MicroMillions 8: 0ld Painle$$ kills 'em softly in Event #55, $2.20 NLHE

Every final table ends the same way, but other than that they're certainly not created equally. Sometimes they're brisk affairs where the chip leaders win the majority of the hands they plan and the owners of the short stacks have no recourse. Other times they're a festival of double-ups, with every desperate shorty finding a way, at least for a while, to prolong the tournament just a little while longer. Event #55 of MicroMillions 8 fell into the latter category, with enough action to satisfy spectators and players alike.

A $2.20 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, Event #55 drew a total field of 9,674 players, good enough for a $19,348 prize pool to be split among the top 1,260 finishers. After nearly 10 hours of play that field had been reduced to the last nine with a shot at the scheduled $2,852.08 top prize:

Seat 1: SebastianP91 (9,016,288 in chips)
Seat 2: 0ld Painle$$ (5,189,946 in chips)
Seat 3: Ramon Prad6 (9,540,555 in chips)
Seat 4: LadaSever (3,803,044 in chips)
Seat 5: grunta85 (8,264,410 in chips)
Seat 6: TheTom88 (2,807,872 in chips)
Seat 7: algiuka (5,411,140 in chips)
Seat 8: Masik2015 (2,523,647 in chips)
Seat 9: kozubskiy (1,813,098 in chips)

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The blinds and antes were all the way up to 150K/300K/37.5K as the final table began, ensuring there would be plenty of action from the start. Short-stacked Masik2015 from Ukraine limped in under the gun on the first hand with K♠ J♣. Then Australia's grunta85 limped from the button and Lithuania's algiuka checked in the big blind, bringing a 9♥ 4♠ 3♣. The action checked all the way around and the turn brought the J♥. Once again the action checked around to the button, where grunta85 bet 600K into the 1.3M-chip pot. That got algiuka to fold, but Masik2015 check-raised to 1.2M and then called all-in for 918K more with top pair after grunta85 made the third bet. The Australian had 8♦ 8♣ but couldn't catch up as the 7♠ hit the river, giving Masik2015 the 5.7M chips in the middle.

Six hands later, short-stacked kozubskiy doubled to 2.7M after winning a race with A♣ Q♠ against the J♣ J♥ held by Finland's 0ld Painle$$. And on the hand after that, Russia's LadaSever doubled up as well, calling all-in for 3.4M with A♦ 8♥ and winning against Ramon Prad6's 4♠ 4♣ after the board fell 3♦ 6♦ 9♦ 2♦ T♠. That left the player from Brazil with 5.3M, nearly dead-even with grunta85's stack, but Ramon Prad6 would inch ahead on Hand #9 after grunta85 paid the big blind and folded.

Hand #10 saw that difference of one big blind come into play when Ramon Prad6 jammed for 5.2M on the button and grunta85 called for 4.9M. The Australian was just ahead with 9♣ 9♥ to Ramon Prad6's Q♣ J♦, but the 2♠ 9♦ A♣ flop left the Brazilian in need of running cards for a straight to score the final table's first knockout. The 8♦ on the turn did half the job, but the A♠ on the river was no help and suddenly Ramon Prad6 held just a stack of just 296K.

The first casualty came on the next hand, but surprisingly it wasn't Ramon Prad6. The Brazilian folded in the hijack seat, leaving Belgium's TheTom88, who held A♥ J♠, to move all-in for 2.8M from the small blind. algiuka snap-called with K♣ K♥, caught top set on the K♠ Q♦ 6♦ flop, and dodged straight Broadway outs on the A♠ turn and Q♥ river to eliminate TheTom88 in 9th place ($149.94).

Ramon Prad6 dodged another bullet on the next hand, more than quintupling up to 1.1M after calling all-in for less than the small blind with 7♣ 6♥ and catching two pair on the 7♥ A♥ 2♣ 6♦ T♣ board. Two hands later the Brazilian would double again, moving in for just over 1M with 6♦ 6♠, which held up after grunta85 called with 2♣ 2♥ and the board came K♣ 9♥ Q♦ A♣ K♦. That left kozubskiy as the short stack, and the Ukrainian player got it all in on Hand #16 with 4♣ 4♥. Russia's LadaSever called on the button with K♣ J♣ and hit the 7♣ J♠ 3♣ flop hard. The K♥ turn left kozubskiy with two outs, but the T♥ on the river wasn't one of them, ending the Ukrainian player's tournament in 8th place ($212.82).

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Ramon Prad6 still wasn't out of the woods. The Brazilian and 0ld Painle$$ were locked down at the bottom of the leaderboard, both hovering just around 4M over the next few hands. Then came Hand #23, where Masik2015 limped for 500K under the gun, 0ld Painle$$ jammed for 3.3M in the hijack seat, and LadaSever complicated things with a call on the button. Masik2015 folded 8♦ 8♣ face-up, which left LadaSever's A♣ T♣ heads-up against 0ld Painle$$'s A♥ J♦. Both players held two pair, aces and kings, by the river of the K♣ 7♥ A♠ K♠ T♦ board, so 0ld Painle$$'s jack kicker played and the Finn dragged the 8.4M-chip pot.

0ld Painle$$ and Ramon Prad6 actually showed down against each other on the next pot, which opened with Romania's SebastianP91, who had been quiet throughout the final table thus far, raising to 1.1M under the gun. 0ld Painle$$ was second to act and flat-called before Ramon Prad6 moved all-in for 3M in the hijack. The action folded back to SebastianP91, who dipped into the time bank for a bit before deciding to fold. 0ld Painle$$ called and showed 9♠ 9♦, which split the 8.4M-chip pot with Ramon Prad6's 9♣ 9♥.

Only three hands later SebastianP91 was back in action, calling on the button after algiuka raised in the hijack to bring a Q♦ J♥ 7♠ flop. algiuka led out for 1.35M and SebastianP61 made another visit to the time bank, eventually emerging with a raise to 3.3M. algiuka re-raised all-in and SebastianP91 called for 2.7M more, showing J♠ J♣ for middle set. algiuka needed a lot of help with A♠ Q♥ for a pair of queens, but the board ran out K♠ 2♦ and SebastianP91 seized a substantial chip lead thanks to the 15.2M-chip pot.

algiuka was left with only 1.4M after losing that pot, but the Lithuanian player doubled up immediately after moving in with A♣ J♠ and being called by LadaSever with a J♣ 6♣ big-blind special. After stealing the blinds four hands later, algiuka doubled up again on the very next hand. Holding 5♦ 5♣, the Lithuanian moved in for 3.8M over the top of grunta85's opening raise to 1.2M with K♠ Q♠. The Australian called but got no help from the 2♠ 4♦ 3♦ 7♠ A♦ board, sending the 9M-chip pot to algiuka's burgeoning stack.

The string of double-ups for short-stacked players came to an end on Hand #39 when Masik2015 picked up 2♣ 2♥ in the small blind and moved in for 1.4M. SebastianP91 called with Q♠ 5♠ in the big blind and both players hit the A♠ 2♠ J♠ flop hard. Any pair on the board would have kept Masik2015 alive, but it ran out 5♦-Q♦ and Masik2015 was out in 7th place ($386.96).

LadaSever's wild ride

LadaSever fared better on Hand #40 after moving in for 1.3M with K♦ Q♠ and being rescued by the river of a J♥ 4♠ A♦ 5♦ K♣ board to beat algiuka's 7♥ 7♠. The Russian was on the other side of the equation on the next hand, calling in the big blind with K♦ 9♦ and 624K left behind after Ramon Prad6 shoved for 3.4M in the small blind. The Brazilian was caught stealing with 9♣ 3♠, and the board came down 9♥ Q♠ A♣ 7♦ T♠ to finally end Ramon Prad's run in 6th place ($580.44).

Five hands later LadaSever finished off a trio of knockouts when the action folded around to the small blind. The Russian moved all-in for 6.9M, holding K♠ 5♣, and grunta85 called for 4.2M with A♥ 9♦. LadaSever moved ahead on the 3♥ 5♠ 8♥ flop and never looked back as the board ran out 3♦-6♦, eliminating grunta85 in 5th place ($773.92).

LadaSever managed to keep the streak going three hands later. SebastianP91 opened for 1.2M on the button and LadaSever called in the big blind, bringing a 5♣ 8♠ J♦ flop. LadaSever led out for 1.2M and after a moment's thought, SebastianP91 raised to 2.9M. The Russian player quickly called and led out again when the turn was the 7♠, this time all-in for 7.1M into the 8.9M-chip pot. SebastianP91 called and showed J♠ 8♣ for top two pair, but the Romanian player was drawing to a full house against LadaSever's jack-high straight with T♥ 9♠. The T♣ came on the river, giving LadaSever the lead with 23.2M chips and dropping SebastianP91 down to 4.3M.

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SebastianP91 stole the next pot before the flop with an under-the-gun raise and then got a walk in the big blind on the following hand. Sitting in the small blind on the next hand, the Romanian player re-raised to 2.4M after LadaSever opened the betting for 1.2M under the gun. The flop came 4♠ 8♥ T♥ and SebastianP91 led for 2.8M, calling all-in for another 691K after LadaSever raised. The Russian held Q♠ T♠ for top pair, but SebastianP91 had Q♦ Q♣ for an overpair to the board, which ran out 3♣ 7♥ to give the Romanian a needed double to 12.7M just as the blinds and antes rose to 400K/800K/100K.

LadaSever tried for another knockout on Hand #57, calling with K♠ J♦ in the big blind after algiuka opened the betting with an all-in raise to 7M under the gun. Both players hit the 3♠ K♦ 6♥ flop, but algiuka's 3♥ 3♦ hit a bit harder. Bottom set held as the board ran out 5♣-7♦ and suddenly algiuka had the lead with 14.9M and LadaSever was in last place with 9.5M. That was enough to convince the players to look at the numbers for a potential deal. It took 10 minutes for them to reach an agreement that left $200 on the table for the winner, and after that the game continued.

LadaSever went for broke on Hand #59, shoving for 8.9M on the button with A♣ 7♣. SebastianP91 woke up with J♣ J♠ on the button and called, but fell to 2.3M after the LadaSever was bailed out on the river of a 8♠ 7♠ 8♣ 4♥ A♦ board. The Romanian player doubled up on the next hand with A♥ 9♣ against 0ld Painle$$'s Q♦ 6♥, but Hand #61 would be the end of the line. SebastianP91, holding 4♠ 4♣, opened with an all-in raise to 4.5M, and 0ld Painle$$ raised to isolate with T♥ T♣. Nobody else called, the board ran out 5♦ K♣ 7♣ K♦ 5♣, and SebastianP91 left the tournament in 4th place ($1,763.98).

Last three standing

After all that action, the three-handed chip counts all fit into a six-big-blind span:

Seat 2: 0ld Painle$$ (15,468,006 in chips)
Seat 4: LadaSever (18,825,298 in chips)
Seat 7: algiuka (14,076,696 in chips)

LadaSever won an early 7.5M-chip pot against 0ld Painle$$ at showdown after calling a minimum raise before the 7♠ 9♦ 5♥ flop. Both players checked, then 0ld Painle$$ called 800K bets on the A♣ turn and 7♥ river, only to muck when LadaSever showed A♠ 4♥ for top pair. But the Finn got those chips back by stealing five of the next eight pots. algiuka stole the other three, leaving everyone's chip counts within a handful of big blinds from where they'd begun three-handed play.

Someone had to break through, and it would end up being 0ld Painle$$. The Finnish player was in the big blind with A♥ 5♦ on Hand #74 and, faced with an all-in call after algiuka jammed from the small blind, decided to make it. It was the right call, as algiuka held J♣ 7♣. The 7♦ A♠ 3♦ flop improved both players to a pair, but algiuka couldn't catch up and was left with just 3.5M chips when the turn and river came 3♠-2♥.

The Lithuanian managed to double up on the next hand with an unimproved Q♥ T♣ after the ten kicker played against LadaSever's Q♣ 9♣ on a 8♦ K♣ K♠ 5♣ J♦ flop. But one more showdown against 0ld Painle$$ was one too many. The Finn opened Hand #76 with a raise to 1.6M and algiuka called in the big blind, bringing a 7♣ 5♠ 4♠ flop. algiuka led out with an all-in bet of 5.8M and showed Q♣ 6♥ for an open-ended straight draw when 0ld Painle$$ called with A♦ 4♣ for a pair of fours. Despite all the outs, algiuka couldn't get more help as the board ran out 6♦-A♣, busting the Lithuanian player in 3rd place ($1,942.65).

One more battle

0ld Painle$$ had close to a 2-to-1 chip lead as heads-up play began to see who would win the title and the last $200 on the table after the deal:

Seat 2: 0ld Painle$$ (31,953,392 in chips)
Seat 4: LadaSever (16,416,608 in chips)

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That lead came in handy on Hand #85, which LadaSever opened with a raise to 2.4M. 0ld Painle$$ called in the big blind with K♥ 9♦, then checked top pair on the 3♦ 5♦ K♠ flop. LadaSever bet 1.6M, 0ld Painle$$ raised to 3.2M, and then LadaSever shoved for 12.7M. 0ld Painle$$ called quickly and was two cards away from winning the tournament when LadaSever showed J♠ J♥. The 6♠ on the turn was safe, but the J♦ hit the river to keep LadaSever in the game with a 30.4M-chip pot.

0ld Painle$$ wouldn't stay out of the lead for long. The Finn raised to 2M on the button three hands later, holding 9♣ 5♣, and LadaSever called. Both players checked the 2♠ 2♥ 3♦ flop, and LadaSever led for 1M into the 4.2M-chip pot on the 6♣ turn. 0ld Painle$$ called, then raised to 5.2M after LadaSever bet 1M again on the 9♦ river. LadaSever called but mucked when 0ld Painle$$ showed down a pair of nines for the 16.8M-chip pot.

The match lasted another 33 hands after that point, but 0ld Painle$$ never surrendered the chip lead. Most of the pots were taken down without seeing a flop, and even those that got there or to a turn stayed small. Eventually the starting cards were too good for either player to fold on Hand #111, which 0ld Painle$$ opened with a minimum raise to 2M, holding A♣ K♣. LadaSever jammed for 18.3M with 9♣ 9♦, 0ld Painle$$ called, and Big Slick came through when the board fell 4♣ 5♦ 5♣ 2♣ 2♦, bringing the tournament to a close.

LadaSever's share from the deal was $1,639.08, more than three times as much as the Russian player's best previous cash here at PokerStars. As for 0ld Painle$$, who won the last $200 on the table after the deal, the total prize was $2,004.78 - not a career best, but certainly a more than acceptable ROI on a $2.20 buy-in.

MicroMillions 8: Event #55, $2.20 No-Limit Hold'em
9,674 entries
$19,348 prize pool
1,260 places paid

1st place: 0ld Painle$$ (Finland) $2,004.78*
2nd place: LadaSever (Russia) $1,639.08*
3rd place: algiuka (Lithuania) $1,942.65*
4th place: SebastianP91 (Romania) $1,763.98*
5th place: grunta85 (Australia) $773.92
6th place: Ramon Prad6 (Brazil) $580.44
7th place: Masik2015 (Ukraine) $386.96
8th place: kozubskiy (Ukraine) $212.82
9th place: TheTom88 (Belgium) $149.94
* - denotes results of a four-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions