MicroMillions 4: hyperjoa KOs the competition in Event 74, $8.80 NLHE (4-max, SuperKnockout)

The fewer the number of players at a poker table, the more the game rewards aggression. At the same time one has to be careful not to become too aggressive without paying attention to one's opponents, who can begin laying traps that can end a tournament run in the wrong situation.

It's exactly that balancing act that make 4-max tournaments like Event 74 of MicroMillions 4 such a rush to play. If anybody needed a second hook, though, they could find it in the tournament's SuperKnockout format. Half of each player's buy-in went to fund a bounty on his head, giving even players who didn't end up cashing for a portion of the regular prize pool a chance to earn something for their time. That was attractive enough to draw 9,104 players, building a $38,236 prize pool and $38,236 bounty pool. The first was to be split among the top 1,200 players; the latter, whoever stepped up to take it.

Greece's dimiscooper collected 13 knockouts for a $54.60 prize, the most of any player who failed to finish in the top 1,200. Others who collected plenty of bounties without finishing deep in the tourney included New Zealand's bmwolf7000 (627th place, 14 KOs), South Korea's kuhat (106th place, 14 KOs), Russia's AlisaNoPro (264th place, 17 KOs), India's a1379 (77th place, 18 KOs), and Canada's smokeybear1 (165th place, 18 KOs).

By 3:08 p.m. ET the blinds and antes were up to 80K/160K/20K and the field had been narrowed down to two tables with three players each. With a five-handed final table format, only one of the remaining players would be left on the outside looking in. That turned out to be Taiwan's WayneHan9, who left in 6th place ($329.60) on this hand:

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That left these five players to vie for the top prize:

MicroMillions 4 - Event 74 final table.jpg

Seat 1: Delaruu (20,807,660 in chips, 17 KOs)
Seat 2: hyperjoa (6,659,727 in chips, 17 KOs)
Seat 3: berek71 (6,689,385 in chips, 10 KOs)
Seat 4: aJersch (6,931,708 in chips, 5 KOs)
Seat 5: LeVadv (4,431,520 in chips, 14 KOs)

Only four of the first 15 hands made it to the flop. Most of those pots were won by the shorter stacks: five by Norway's hyperjoa, four by Greece's LeVadv, two by Germany's aJersch, and just one by Poland's berek71. Finally, on the 16th hand, the balance tipped. aJersch opened for the minimum raise of 320K and LeVadv shoved in the cutoff for 3.94M with A♣ J♠. It was an easy call for aJersch with A♦ A♥ when the action came back around. The board ran out J♦ 2♥ 4♠ 9♣ 6♣, aJersch chipped up top 9.95M, and LeVadv became the final table's first casualty in 5th place ($586.98).

Four-handed proving ground

Play was now back to the four-handed format that had been in play up to the final table, For 50 hands nobody fell too far behind, nobody made any panicky moves, and everyone showed exactly why they had made it so far. Nobody was particularly short-stacked - berek71, owner of the smallest stack at 6.72M chips, had 43 big blinds to work with, while chip leader Delaruu (19.81M) of the Netherlands had almost 124 big blinds to work with. So the hands ran the gamut, from raise-and-take-it and three-bet pots before the flop to steals on the flop and turn and even the occasional showdown.

Finally, with the blinds and antes at 125K/250K/31.25K and K♥ 9♠ in hand, berek71 decided to make a move and shoved all 4.28M chips in the middle from first position. It was almost good enough to win the pot but hyperjoa called in the big blind with Q♣ Q♠. One 3♦ 9♥ 7♠ 3♠ 3♣ board later, the tournament had ended for berek71 in 4th place ($879.76).

At three they deal

Two hands later the tournament was paused for the last three players to hash out a deal. There was just a bit of haggling before they came to an agreement, and 10 minutes after berek71's departure they were back in action, stacked like so:

MicroMillions 4 - Event 74 final table three-handed deal.jpg

Seat 1: Delaruu (21,497,460 in chips)
Seat 2: hyperjoa (13,884,188 in chips)
Seat 4: aJersch (10,138,352 in chips)

With the deal out of the way, the three were playing for the $300 left on the table, plus a champion's hat and some Player of the Series leaderboard points. There wasn't a huge sense of urgency for anybody in particular, but aJersch began to feel some pressure after a run-in with hyperjoa. aJersch opened the betting with a minimum raise to 600K and hyperjoa came along from the big blind to see a flop of J♥ A♦ 6♥. hyperjoa check-called a 600K bet and then check-called another 1.15M after the J♣ came on the turn. The river came the 8♥ and hyperjoa was able to take the pot down with a bet of 1.3M into the 4.97M-chip pot.

On the very next hand Delaruu opened for a minimum raise of 600K on the button and aJersch shoved from the big blind for 8.02M, holding 7♥ 7♦. Delaruu called with T♦T♣, the board came 2♠ J♥ 6♠ 8♣ 4♦, and aJersch was out in 3rd place ($2,055.92).

The final duel

The table was tilted in Delaruu's favor as the heads-up match began between the two players who collected more bounties during the tournament than anybody else:

Seat 1: Delaruu (29,274,562 in chips)
Seat 2: hyperjoa (16,245,438 in chips)

hyperjoa had 54 big blinds to work with and took down most of the first 12 pots without getting out of line. The 13th hand would prove to be an unlucky one for Delaruu. After hyperjoa opened for a mininum raise to 600K, Delaruu three-bet to 1.5M with A♠ T♠; hyperjoa then shoved for 18.08M with 6♣ 6♦and Delaruu called, leaving 9.27M behind. The board fell 3♥ 3♣ 5♥ J♦ Q♦, and the 36.24M-chip pot went to hyperjoa.

That reversal left Delaruu behind by almost a 4-to-1 margin. The Dutch player didn't panic, though, and within eight hands had turned those 30 big blinds into 53 after A♥ K♥ held up against hyperjoa's A♦ 7♦ on a board of A♠ 6♠ 6♥ J♦ 4♣. Delaruu managed to chip up as high as 18.44M, but on the 30th hand of heads-up play that deficit - plus a perfect flop - would prove to much to overcome.

Delaruu opened the betting with a minimum raise to 800K on the button and hyperjoa called to see a flop of 8♣ Q♣ T♦. hyperjoa checked and Delaruu bet 600K; then hyperjoa check-raised to 1.2M, Delaruu moved all-in for 9.4M, and hyperjoa called. The Norwegian player had flopped a straight with J♣ 9♥, well ahead of top pair for Delaruu's A♥ Q♠. The 3♠ turn and 7♠ river provided no help at all, and with that the tournament was complete.

Delaruu claimed $2,865.83 from the three-way deal and added 18 knockouts, tied for the second-most in the tournament. The only player to collect more was the player who collected Delaruu's bounty: the champion, hyperjoa. The Norwegian player piled up 20 knockouts to go along with a $2,600.40 share of the deal, setting a new personal all-time best in a PokerStars tournament by more than $700. That's a pretty good payday after coming from behind at the final table to claim the win.

MicroMillions 4 Event #74: $8.80 NL Hold'em (4-Max, SuperKnockout)
$15,000 guaranteed prize pool
9,104 entrants
1,200 places paid
$38,236 prize pool, $38,236 bounty pool

1st place: hyperjoa (Norway) $2,600.40 + 20 KOs @ $4.20/ea. = $2,684.40*
2nd place: Delaruu (Netherlands) $2,865.83 + 18 KOs = $2,940.93*
3rd place: aJersch (Germany) $2,055.92 + 6 KOs = $2,081.12*
4th place: berek71 (Poland) $837.76 + 10 KOs = $879.76
5th place: LeVadv (Greece) $528.18 + 14 KOs = $586.98
* - denotes result of a three-way deal

With just two days left, MicroMillions 4 is coming to a close. Just 26 more events remain and Germany's misc87 leads the Player of the Series race. Despite not having finished any higher than 76th place in any single event, misc87 has cashed consistently enough to rank above double-event winner ruslanmd and nine others who have cashed in a couple of dozen tournaments apiece. A lot can still change with two days of play left.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions