MicroMillions 5: bobson85 bobs, weaves to victory in Event 49, $8.80 HORSE

There was a time when nearly every poker tournament played both online and off was contested in a single game: no-limit hold'em, usually, but also in plenty of other varieties. After a while players and organizers both decided that mixed-game tournaments would offer a challenging test of skill that would be worth putting some money down on. When they did, HORSE became the default mix. With two flop games (hold'em and Omaha Hi/Lo), three Stud games (Razz, Stud Hi, and Stud Hi/Lo), and a limit structure, there was plenty to separate HORSE tourneys from their everyday hold'em counterparts.

In the years since that time mixed-game formats have gone far beyond the old standby, incorporating draw games, big-bet games, and all sorts of combinations to satisfy seemingly every demand the poker market can come up with. But HORSE remains a favorite among plenty of players. Perhaps it's because an otherwise skilled opponent's weakness in one of its constituent games can be exploited to neutralize any advantage he might have in others. Or maybe it's because there are fewer games to master than in the more recently introduced 8-game and 10-game formats.

Whatever the reasons, the game's popularity was enough to draw 3,184 entrants for Event 49 of this MicroMillions series, building a $25,472 prize pool with $4,332.25 set aside for the winner. The tournament kicked off at 11:30 a.m. ET playing 50/100 hold'em. By 6:16 p.m. the stakes were up to 160K/320K, the game was Omaha Hi/Lo, and these eight players were in the running:

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Seat 1: OoohFranke (1,735,330 in chips)
Seat 2: badidada (3,140,620 in chips)
Seat 3: Philipendul (2,742,864 in chips)
Seat 4: joe82 (2,631,600 in chips)
Seat 5: korjae (705,808 in chips)
Seat 6: Diveboy1977 (1,860,464 in chips)
Seat 7: ThunderUA (690,008 in chips)
Seat 8: bobson85 (2,413,306 in chips)

Short-stacked korjae of Canada had just two big bets, but even the chip leader, Germany's badidada, had less than 10 big bets to work with. Everything was there to suggest that the final table would move along quickly. That certainly was the case for a little while. Nobody busted during the five hands of Omaha Hi/Lo that carried over to the final table, but Razz would live up to its reputation for nastiness.

On the very first hand of Razz, Sweden's OoohFranke, who had just 815K remaining, was dealt (6♦ A♣) / 7♠ and raised after Canada's joe82 opened the betting with (5♥ 4♦) / A♠. OoohFranke was effectively all-in after the two both put 800K in on third street, and had the lead with a made 9-7 on fifth street. joe82's board read (5♥ 4♦) / A♠ 4♥ 5♦ at that point and OoohFranke was a strong favorite to win the pot. But joe82 caught the 3♦ on sixth and the 2♣ on seventh to make the nuts. OoohFranke's 9-7 was no good and the Swedish player was out in 8th place ($241.47).

Hand #7 saw a similar confrontation after the United Kingdom's Diveboy1977 opened for 200K with (7♣ 4♥) / 2♥. Philipendul of Estonia raised to 400K with (3♣ A♦) / 6♥, which got a call from joe82, who showed (x-x) / 2♣; both players then called after Diveboy1977 re-raised to 600K. Diveboy1977 and Philipendul both drew treys on fourth street, while joe82 caught the Q♥. Diveboy1977 led out and then called all-in after Philipendul raised, while joe82 got out of the way. Philipendul's board ran out 2♦ 7♥ 3♦ for a 7-6. Diveboy1977 caught T♦ K♦ Q♣ for a T-7 and left the tournament in 7th place ($483.96).

Hand #8 came and went without incident, but Hand #9 saw another confrontation. The action folded around to korjae, who showed the 6♠. The Canadian had (J♥ 8♦) underneath but only had to get through fellow Canadian ThunderUA (showing the 6♦) and Israel's bobson85 (showing J♦) to steal the antes. korjae opened the betting for 200K, but ThunderUA, who had (3♦ A♦) underneath, raised to 400K; bobson85 folded and korjae raised all-in for 485K total. The board ran out K♣ 3♠ J♠ 7♦ to give korjae a J-8, but ThunderUA caught 6♥ 7♥ T♠ 6♣ for a T-7. That sent korjae to the rail in 6th place ($764.16).

The rest of the Razz round went by without any more eliminations, though badidada won a 3.46M-chip pot on the last hand of the round after starting with (6♣ 4♣) / 5♠, running out 3♣ Q♥ 3♥ 9♦, and making a bet on seventh street that got joe82 to fold showing (x-x) / 4♦ T♥ J♣ 4♠ / (x). That brought the tournament to the 200K/400K Stud level with 40K antes. The second hand of the round (the 15th of the final table overall) saw both badidada and joe82 start with split pairs, bringing about the biggest pot of the tournament up to that point:

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With that, joe82 left the tournament in 5th place ($1,273.60).

The next three hands were of the raise-and-take-it variety, followed by a 1.02M-chip pot that went to bobson85 after the Israeli player's bet on fifth street with (x-x) 7♣ A♦ 2♦ showing went uncalled by Philipendul. Then came Hand #20, where ThunderUA started with a split pair of fours and opened for 200K. bobson85, with a split pair of tens, raised to 400K, which ThunderUA called. The rest of the Canadian player's chip went in on fourth street, and by fifth street bobson85 showed (Td] 6♥) / T♣ 2♦ T♥ for three of a kind. ThunderUA hadn't improved and needed another four on sixth street to stay in the hand, but caught the T♠ instead. The 2♣ on seventh street sent ThunderUA out in 4th place ($1,783.04).

Just 20 hands in, the tournament was down to its last three players:

Seat 2: badidada (5,287,550 in chips)
Seat 3: Philipendul (3,723,328 in chips)
Seat 8: bobson85 (6,909,122 in chips)

They played the rest of the Stud round without any major confrontations, but badidada took the chip lead at 6.56M on the first hand of 250K/500K Stud Hi/Lo, scooping the pot with two pair, nines and sevens, while bobson85 mucked showing (x-x) / K♠ A♦ 5♦ 3♦ / (x). badidada chipped up just a bit more before the three players agreed to negotiate a deal after Hand #31. After about 10 minutes they had come to an agreement and play resumed with the first round of hold'em at the final table.

The very first hand of hold'em became the biggest pot of the tournament, and it left Philipendul with less than two big bets:

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Two hands later Philipendul was able to get the last 893K in the middle before the flop with A♥ K♥, which was in good shape against badidada's Q♣ 9♣ until the flop came 9♠ J♥ 9♦. A handful of runner-runner combinations could have helped the Estonian player, but 5♣ 3♣ wasn't one of them and Philipendul left in 3rd place with a $2,861.87 share from the three-way deal.

That left these two playing 250K/500K hold'em:

Seat 2: badidada (8,310,878 in chips)
Seat 8: bobson85 (7,609,122 in chips)

The pace of play so far suggested the possibility that the heads-up match could end up being a short one. But as it turned out, the final duel would account for nearly 75 percent of the hands dealt at the entire final table. badidada pulled ahead for a bit midway through the hold'em round, but the chip counts were back roughly where they'd started when the game switched to 300K/600K Omaha Hi/Lo. Things went well for bobson85 during the O/8 round, and the Israeli player had a lead of 10.43M to badidada's 5.48M as the game changed to 300K/600K Razz. But by the end of that round the chip counts were once again where they'd been at the start of heads-up play. The 400K/800K Stud round saw the biggest pots yet, including this one on Hand #105 of the final table that moved bobson85 over the 11M-chip mark:

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Once the game switched to 400K/800K Stud Hi/Lo, badidada began to make up some ground on bobson85. The Israeli player did manage to move back over 11M again with a 6.56M-chip pot won with an uncalled bet on seventh street, but badidada struck back hard by doing exactly the same thing back-to-back on Hands #118 and #119. That moved the German player up to 13.6M and left bobson85 with just 2.31M, which would be whittled down to 1.11M by the time the game changed to 500K/1M hold'em.

Everything that had gone wrong for bobson85 during the Stud Hi/Lo round went right during hold'em. The Israeli player won eight of the first nine pots to take the chip lead, lost it on the 10th, and then won six of the next seven to seize a 12.97M-to-2.94M lead. Finally, on the 143rd hand of the final table, badidada committed to Q♦ 8♠ on the button while bobson85 held A♥ 4♥:

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Unable to improve, badidada finished in second place. The German player took a $3,419.47 share from the three-way deal, having been the chip leader at the time, good for the second-best result of badidada's career at PokerStars. With the extra money left on the table for the winner, bobson85's take came to $3,400.03. It's also the fourth time bobson85 has won a HORSE tournament in the last four years, though by far the most lucrative. The score is a new record for the Israeli player and the best result since finishing second in a $2.20 tournament back in late 2010.

MicroMillions 5 Event #49: $8.80 HORSE
3,184 entrants
$25,472 prize pool
400 places paid

1st place: bobson85 (Israel) $3,400.03*
2nd place: badidada (Germany) $3,419.47*
3rd place: Philipendul (Estonia) $2,861.87*
4th place: ThunderUA (Ukraine) $1,783.04
5th place: joe82 (Canada) $1,273.60
6th place: korjae (Canada) $764.16
7th place: Diveboy1977 (United Kingdom) $483.96
8th place: OoohFranke (Sweden) $241.47
* - denotes results of a three-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions