MicroMillions 4: priner11 antes up victory in Event #25 ($3.30 NLHE Ante Up)
One of the more unique beasts in tournament poker is the "Ante Up" tournament. It's the one where the blinds stay the same while the antes go up, and up, and up.
"What do you mean the blinds stay the same? That sounds great!" I hear you cry. Well yes, it's certainly less threatening than seeing those huge blinds rolling around every orbit, but beware, the ante up tournament is a silent killer. Lurking in the darkness, the ante quietly devours your chip stack every single hand. If you sit back and wait, you'll find your stack gone before you know it!
It's also a game that defies the usual trends of your every day multi-table tournament as we discovered when play reached a gruelling short-handed period. However Canada's priner11 was able to remain tough, and with a little luck at the right times, pulled off an impressive victory.
It was Event #25 of the MicroMillions 4 series with 6,968 players coming together for the $3.30 No Limit Holdem Ante Up tournament. The prize pool reached $20,904 which was more than double the guarantee.
PokerStars Team Online member Tyler Frost continued his MicroMillions campaign but couldn't get much going in this one, while Brazilian minipokerrr was the unlucky bubble in 901st place as the remaining 900 players reached a minimum score of $5.43.
As the players dropped away we spotted 2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker again finishing in the money in the MicroMillions with his 502nd place collecting $7.10.
When rmg1919 was anted out in 10th place, the final table line up was formed as follows:
Final Table Line up
Seat 1: x£ivex (9,594,224 in chips)
Seat 2: johnfe33 (4,425,525 in chips)
Seat 3: cameron1199 (658,230 in chips)
Seat 4: lionelnc (1,003,612 in chips)
Seat 5: BTpokerface (1,468,118 in chips)
Seat 6: lovegoias (5,226,030 in chips)
Seat 7: priner11 (8,713,238 in chips)
Seat 8: dubstu (911,679 in chips)
Seat 9: EL]ST0RM056 (2,839,344 in chips)
x£ivex held the chip lead but it was EL]ST0RM056 who landed the first major blow, collecting a double up with Q♥Q♠ on a baby flop against lovegoias' T♠T♦.
priner11 climbed to the top with a big clash with x£ivex who check-raised the flop, and fired barrels on the turn and river on the board of Q♦2♠9♦A♣9♠. priner11 quickly called with A♠Q♣ for top two pair as x£ivex showed K♦T♦ for a busted straight-flush draw.
dubstu and lionelnc were also both able to secure double ups as it took some time before we lost our first player from the final table.
In fact, almost 30 minutes of play expired before we saw our first final table elimination. lovegoias moved all in preflop with J♦9♠ and was called by johnfe33's 5♠5♣. The race went the way of the pockets as the 8♠K♥6♣3♥K♣ board left lovegoias heading to the rail in 9th place for $162.00 in prize money.
BTpokerface was trying hard to survive and climb a pay jump or two. At one point, BTpokerface had anted down to less than a single ante, but survived the all-in against seven other opponents. However the relief was only temporary. BTpokerface anted down once again to be all in with an above-average A♥J♦ but priner11 raised to isolate with a dominant A♠K♦. The board was spread Q♥K♣7♠A♦4♦ to give printer11 the pot and eliminate BTpokerface in 8th place for a $250.84 collect.
dubstu was in a similar predicament and anted down to the point of no return. dubstu was all in preflop for less than one ante with 7♠2♥ which was never a threat to priner11's J♦J♣ with the board running out Q♠8♥5♦9♠T♥. priner11 claimed another victim to increase the chip lead while dubstu's pay jump earned $459.88 for 7th place.
The eliminations started to come thick and fast as the short stacks took their chances to try and double up. x£ivex moved all in from early position with 3♣3♠ and action folded around to EL]ST0RM056 in the big blind who was happy to rumble in the big blind with A♦8♣. The board of 5♠A♠A♣J♦K♦ smacked EL]ST0RM056 hard with trip aces to leave x£ivex out in 6th place for a $668.92 score.
cameron1199 was next to fall as another short stack met a fatal blow. cameron1199 held K♠9♦ but lionelnc's A♠6♦ was too good on the board of 8♥5♦A♦J♥6♣. Two pair for lionelnc as $877.96 went the way of cameron1199 for a 5th place finish.
EL]ST0RM056 tossed up the idea of a four-handed deal, and the other short stacks seemed interested, but priner11 held a massive chip lead and remained silent - clearly eyeing off the top prize. And before anything further was discussed priner11 had reduced the equation from four to three:
lionelnc got it in with the best hand but priner11 caught running kings to improve to a full house to eliminate yet another player. lionelnc's 4th place was good for $1,149.72 in prize money.
priner11 held a big chip lead three-handed but the two opponents weren't going to go down without a fight. EL]ST0RM056 landed a double up through the chip leader with J♦J♣ improving to a full house to better priner11's K♣T♣, before johnfe33 got in on the act with Q♣J♣ pairing the queen to better priner11's 6♣6♥.
It only got worse for priner11 as another preflop clash saw priner11 run 3♦3♣ into EL]ST0RM056's A♥A♦. The board fell J♥4♦6♦K♣8♥ and suddenly it was game on!
Play tightened up between the three players, and it wasn't until priner11 was able to get three streets of value with ace-jack that johnfe33 was back under pressure as the short stack.
johnfe33 tried to recover with a shove holding Q♦9♦ but priner11 made the call with 2♠K♠ which was enough to take it down on the 3♣6♠T♣J♦2♥ board. A great run by johnfe33 came to an end in 3rd place for $1,672.32.
Heads-up chip counts
Seat 7: priner11 (22,080,445 in chips)
Seat 9: EL]ST0RM056 (12,759,555 in chips)
Now we're a big fan of the Ante Up format, but there appears to be a fundamental flaw in the game which is exposed when play reaches heads-up. Remember the blinds don't go up, just the antes. So when there are fewer players, there are less chips in the pot. You still pay the same ante every hand, but instead of nine antes in the pot to compete for, there are only two. Of course, you only have one opponent to worry about, but the game actually gets smaller. The betting is smaller and the pots are smaller, which somewhat goes against the natural progression of tournaments to get bigger as the tournament progresses.
It's a weird situation that was clearly illustrated in this tournament as priner11 and EL]ST0RM056 entered into an epic heads-up war of attrition.
As we already explained, the pots were mostly small, with the most interesting hand in the early stages seeing EL]ST0RM056 hold top pair to pick off a triple-barrel bluff from priner11.
The game-changing hand finally arrived and it took some big cards and a brutal suckout:
EL]ST0RM056 and the pocket rockets were one card away from victory but a devastating king on the river saw the game swing back in favour of priner11.
From there, EL]ST0RM056 managed two double ups, but after almost one hour of heads-up play, the final hand was dealt. EL]ST0RM056 moved all in preflop with J♥9♣ but priner11 called with A♠9♠ to have EL]ST0RM056 in bad shape. The community cards brought a straight draw but ultimately the 8♣5♥5♣T♥T♣ board saw EL]ST0RM056 fall at the final hurdle in 2nd place for $2,351.70 as priner11 was crowned MicroMillions champion, receiving $3,184.01 for a fine tournament.
MicroMillions 4 Event #25 Results
Prize pool: $20,904
Places paid: 900
1st priner11 (Canada) - $3,184.01
2nd EL]ST0RM056 (Russia) - $2,351.70
3rd johnfe33 (Colombia) - $1,672.32
4th lionelnc (New Caledonia) - $1,149.72
5th cameron1199 (Australia) - $877.96
6th x£ivex (United Kingdom) - $668.92
7th dubstu (United Kingdom) - $459.88
8th BTpokerface (Canada) - $250.84
9th lovegoias (Brazil) - $162.00
There's over $5 million guaranteed during the fourth MicroMillions series, with 100 fantastic events running until March 24th across a wide range of poker disciplines. Head to the MicroMillions 4 home page to see the full schedule as well as statistics, coverage, leaderboards and much more.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.