MicroMillions 4: Golden Oldie 88 wins Event #81 ($5.50 PL Omaha 6-Max)
It wasn't always pretty watching Event #81. At times it looked more like chess to poker, with a complicated battle of attrition taking place on the table that seemed never ending. But one player had them all beat by a generation. For today Oldie 88 did everything the holy game of pot-limit Omaha demands of its winners, and right now will be enjoying the look of the first prize of $2,233.57 resting in his PokerStars account. Sometimes the old ones really are the best.
Oldie 88 led with two tables remaining. He led beyond that too, looking certain to claim a first Micro Millions Crown ahead of a field of 2,834 that had broken the $10,000 guarantee to leave $14,170 in the prize pool. But poker is not without hiccups and Oldie 88, like all charismatic old-timers, was forced to spend a period of the final in the wilderness, before being finally triumphant.
There is no reason to suspect Oldie 88 is a person of age, but it was comforting to think that somewhere in Germany, a man looking at a computer screen, through reading glasses on a chain around his neck, wearing a sweater and slippers, was quietly destroying the opposition in one of the most volatile games there is. If Oldie88 is an 18-year-old math whizz, I don't want to know.
Oldie 88 leads at the start of the final table
His opponent heads-up was b.shalai, who had played a careful waiting game as Oldie 88, and third place finisher Roysai battled for the soul of the tournament. As you'll see below, this was no straight forward procession and Roysai may well feel that third place was not befitting of his performance.
The final table line-up
Seat 1. H4ANGOV3R - 467,294
Seat 2. Oldie 88 - 7332598
Seat 3. Olsen83 - 2536598
Seat 4. B.shalai - 1805534
Seat 5. Oleg Schahty - 329432
Seat 6. Roysai - 1578544
The final took an hour and four minutes to complete, which for a six-handed PLO event seemed length. Oldie 88 knocked out leepoker2011 in seventh place to push his stack up to 7.3 million, more than 50 per cent of the chips in play.
Time to get moving
With blinds at 40,000-80,000 short stack Oleg Schahty got his chips in on the first hand, doubling up when his pair of jacks proved good against H4ANGOV3R. It proved to be the penultimate hand for H4ANGOV3R who, reduced to just 137,800 looked down at 4♣A♣K♦6♣. The flop brought a king for H4ANGOV3R but Olsen83, who started the hand with 7♣7♦9♦2♦ rivered a jack high straight.
That left Oleg Schahty in the short position, who doubled through Olsen83, but was still short even after that. Two minutes later he looked down at K♠2♥6♣K♦ and raised all-in against Oldie 88 holding 8♥8♣9♣7♦. The board ran out A♠8♦6♥Q♣3♠ to send the chips to Oldie 88 and Oleg Schahty to the rail in fifth place.
Age shall not weary them
Oldie 88 was now comprehensively ahead with nearly 8 million and seemingly in control, maximising wins and minimising losses. Opposite sat Roysai, quiet up to now, having to nurse a stack that was less than ten big blinds. He'd done that well for 18 minutes. Now began his fight back.
That reduced Oldie 88 to 6.5 million, a stack that was slashed further moments later against Olsen83, who shoved on the 8♦9♣A♦ flop with Q♠J♥T♥T♦. Oldie 88 called with 9♥J♠8♠K♥ but found no help on turn or river. This flurry of activity was not done. Roysai moved in again, making a bigger full house against Olsen83 who would then depart in fourth after another tournament changing hand for Roysai.
Minutes earlier Roysai had been the short stack. Now he was chip leader, sitting with more than 6.8 million chips, ahead of Oldie 88 on 4.9 million and b.shalai on 2.1 million.
b.shalai acted quickly; doubling up to 3 million with a queen high flush against the two pairs of Oldie 88, who was now entering his wilderness phase.
Demand outstrips supply
It was quite clear that Oldie 88 was a capable player, and his efforts to claw back Roysai were effective. But b.shalai was heaving himself back into contention too, creating a demand for chips that could never satisfy everyone.
Roysai - 6 million
Oldie 88 - 4 million
b.shalai - 4 million
And so they each set about digging in for the duration as the big blind reached 160,000. After a series of pots in which he had no option but to fold to a raise on the river, Oldie 88 slipped back into the short stack position. Meanwhile Roysai pushed on to 7 million by the break.
Roysai - 7,279736
Oldie 88 - 2139196
b.shalai - 4751068
It was decision time for Oldie 88 who shoved on a flop of 9♣6♦6♥ with 2♣K♣K♠T♦ against Roysai's J♣9♠J♠Q♣, taking him up to 4 million once more and level pegging shortly after. Then they did it all again. Oldie 88 dropped back into the short stack decision and it was decision time - again. He doubled through Roysai a second time but Roysai's stack seemed immune. But it was hard not to admire the pluck of Oldie 88 - could he really be 88 years old? - for doggedly refusing to quit.
Old dog learns new trick
Then, perhaps after wiping the lenses clean on his reading glasses, Oldie 88 looked down at what is perhaps an old box monitor rather than a flat screen, at his hand: 8♠8♥3♦6♦. Perhaps it was a feeling, maybe it was sciatica, but he was ready to play when Roysai raised pre-flop.
Put simply, it was just like old times. Oldie 88 was back in front, towering over the opposition. Octogenarians were on their feet, maybe, as Oldie 88 socked it to the youngsters. And even when b.shalai drew level it never seemed like his life force would fade, certainly not when he sent the once remarkable Roysai to the rail in third place.
Two minutes later it was all over. Oldie 88, with more than a two-to-one lead, saw of b.shalai after a pre-flop raising war which secured him the title.
The epic saga was now complete. Oldie 88 removed his reading glasses, allowing them to dangle freely around his neck, and no doubt got up to stretch his legs for the first time in more than eight hours. "Ja gut," he might have said, before putting on comfortable shoes to go potter in the garden shed or something.
Regardless of whether this is true or not, Oldie 88 should rank among the most impressive winners of MM4, earning a first prize of $2,233.57 the hard way. Congratulations to him.
MicroMillions 4 Event #81 $5.50 PL Omaha (6-Max) Results
Prize pool: $14,170 ($10,000 gtd)
Places paid: 360
1st. Oldie 88 (Germany) - $2,233.57
2nd. b.shalai (Ukraine) - $1,629.55
3rd. roysai (Malaysia) - $1,204.45
4th. Olsen83 (Denmark) - $779.35
5th. Oleg Schahty (Russia) - $495.95
6th. H4NGOV3R (Germany) - $253.21
The Micromillions has entered its final stages, but there's still plenty of cash to play for. Check out the Micromillions homepage for a list of the remaining events, satellites and the tournament leaderboard. There's still plenty of action left in the Micromillions 4.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter