MicroMillions 7: River aces help Hoppi777 win Event #20, $2.22+R NLHE (Saturday Splash Special Edition)

With its 3x-Turbo structure giving players unlimited rebuys for the first 90 minutes of play, the Saturday Splash makes for a rollicking good time every weekend here at PokerStars. But when the MicroMillions rolls around, an already excellent tournament gets even better. The guarantee jumps by 50 percent, drawing larger fields and guaranteeing even larger prizes for the lucky player who can dodge obstacles the best over the next six hours.

Today's Saturday Splash marked the 20th event of MicroMillions 7 and was on par with the field from last November's special edition, drawing a field of 18,310 players. With 74,303 re-buys during the 90-minute period and 9,177 add-ons after its conclusion, that brought the total prize pool up to $206,615.80. With 2,475 places paid and a $22,189.29 light at the end of the tunnel, the remaining players made their forward to the money.

After just over five hours of table time, the blinds and antes were at 1.8M/3.6M/360K and these nine players were looking to outlast the competition:

mm7-020 ft.jpg

Seat 1: Page7243 (10,085,448 in chips)
Seat 2: Hoppi777 (64,125,312 in chips)
Seat 3: piperseneca5 (15,684,492 in chips)
Seat 4: craigandseb (37,108,633 in chips)
Seat 5: 2222-udacha (181,254,324 in chips)
Seat 6: Jalien (20,756,621 in chips)
Seat 7: mrs-nurse (122,082,959 in chips)
Seat 8: mk0811 (47,548,868 in chips)
Seat 9: Seza89 (54,502,343 in chips)

2222-udacha holds court

Sitting in the big blind with less than two BBs left on the second hand was Page7243. The player from Canada held K♣ 8♣ and was willing to call a min-raise from the chip leader, Russian player 2222-udacha, before the flop, along with a continuation bet after the 6♦ 4♠ Q♣ flop. King-high was ahead of 2222-udacha's T♦ 8♥ and stayed there after the 3♦ turn, but the T♣ on the river gave 2222-udacha second pair and ended Page7243's tournament in 9th place ($1,233.69).

That pot moved 2222-udacha up over the 200M-chip mark, and the next two pots went to the Russian player as well, both uncontested before the flop. Hand #5 saw the next short stack take a stand against the leader, this time Mexico's piperseneca5 moving in for 8.48M with A♠ 8♠ on the button. 2222-udacha called with 2♥ 2♦ and caught bottom set on the 2♠ 6♥ K♣ flop to leave pipseneca5 drawing to runner-runner flush outs. The 9♦ on the turn reduced the short stack's chances to zero, and the 7♠ river sent piperseneca5 to the rail in 8th place ($1,850.54).

The blinds and antes rose to 2M/4M/400K on the next hand. 2222-udacha's reign continued there in the small blind after calling Dutch player mk0811's early-position raise to 10M, leading for 8M on the Q♣ 5♣ K♥ flop for 8M and getting a call, and then leading for 8M again on the K♣ turn and getting mk0811 to fold. That 42.8M-chip pot, along with a blind-steal from the button on the next hand, gave 2222-udacha 256M chips and wins in six of the first seven hands of the final table.

The Russian actually raised to 8M in the cutoff on Hand #8, too, but folded after Canada's Jalien moved in for 11.7M on the button and mk0811 raised to 15.7M with just 8.9M left behind. Jalien's A♠ J♦ held up against mk0811's A♦ 3♠ on the 6♥ Q♦ 8♥ 5♥ 9♦ for the 36.3M chips in the middle and a brief respite from being on the elimination bubble. That pressure went to the mk0811, who moved in from the small blind for 12.9M on Hand #9 after 2222-udacha opened for 8M in the hijack seat and Denmark's mrs-nurse called on the button. Both of those players called to see the flop come 4♣ 9♠ 3♥ and mrs-nurse called a bet of 8M to bring the 4♥ on the turn. 2222-udacha led for 8M again but folded after mrs-nurse raised to 24M. The Dane showed king-high with K♦ Q♠ and was ahead of mk0811's J♥ T♠ headed to the river, where the K♥ made a pair of kings and knocked mk0811 out in 7th place ($3,084.23).

A change of pace

2222-udacha got back into the groove by stealing the blinds and antes on Hand #10, but a confrontation with the newly flush mrs-nurse on Hand #11 shifted the balance of the table for the first time:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

2222-udacha was still in good shape with 182M and got right back to being aggressive and stealing blinds and antes. That was good for the next two pots but the Russian had bad timing with A♣ 8♦ on Hand #14, calling an all-in raise to 54.9M in early position by Germany's Hoppi777. The German held A♦ K♠, the board fell 2♣ 5♥ 5♦ 3♦ 6♦, and suddenly there were three players with more than 100M chips at the table:

Seat 2: Hoppi777 (118,250,624 in chips)
Seat 4: craigandseb (28,588,633 in chips)
Seat 5: 2222-udacha (141,626,705 in chips)
Seat 6: Jalien (27,913,242 in chips)
Seat 7: mrs-nurse (209,067,453 in chips)
Seat 9: Seza89 (27,702,343 in chips)

The other three players had nearly identical stacks, which led to a short stand-off period of about 12 hands where the pots were all won before the flop, punctuated by flops seen by mrs-nurse and 2222-udacha. Despite briefly losing the lead, mrs-nurse took the better of those exchanges and moved up to 255M chips. 2222-udacha settled into second place with 140M, with Hoppi777 close behind at 109M.

Jalien, meanwhile, was stuck between the two battling big stacks and clinging to life on the 2.25M/4.5M/450K level with just 9.11M chips. Hand #27 brought temporary relief in a 22.2M-chip pot after moving all-in before the flop for less than two big blinds with K♥ J♦, which held up against Hoppi777's priced-in 6♦ 3♠ on the 9♥ Q♣ 2♥ A♦ 8♠ board. All of those chips went in the middle on Hand #28 as a re-raise after 2222-udacha opened under the gun for 9M. The rest of the table folded and the Russian called with 7♥ 7♣, a coin flip against Jalien's A♣ 9♥. The overcards couldn't catch on the 4♥ 5♠ Q♥ 3♥ 6♣ board and Jalien was gone in 6th place ($5,140.39).

mm7-020 ft 5-handed.jpg

Germany's Seza89 avoided the same fate on the next hand, catching two pair with A♣ Q♥ on the flop of a 6♣ Q♦ A♠ 6♥ K♦ to outrun Hoppi777's T♥ T♦. That left the United Kingdom's craigandseb behind the eight-ball with 20.7M, all of which (minus the antes for three intervening hands) went in the middle on Hand #33 with A♦ 9♦ against mrs-nurse's Q♣ 9♣. The T♣ K♥ 3♣ was all danger despite leaving craigandseb in the momentary lead; the A♠ was harmless on the turn, but the 4♣ gave mrs-nurse the club flush and ousted craigandseb in 5th place ($7,196.55).

The very next hand saw the field trimmed of all the shortest stacks - and it saw mrs-nurse come within a few big blinds of the 400M-chip mark, too:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

Seza89 mucked at the end of the hand and departed in 4th place ($9,252.71).

Odd player out

With the blinds now at 2.5M/5M with 500K antes, mrs-nurse was in the driver's seat to start three-handed play:

mm7-020 ft 3-handed.jpg

Seat 2: Hoppi777 (81,235,039 in chips)
Seat 5: 2222-udacha (91,703,189 in chips)
Seat 7: mrs-nurse (380,210,772 in chips)

2222-udacha had been the aggressor throughout much of the final table and nothing changed at this point. The Russian stole the first three pots to open up some room ahead of Hoppi777, but the German responded by taking the three of the next four pots to bring their stacks back to within a few big blinds of each other. Then 2222-udacha got involved in a hand with mrs-nurse and had to fold on the turn of a J♠ 9♣ K♦ J♣ board, leaving the Russian with the short stack at 63.2M.

All the back-and-forth culminated on Hand #45 when Hoppi777 moved all-in from the small blind with J♣ J♣ and 2222-udacha called with A♥ 7♥. The 125M chips in the middle went to Hoppi777 after the board came 5♣ K♠ 2♣ 3♦ 5♥, and 2222-udacha finished in 3rd place ($13,365.02).

Aces on the river

Even with a final-table high point of 141M in chips, Hoppi777 still trailed mrs-nurse's 414M by a margin of nearly 3-to-1.

mm7-020 ft hu.jpg

Seat 2: Hoppi777 (141,488,228 in chips)
Seat 7: mrs-nurse (411,660,772 in chips)

The German asked for a deal but the Dane refused, preferring to keep playing with the chip advantage. With the exception of a couple of medium-sized wins for the underdog, the bulk of the early pots went to expanding mrs-nurse's lead by another 40M chips. Hoppi777 finally broke through on Hand #61 after calling with A♠ 7♣ in the big blind after mrs-nurse shoved on the button with A♥ 2♣. The 2♥ 7♥ J♦ 6♣ K♠ board was good for a double to 203M, reducing the difference between the two players to just 26 big blinds.

mrs-nurse remained aggressive and began to expand the lead again, winning six of the next seven pots, but Hoppi777 returned the favor by winning six of the next eight. In both of those stretches combined, just three pots went to a flop; mrs-nurse won the first two on the river, but the last, Hand #74, saw Hoppi777 pick off a bluff to bring the margin between the two players' stacks back to 26 big blinds once again. Four hands later Hoppi777 played bluff-catcher on both the turn and river of a 5♣ J♣ 4♥ 6♠ 2♠ board, winning with J♦ 2♦ against mrs-nurse's K♣ 9♥ to get back to within 100M chips on the 3M/6M/600K level.

From there the two players mostly took turns stealing blinds, though Hoppi777 made up some ground with a few small wins after the flop. But the game-changer came on Hand #97:

That ace on the river saved Hoppi777 from a second-place finish and sent mrs-nurse from the verge of victory to holding five big blinds on the edge of elimination. One double-up was in store two hands later with 8♣ 7♦ against Hoppi777's 6♣ 4♣, giving mrs-nurse a boost to 83.9M chips. But Hand #101 would be the end of the road. mrs-nurse opened all-in on the button with J♦ T♠ and Hoppi777 called with A♦ 5♦; another double was close with the board reading Q♥ J♣ 4♥ 8♦, but the A♠ on the river took closed the Dane's tournament out in 2nd place ($17,477.34).

That score was the Dane's best not just since a 5th-place finish in the Sunday Storm last October, but of all time. Likewise, the $22,189.29 first-place prize was a career high for Hoppi777, more than three and a half times the German's previous best. Congratulations to both of them for making good use of their weekend time at the tables!

MicroMillions-020: $2.22+R No-Limit Hold'em (3x-Turbo, Saturday Splash Special Edition)
Entrants: 18,310 (74,303 re-buys, 9,177 add-ons)
Prize pool: $206,615.80
Places paid: 2,475

1. Hoppi777 (Germany) $22,189.29
2. mrs-nurse (Denmark) $17,477.34
3. 2222-udacha (Russia) $13,365.02
4. Seza89 (Germany) $9,252.71
5. craigandseb (United Kingdom) $7,196.55
6. Jalien (Canada) $5,140.39
7. mk0811 (Netherlands) $3,084.23
8. piperseneca5 (Mexico) $1,850.54
9. Page7423 (Canada) $1,233.69

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions