MicroMillions 7: RainmanRJA reels in the title in Main Event, $22 NLHE

After 11 days of massive micro-stakes tournaments in more forms of poker than you can shove a stack of chips at, MicroMillions 7 has finally wound all the way down to its inevitable end. At the beginning, the prospect of running through the schedule of 100 tournaments was academically acceptable but beside the point with so much action going on every day. Halfway through the realization that the end would come soon began to set in, but being as close to the start as the finish made that fact easy to forget. Today, though, there was only one item on the menu: closure.

This Sunday brought the final 10 tournaments on the MicroMillions 7 schedule and with them the focal point of the entire series: the Main Event. With a guaranteed one million dollars on the line and just a $22 buy-in at risk for everyone in the field, there weren't many good reasons not to play - and that showed in the numbers. By the end of late registration following the conclusion of Level 18, a total of 63,237 players had bought into the tournament. That made for a $1,264,740 prize pool - 26 percent above the million-dollar guarantee - and reserved cash prizes for the top 8,097 finishers.

Among the mass of entrants were plenty of members of Team PokerStars Pro and Team Online. Team Pro didn't manage any deep runs in this Main Event, but Team Online did place two of its members within the top 1,000 finishers. Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome finished in 742nd place ($252.94), while Caio "Pessagno" Pessagno made it all the way to 212th ($417.36) before bowing out. Aside from those two, there were no red spades to be found at the top of the payouts.

Instead the table was filled with players who embodied a sort of Platonic ideal of the MicroMillions competitor. At an absolute minimum the final tablists would walk away from the MicroMillions 7 Main Event with $8,220.81, an amount that already qualified as the largest PokerStars cash ever for nearly all the players at the table. In some cases that guaranteed final table payout actually represented more money than a player had won all-time playing small-stakes tournaments on a hobbyist level. No matter what happened, it would be a successful night for everybody at the table.

But as good as it would be regardless of results for everyone there, the fact remained that somebody was going to outlast the rest of the field and take home a prize in high five-figure territory, opening up options not just in poker but potentially in life away from the tables as well. As they sat, the nine finalists with designs on that outcome were:

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Seat 1: RainmanRJA (109,302,739 in chips)
Seat 2: stefanfol1 (87,595,476 in chips)
Seat 3: olimpiada980 (50,009,471 in chips)
Seat 4: Kaeresen (68,999,964 in chips)
Seat 5: albiko (26,456,112 in chips)
Seat 6: castlbek (95,688,138 in chips)
Seat 7: BMGyV (88,369,610 in chips)
Seat 8: antzzzap (61,326,976 in chips)
Seat 9: tomthelong (44,621,514 in chips)

Before any bankroll-altering money could be awarded, though, there was lots of poker yet to be played. With 2M/4M/500K blinds and antes, short-stacked Bulgarian player albiko had just six and a half big blinds between oblivion and a chance to earn a $2,700 pay jump. But even chip leader RainmanRJA from the United Kingdom was only working with 27 big blinds. With nobody safe and no payout guaranteed beyond 9th place, the final leg of the chase for the MicroMillions 7 Main Event title was underway.

The short-stacked players had no time to waste, so it wasn't surprising to see the first all-in confrontation involve two players from the bottom half of the leaderboard. albiko opened the action by moving all-in for 18.4M in the cutoff, a bet that went uncalled until Finland's antzzzap, after dipping into the time bank in the big blind, slid in the extra 14.4M for the call. antzzzap was already ahead with 4♥ 4♣ against albiko's A♠ 3♥ and din't need to hit a straight, but the 6♦ J♥ 5♠ 3♣ 7♦ board brought one anyway. That gave the Finnish player the 43.4M-chip pot and eliminated albiko in 9th place ($8,220.81).

There was no pause in the action following the first knockout. The Czech Republic's castlbek opened Hand #5, the first of the 2.5M/5M/625K level, with a minimum raise to 10M. Germany's tomthelong made a third bet for 20M total, leaving 21.9M behind, and castlbek called to see the 3♠ K♣ A♥ flop. tomthelong moved those remaining chips into the 47.5M-chip pot and castlbek called with K♦ Q♥ for middle pair. tomthelong's 8♠ 7♠ was pure air that evolved into a flush draw on the T♠ turn, and the T♥ on the river turned it into the end of tomthelong's tournament in 8th place ($10,977.94).

That pot, worth 91.4M, made castlbek the new chip leader with 147M, and a blind steal on the next hand moved that total higher to 158M. So when the Czech player opened for a minimum raise to 10M in early position on Hand #7 it could have looked like an attempt at another steal. Either way, after thinking it over for a bit, Russia's olimpiada980 opted to move in from the big blind for 56M total with K♦ 8♥. castlbek made the call with 7♦ 7♥ but couldn't win the flip when the board fell 8♣ 3♦ T♣ 5♠ A♠. That pair of eights on the flop was enough to make olimpiada980 the new leader with 120.1M chips.

After that burst of action at the start of the table, things settled down for a while and msot of the pots won were worth less than three big blinds, taken down before the flop. A few were won with a third bet before the flop, and a few others with a continuation bet on the flop or a stab at the pot on the turn. Just one was won at showdown on the river, when Romania's stefanfol1 and antzzzap bet and called, respectively, on the 3♥ A♠ T♥ flop and then checked down the 4♥ turn and J♣ river, where antzzzap's J♦ T♦ beat K♦ T♣ for the 46.8M chips in the middle.

That span lasted until Hand #29, when Germany's BMGyV and stefanfol1 were separated by less than one big blind and took a flop together:

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Roller coaster riding with BMGyV

With that 203M-chip pot thanks to a timely river card, stefanfol1 moved into a 76M-chip lead over olimpiada980. BMGyV, meanwhile, was left with just 5.8M chips. The German player got all-in on Hand #30 and managed to win with 5♥ 4♥ against stefanfol1's A♠ J♠ for 23.6M after the board came 6♥ 2♦ A♦ T♠ 3♥.

On the next hand BMGyV picked up 9♠ 9♣ in the big blind and had an easy call when castlbek raised all-in from the small blind. The Czech player's T♣ 4♥ couldn't crack the nines on the K♣ 3♦ 5♣ 2♦ 5♠ board, dropping castlbek to a 32.3M-chip stack and boosting BMGyV's to 52.3M.

The German picked up an even better hand before the flop on the very next hand, the 32nd of the final table. It was another easy call with T♠ T♦ after Kaeresen moved in for 49.9M in the cutoff, one that left BMGyV with just 1.3M chips, barely enough to cover the ante on the next hand in the case of a loss. And that's exactly what the German was left with after the board came 5♥ 7♥ K♦ 5♣ Q♦, giving Kaersen's A♣ K♠ kings and fives for the win and the 114M chips in the middle.

BMGyV's fate was left to the deck on the next hand, but 6♥ 4♦ was able to crack olimpiada980's 8♣ 8♦ with a flush on a T♥ K♥ 4♥ 3♥ Q♥ board, winning the 8.5M-chip main pot. Three hands later the short-stacked German cracked another pair after getting all-in for less than the big blind with a weaker hand, this time antzzzap's Q♣ Q♥ with A♥ 7♥ on an A♠ J♣ K♥ 7♦ 6♥ board for a 24.7M-chip main pot. On Hand #37 BMGyV called all-in from the big blind after Kaeresen jammed on the button and was actually a favorite for once, with A♥ 5♥ against Q♥ 8♠. The results didn't change, though, as the German won the 58.4M chips in the pot with a pair of aces after the board came 4♠ T♠ 7♥ 3♦ A♦.

With a moment to breathe, BMGyV stepped back from the action momentarily despite having the button on Hand #40. That passed the action to antzzzap in the small blind and the Finnish player moved in for 54.1M with T♣ 8♣ in the hole. RainmanRJA called from the big blind with A♦ 6♦ and hit the 7♣ 6♥ 6♣ hard. Any nine or any club would have moved antzzzap into the lead for the 115M-chip pot, but the Q♥ and J♦ came instead to give RainmanRJA the win and bust antzzzap in 7th place ($15,670.12).

The three players who had factored most heavily into the action prior to the previous knockout ended up clashing with one another on Hand #44, two with the tournament on the line and the other threatened to be left with just over one big blind in the event of a loss. Kaeresen opened the betting on the button by moving all-in for 55.2M with K♠ 9♥. castlbek, already in for 4M from the small blind, called off the last 14.3M with K♦ J♥. That left the decision to BMGyV in the big blind.

After waiting nearly long enough for the time bank to kick in, the German player called and was ahead of the field with A♣ T♠. Kaeresen took the lead with a pair of nines on the 2♣ 9♦ 8♦ flop, but the T♥ put BMGyV back in front with a pair of tens. castlbek needed a seven, a jack, or a queen for the win, while Kaeresen needed another nine or a king. BMGyV just needed to avoid those cards and did so when the river came the 5♦. That was good for the 134.9M-chip pot and eliminated castlbek in 6th place ($21,955.88) and Kaeresen in 5th place ($32,933.82).

Two more quick knockouts

With that double knockout, these four players were now left at the table:

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Seat 1: RainmanRJA (177,677,107 in chips)
Seat 2: stefanfol1 (206,642,684 in chips)
Seat 3: olimpiada980 (101,915,421 in chips)
Seat 7: BMGyV (146,134,788 in chips)

Within a few hands the blinds and antes rose to 5M/10M/1.25M, bringing the entire remaining table to within 10 big blinds of one another. The next 10 hands passed without anyone challenging a per-flop raise, broken up in the middle by negotiations over a potential deal. After 15 minutes without an agreement, play resumed.

On Hand #55 olimpiada980, who had scuttled the deal talk, shoved for 90.6M from the small blind after stefanfol1 opened for 30M on the button. The Romanian player called and showed 8♠ 8♦ but lost out to olimpiada980's Q♥ J♥, which was good for 196.3M with top two pair. The loss left stefanfol1 with 60.7M, which went in from the big blind two hands alter with A♥ 9♦ after RainmanRJA shoved from the big blind with Q♦ 2♣. Being the favorite only lasted until the flop came Q♠ 4♥ 8♥, after which stefanfol1 needed an ace, running nines, running inside straight cards, or running hearts for a flush. Neither the 3♠ turn nor the 7♦ river fit the bill, though, and stefanfol1 bowed out in 4th place ($43,911.77).

olimpiada980 won Hand #56 with a three-bet before the flop, but otherwise the next five hands went by with no real confrontation. That changed on Hand #60 when BMGyV opened for 30M on the button and olimpiada980 called from the big blind to see a 2♣ 4♥ 9♣ flop. olimpiada980 checked and induced a 61.6M-chip all-in bet from BMGyV, then called with T♦ 9♥ for top pair. BMGyV's Q♠ J♠ was drawing to an overpair, and after the K♠ also a king-high straight, but the 9♠ on the river gave olimpiada980 three of a kind and the 192M-chip pot. After surviving many previous elimination attempts, BMGyV's tournament finally expired in 3rd place ($54,902.36).

The end of it all

With all the other MicroMillions 7 action complete and the Main Event title on the line, heads-up play began with the two remaining players separated by less than seven big blinds:

Seat 1: RainmanRJA (289,404,370 in chips)
Seat 3: olimpiada980 (342,965,630 in chips)

The two players immediately agreed to look at the numbers for a deal. After some negotiation, they came to an agreement that gave both players nearly $70,000 and left the last $10,000 on the table for the winner. Then they continued on with the game.

Hand #65 saw RainmanRJA take a small lead with a small pair:

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olimpiada980 ran off wins in six of the next eight pots to move back into the lead, then won this one to back RainmanRJA up against the wall:

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After five more consecutive wins olimpiada980 had 505M chips to RainmanRJA's 126M, and the blinds and antes were now up to 6M/12M/1.5M to add increased pressure. The player from the U.K. responded by moving all-in from the big blind on Hand #78 with K♥ 3♦, drawing a call from olimpiada980 with K♦ 2♣. The 8♥ T♣ 3♠ flop put RainmanRJA out front and the 7♣ turn and 8♣ river kept him there with a 267M-chip win.

The two played a small pot for 99M chips on the next hand, with RainmanRJA calling a minimum raise to 24M before the 9♦ J♦ J♥ flop, calling another 24M there, and then checking down the 4♥ turn and Q♣ river to win with 6♦ 4♦ for a flush draw turned into two pair, jacks and fours. But Hand #81 was the true turning point.

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Sitting in the big blind with T♠ 9♣, RainmanRJA called olimpiada980's minimum raise to 24M to see the flop come 6♠ 8♦ 9♠. The U.K. player checked and induced a 24M-chip bet before raising all-in for 254M total. olimpiada980 made the call with 72M chips behind and A♠ Q♠ in the hole for overcards with the nut flush draw. The 7♣ on the turn made a straight for RainmanRJA and made a spade on the river necessary for olimpiada980 to win, but the J♦ came instead and the 559M chips in the pot were moved into RainmanRJA's stack.

RainmanRJA folded the button on the next hand but called with A♦ 2♥ on Hand #83 after olimpiada980 moved all-in for 78M. The Russian player held Q♠ 9♦ and caught middle pair with a back-door flush draw on the T♠ 4♠ 9♥ flop. RainmanRJA needed an ace and got one on the turn with the A♠ to move into the lead. It did keep olimpiada980's hopes for a spade flush alive, though, leaving some drama heading to the river. The 3♥ arrived there, sending the pot to RainmanRJA's pair of aces and bringing the tournament to an end.

olimpiada980's share of the deal was worth $69,480.99 in the runner-up spot, while RainmanRJA grabbed the extra $10K for a total prize of $78,802.23. Those cashes were the highest of all time on PokerStars for both players, as they were for nearly all the others at the final table, making this the moment to congratulate all of them for surviving a gigantic field to earn a place in the annals of the biggest micro-stakes tournament series in all of online poker.

MicroMillions-098: $22 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event
Entrants: 63,237
Prize pool: $1,264,740
Places paid: 8,097

1. RainmanRJA (United Kingdom) $78,802.23*
2. olimpiada980 (Russia) $69,480.99*
3. BMGyV (Germany) $54,902.36
4. stefanfol1 (Romania) $43,911.77
5. Kaeresen (Poland) $32,933.82
6. castlbek (Czech Republic) $21,955.88
7. antzzzap (Finland) $15,670.12
8. tomthelong (Germany) $10,977.94
9. albiko (Bulgaria) $8,220.81
* - denotes results of a heads-up deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions