MicroMillions 7: rekri scoops up the title in Event #48, $3.30 PL Omaha Hi/Lo

If you were to call Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo a niche game, you might get an argument from some players. A narrow slice of the poker community appreciates not just the amount of action the game can generate but also the skill necessary to play it effectively. Should they raise their voices while making their point, forgive them - they just really like playing fast-paced, split-pot poker and don't understand why the rest of the world hasn't come on board yet.

Today was the MicroMillions 7 moment in the sun for these players (and their less fanatical but still enthusiastic fellows), as the lone PLO/8 tournament on the schedule played out. Sporting a $3.30 buy-in, Event #48 atrracted a total field of 5,221 players, good for a $15,663 prize pool paid out to the top 675 finishers. They kicked off at 9:30 a.m. ET with 5,000 chips apiece and blinds at 10/20. A little over eight hours later the blinds had reached 100K/200K as these split-pot enthusiasts sat down to the final table:

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Seat 1: preTu.ras (2,228,948 in chips)
Seat 2: James XXX7 (2,131,532 in chips)
Seat 3: ooPIKASSOoo (4,228,901 in chips)
Seat 4: tha-she (1,028,098 in chips)
Seat 5: keg2013 (863,960 in chips)
Seat 6: llleopold (3,635,636 in chips)
Seat 7: rekri (3,865,701 in chips)
Seat 8: scart888 (3,904,188 in chips)
Seat 9: Kazancev (4,218,036 in chips)

Russia's keg2013 came in with the shortest stack at just over four big blinds and got right to work trying to chip up, raising all-in after Brazil's preTu.ras opened for 700K under the gun. The Brazilian was the only caller with A♠ K♣ 6♣ 5♠, which was in okay shape to at least chop on the 2♥ 8♣ 5♣ flop against keg2013's A♦ 7♠ 4♥ 3♣. But the J♦ turn and 7♥ river left preTu.ras with a 7-6 low and a pair of fives, which lost out on the whole 2.02M-chip pot against keg2013's 7-5 low and pair of sevens.

Two hands later it was James XXX7 who ended up all-in as a favorite after calling a raise to 550K in the cutoff by Ireland's scart888. James XXX7's A♠ T♠ 9♠ 3♥ flopped the nut flush with an A-3 low draw and led for 1.2M, then called after scart888 raised with A♥ 8♥ 5♣ 4♠ for an inside straight draw and an A-4 low draw. Nothing changed after the board ran out K♠ 2♦, James XXX7 stacked up to 4.36M, and scart888 was the new short stack with 1.67M.

Up and down for James XXX7

James XXX7 split Hand #4 with Austria's ooPIKASSOoo and lleopold won 927K uncontested on the flop of Hand #5. Then the blinds rose to 125K/250K and Paraguay's tha-she three-bet all-in for 614K before the flop after Hungary's rekri opened for 500K in early position on Hand #6. The T♣ Q♠ J♦ flop left the Paraguayan's A♣ 8♥ 7♣ 6♣ in trouble against rekri's two pair with A♥ J♠ T♦ 2♣. tha-she was in need of straight cards or runner-runner clubs; the 9♠ on the turn fit the bill and gave the Paraguayan a jack-high straight, but the T♠ on the river moved rekri back ahead with tens full of jacks. That was good for the 1.47M-chip pot and ended tha-she's day in 9th place ($125.30).

James XXX7 figured in the action again on Hand #11, doubling up preTu.ras in a blind-versus blind hand after calling with A♣ 9♦ 8♠ 7♠. The Brazilian player's 4♠ Q♥ T♠ had flopped bottom two pair, which held up to scoop the 1.62M-chip pot on a 4♣ Q♥ T♠ 2♠ 9♣ board and drop James XXX7 from 3.8M to 3M. Fives hands later the Belgian player would fall even further back, folding to scart888's all-in bet of 1.3M on the turn of an 8♥ T♠ 6♣ 9♥ board to be left with just 1.78M.

On Hand #18 the blinds went up to 150K/300K and the Belgian limped in under the gun with A♣ Q♦ Q♥ T♥. Both blinds came along for the 8♣ K♥ 7♥ flop and checked to James XXX7, who put out a 300K bet with 1.18M left behind. Ukraine's Kazancev called in the small blind to bring the 3♦ on the turn, and there the Ukrainian moved all-in. James XXX7 made the call and was trailing Kazancev's two pair, eights and threes with A♦ 9♥ 8♦ 3♥, but could still hit a heart or queen to come back and scoop the pot. The 5♣ on the river didn't change anything, deposing James XXX7 in 8th place ($195.78).

The next two hands saw short-stacked keg2013 get all-in twice. The first was a split pot when keg2013's queens and tens took the high on an 8♣ 5♦ Q♦ 3♦ T♥ board and scart888's A-2 took the low. But the second didn't work out so well. The Russian player, holding A♣ 7♥ 6♠ 6♦, jammed for 1.37M in the big blind after Kazancev opened for 600K. Kazancev called with A♥ K♠ K♦ 3♥, which scooped the pot with a wheel after the board came 5♦ 4♦ 5♣ T♦ 2♠, and keg2013 left in 7th place ($352.41).

Hand #24 featured scart888 and Russia's llleopold facing off in the largest pot of the tournament so far:

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That pot was split, but two hands later Kazancev would scoop another one. The Ukrainian player raised to 600K in the small blind and called with A♠[ Jd] T♥ 6♠ after preTu.ras shoved for 1.62M in the big blind. The J♠ Q♣ 2♠ flop made Kazancev a solid favorite with flush and straight draws plus a pair of jacks. The 4♦ turn and J♣ made that three of a kind, which beat preTu.ras' pair of twos and knocked the Brazilian out of the tournament in 6th place ($509.04).

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scart888 and ooPIKASSOoo finished out the 150K/300K level winning pots uncontested to both climb over the 6M-chip mark, scart888 with 6.56M and ooPIKASSOoo with 6.4M. But on Hand #33, once the 200K/400K level began, scart888 dropped about 40 percent of that total after opening for 800K with A♦ T♥ 6♦ 4♦ and calling a third bet by rekri in the big blind, then calling the Hungarian player's all-in bet of 492K on the 8♠ 8♥ 5♠ flop. rekri's A♠ A♣ 5♦ 3♥ was good for a full house after the turn and river came 2♣ 8♦, good for a double to 6.38M.

Quickfire double elimination

Hand #36 would see scart888 face off against rekri again - and run into aces again. rekri opened for 1.2M in the cutoff and scart888 called on the button with 1.97M left behind to see a 6♠ 7♥ Q♠ flop. Then scart888 called all-in after rekri led for 3M, showing A♠ K♥ 9♦ 3♣ for a bare A-3 low draw. That was was in trouble against rekri's pair of aces and A-2 draw with A♣ A♥ 4♠ 2♠, even after the 3♦ on the turn made a pair for scart888 and held out hope of a catching two pair to split the pot. The 4♥ on the river ended that hope, though, and the Irish player departed in 5th place ($665.67).

That 6.94M-chip pot moved rekri up to 9.9M and the chip lead, which the Hungarian put to work before the flop on Hand #39, making a third bet of 4.6 from the small blind with A♠ J♠ J♦ 2♥ after llleopold opened for 1.4M on the button. The Russian called all-in with K♣ K♠ 9♠ 4♦ and stayed ahead through the 6♣ T♥ 6♦ flop, but the A♣ on the turn changed everything. llleopold now needed one of two kings left in the deck for a scoop, but the 5♣ hit the river instead and the Russian player was eliminated in 4th place ($884.95).

Three remain

That left these three players still in action:

Seat 3: ooPIKASSOoo (5,903,901 in chips)
Seat 7: rekri (14,007,090 in chips)
Seat 9: Kazancev (6,194,009 in chips)

Between them, ooPIKASSOoo and rekri won the first seven pots and split an eighth, though rekri got the better of the exchanges on the whole thanks to dragging the 4.4M-chip pot on Hand #45 with an uncontested bet on the river of a 3♣ 7♦ 6♦ 7♣ T♥ board. Kazancev finally changed the pattern with a blind steal on on Hand #48, then broke through with a double-up to 7.1M on Hand #51 when A♦ K♠ 7♥ 3♣ held up against rekri's A♣ Q♣ 8♥ 4♦ on a board reading 9♥ 6♠ A♥ K♥ 2♦.

Another win for 3.2M three hands later had the Ukrainian in second place by about eight big blinds over ooPIKASSOoo, but the advance would be short-lived thanks to a nasty river card on Hand #56:

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The flopped set of sixes lost out to the rivered set of tens, and Kazancev was gone in 3rd place ($1,292.19).

Specialist versus enthusiast

Heads-up play began with 200K/400K blinds and a significant advantage for rekri, whose top 20 cashes of all-time had come in PLO/8:

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Seat 3: ooPIKASSOoo (5,103,901 in chips)
Seat 7: rekri (21,001,099 in chips)

ooPIKASSOoo managed to double up on the third hand, scooping with A♣ J♦ 9♣ 3♣ for two pair, nines and threes, and an A-3 low on the 8♦ 5♣ 9♥ 7♣ 3♦ board. Thing stayed fairly evenly balanced even from there, with each player trading a mostly equal number of pots and rekri holding an edge of about 7M chips.

But on Hand #70, the 14th of heads-up play, both players picked up hands too good to let go of before the flop and ended up in a raising war that left ooPIKASSOoo on the verge of elimination. The Austrian held A♣ K♦ J♣ 2♦, while rekri had A♦ Q♦ Q♣ 7♦. The 4♠ Q♥ 2♠ flop was a pretty bad one for ooPIKASSOoo, giving rekri not only top set but also the only live low draw. The K♣ on the turn erased the chance of splitting the pot with a runner-runner low and left ooPIKASSOoo needing the river to deliver either a ten for a Broadway straight or a king for kings full of deuces. The 3♠ came instead, the set of queens held up, and the tournament came to a close.

For second place, ooPIKASSOoo earned $1,824.73, nearly three times the Austrian's players previous highest cash in any game and nearly $1,800 better than the previous best score in PLO/8. As for rekri, the $2,460.41 top prize was both the third-largest of the Hungarian player's career overall and the third-best among PLO/8 scores.

MicroMillions-048: $3.30 8-Game
Entrants: 5,221
Prize pool: $15,663
Places paid: 675

1. rekri (Hungary) $2,460.41
2. ooPIKASSOoo (Austria) $1,824.73
3. Kazancev (Ukraine) $1,292.19
4. llleopold (Russia) $884.95
5. scart888 (Ireland) $665.67
6. preTu.ras (Brazil) $509.04
7. keg2013 (Russia) $352.41
8. James XXX7 (Belgium) $195.78
9. tha-she (Paraguay) $125.30

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions