MicroMillions 7: westy4lyf outlasts wild final table in Event #72, $5.50 NLHE (Progressive Super Knockout)

In tournaments with normal Knockout structures, the bounty on a player's head is worth a lot in the early going but ceases to mean very much by the time the middle of the tournament rolls around - never mind the deepest reaches of the tournament. But the Progressive Super-Knockout allows for the bounties to continue to mean something all the way up to the final table. Half of each buy-in goes to the bounty pool, and the bounties get larger as the tournament goes on.

The Progressive KO tournament format makes for an interesting dynamic, particularly when it's paired with 10-minute levels and a gradual blind structure as it was today in Event #72 of MicroMillions 7, a $5.50 No-Limit Hold'em tournament. The prospect of those increasingly valuable bounties attracted 9,092 players for a total prize pool of $48,187.60, split down the middle between the regular and bounty prize pools. The top 2,025 finishers were all guaranteed $2.65, though everyone who made it that far generally picked up at least that much again for knockouts.

Even the smallest remaining bounty as the final table began was worth close to half of what the 9th-place finisher would receive, while the largest - which could still grow larger as the table progressed - was worth $130 more than the payout that the table's 8th-place finisher would earn. The blinds and antes were 40K/80K/10K as these nine players met:

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Seat 1: mik-ronika (3,143,756 in chips, $288.57 bounty)
Seat 2: jucetoor18 (5,206,326 in chips, $289.32 bounty)
Seat 3: Lioha499 (2,377,060 in chips, $175.15 bounty)
Seat 4: westy4lyf (1,026,486 in chips, $71.86 bounty)
Seat 5: holdenas123 (3,335,259 in chips, $309.14 bounty)
Seat 6: kend888 (581,564 in chips, $119.96 bounty)
Seat 7: lellekoe (1,431,860 in chips, $94.42 bounty)
Seat 8: int2008740 (5,203,335 in chips, $194.52 bounty)
Seat 9: leretour11 (424,354 in chips, $62.92 bounty)

Day of the living short stacks

Hand #5 saw the first significant action of the final table when Russia's Lioha499 opened for 300K under the gun and got calls from fellow Russians int2008740 on the button and mik-ronika in the big blind. Lioha499 bet 300K when checked to on the 7♠ 2♠ 6♦ flop and was raised to 800K by in2008740. mik-ronika got out of the way but Lioha499 called, then check-called bets on both the A♥ turn and A♠ river to end up all-in. Lioha499 showed J♠ J♥, beating int2008740's busted straight draw with 9♣ 8♥ and winning the 5.1M-chip pot.

Two hands later Lioha499 took a stab at the final table's first knockout, nut A♣ Q♣ was no good against Poland's kend888, who flopped top pair and doubled to 895K as the board fell K♠ 8♣ 4♥ 2♣ 9♠. Lioha499 tried a coin flip in the blinds on the next hand, but A♣ J♦ from the small blind couldn't beat the 9♣ 9♥ held in the big blind by New Zealand's westy4lyf. That gave westy4lyf 2.9M chips and dropped Lioha499 back to 3.3M.

The short stacks continued to win when Belgium's leretour doubled to 741K with K♥ K♠ against int2008740's A♦ Q♥ on Hand #14. But Hand #16 wasn't as kind to kend888. The Polish player, holding 6♣ 6♥, opened the action with an all-in bet of 630K and got just one caller. mik-ronika's Q♣ Q♠ improved to a set on the T♠ 7♦ 5♠ Q♥ 3♦ board, more than enough to win the pot, collect kend888's bounty and knock the Polish player out in 9th place ($144.56).

The old pattern of doubling short stacks resumed on Hand #21 when the Netherlands' lellekoe, holding K♠ K♥, jammed over the top mik-ronika's under-the-gun limp with 4♥ 4♦. The T♥ 7♣ 5♠ 7♦ 9♠ board was no danger and lellekoe got back up to 2.3M. On Hand #25 the Dutch player picked up another 2.2M-chip pot from Mexico's jucetoor18 at showdown after raising pre-flop, firing on the flop and turn, and checking the river of a 3♠ T♠ K♥ 8♠ Q♠ board with J♣ J♦. Three hands later jucetoor18 made up for the loss by winning a nice little pot with jacks, too:

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Hanging on by a thread at this point was leretour11, whose double-up with Q♠ Q♥ on Hand #30 only took the Belgian player back up to 627K. Though leretour11 went back into a pure defensive stance from there, the next player to leave would be Lioha499. The Russian player limped from middle position on Hand #37 after mik-ronika did the same under the gun, and then called after int2008740 led out for 333K and mik-ronika called on the 5♦ 2♥ K♠. Int2008740 checked and then folded to a 480K bet from mik-ronika on the 7♥ turn, but Lioha499 called, and then called all-in for 209K after the river brought the 2♦. mik-ronika's 8♣ 8♥ was good against Lioha499's busted flush draw with Q♥ 4♥, sending the Russian player to the rail in 8th place ($216.84).

Survival of the...well...everyone

The next hand saw mik-ronika give all those chips and a few more to lellekoe after the two collided pre-flop, with A♣ K♣ unable to crack the latter's A♦ A♠ in a 5.5M-chip pot. It was then leretour11's turn to survive again, first flopping a full house with K♠ Q♦ against int2008740's A♦ 9♦ on Hand #39, then with A♦ J♣ against lellekoe's K♠ J♦ on Hand #43, then one more time with A♠ Q♣ against jucetoor18's K♠ Q♥ on Hand #45 to get up to a personal final-table high of 3.4M. That led to an eight-hand lull where all the pots were taken down before the flop, the first such stretch at the final table, before the largest pot so far played out on Hand #54:

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The short stacks who wouldn't die earlier on still refused to go softly. Hand #57 saw a reversal of the typical roles when int2008740 doubled through leretour11, flopping bottom two pair with 5♠ 3♥ in the big blind after leretour11 limped in and hit top pair with Q♠ J♣. That 3.7M-chip pot, plus another worth 3.8M on Hand #66, won from mik-ronika at showdown with K♦ K♠ on a 2♦ A♣ 6♥ A♥ 2♥ board, got the Russian player back to a chip-leading stack of 6.2M.

No longer the short stack, int2008740 took on the role of doubler again on Hand #71, losing out with 8♦ 7♠ against westy4lyf's A♥ J♥ after the board ran out 6♠ 8♥ T♠ T♣ J♠. Then Hand #72 saw leretour11 double up yet again, to 1.2M, with K♦ K♥ against int2008740's K♠ 4♦. And Hand #76 was a winner for Lithuania's holdenas123 with A♥ K♥ against int2008740's A♦ 3♣, worth 2.3M.

The levee breaks

The streak of survival would finally break on Hand #80. Once again it was leretour11 facing elimination, and once again doing so with a superior hand, A♥ K♦ against holdenas123's A♣ Q♥. But the flop came 9♥ Q♦ 4♣, leaving leretour11 in need of a king or some running straight cards. Neither appeared on the 6♥ turn or 7♠ river, and leretour11 departed in 7th place ($421.64).

After the long bubble finally broke, these six players were still in action with blinds and antes at 150K/300K/37.5K:

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Seat 1: mik-ronika (3,907,770 in chips)
Seat 2: jucetoor18 (4,175,377 in chips)
Seat 4: westy4lyf (2,039,222 in chips)
Seat 5: holdenas123 (4,595,330 in chips)
Seat 7: lellekoe (3,782,608 in chips)
Seat 8: int2008740 (4,229,693 in chips)

westy4lyf got the old trend started back up again on Hand #85 after opening for 900K in the hijack seat with Q♣ J♥ and calling all-in for 1.4M after int2008740 jammed with K♠ Q♦. The board came 4♣ A♥ K♥ T♠ 8♥ to give the New Zealander a Broadway straight and the 3.3M-chip pot. holdenas123 won the next pot uncontested for 3.8M after moving off the hand on the turn of a 6♣ Q♥ J♠ 3♣ board, but then the table fell into another 10-hand lull of pots won before the flop.

lellekoe won Hand #97, cracking mik-ronika's Q♣ Q♠ with K♦ 3♦ on an A♦ 2♦ T♦ 9♠ 4♦ board for 4.1M, to punctuate the silence. Four hands later the Russian player was first to act and jammed under the gun for 1.4M with K♣ J♣, and lellekoe was the onyl caller in the big blind with A♥ Q♦. The A♣ K♥ A♠ flop had mik-ronika needing running kings for four of a kind to win the pot, but the A♦ on the turn ended that slim hope by giving quads to lellekoe. The 6♠ on the river was a formality, ending mik-ronika's tournament in 6th place ($650.53).

The next 12 pots were all won either before the flop, by an all-in player, or uncontested by westy4lyf once cards had been dealt. Q♣ Q♥ was worth 4.4M for the New Zealander on Hand #104 against jucetoor18's K♠ Q♠, while a bet on the T♦ A♦ 7♣ flop of Hand #109 won the 3.6M-chip pot without a fight. And Hand #116 saw jucetoor18 get in on the double-up action, getting in behind with A♠ 2♦ against lellekoe's T♦ T♠ but catching top pair on the 6♦ A♦ Q♥ 9♦ 7♣ board for a pot worth 6.5M.

The run finally ended on Hand #117 after westy4lyf opened for 1.5M in the cutoff and int2008740 jammed for 3.2M in the big blind. westy4lyf called with K♠ J♥, which was behind int2008740's A♥ 8♥ both before and after the A♠ T♠ 3♠ flop. But the J♠ on the turn locked up the pot for the New Zealander with a flush, and the 2♣ on the river locked up int2008740's finish in 5th place ($891.47).

A quick end

With four players remaining the chips were fairly evenly distributed, if not worth as much as before thanks to the 250K/500K/62.5K blinds and antes:

Seat 2: jucetoor18 (6,518,866 in chips)
Seat 4: westy4lyf (8,409,859 in chips)
Seat 5: holdenas123 (4,625,330 in chips)
Seat 7: lellekoe (3,175,945 in chips)

The long pattern of short stacks hitting perfect cards had a chance to return on Hand #120. With A♦ 5♣ against lellekoe's 9♦ 9♠, it would have been great news for holdenas123 if it had. But the board fell a fateful J♣ A♠ 9♥ J♦ 9♣, giving lellekoe the second set of quads at the final table for the 8.1M-chip pot and knocking holdenas123 out in 4th place ($1,132.40).

Before the next hand could be dealt the three remaining players, aware that the length of the final table had basically eliminated anybody's edge, paused to talk over a deal. Seven minutes later they had come to an agreement gave everyone between $2,014 and $2,171 and left the last $400 on the table for the winner. With that they got back to work.

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Three hands in, westy4lyf opened with a minimum raise to 1M on the button and called with A♣ 3♠ and just 15K in chips left behind after jucetoor18 jammed for 7.5M in the big blind. The Mexican player's K♦ Q♦ jumped ahead on the K♥ J♥ 3♦ flop and stayed there on the 2♦ turn, but the A♥ river gave westy4lyf the 15.4M-chip pot and eliminated jucetoor18 in 3rd place ($2,014.48).

lellekoe trailed by a little more than a 2-to-1 margin as heads-up play started. Winning the first four pots in a row uncontested was enough to reduce the margin to under 10 big blinds, but that's as close as things would get. westy4lyf took the next two pots before the flop, then called from the big blind with A♠ Q♦ on Hand #130 when lellekoe shoved for 8M on the button. The Dutch player's K♥ J♠ caught middle pair and a straight draw but hand just a 22 percent chance of toppling the two pair westy4lyf picked up on the K♦ Q♠ A♣ flop. The board ran out 4♠ 7♦, aces and queens were good for the pot, and the tournament was complete.

For finishing in second place, lellekoe took home a $2,152.34 share from the three-way deal, a new career best score here at PokerStars even before figuring in the $482.78 in bounties the Dutch player collected along the way. And westy4lyf's extra $400 at the end made for a total score of $2,571.83, over $2,400 more than the New Zealander's previous best cash from nearly three years ago. Throw in another $555.17 in bounties and that makes for a very successful day at the tables!

MicroMillions-072: $5.50 No-Limit Hold'em (Progressive Super-Knockout)
Entrants: 9,092
Prize pool: $48,187.60 ($24,093.80 regular, $24,093.80 bounty)
Places paid: 2,025

1. westy4lyf (New Zealand) $2,571.83* (+ $555.17 in bounties)
2. lellekoe (Netherlands) $2,152.34* (+ $482.78 in bounties)
3. jucetoor18 (Mexico) $2,014.48* (+ $289.32 in bounties)
4. holdenas123 (Lithuania) $1,132.40 (+ $340.60 in bounties)
5. int2008740 (Russia) $891.47 (+ $194.52 in bounties)
6. mik-ronika (Russia) $650.53 (+ $436.12 in bounties)
7. leretour11 (Belgium) $421.64 (+ $62.92 in bounties)
8. Lioha499 (Russia) $216.84 (+ $175.15 in bounties)
9. kend888 (Poland) $144.56 (+ $119.96 in bounties)
* - denotes results of a three-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions