MicroMillions 4: ruslanmd comes from behind to win Event 55, $2.20 NLHE

Two dollars can't buy very much these days. Not a movie ticket, a gallon of gas, or even a beer at your local bar. But what it can buy you is something potentially lot more valuable than any of those things: a shot at a huge return on your investment in the PokerStars MicroMillions 4.

That's what was on the line in Event 55, a $2.20 NL hold'em freezeout. With such a small buy-in and a simple structure the tournament appealed to all sorts of players. In all, 12,120 of them turned up, building a $24,240 prize pool worth almost two and a half times the guarantee. A top prize of $3,378.77 was set aside for the winner.

The final table began at 1:40 p.m. ET, with blinds and antes at 125K/250K/31.25K and these nine players looking to win their way into the ranks of MicroMillions champions:

MicroMillions 4 - Event 55 final table.jpg

Seat 1: jjookkkeerr (9,156,493 in chips)
Seat 2: deve24 (8,951,376 in chips)
Seat 3: cindy483 (9,804,522 in chips)
Seat 4: vippilot64 (2,621,589 in chips)
Seat 5: Frank999999 (7,156,419 in chips)
Seat 6: ruslanmd (3,641,234 in chips)
Seat 7: Romich702 (10,056,282 in chips)
Seat 8: robonky (3,127,734 in chips)
Seat 9: unclecoca (6,084,351 in chips)

Things go wonky for robonky

With no clear separation at either bottom of the leaderboard or the top, there was bound to be a clash in the early going. Throw a big preflop hand and another one of moderate strength and you get what happened on the very first hand of the final table. Moldova's ruslanmd opened the betting with near-minimum raise to 522K, after which the Netherlands' robonky moved all-in for 3.59M on the button with A♠ J♠. The blinds both folded and ruslanmd happily called with K♥ K♣. After the board came 7♦ 8♣ 8♥ 7♠ 4♣ robonky was left with just 17,750 chips. That didn't even cover the ante on the next hand, and after being forced all-in and losing with a random hand the Dutch player left in 9th place ($152.71).

vippilot64 can't stick the landing

The blinds went up to 150K/300K with a 37.5K ante six hands later, but it didn't encourage any more action. Everybody was playing close to the vest, waiting for the short-stacked vippilot64 to bust out. It took a while, but the Russian player finally ended up all-in before the flop with A♥ J♥ against the J♣ J♦ of Australia's unclecoca. The 7♠ A♦ K♠ flop was good news for vippilot64, but the J♠ on the turn left the Russian drawing dead. The 6♥ on the river made vippilot64's departure official in 8th place ($242.40).

Germany's Frank999999 was near the bottom in chips and looked to be one of the main candidates to bust out next, but some good timing - and card-dodging - paid off in this hand:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

That was the last major hand of the 150K/300K/37.5K level, but the 200K/400K blinds didn't have much more success in moving the action. The first 14 pots were all taken down before the flop. Short-stacked Romich702 of the Ukraine was the first to be put at risk on the new level after trying to steal on the button with 9♠ 8♣. Russian player jjookkkeerr called from the big blind with A♥ J♠, but the 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 8♥ J♦ board kept Romich702 alive. Five hands later the Ukrainian doubled up again, this time to 13.58M at the expense of unclecoca with A♦ Q♠ against A♥ J♦.

Kings end the day for cindy483

The very next hand saw unclecoca at risk with T♣ 7♣ against German player cindy483's A♣ Q♥, but the 7♠ 9♥ 2♥ 8♣ K♥ board kept the Australian alive with an 8.16M-chip pot. The next hand saw cindy483 open the betting in second position with an all-in move for 2.47M, holding Q♦ J♦, only to have ruslanmd wake up with K♠ K♣ in the cutoff. The 8♦ 9♠ 8♥ flop held out hope of an inside straight, but the 6♠ turn and 9♥ river were blanks and cindy483 left in 7th place ($484.80).

Bad luck sinks Romich702

There was no more significant action until the 250K/500K/62.5K level, when Romich702 and unclecoca would clash in the next big confrontation. Romich702 started the betting by opening for 1.1M in the cutoff, and unclecoca called on the button to see a flop of 4♥ 6♣ 3♠. Romich702 bet 1.4M into the 3.32M-chip pot and unclecoca called, bringing the 7♦ on the turn. This time Romich702 checked, then raised all-in for 10.22M after unclecoca bet 3M. Romich702 called and turned up A♦ A♣, while unclecoca held 6♥ 6♠ for the flopped set. The J♥ on the river sent the 22.47M-chip pot to unclecoca and left his Ukrainian opponent with just 2.04M chips.

Romich702 would split one pot and double up twice on the 250K/500K/62.5K level, but being behind on chips finally took its toll as it was winding down. The Ukrainian player ended up all-in before the flop with A♠ Q♠, in great position against jjookkkeerr's K♠ Q♥, but the board came down 9♥ K♣ 5♠ 7♦ 4♠ and Romich702 was out in 6th place ($727.20).

Fifth for Frank999999

With blinds up to 300K/600K with a 75K ante, Frank999999 was the short stack with just under five big blinds. Sitting in the small blind with 300K already committed, the German played moved all-in for 2.79 after unclecoca opened for 1.5M under the gun. The Australian called and showed A♣ 9♥, which was already ahead of Frank999999's Q♥ J♦ but paired on the 4♠ A♥ 8♠ to jump further into the lead. The K♥ presented a few more outs, but the J♥ was the end and Frank999999 finished in 5th place ($969.60).

deve24 wasn't going anywhere

The new short stack, Switzerland's deve24, didn't suffer the same fate as the last few had. Sitting in the big blind, deve24 moved all-in for 9.87M chips after jjookkkeerr raised to 1.8M in the small blind. The Russian called with A♠ K♣ and took the lead on the 5♣ A♥ 7♣ flop, but deve24's 6♣ 6♠ caught a set on the 6♦ turn. The river was the 7♦, deve24 won the 20.05M-chip pot, and just like that jjookkkeerr was the short stack with just 3.28M chips.

Before anybody could worry about taking out the short stack, two of the bigger ones would tangle in a pot that changed the course of the final table. unclecoca opened the betting for 2.4M under the gun and then called when ruslanmd shoved for 14.66M in the big blind. unclecoca's 7♠ 7♣ couldn't crack ruslanmd's J♥ J♣ on the A♠ 2♣ 9♠ 9♦ Q♣ board, and the Moldovan player became the new chip leader with 29.93M.

jjookkkeerr's set comes to an end

Three hands afterward the action folded to jjookkkeerr in the small blind and the Russian player moved all-in for 3.85M with T♠ 2♥. With 18.55M chips and plenty of margin for error, deve24 called with A♦ 5♥. The 2♦ T♦ 5♦ flop gave jjookkkeerr two pair, and the {js] was safe, but the A♥ on the river gave deve24 the bigger two pair. With that, jjookkkeerr was out in 4th place for a career-best score of $1,212.

unclecoca chews on third

The scales were now stacked heavily against unclecoca, who held just 6.65M to the 30.6M of ruslanmd and 23.34M of deve24. The Australian player held on for a bit, staying afloat by stealing blinds, but about 10 hands after jjookkkeerr's departure this hand came up:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

That left unclecoca with no chips, ending the Australian player's run in 3rd place. The $1,696.80 was biggest yet unclecoca by more nearly $1,300.

A brief duel

The blinds were still at 300K/600K with a 75K ante as the heads-up match began with both players within ten big blinds of one another:

Seat 2: deve24 (27,976,932 in chips)
Seat 6: ruslanmd (32,623,068 in chips)

ruslandmd struck the first blow without even having to see a board card after deve24 opened for a raise to 1.26M on the button; ruslanmd raised to 3.1M and took down the pot with an all-in move after deve24 made it four bets for 7.2M.

That gave ruslanmd a 2-to-1 lead, and within moments it paid off. Once again deve24 opened for 1.26M on the button, and ruslanmd responded with a reraise to 3.1M. Then deve24 shoved for 19.27M, holding K♦ 2♣, but the timing was bad because the Moldovan player held 8♠ 8♥. The board fell 9♠ 8♦ 3♥ 6♦ 7♠, giving ruslanmd a set of eights, the pot, and the tournament.

deve24 earned $2,424 for 2nd place, ranking 12th on the Australian player's all-time list of cashes. As for ruslanmd, the $3,378.77 for first place was the fifth-largest score of the Moldovan player's career, but it takes over as the most ruslanmd has ever earned for an outright tournament victory. Not bad for having one of the shortest stacks as the final table started!

MicroMillions 4 Event #55: $2.20 NL Hold'em
$10,000 guaranteed prize pool
12,120 entrants
1,530 places paid
$24,240 total prize pool

1st place: ruslanmd (Moldova) $3,378.77
2nd place: deve24 (Australia) $2,424.00
3rd place: unclecoca (Australia) $1,696.80
4th place: jjookkkeerr (Russia) $1,212.00
5th place: Frank999999 (Germany) $969.60
6th place: Romich702 (Ukraine) $727.20
7th place: cindy482 (Germany) $484.40
8th place: vippilot64 (Russia) $242.40
9th place: robonky (Netherlands) $152.71

Even the shortest stack in the tournament at any given moment still has a chance of winning. That's true regardless of whether you're playing in an everyday tourney, a satellite, or a MicroMillions 4 event - though with only four more days left on the schedule, that last part won't remain true for long.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions