MicroMillions 5: BlackOps02 goes worst-to-first in Event 37, $3.30 PLO (6-max, 2R1A)

Having the chip lead heading into the final table of a tournament is the ideal situation for any poker player. The freedom to seize opportunities as you see fit rather than having to worry first about whether your cards are strong enough to win at showdown is a huge advantage over those with fewer chips and choices. But having the lead by no means guarantees a win. There's still a line that has to be walked between applying pressure and simply playing too many hands. And the cards, of course, will have their say, whether it's giving an underdog his perfect card or failing to bring home the big stack's monster draw. When all of those factors happen to come together at once, the door can open for even the shortest of stacks to rally for the win.

Event 37 of this MicroMillions series, a $3.30 pot-limit Omaha tournament, ticked all the checkboxes for action lovers. Four starting cards? A prerequisite. Shorthanded format? Check. Re-buys and add-ons? Two and one, respectively. Those selling points attracted 3,361 entrants by the time late registration closed at 5:00 a.m. ET. Together they accounted for 4,114 re-buys and 1,305 add-ons to build a total prize pool of $26,340, with $4,084.38 reserved for the winner.

By 12:07 p.m. the field had been whittled down to six players with the elimination of Hungary's MarkBang in 7th place ($289.74). With blinds at 80K/160K blinds, these players advanced to the final table:

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Seat 1: vorre (4,305,871 in chips)
Seat 2: koyv4s (17,436,240 in chips)
Seat 3: BlackOps02 (2,612,662 in chips)
Seat 4: DreamOnFlop (4,630,312 in chips)
Seat 5: tadukas10 (3,186,123 in chips)
Seat 6: pozdner87 (11,728,792 in chips)

Lithuania's tadukas10 and the Netherlands' BlackOps02 came in with the two shortest stacks. Neither went out of their way early on to get involved, but on Hand #7 of the final table they would end up tangling with one another thanks to some big starting cards. The action actually opened with the incoming chip leader, Greece's koyv4s, raising under the gun to 336K, but BlackOps02 immediately re-raised to 1.24M with A♠ T♠ A♦ A♥. That got a call from tadukas10 on the button and koyv4s folded to bring a flop of 6♥ 2♣ 5♠. BlackOps02 quickly moved all-in for 1.36M; tadukas10, getting a little better than 3-to-1 from the pot, made the call with J♣ T♥ 9♣ 8♥. There were a host of backdoor draws and an inside straight draws that tadukas10 could have hit, but the 5♣ on the turn and 4♥ on the river were blanks and BlackOps02 doubled up to 5.8M.

That left tadukas10 with 909K, worth about five and a half big blinds. All of those chips went in the middle before the flop on Hand #8 with K♥ K♠ Q♠ 2♣ against koyv4s' A♠ K♣ J♥ 8♠. The Lithuanian player was safe on the 9♣ 8♥ 4♠ flop and Q♣ turn, but the J♦ on the river gave koyv4s two pair and sent tadukas10 to the rail in 6th place ($460.95).

The next orbit didn't see too much action, other than a 1.96M-chip pot against Belarus' DreamOnFlop taken down uncontested on the turn by koyv4s. That dropped DreamOnFlop to 3.41M chips, but by Hand #17 the Belarussian player was able to pull ahead into third place in the chip counts thanks to this hand against Sweden's vorre:

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That left vorre with 2.52M chips, plenty of room to work with on the 100K/200K level. The action on the very next hand folded to the Swedish player, who held 8♥ 7♦ 5♠ 4♦ in the small blind. After calling a raise to 600K by koyv4s in the big blind, vorre checked the K♥ 7♠ J♦ flop and koyv4s checked behind. The turn was the 5♦, giving vorre two pair, and the Swede led out for a pot-sized bet of 1.2M.. koyv4s called that bet and the river was the 3♦. vorre's last 725K went in the middle, and koyv4s was happy to call with A♦ 8♦ 4♥ 3♣ for the nut flush. Two pair was no good and vorre was gone in 5th place ($856.05).

The fall of koyv4s

That turned out to be not just the end of the road for vorre, but also the high point for chip leader koyv4s. On Hand #19 the Greek player opened for a raise on the button and was called by BlackOps02 in the small blind, who check-raised the 5♣ 3♠ Q♣ flop to take down a 1.84M-chip pot. On the hand after that, BlackOps02 was on the button and called koyv4s' raise to 420K to see a flop of 8♦ 2♠ 7♠. The chip leader bet 400K into the 1.14M-chip pot, only to be raised to 2.34M by BlackOps02, whose other 3.32M chips went in the middle after koyv4s three-bet holding Q♥ T♣ 9♦ 8♣. That open-ended straight draw was up against BlackOps02's set of eights with A♥ K♥ 8♥ 8♠. The K♣ turn changed nothing, and the 9♣ on the river was enough for BlackOps02 to stack up to 12.46M.

koyv4s was still in the lead with 14.71M chips, but the competition was a lot closer than it had been before. On Hand #25 the Greek player would lose the chip lead for the first time at the final table as Russia's pozdner87 took down this 8.61M-chip pot:

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Two hands later koyv4s dropped another 3M chips when pozdner87 hit an ace-high flush, falling to 8.17M. Hand #30 also went to pozdner87 at koyv4s' expense, dropping the former chip leader to 7.45M. DreamOnFlop got in on the action on Hand #32, winning 2.3M, and BlackOps02won a 3.55M-chip pot from koyv4s on Hand #34. Subsequent losses on Hands #35 and #37 dropped the one-time chip leader to just 1.74M on the 125K/250K blind level.

Three hands later a door opened for koyv4s to get back into the game, in the form of a starting hand of A♠ Q♠ Q♦ J♣. Sitting the small blind, koyv4s three-bet to 1.95M after BlackOps02 opened for 600K. BlackOps02 called that bet and then called koyv4s' 419K all-in bet on the A♦ 5♠ 6♦ flop. The Belarussian player was behind with T♦ T♣ 4♦ 2♣ but had four outs to an inside straight, and the 3♥ on the turn brought that draw home. koyv4s was drawing dead, and the 7♥ on the river officially sent the Greek player out of the tournament in 4th place ($1,409.19).

Three down, two to go

As Hand #42 began, the remaining three players were stacked like so:

Seat 3: BlackOps02 (18,891,896 in chips)
Seat 4: DreamOnFlop (5,985,312 in chips)
Seat 6: pozdner87 (19,022,792 in chips)

For the next 30 hands there was plenty of action, with most of the chips flowing into BlackOps02's stack - at one point the Dutch player had 26.5M chips. But by Hand #72 all three players were still in the hunt and they decided to make a deal. After some brief negotiations they agreed that BlackOps02 would receive $3,307.52; pozdner87, $2,953.67; and DreamOnFlop, $2,812.17. Another $200 was left on the table for the winner, and play resumed.

With the deal in place, DreamOnFlop immediately began to make a push. It started with an 8.3M-chip pot against BlackOps02, followed immediately by another one worth 7.5M. That turned everything around and actually gave the Belarussian player the chip lead with 18.93M, compared with BlackOps02's 12.91M and pozdner87's 12.04M. That balance mostly held until Hand #89, at which point BlackOps02 survived a pretty harrowing all-in moment against DreamOnFlop:

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That hand left DreamOnFlop with 5.01M chips on the 250K/500K blind level, one-fifth of BlackOps02's stack and one-third of pozdner87's. But four hands later it was pozdner87 who would hit the rail. After raising to 1.12M from the small blind with J♠ 9♠ 8♠ 7♦ and getting a call from BlackOps02 in the big blind, pozdner87 led out for 1.75M on the A♠ J♥ 8♣ flop and once again got a flat-call from BlackOps02. The 6♣ fell on the turn and this time pozdner87 went for the check-raise all-in, a total bet of 10.92M. BlackOps02 made the call with A♦ 7♣ 5♠ 4♣ and was behind pozdner87's two pair, but with 19 outs the Dutch player was still 47.5 to win the pot. The 7♠ on the river was on those outs, giving BlackOps02 an eight-high straight. With that pozdner87 left in 3rd place with a $2,953.67 share from the deal.

BlackOps02 held a chip lead of 32.4M over DreamOnFlop as heads-up play began. Three hands later DreamOnFlop would get in for 4.86M before the flop with A♦ 5♦ J♥ 7♥, called by BlackOps02's J♠ 9♣ 8♥ 3♦. Both players picked up straight draws on the Q♦ T♣ 4♠ flop, but BlackOps02' had a lot more outs than DreamOnFlop's. The 8♠ on the turn gave BlackOps02 the straight but still left four kings in the deck that could give DreamOnFlop a lifeline. The 5♠ hit the river, though, bringing the tournament to a close.

DreamOnFlop finished in second place and walked with $2,812.17 from the deal. BlackOps02 grabbed the extra $200 on the table for the winner, making for a total score of $3,507.52. That's an all-time best for the Dutch player, topping a $2,500 score for a third-place finish in a hold'em tournament last fall. Given how dire things looked at the start of the final table, that's a truly excellent result.

MicroMillions 5 Event #37: $3.30 PL Omaha (6-max, 2R1A)
3,361 entrants, 4,114 re-buys, 1,305 add-ons
$26,340 prize pool
450 places paid

1st place: BlackOps02 (Netherlands) $3,507.52*
2nd place: DreamOnFlop (Belarus) $2,812.17*
3rd place: pozdner87 (Russia) $2,953.67*
4th place: koyv4s (Greece) $1,409.19
5th place: vorre (Sweden) $856.05
6th place: tadukas10 (Lithuania) $460.95
* - denotes result of a three-way deal

With another 63 tournaments left on the schedule, a wide variety of games to choose from, and buy-ins that won't break your bankroll, there's something for everyone in the MicroMillions. Why not get in on the action yourself?

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions