MicroMillions 6: Chip lead does ded moroz952 good in Event #28, $5.50 NLHE (6-max)

Coming to the final table of a poker tournament with the chip lead isn't always everything it's cracked up to be. Having the luxury of playing a lot of hands can sometimes get you in trouble, and just one gone wrong can leave you wondering what happened to that glorious lead you held just moments earlier. The rest of the time, though, the small gambles that a lead allows you to take pay off and you get to stroll to the big money.

That was the case for the champion in Event #28, a $5.50 6-max no-limit hold'em tournament. The field was particularly big for a shorthanded event at 14,134 players, building a prize pool worth $70,670 and setting a first-place prize of $9,689.74. After a little under nine hours they had consolidated down to a final table, with blinds and antes at 150K/300K/37.5K:

MM6-028 ft.jpg

Seat 1: madcant1 (3,886,189 in chips)
Seat 2: ded moroz952 (32,016,649 in chips)
Seat 3: apasatlacioc (6,527,997 in chips)
Seat 4: karel vdf (16,985,710 in chips)
Seat 5: terra117 (6,853,455 in chips)
Seat 6: Dimir777 (4,400,000 in chips)

The final six players got one hand in before the break and its accompanying jump in blinds and antes. With even more pressure on the short stacks now, Russia's ded moroz952 wasted no time trying to take them out. After min-raising from the small blind on Hand #3 and getting a call from Romania's apasatlacioc, the Russian player led out for 1.2M into the 1.9M-chip pot on the 7♠ 4♥ 4♦ flop. When apasatlacioc jammed for 5.59M with 8♥ 8♦, ded moroz called with A♦ 3♥. The board ran out 7♣ T♣ and apasatlacioc doubled to 13M.

There were no more flops before Hand #10. The Czech Republic's karel vdf flopped middle pair with Q♣ T♣ and check-called bets on the flop and river of a Q♥ K♥ 3♥ 2♣ 9♣ board to beat ded moroz952's stone-cold bluff with T♦ 8♣ and stack up to 20.4M. But it was the next hand that would give karel vdf a big boost and bring about the first elimination:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

Thanks to that jack on the flop, karel vdf took the chip lead and the Ukraine's terra117 was gone in 6th place ($854.50).

The action was guarded and tense over the next dozen hands. Only two of them saw flops, and none except the last, which saw Brazil's Dimir777 split the pot with A♥ 2♣ against ded moroz952's A♦ 5♣ when both paired their ace and neither's kicker played, was worth more than five big blinds. karel vdf was once again the spark to get the action going on Hand #24.

After calling a cutoff raise to 1M by the United Kingdom's madcant1, karel vdf's J♦ T♦ caught middle pair on the 3♣ K♦ T♠. Both players checked and karel vdf led out for 3.2M on the 6♣ turn, which just covered madcant1. The player from the U.K. called and showed A♣ 3♠, The 2♦ on the river was no help and madcant1 left the tournament in 5th place ($1,413.40).

karel vdf took another stab at knocking out a short stack on Hand #31, calling with A♦ 8♠ after opening for 1M and having Dimir777 move all-in behind for 2.44M. The Brazilian held A♣ K♠, though, and it was good for a double to 5.88M on a board of 5♣ K♦ 7♣ Q♣ 2♥.

Just five hands later Dimir777 would end up on the wrong side of a dominating ace. After jamming with A♥ 3♠, Dimir777 watched apasatlacioc come over the top from the small blind and drive karel vdf out of the hand in the big blind. The Romanian player showed A♠ Q♣, the board ran out 6♣ 2♠ A♦ T♦ K♥, and Dimir was out in 4th place ($2,472.75).

Three chefs, one broth

The chips were now distributed relatively evenly among the top two players, with the other trailing:

MM6-028 ft 3-handed.jpg

Seat 2: ded moroz952 (29,243,653 in chips)
Seat 3: apasatlacioc (13,548,496 in chips)
Seat 4: karel vdf (27,877,851 in chips)

ded moroz952 tipped that balance a bit on Hand #39. After limping from the button with A♣ A♥, the Russian player checked behind both of the blinds on the 4♠ 6♦ K♥ flop and then called a 1M-chip bet from apasatlacioc on the K♦ turn. karel vdf had come along as well and was the only caller after the action checked to ded moroz952 on the J♠ river and the Russian bet 2M. The aces were good for the 8.68M-chip pot and ded moroz952 moved into the lead.

apasatlacioc didn't roll over as the short stack, The Romanian player was able to extract value from top pair on Hand #41 and took down another6.43M-chip pot on Hand #47 after three-betting out of position and jamming on a 5♦ A♥ 7♥ flop. That was enough to stay ahead of karel vdf after the Czech player paid off ded moroz952's ace-high:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

karel vdf got back into the middle of things on Hand #59, check-calling down with 9♦ 6♠ on a 9♣ 5♠ J♥ Q♦ 8♥ board to pick off another bluff by ded moroz952 with 6♦ 3♣. That put apasatlacioc behind the eight-ball once again, and two hands later the Romanian player's fate would be sealed.

Holding 9♣ 9♦ in the small blind, apasatlacioc raised to 2.4M after ded moroz952 limped for 600K on the button. The Russian called and then moved all-in after apasatlacioc led for 2.4M on the 8♦ T♥ 7♦ flop. The Romanian called with the open-ended straight draw and was up against K♦ T♣ for top pair. Any six, nine, or jack would have helped, but the 3♦ on the turn took away a few of those outs and the 5♦ on the river completed a king-high flush for ded moroz952. That sent apasatlacioc to the rail in 3rd place ($4,593.55).

Two and done

ded moroz952 entered heads-up play with close to a 2-to-1 chip advantage:

MM6-028 ft hu.jpg

Seat 2: ded moroz952 (45,417,149 in chips)
Seat 4: karel vdf (25,252,851 in chips)

The match would be short-lived. After taking the blinds and antes on the first hand, ded moroz952 limped from the button on the second hand and karel vdf checked to see a 8♦ K♦ 8♠ flop. Both players checked, and then karel vdf check-called a minimum bet of 600K on the turn to build the pot to 2.55M. The river was the 6♦ and karel vdf checked once again. ded moroz952 put out a bet of 6.6M this time, and karel vdf's response to a bet of nearly three times the pot was to move all-in for 22.7M. ded moroz952 called in an instant and tabled A♣ 8♣ for eights full of sixes - good enough to beat karel vdf's sixes full of eights with 9♣ 6♥ and bring the tournament to an end.

For finishing as the runner-up, karel vdf received $6,713.65 - a new career high and the Czech player's best score since January of last year. ded moroz952's top prize of $9,689.74 was also a career best, dwarfing the Russian's previous high of $199. Congratulations to them both for their fine performances!

MicroMillions-028: $5.50 NL Hold'em (6-max)
Entrants: 14,134
Prize pool: $70,670
Places paid: 1,800

1. ded moroz952 (Russia) $9,689.74
2. karel vdf (Czech Republic) $6,713.65
3. apasatlacioc (Romania) $4,593.55
4. Dimir777 (Brazil) $2,473.75
5. madcant1 (United Kingdom) $1,413.40
6. terra117 (Ukraine) $854.50

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions