MicroMillions 6: Joao Valli tastes victory in Event #73, $3.30 NL Hold'em

We're three-quarters of the way done with MicroMillions 6 today. The big storyline throughout the series has been the hundreds of career-best cashes by not just the winners but players who make the final tables. The huge fields in the MicroMillions have created some pretty significant prize pools, giving low-stakes players from around the world the opportunity to redefine their opportunities at the table by pulling in some pretty big prizes.

Event #73 was another chance to do that in a familiar game, no-limit hold'em, and the PokerStars community responded by turning out in force. A total of 8,834 showed up to play, building a total prize pool worth $26,502 and setting up a first-place prize of $3,978.67. They played for nearly nine hours before winding down to the final table, which began at 12:44 p.m. ET with blinds and antes at 150K/300K/37.5K and nine players waiting for their chance to take down the big prize:

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Seat 1: Joao Valli (8,499,986 in chips)
Seat 2: Møbb (5,052,100 in chips)
Seat 3: karma2k (4,174,570 in chips)
Seat 4: rubak787 (1,485,545 in chips)
Seat 5: daz1878 (5,399,720 in chips)
Seat 6: Poker-Doc975 (9,892,812 in chips)
Seat 7: pedro76pt (2,023,718 in chips)
Seat 8: Cozybear11 (5,478,305 in chips)
Seat 9: hel10s (2,163,244 in chips)

Cozybear11 sets the pace early

There was action from the very start when South Korea's Cozybear11 opened for a minimum raise to 500K in the cutoff and Russia's hel10s called on the button to see a T♦ T♣ 6♦ flop. Cozybear11 immediately bet 1.75M, enough to put hel10s all-in, and the Russian made the call with A♥ T♥ for trips tens. Cozybear11 had Q♦ J♦ for a bare flush draw, but that draw got there on the 7♦ turn to leave hel10s in need of either the last ten in the deck or any ace, six, or seven. The 5♥ came instead, giving Cozybear11 the 4.88M-chip pot and eliminating hel10s in 9th place ($205.39).

When there wasn't someone facing an all-in it was rare for any community cards to be dealt at all. The next seven hands went by without a flop, and Cozybear11 won Hand #9 uncontested after raising on the bet and continuing on a J♥ T♣ 5♠ flop.

Hand #10 saw Russia's rubak787, facing a 300K big blind on the next hand, move all-in under the gun for 704K. The United Kingodm's daz1878 was next to act and ended up being the only caller with A♠ 8♥. That had rubak787's 9♦ 8♠ in a bad spot, but the Q♦ 2♦ K♦ flop did give the Russian player nine more outs. The 8♣ on the turn changed nothing, though, and the 4♠ made rubak787's departure official in 8th place ($304.77)

Cozybear11 nearly scored another knockout on Hand #12 with A♥ K♠ against A♦ 9♠ but Portugal's pedro76pt was saved when the board paired twice and both players' aces played. Three hands later pedro76pt played the other role, winning with A♠ 8♥ against the A♦ 4♠ of Brazil's Joao Valli to stack up to 4.18M.

The trend of pots being won quickly with little resistance continued until Hand #24 when Cozybear11 moved in for 6.31M on the button. Australia's Mebb was in the big blind with 5.15M more and called it all off with T♠ T♥. That was ahead of Cozybear11's A♣ 6♦ only until the flop came A♦ A♥ 9♣. Mebb needed at least one more ten, but the 9♦ on the turn left the Australian player drawing dead. The K♦ on the river made it official in 7th place ($530.04)

The blinds and antes were now at 300K/600K/75K and the next eight hands were mostly played as raise-and-take-it, though Joao Valli did win one worth 2.62M on the turn of a board showing four clubs. Then Poker-Doc975 doubled up to 12.49M on Hand #32, calling with A♣ K♦ in the big blind after daz1878 tried to steal from the big blind with T♦ 9♠.

That set off a spate of double-ups benefiting Joao Valli and Germany's short-stacked karma2k. daz1878 tried to get in on that action but fell a bit short. The U.K. player moved in for 3.19M from the small blind with A♦ 8♣ and got a call from Poker-Doc975, whose K♥ J♥ came out ahead on the T♦ 7♠ 2♥ K♠ 8♠ board to eliminiate daz1878 in 6th place ($795.06).

Halfway through

The field was now down to five and the remaining players were stacked like so:

Seat 1: Joao Valli (12,103,396 in chips)
Seat 3: karma2k (5,736,640 in chips)
Seat 6: Poker-Doc975 (15,396,827 in chips)
Seat 7: pedro76pt (4,884,936 in chips)
Seat 8: Cozybear11 (6,048,201 in chips)

The pattern that had been in place for most of the final table continued as the next five hands were all taken down before the flop with no resistance. Hand #45 saw the next burst of action when pedro76pt picked up A♦ T♥ and jammed for 4.4M on the button. Joao Valli was the only caller, holding 7♥ 7♦ in the big blind, and the Brazilian's pair would hold up through the 6♦ Q♦ J♥ 9♣ 6♣ to knock pedro76pt out in 5th place ($1,060.08).

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Joao Valli took the next four pots in a row after the knockout, chipping up to 23.3M. The rest of the table held 12.3M or less and faced increased pressure from the 400K/800K/100K blinds and antes. That led directly to the showdown in Hand #50, where Cozybear11 shoved for 4.44M over the top of Poker-Doc975's 2.4M opener. Poker-Doc975 called with K♦ J♠ but trailed Cozybear11's A♦ J♦, which stayed ahead after the board came 2♠ 4♠ 5♦ 8♠ 5♣ to double the South Korean player to 10.4M.

karma2k doubled to 6.52M two hands later, toppling Joao Valli's A♥ K♦ with K♣ J♠. But three hands later those tables would be turned on the German player, who called all-in with A♣ K♣ in the small blind after Cozybear11 shoved on the button with A♥ 9♠. The damage was done on the 9♣ T♥ 7♥ flop, and the 3♦ turn and 2♣ knocked karma2k out in 4th place ($1,335.70).

Joao Valli had the lead with 21.8M and used it to apply pressure, winning four of the next five pots with minimal resistance. That left Cozybear11 with 10.9M and Poker-Doc975 with 5.89M, and both would either need to take on Joao Valli or go after each other. Hand #58 saw them go with the latter course, with Poker-Doc975 opening in the small blind and Cozybear11 coming over the top. Poker-Doc975 made the call with T♣ T♦, which survived a scare on the flop of a 5♥ 9♦ 2♦ A♠ Q♠ board to fend off the South Korean's K♦ 8♦.

Cozybear11 put up a fight, winning three pots before the flop, but couldn't make up much ground. On Hand #68 Cozybear11 found a good opportunity to do just that, coming over the top of Joao Valli's opening raise with A♥ 6♠. The Brazilian called with K♣ 5♠ and didn't manage to pair on the 7♥ Q♣ 4♣ flop or 2♣ turn, but the 9♣ river made a club flush and Cozybear11 was gone in 3rd place ($1,987.65).

A spirited battle

Joao Valli held a significant advantage as heads-up play began:

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Seat 1: Joao Valli (35,997,748 in chips)
Seat 6: Poker-Doc975 (8,172,252 in chips)

The Brazilian player very nearly closed out the match in a single hand, calling with K♠ 6♦ after Poker-Doc975 shoved with K♦ 2♦, but both players' kings played on the 3♠ 9♥ A♣ Q♣ Q♦ board to keep things going. Poker-Doc-975 made the most of the opportunity, too, doubling up two hands later with K♥ Q♣ against 6♦ 5♦ and then going on a run of seven consecutive wins with pre-flop shoves to move into the chip lead with 23.5M to Joao Valli's 20.5.

Joao Valli's response to that was a run of five consecutive pots to get back to 26.5M - and then Poker-Doc975 rattled off four of five to bring the two players to within less than two antes of each other. That set up the final clash of the tournament on Hand #92:

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Poker-Doc975 couldn't complete the comeback but still walked with a runner-up prize of $2,915.22. And for the win, Joao Valli earned $3,978.67. Both results were the players' best of all time, adding two more entries to the long roll of MicroMillions 6 success stories.

MicroMillions-073: $3.30 NL Hold'em
Entrants: 8,834
Prize pool: $26,502
Places paid: 1,170

1. Joao Valli (Brazil) $3,978.67
2. Poker-Doc975 (Germany) $2,915.22
3. Cozybear11 (South Korea) $1,987.65
4. karma2k (Germany) $1,335.70
5. pedro76pt (Portugal) $1,060.08
6. daz1878 (United Kingdom) $795.06
7. Mebb (Australia) $530.04
8. rubak787 (Russia) $304.77
9. hel10s (Russia) $205.39

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions