MicroMillions 5: N_W_Child survives wild final table to win Event 45, $3.30 PNL Hold'em (The Big Game Format)

One of the great things about a big tournament series like the MicroMillions is that it allows plenty of room not just for tournaments in different poker disciplines, but also for more familiar disciplines with unique formats. Such was the case in today's Event 45, a $3.30 Hold'em tournament played out in the same format as The Big Game, PokerStars' televised cash game, with pot-limit rules before the flop and no-limit rules after the flop. There are antes, unlike in your normal straight pot-limit hold'em structures, but they're smaller that in the average no-limit structure.

It's an intriguing mix that allows for more flops and, therefore, more interesting poker. That intrigue was enough to draw 4,379 players to the tournament, building a prize pool worth $13,137. A total of 585 players made the money, with $2,065.43 set aside for the last one standing. Play began at 2:00 a.m. ET, officially kicking off Day 6 of this MicroMillions series. Seven hours and 44 minutes later, these nine players were still in contention as the final table began:

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Seat 1: scones14 (382,250 in chips)
Seat 2: Lidmania (4,786,408 in chips)
Seat 3: Josee0915 (1,986,250 in chips)
Seat 4: chojnacky (1,199,864 in chips)
Seat 5: moneyzonenik (734,033 in chips)
Seat 6: Totti#C10 (5,906,686 in chips)
Seat 7: N_W_Child (3,550,807 in chips)
Seat 8: Rippedut (1,817,315 in chips)
Seat 9: jaghuar (1,531,387 in chips)

New Zealand's scones14 had plenty of incentive to get involved early, holding just under four big blinds on the 50K/100K/12.5K level. On the third hand of the final table scones14 picked up A♥ Q♣ and moved in for 344K from the hijack. Things looked good for scones14 when fellow New Zealander Lidmania called with A♦ 9♣ and the flop came 7♦ 3♣ 7♠, but the 9♥ on the turn left scones 14 drawing to three outs. The T♠ on the river wasn't one of them, bouncing scones14 in 9th place ($105.09).

Slovenia's moneyzonenik was now the short stack with just 596K, but picking up pocket kings two hands later was good for a double to 1.19M. Then the focus turned to the other end of the leaderboard. The blinds and antes soon went up to 60K/120K/15K and incoming chip leader Totti#C10 of Brazil got two streets of value out of Russia's N_W_Child after flopping two pair, but the river on a board of 7♠ 2♦ 9♦ 2♥ 5♦ made the Brazilian player check and kept the pot to 2.12M. That gave Totti#C10 7.7M chips, worth 20 big blinds more than the closest competition, Lidmania (5.21M).

On Hand #17 Totti#C10 put some of those chips to use in a pre-flop raising war that saw Romania's jaghuar end up all-in:

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That stinging river card gave Totti#C10 the 3.86M-chip pot and sent jaghuar out in 8th place ($164.21).

Night of the living short stacks

The blinds and antes were soon up again, this time to 70K/140K/17.5K. That put a lot of pressure on short-stacked Rippedut of Canada, who had just 754K remaining. The next time the button came around, the Canadian player was down to 457K and moved all-in with K♣ 6♥. The timing was bad, as Argentina's Josee0915 had an easy call in the big blind with J♠ J♥, but the A♠ 5♦ 7♦ 9♠ 8♥ bailed Rippedut out with an unlikely straight to postpone elimination. Three hands later Poland's chojnacky doubled up to 972K in similar fashion, though the Polish player's K♣ 5♥ was ahead of Totti#C10's 8♦ 4♣ before the A♠ Q♣ 6♥ 9♦ A♣ was ever dealt. The trend kept up two hands later when moneyzonenik doubled through Lidmania to 1.08M, thanks to some assistance on the turn of a 5♥ 8♦ A♦ 9♥ J♦ board to help A♠ 9♠ crack Lidmania's A♥ K♣.

The rest of the level played out without any more short-stacked shenanigans. The next attempt came with the blinds and antes up to 80K/160K/20K. Rippedut, holding Q♦ J♥, called Totti#C10's button raise to 320K before the 3♦ K♥ Q♥ flop and then moved the last 362K chips in the middle. Totti#C10 also had middle pair, but with A♥ Q♣ for a better kicker. The board ran out 5♣ 9♣ and Rippedut was out in 7th place ($295.58).

The next eight pots were all won without seeing a flop before chojnacky doubled to 3.35M thanks to picking up A♠ K♠ in the big blind while Lidmania held A♥ Q♣ on the button. Suddenly the chip distribution below leader Totti#C10 was flattening out: after the Brazilian's 10.2M-chip stack, the next closest was Lidmania with 3.42M. The only one of the next five pots to progress to the flop saw the New Zealander lose close to a third of those chips, folding on the turn of a board reading A♣ J♣ 2♥ A♦ when N_W_Child led out for the third straight round of betting.

But on Hand #52, the first hand of the 100K/200K/25K level, Lidmania jumped back over the 3M-chip threshold. The New Zealander opened for a minimum raise to 400K in the cutoff with K♠ 5♣ and was called for less by moneyzonenik, who held J♦ 7♥, in the big blind. The board came 5♠ 9♠ 2♥ 3♠ 9♥ and moneyzonenik was eliminated in 6th place ($426.95).

N_W_Child makes a move

Totti#C10 still held a significant lead, hovering around 10M while the rest of the table couldn't move much past the 3M-chip mark. N_W_Child broke that trend six hands after moneyzonenik's departure by calling a button raise from chojnacky and leading out on the 9♠ 4♦ Q♠ flop. That 1.02M-chip pot moved N_W_Child up to 4.31M chip total. Two hands later the Russian player would climb even higher after opening for 410K in the cutoff with A♠ 5♠ and calling an all-in three-bet of 1.3M by Josee0915 from the small blind. The Argentine player held K♥ 9♠, which never caught up on the 3♠ 2♥ 6♥ 5♥ 2♥ board, sending Josee0915 out in 5th place ($558.32).

N_W_Child was now up to 5.77M, second only to Totti#C10's 10.7M. The loss of a few chips by Totti#C10 combined with some good timing for N_W_Child would narrow the gap to a single big blind just seven hands later. The Russian player picked up Q♠ Q♦ on the button and opened for 420K, then four-bet enough to put chojnacky all-in after the Polish player had re-raised to 1.46M. That built a pot of 3.85M, which N_W_Child won when chojnacky's A♣ 9♦ couldn't catch up on the K♣ J♣ T♠ 8♣ 3♦ board. With that chojnacky left in 4th place ($755.37).

Now the real show begins

Now 68 hands in, the three players who had entered the final table with the most chips were the only ones left:

Seat 2: Lidmania (3,791,996 in chips)
Seat 6: Totti#C10 (9,127,839 in chips)
Seat 7: N_W_Child (8,975,165 in chips)

Within a few more hands the blinds and antes had gone up to 125K/250K/31.25K. That appeared to put pressure on Lidmania, the only one of the three who had lost chips overall since the final table started, to make something happen. But before the New Zealander had a chance, the two bigger stacks butted heads:

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That 7.07M-chip pot, won without even seeing a turn card, gave N_W_Child the lead by 7.2M and dropped Totti#C10 back into Lidmania's territory. Lidmania didn't back down, actually pulling even with Totti#C10, before picking up K♣ K♥ in the small blind of Hand #83 while N_W_Child held K♦ Q♥ on the button. The hands played themselves and after the board ran out 7♦ 2♣ T♦ Q♠ 6♥ Lidmania had actually seized the chip lead and dropped N_W_Child into the basement. Ten hands later N_W_Child would be the next player to survive an all-in moment when A♠ 8♣ held up after a pre-flop raising war against Lidmania's J♣ 9♣. Lidmania still held the lead, but now it was Totti#C10 in the basement.

The three players went back and forth with each other for the remainder of the level and continued to do so as the blinds and antes went up to 150K/300K/37.5K. Finally, on Hand #107, Totti#C10 doubled through Lidmania and left the New Zealander with less than three big blinds:

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Lidmania immediately moved all-in from the button with 5♥ 4♥ and Totti#C10 called with A♥ 9♠. The K♥ K♦ 2♦ flop and T♣ offered no help, but the 4♦ on the river saved Lidmania and kept the game three-handed. The New Zealander doubled up again two hands later with K♥ T♣ against N_W_Child's A♥ 8♥, hitting a Broadway straight on the A♠ 4♣ Q♠ 3♣ J♣ board to stack up to 3.5M and leave N_W_Child in last place with 3.2M. N_W_Child promptly split the next pot with Totti#C10 when both players held ace-nine, then doubled up on the next one with A♠ K♥ against Totti#C10's 7♠ 7♦.

That frenzy of action left the chip counts pretty jumbled from where they'd been as three-handed play began:

Seat 2: Lidmania (3,129.436 in chips)
Seat 6: Totti#C10 (11,987,324 in chips)
Seat 7: N_W_Child (6,778,240 in chips)

Lidmania kept the wild ride going on Hand #115 with this relatively rare bit of post-flop poker:

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All three players were now within 1.5 big blinds of one another. The question was who would manage to pull ahead. It turned out to be N_W_Child, who took down three of the next six pots, including one worth 3.23M against Lidmania with an uncalled bet on the river of a board reading 7♠ 9♣ 8♦ 9♦ J♥. That gave the Russian player a buffer to ease a potential loss on Hand $123 when a pre-flop raising war with Totti#C10 ended up with the Brazilian all-in holding Q♥ Q♦ against N_W_Child's A♠ Q♣. But the 4♠ 9♦ A♦ flop threw N_W_Child into the lead, and the 5♥ turn and 9♠ river sent Totti#C10 to the rail in 3rd place ($1,083.80).

A long ride comes to an end

The heads-up players were stacked like so:

Seat 2: Lidmania (6,498,872 in chips)
Seat 7: N_W_Child (15,396,128 in chips)

Lidmania got started on a comeback on the very first hand, taking down a 4.5M-chip pot with an uncalled all-in bet on the turn of a board reading 3♥ T♣ 4♦ 6♦. That put the New Zealander 4.4M behind N_W_Child, a gap that was narrowed to 3.6M with another uncalled bet six hands later on a J♦ 3♥ A♦ flop. By the 10th hand of heads-up play (the 133rd of the final table overall) the gap was back to 4.6M as Lidmania opened for a minimum raise to 800K on the button. N_W_Child called to see a flop of 3♥ 2♥ A♥, led out for 800K, and called Lidmania's raise to 2M. The J♥ fell on the turn and N_W_Child checked, prompting Lidmania to move all-in for 5.69M. The Russian player called and Lidmania showed A♦ J♠ for two pair, aces and jacks. But N_W_Child held 4♠ 4♥, good for a flush. Lidmania had four outs to a full house going to the river, but the 5♠ wasn't one of them and the tournament came to a close.

The second-place finish was worth $1,537.02 to Lidmania, surpassing the New Zealander's previous best score of $708 for winnign a $2.20 NLHE tournament back in 2010. As for N_W_Child, who took down $2,065.43 for surviving a roller coaster of a final table, the prize surpassed the Russian player's previous best by close to $1,700.

MicroMillions 5 Event #45: $3.30 PNL Hold'em (The Big Game Format)
4,379 entrants
$13,137 prize pool
585 places paid

1st place: N_W_Child (Russia) $2,065.43
2nd place: Lidmania (New Zealand) $1,537.02
3rd place: Totti#C10 (Brazil) $1,083.80
4th place: chojnacky (Poland) $755.37
5th place: Josee0915 (Argentina) $558.32
6th place: moneyzonenik (Slovenia) $426.95
7th place: Rippedut (Canada) $295.58
8th place: jaghuar (Romania) $164.21
9th place: scones14 (New Zealand) $105.09

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions