MicroMillions 5: ihho ekes out a win in Event 40, $5.50 NLHE (6-max, Turbo, Knockout)

Sometimes a tournament poker player wants to get a lot of chips and lot of time to build a stack. Event 40 of MicroMillions 5 - $5.50 NLHE event with a 6-max format, turbo structure with five-minute levels, and knockout bounties - was custom-made for the other times. The only thing missing that could have made it more action-friendly would have been re-buys, but even without them there was enough in this tournament to keep just about any poker player interested.

The chance to gamble a bit and be done in time to grab a bite and a drink even if they won the whole thing was enough to draw a field of 16,627 players, setting up a total prize pool of $84,797.70. One dollar of each buy-in went to bounties; the most collected by any player in the tournament was 26, by Germany's dolo06718, who finished in 31st place ($170.42). In just under five hours the blinds escalated from 10/20 to 500K/1M, and the field was narrowed to just these six players:

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Seat 1: fejzl (15,920,159 in chips)
Seat 2: blondubsa (18,125,504 in chips)
Seat 3: YoUnGsTaR188 (12,517,530 in chips)
Seat 4: DanielGohrig (9,874,756 in chips)
Seat 5: ihho (16,688,475 in chips)
Seat 6: crischuck (10,008,576 in chips)

A difference of just eight big blinds separated the chip leader from the player on the pay bubble, and the same five-minute levels that had been in play throughout the tournament promised to shrink that spread even further. The conditions were right for a short final table, but nobody was in a hurry to press the issue. Just two of the first 13 hands made it as far as the flop, and none of them went past it. The Czech Republic's fejzl came out of the gate strong, climbing as high as 26.77M winning pots with pre-flop raises and three-bets, but dropped back closer to 20M on Hand #10 of the final table after folding on the flop of a three-bet flop against Romania's blondubsa.

The one player whose stack steadily diminished through the earliest portion of the final table was Germany's DanielGohrig, who couldn't win a pot and had just 3.37M left when Hand #14 came around. Sitting on the button, with 3.15M from the blinds and antes waiting to be scooped up, the German player was dealt Q♥ T♦ and moved all-in. Estonia's ihho called from the small blind with K♣ J♦, which held up through the 2♠ 9♠ 8♣ 6♦ K♥ board to send DanielGohring to the rail in 6th place ($818.04).

That gave ihho the big stack with 23.81M, worth just over 17 big blinds. Close behind were blondubsa with 20.82M and fejzl with 19.77M. Those two would collide on Hand #21, which was just the second hand of the final table to advance past the flop and produced what was easily the biggest pot up to that point:

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fejzl was able to get most of those chips five hands later when Argentina's crischuck was dealt K♣ 5♦ on the button and moved all-in for 1.75M, a little more than one big blind. The Czech player moved all-in from the small blind to isolate with A♣ T♥, getting blondubsa to fold, and caught top pair on the 3♦ 9♥ A♥ flop. The 6♣ turn and 8♠ river were no help to crischuck, who left in 5th place ($1,363.41).

With blinds and antes now up to 800K/1.6M/200K, blondubsa still held the lead with 33.62M. In a virtual tie for second were fejzl (20.5M) and ihho (20.01M), with Germany's YoUnGsTaR188 lingering in the back at 8.99M. ihho dropped some chips to blondubsa and by Hand #34 had been reduced to 9.81M, but getting all-in before the flop with A♥ J♠ against fejzl's A♣ T♥ helped ihho climb back into second place with 22.12M after the board came down 8♣ 9♦ Q♥ T♦ K♣.

On the next hand, with blinds and antes now at 1M/2M/250K, YoUnGsTaR188 finally made a stand in the big blind with 9♣ 9♠, three-betting all-in over a raise from blondubsa in the small blind. The Romanian player held Q♥ J♠, which caught top pair on the 3♥ J♣ 7♥ flop, and after the 4♠ turn and 6♠ river came and went YoUnGsTaR188 was eliminated in 4th place ($2,385.97).

Holding 12.24M chips, fejzl was now the short stack looking to double up. Four hands later the Czech player would be in a good spot to do exactly that after being dealt A♠ 5♣ in the big blind and three-betting all-in over the top of blondubsa's minimum raise to 4M. blondubsa called with J♦ T♦, which was behind fejzl's hand but hit the 2♦ 8♦ J♣ flop pretty hard. The A♣ came on the turn to put fejzl ahead, but the K♦ on the turn gave blondubsa the flush and the 25.73M-chip pot. With that, fejzl was out in 3rd place ($4,431.09).

ihho's reversal of fortune

With the blinds and antes still at 1M/2M/250K, blondubsa held a pretty big chip lead at the start of heads-up play:

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Seat 2: blondubsa (66,258,538 in chips)
Seat 5: ihho (16,876,462 in chips)

What looked like it could end up being a pretty short heads-up match turned into a bit of a battle. ihho dropped a few big blinds on the first hand of the match but doubled up on the second, after which the two proceeded to mostly trade pots back and forth for the next 20 hands. The Estonian player finally managed to double up after moving all-in for 18.44M from the big blind on Hand #60 of the final table. ihho's J♦ T♣ was behind blindubsa's A♠ 5♦, but the board ran out 2♥ 4♦ 9♥ K♠ Q♥ to give ihho a king-high straight and the 37.5M-chip pot. Then ihho seized the lead on the very next hand:

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With that advantage, ihho was poised for the win. Six hands later it finally came when the Estonian player moved all-in before the flop with Q♠ T♠ and blondubsa called with T♦ 8♦. The 7♦ J♥ 2♠ flop gave blondubsa a few more outs, but the 7♣ turn and Q♣ river gave ihho the pot and the win. Just five hours and 14 minutes after it began, the tournament had come to an end.

The results were career bests for both of the finalists: blondubsa's $6,476.21 for second place beat the old mark of $23, while ihho's $9,344 for winning the tournament eclipsed a previous best of $221. It's exactly the kind of story the MicroMillions is built on, so congratulations to both players for breaking through with their results today!

MicroMillions 5 Event #37: $3.30 PL Omaha (6-max, 2R1A)
16,627 entrants
$84,797 prize pool ($68,170.70 regular, $16,627 bounty)
2,100 places paid

1st place: ihho (Estonia) $9,344.00
2nd place: blondubsa (Romania) $6,476.21
3rd place: fejzl (Czech Republic) $4,431.09
4th place: YoUnGsTaR188 (Germany) $2,385.97
5th place: crischuck (Argentina) $1,363.41
6th place: DanielGohrig (Germany) $818.04

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions