's forstuvning suffered a setback with 3♠ 3♦ against Australia's stevenkstyle, whose 5♠ 5♥ held up to win the 5.03M-chip pot. That dropped forstuvning to just 2.15M chips and the Dane scrambled to stay afloat. One chance to double up was foiled by a split pot with Mércurial; five hands after that, Mércurial applied the knockout blow with 9♥ 9♦ against forstuvning's K♣ 9♠ to knock the Dane out in 6th place ($3,117.86).
The very next hand was the last of the 300K/600K level and it saw the departure of cryptically-named German player \_/$\_/A&753, who called all-in from the big blind for just 850K with 8♣ 4♥ after tciiiiiiiii raised with K♥ 8♥. The king on the J♠ 9♦ K♠ flop was all tciiiiiiiii needed but the A♣ turn and 9♠ river ran out for good measure as \_/$\_/A&753 left in 5th place ($2,716.92).
A sprint to the finish
Five hands later, with blinds and antes at 400K/800K/100K, the field shrank again as tciiiiiiiii ran into a bit of bad luck:
It's never fun leaving a tournament with cracked aces, but receiving one of the largest shares of the deal thanks to some haggling had to make it easier for tciiiiiiiii to finish in 4th place ($4,401.05).
That 22.81M-chip pot gave bezerdicova1 a slight lead over Mércurial, and the two butted heads on the very next hand:
After that foul ball, bezerdicova1's next swing was a home run. The Russian player raised to 2.4M from the small blind and then called when stevenkstyle moved all-in for 7.05M from the big blind with K♠ T♠. The A♥ J♠ in bezerdicova1's hand was never threatened on a board reading 3♦ 9♥ 8♣ 5♠ 4♥ and stevenkstyle left in 3rd place ($2,708.89).
bezerdicova1 was ahead 31.68M to 24.3M as heads-up play began and increased that margin by 10M on the first hand without having to go any further than the 5♣ 8♠ Q♣ flop. Two hands later the whole tournament would come to a close after Mércurial moved all-in for 16.53M before the flop with 9♣ 8♣ and bezerdicova1 called with Q♦ 9♦. The 8♠ 9♠ 7♥ T♠ Q♠ gave the Russian player the pot, the extra $500 left on the table for the winner, the champion's hat, and 100 points on the MicroMillions 4 Player of the Series leaderboard.
MicroMillions 4 Event #38: $5.50 NL Hold'em
$25,000 guaranteed prize pool
1,440 places paid
$55,990 total prize pool
1st place: bezerdicova1 (Russia) $4,761.40*
2nd place: Mércurial (United Kingdom) $5,802.89*
3rd place: stevenkstyle (Australia) $2,708.89*
4th place: tciiiiiiiii (Germany) $4,401.05*
5th place: \_/$\_/A&753 (Germany) $2,716.92*
6th place: forstuvning (Denmark) $3,117.86*
7th place: cleanerchen (Germany) $1,920.46*
8th place: Soonofpok (United Kingdom) $550.90
9th place: konradinho (Poland) $380.73
* - denotes result of a seven-way deal
MicroMillions 4 is now in full swing! Almost half of the remaining 62 events have guaranteed prize pools of at least $25,000 - and those guarantees tend to fall over pretty regularly. That's an awful lot of prize money up for grabs on a very small investment.