MicroMillions 6: Xcf19850307 bags first title for Philippines in Event #53 ($3.30 NL Hold'em 6-Max Ante-Up)
I take it all back. Ante-Up tournaments, a format thought the be created by lunatics, is in fact a structure fully supportive of action, drama, excitement and all the other good things in life. At least Event #53 demonstrated that today.
Don't get me wrong, it was a fairly straightforward final, won by Xcf19850307 of the Philippines, who had led from the start of the final without every coming close to conceding the lead. His reward was a first prize of $2,366.44, as well as and the honour of being the first from his country to win a MM title.
The six-handed final begins
As is usually the case in Ante-Up events, play was made up largely of moments of high drama separated by long periods of stalemate. But while Xcf19850307's win may have been unspectacular, it was still worthy of acclaim; a clinical annihilation of the opposition.
Here's how things looked at the start of the six handed final.
Seat 1. Ag_agan (Canada) 9,991,697
Seat 2. Xcf19850307 (Philippines) 10,100,000 (approx.)
Seat 3. TheMadNinja (Canada) 5,028,600
Seat 4. Iyotop (Brazil) 4,148,631
Seat 5. KinCrush (Canada) 3,883,970
Seat 6. MasterOfPoo8 (Canada) 1,173,917
Unlike a lot of other final tables, this one seemed in a rush, all wrapped up in a little less than 45 minutes. Xcf19850307's stack of 10.1 million already towered over his rivals, but with the ante at only 70,000 there was time for plenty of play.
Ag_agan moved in moments after the start on a king-ace-queen flop in a five-handed pot. No one felt like calling though. When MasterOfPoo8 did the same on the next hand he too found no interest.
These two constituted the short stacks, so it wasn't entirely unexpected when they became the first to depart.
Who would go first?
MasterOfPoo8 would go first, shoving with ace-nine into the pocket tens of KinCrush, and finding no help. Then in the next hand Ag_agan shoved with ace-jack. Xcf19850307 turned over king-queen, but while a jack hit the turn and queen hit the river. That reduced the field to four and left Xcf19850307 with 10.9 million chips.
At this stage it was sensible to assume that players would dig in for a period of attrition. No one was particularly short stacked, so no immediate threat. And yet there existed a mood of latent frivolity, almost incontinence when it came to getting chips into the middle. A man can get resigned to watching final tables in which big hands fail to materialise and the word "FOLD" flashes on the player icon all too often. Not here.
Iyotop's departure was unexpected. It also sent 10.2 million chips the way of TheMadNinja, who was within reach of the lead, with Xcf19850307 on 11.1 million and KinCrush trailing with 4 million. But KinCrush was not done.
TheMadNinja meanwhile was beginning to suffer, cut down to 6.7 million by Xcf19850307's pair of deuces on a jack-high board. Then KinCrush took a turn, showing ace-king on a king-high board to slash TheMadNinja's stack even further.
No use hanging around
These were all big pots. Then again, every pot seemed like a big one. In the space of a couple of minutes millions of chips flew off in various directions. Successive hands were measured in millions: 7.8 million, 3.4 million, 3.7 million, 1.3 million, 3.9 million, all in a row. That was then topped by the ridiculous.
What proved to be a 15 million chip pot effectively wrapped things up then and there. Xcf19850307 was sitting atop a stack of 20 million, against TheMadNinja's 5.6 million.
But perhaps with the ante set at 90,000 there was no reason for TheMadNinja to assume the worst. It would be a slow process, and a difficult one, but not impossible.
Things calmed down a bit after the fireworks of KinCrush's exit. Instead of seven figure pots it was rare to see one breach the half million mark and things became static. But as TheMadNinja clawed back a few chips, Xcf19850307 inevitably took them back again, the only thing changing being the ante, which crept up to 125,000.
But something will always give, and on the last hand before the break both Xcf19850307 and TheMadNinja found hands with which to get their chips in.
A comprehensive, convincing, and unusually swift victory on the part of Xcf19850307, who makes Filipino poker history today. A small piece of good news for a country now trying to recover from the effects of Typhoon Haiyan, an effort you can contribute to through PokerStars.
Congratulations to Xcf19850307 on a great win.
MicroMillions-053: $3.30 NL Hold'em [6-Max, Ante-Up]
Prize pool: $15,495.00
Places paid: 660
1. xcf19850307 (Philippines) $2,366.44
2. TheMadNinja (Canada) $1,704.45
3. KinCrush (Canada) $1,239.60
4. lyotope (Brazil) $784.82
5. Ag_agan (Canada) $464.85
6. MasterOfPoo8 (Canada) $247.92
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.