MicroMillions 7: baterflay flays huge field en route to Event #43 victory($3.30 NLHE, 6-Max)

Boy was Event #43 a whopper. How 12,696 people sufficiently nursed their St Patty's Day hangovers to register for this tournament is anyone's guess, but that is how many turned up, smashing a $25,000 guarantee by over $13,000. One happy participant would wade through it all over exactly ten hours, baterflay of Latvia, taking home $5,339.90 with no deal made.

With a big field comes a large number of cashes, 1,650 of them to be exact. But so much more ground had to be covered after the money bubble burst before things really got down to business.

Things got interesting after minor Canadian celebrity RiverFlat was eliminated with 8♦ 8♠ in ninth, good for $342.79, by the A♦ 7♥ of eventual champion baterflay. This ushered in a period of hand-for-hand that would be quite drawn out. On the one table sat three large stacks in ZzZzZzZzSsZ, xXxPAPOxXx, and baterflay (try saying that three times fast) each with eight-figures in chips. ZzZzZzZzSsZ, who will henceforth be referred to as ZzZ, was chirping away that the players should slow down, take it easy on one another as it were, as their big stacks assured them a final table birth. This was curious (some Jaime Gold approved table talk, perhaps) because they themselves were the most aggressive player of the three, nearly doubling their 14M to 27M before the final table began.

The bubble did burst, as per ZzZ's prediction, on the four-handed table, when sipin'patron moved all-in from the button at 150k-300k for 1.4M. ZedBranigan made a relatively straightforward call with A♣ 4♥ and plenty of chips to spare. The short-stack was live with J♠ 8♠ and both players whiffed the Q♦ 6♦ 3♥ flop. The 2♠ turn and K♥ river were swings and misses for both, meaning ace-high was good enough to burst the final table bubble, Australian sipin'patron awarded $342.79 for their seventh place finish.

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Final Table Chip Counts

Seat 1: ZedBranigan - 10,284,637 in chips
Seat 2: MelloBH - 8,081,096 in chips
Seat 3: La_remadora - 2,457,127 in chips
Seat 4: baterflay - 9,878,646 in chips
Seat 5: xXxPAPOxXx - 5,444,925 in chips
Seat 6: ZzZzZzZzSsZ - 26,808569 in chips

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At the outset of the final table, La_remadora was the only one in danger of being encircled by the blinds, and consequently, on the third hand, they moved all-in under the gun with A♥ 7♣. Next to act baterflay cold-called for 2.4 of their 8.4M, which could not have given the short-stack much comfort. To their delight, they were flipping against 6♠ 6♥. The K♣ J♠ 4♠ flop did not give the at-risk Mexican much to work with however, and the 8♠ turn demoted two of their outs. The 3♠ was the final verdict and La_remadora was excised from the final table in sixth, pocketing $476.10.

Still no one could challenge ZzZ, who had risen to over 31M chips, baterflay's 10M far behind. There was much passing around of the blinds and antes until MelloBH doubled up xXxPAPOxXx with K♥ 9♣ to A♠ J♥, the board rolling out Q♥ 4♥ 6♠ 8♥ J♣ meaning the Peruvian short stack barely held on for the double.

This was the beginning of the end for MellonBH, who, after two orbits, with thirteen big blinds, found 8♠ 8♥ in the big blind with a button open and a small blind call. They squeezed all-in for 5.2M, ZzZ folded their button, and the small blind cold-caller, ZedBranigan, had been laying low with A♦ J♣. The flip was on for the duration of the hand, the 7♠ 9♦ 2♠ flop in MellonBH's favour, but the A♠ turn sliding the scale to ZedBranigan. It would have to be a spade or an eight or the tournament would proceed with four, and the 4♣ on the river made that a reality. The Brazilian took hom $761.76 for fifth, an astounding return on an investment of just $3.30.

It was at this point that deal negotiations began in earnest. With such a commanding advantage however, ZzZ was pining for a chip-chop while the other survivors were hoping to look at ICM-numbers. After tempers flared up and more than ten minutes passed, negotiations ultimately fell $50 short of suitable to ZzZ's mind. Thus, play continued, the safety net of a variance-limiting deal absent.

ZzZ raised the next pot of consequence, the big blind now 600,000, to 1.2M, first to act four-handed. Next in line on the button was ZedBranigan, who shoveled 7.4M into the pot, with A♦ 6♦. baterflay woke up with A♠ Q♥ in the big blind. re-shoved, and ZzZ folded. The flop of 9♣ 8♣ 3♥ gave some runner-runner straight outs to the at-risk player from Belarus, but the J♦ and 5♣ were not enough to realize that potential and a 17M chip pot slid baterflay's direction. ZedBranigan was out fourth, cashing for $1,464.10.

ZzZ had been mixing up their opening raise sizes between 2 and 3 big blinds, an uncommon strategy. It would pay dividends for them in the next elimination when they raised the button to 1.8M, eliciting a shove to 9.5M from xXxPAPOxXx's Q♥ T♥, a hand with which the Peruvian short-stack ostensibly could have called a 1.2M chip raise. It was A♦ J♠ for the chip-leader and some broadway cards on the flop would make matters interesting. The Q♠ K♠ and 2♣ were first off the deck, xXxPAPOxXx had taken the lead, but needed to avoid an ace, a ten, or running spades. The 4♠ was a real sweat and the 9♠ completed the backdoor flush for ZzZ, who took the 19.6M in stride. xXxPAPOxXx's run had come to a close in third, worthy of a whopping $2,570.94.

There was still talk of a deal at the outset of heads-up play, but once again, after some jawing, nothing materialized. From there on out, things were relatively one-sided, baterflay winning the majority of pots and the biggest ones -- an effective combination in any match. The biggest pot of the tournament began with ZzZ's patented three big blind open, to 1.8M, on the button. This baterflay called and the two players saw a 7♦ 6♠ 2♦ flop. With 3.75M in the middle baterflay checked and raised the 3M chip continuation bet of ZzZ to 7.8M. ZzZ was quickly all-in for 26M effective, covering baterflay by just 4M, whom called with a monster draw, 8♦ 9♦. Against ZzZ's Q♣ Q♠ baterflay had 56% equity and was a favourite. All but two cards that would change the lead would do so for good. The 5♠ turn was one of those and the 6♣ river was irrelevant as a result, a huge 55M chip pot going baterflay's way, who assumed a seven to one chip lead.

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Three hands later ZzZ doubled with A♣ 3♣ to the K♥ Q♦ of the new chip-leader, on a T♠ 5♠ 3♦, A♥, A♦ board. This would get them back in the game with 16M. Ten hands later, the next time hold cards were to be turned up, it was all over.

baterflay raise to 1.6M on the button, the new minimum with the big blind up to 800k, and ZzZ moved all-in for 13M with K♦ J♣. The Canuck would get the money in very good after the K♣ T♣ call from baterflay. The flop was the definition of innocuous, Q♦ 7♥ 3♣. The A♥ turn changed which three outs would end the tournament. And you know the rest -- the J♠ fell on the river with a boom -- ZzZzZzZzSsZ had taken a massive chip lead all the way, only to fall short of victory by one spot, the Canadian's second place awarding $3,713.58.

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Congratulations to baterflay of Latvia who kept a cool head under mounting pressure and toppled a field of incredible size, in a skill-dominant format, to win $5,339.90 and a much deserved MicroMillions 7 title!

MicroMillions-043: $3.30 NL Hold'em, 6-Max
Entrants: 12,696
Prize Pool: $38,088
Places Paid: 1,650
1. baterflay (Latvia) $5,339.90
2. ZzZzZzZzSsZ (Canada) $3,713.58.
3. xXxPAPOxXx (Peru) $2,570.94
4. ZedBranigan (Belarus) $1,464.10
5. MelloBH (Brazil) $761.76
6. La_remadora (Mexico) $476.10

Visit the MicroMillions 7 homepage, or check out the remaining schedule, packed full of exciting events with big guarantees, small buy-ins, and varied formats. There are still a week's worth of events to enter!

Gareh Chantler is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Gareth Chantler
@PokerStars in MicroMillions