MicroMillions 4: Nothing certain but death and IRS.rus, winner of Event #91 ($5.50 Razz)
If there are only a handful of certainties in life, tax is one of them. Or, if you were playing Razz in Event #91 of MicroMillions 4, that would be IRS.rus. The Russian was unstoppable on his way to a first prize of $1,645.25 (tax free) today, topping a field of 1,879. Just like in any dealings with the IRS, there's only ever one winner, and IRS.rus was brutal in proving that.
Such was IRS.rus's mastery evading him became a necessity. Never once did IRS.rus give up the lead after acquiring it ten minutes into the 53 minute final. The game was Razz, one of the more esoteric variations of the game which is essentially Seven Card Stud played low only. The best ace-to-five low poker hand is what players look for from the seven cards they're dealt, three of which arrive face down. IRS.rus found these with ruthless efficiency, securing the title and a top prize from a guarantee busting prize pool of $9,395.00.
Final table begins
Paying off IRS.rus today was a final table of seven others:
Seat 1. IRS.rus - $1,090,650
Seat 2. Romanzio - $841,157
Seat 3. Payup - $873,648
Seat 4. Timmm333 - $138,232
Seat 5. Barcelona bl - $838,238
Seat 6. Kaffeeteufel - $1,843,492
Seat 7. KinderS1990 - $1,756,519
Seat 8. Masquerade X - $1,899,064
Masquerade X led coming into the final with 1.9 million, but the advantage was quickly taken by KinderS1990 in the opening minute, with blinds of 80,000-160,000 and an ante of 16,000.
Not much to go around
Timmm333 departed first in eighth place, showing 8♣2♦4♥Q♠2♠7♥8♦ at showdown which was easily beaten by Romanzio's low of 9♦7♦5♠4♦2♥9♠7♣.
Two minutes later Barcelona bl followed after being initially crippled by IRS.rus. Barcelona bl then got his chips in with a nine-high low, but ran into Romanzio's nuts, so to speak. Romanzio showed 3♦5♠ J♣A♣2♣4♥K♠ for the wheel.
Nearly a quarter of an hour would pass before the next elimination, during which IRS.rus began to put some distance between himself and the next player (a tax break?). Hands grew slightly predictable and there was little scope for finesse with the big blind at 200,000 and most stacks hovering around the ten big bet mark.
Dodging the bring in
But Razz isn't a game that depends necessarily on the number of big blinds. All you need is the bring-in, paid by the player dealt the highest face-up card on third street (aces are low). If you could successfully dodge that for as long as possible your chances of hanging on improved considerably (tax dodging?) No one was better at this than Payup who, down to 79,000 held on, then doubled-up to nearly 300,000. But inevitably IRS.rus came calling, so too Romanzio.
Soon IRS.rus was up to 4.7 million. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the scale Masquerade X and KinderS1990 were doing all they could to get by on 200,000 and 400,000 respectively, avoiding unnecessary confrontations. Tax sheltering?
Masquerade X would leave in fifth place. All in for 77,416, IRS.rus called. Masquerade X was dealt 4♣5♠K♣T♥K♠K♥4♥, a dismal hand, while IRS.rus showed a pot winning 6♥J♠2♣2♠7♣2♥8♦.
By now IRS.rus had more than 60 per cent of the chips in play. Looking to end things amicably, and perhaps spotting the writing on the wall, KinderS1990 sought a peaceful settlement.
KinderS1990: "deal pls give me some $$$$."
It was one of those hopelessly optimistic steps taken by people in all kinds of hopeless situations. So we can only hope he wasn't disappointed when he went completely ignored. But would KinderS1990 have the last laugh? Soon all in, KinderS1990 suddenly found two callers.
And so KinderS1990, one of three Russians in the final four, tried again.
KinderS1990: "Ruskie help need $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$"
You couldn't help feeling the message was tinged with comprehensive desperation. He was greeted by silence from his opposition numbers.
So as the big blind increased to $320,000 they played on. Romanzio doubled with a ten-high low against KinderS1990's king-high equivalent, then the roles were reversed, KinderS1990 too doubling when he showed 6♥J♥A♦5♠2♣8♥3♦ against Romanzio's A♣7♣T♦4♣4♠4♥9♦.
Romanzio wasn't done, however, getting his chips in before the break against Kaffeeteufel, with 8♥T♠A♣4♠9♣T♥Q♦, and winning when Kaffeeteufel showed 7♣3♠J♠2♠8♦2♥8♠.
There would be further double-ups, Kaffeeteufel getting his own back through Romanzio. Both showed nine-high lows, but Kaffeeteufel's 9-6-5-4-2 marginally topped Romanzio's 9-8-7-2-A. Then minutes later Kaffeeteufel was back up to 1.9 million when he got two callers.
This period of economic recklessness was quickly brought under control by IRS.rus, who promptly dispatched KinderS1990 in fourth place. KinderS1990 was all-in on fourth street, with IRS.rus there at the showdown with an eight-high low hand, to KinderS1990 nine-high.
It would soon be heads-up when Romanzio departed, again at the insistence of IRS.rus. Romanzio was all-in on third street and eventually showed 4♣Q♠A♣3♣A♦T♠5♦. But IRS.rus had that beaten, showing 7♣4♥T♥6♣3♠4♠A♠.
An appointment with the tax man
IRS.rus - 7.6 million
Kaffeeteufel - 1.6 million
Could a strong Kaffeeteufel overturn the unstoppable IRS.rus? It seemed unlikely. When the host came up in the chat box to congratulate them both on reaching the last stage he wished them luck, but it seemed to be directed solely at Kaffeeteufel whose task seemed impossible.
The final scrap lasted seven minutes as Kaffeeteufel looked for an edge. He never really found one, even after doubling up, and both players were unwilling to risk much with nothing - a series of 11 hands going uncontested at one stage.
Then, holding around 80 per cent of the chips, IRS.rus cleaned up
In hindsight it had been inevitable. IRS.rus had been unstoppable, a guaranteed factor of life, if only for Event #91 of MicroMillions. A great performance by IRS.rus and who knows, maybe in Russian "IRS" means "Inevitable Razz Success"? Regardless, congratulations to a great champion.
MicroMillions 4 Event #91 $5.50 Razz Results
Prize pool: $9,395 ($5,000 gtd)
Places paid: 240
1st. IRS.rus (Russia) - $1,645.25
2nd. kaffeeteufel (Canada) - $1,174.37
3rd. Romazio (Russia) - $892.52
4th. KinderS1990 (Russia) - $657.65
5th. Masquerade X (Germany) - $469.75
6th. payup (New Zealand) - $281.85
7th. barcelona bl (Finland) - $187.90
8th. timmm333 (Russia) - $93.95
There are only a few more opportunities to get among the MicroMillions action with the massive $1 million guaranteed Main Event rounding out the series tomorrow. Head to the MicroMillions 4 home page to see the full schedule as well as statistics, coverage, leader boards and much more.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter