MicroMillions 8: Buldo PP bulldozes final table in Event #82, $2.20 NLHE

Sometimes a big chip lead at the start of a final table means the ability to coast deep without having to make tough decisions. But if too many of those chips disappear in the process of trying to knock out short-stacked players, all it can take for things to change dramatically is one opponent with a medium stack who's patient enough to wait for an opening and then seize it when it becomes available.

As you might have guessed by now, that's exactly what happened in Event #82 of MicroMillions 8, a $2.20 No-Limit Hold'em freezeout. The 10,420 players who turned up combined for a $20,840 prize pool, with the top 1,350 making the money and $2,982.26 set aside for the winner. It took just under nine hours for the tournament to wind down to one big stack, two medium stacks, and a pack of short stacks all looking for a chance to break out and climb the pay ladder:

Seat 1: Patrik411 (2,304,721 in chips)
Seat 2: UlleMulle (4,287,732 in chips)
Seat 3: Sargon117 (1,250,244 in chips)
Seat 4: xmob357x (4,630,724 in chips)
Seat 5: Fresh_oO_D (19,024,757 in chips)
Seat 6: Stas_kl11 (2,164,596 in chips)
Seat 7: Karlagon1 (1,585,538 in chips)
Seat 8: Buldo PP (10,198,756 in chips)
Seat 9: Neones1221 (6,652,932 in chips)

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Blinds and antes were at 150K/300K/37.5K as the action got started at 12:51 p.m. ET, and within the minute the first short-stacked player had put the tournament on the line. Karlagon1 from Kazakhstan called all-in for 1.5M in the big blind after Canada's xmob357x raised all-in for 4.5M on the button. It was T♣ T♠ against A♦ K♠, Karlagon1 with the tens, and the pair held up for a double to 3.5M after the board came 6♥ 8♥ 9♦ 4♣ 6♣.

Karlagon stole two pots out of the next 10 with all-in re-raises, moving up to 5.7M in the process, and was in the big blind when Russia's Sargon117 moved all-in for 387K on Hand #11. Karlagon1 called for the extra 87K with 9♦ 6♣, which trailed Sargon117's A♠ 7♥ before four clubs came on the T♣ Q♣ 8♦ K♣ 2♣ to make Karlagon1 a flush. Sargon117's ace-high couldn't compete and the Russian became the final table's first casualty in 9th place ($145.88).

Slovakia's Buldo PP got involved for the first time on the next hand, calling 800K bets from Germany's Fresh_oO_D before and after the Q♠ 5♥ 7♣ flop before checking the 3♦ turn and having Fresh_oO_D check it back. A half-pot bet of 1.9M on the 6♣ river grabbed Buldo PP the pot to chip up to 11.4M. The Slovakian player invested some of those chips on the next hand, calling with A♥ A♣ after the Czech Republic's Patrik411 moved all-in for 2.1M, but the Czech player's A♣ A♥ held up on the K♦ 3♥ 8♣ 7♥ T♥ board for a double to 5M.

Buldo PP kicked off a string of pre-flop steals on the next hand, re-raising Fresh_oO_D's opening 800K raise to 2M to steal the pot and chip back up to 11M. Six hands later Buldo PP invested in another knockout attempt from the big blind, this time calling for 800K more after xmob357x moved all-in for 1.2M from the hijack seat. Buldo PP's A♠ Q♥ never improved on the 8♦ 6♣ 6♥ 8♣ 2♦ board, but neither did xmob357x's K♠ T♠, and so the Canadian left the tournament in 8th place ($229.24).

A quick slide

Two hands later Fresh_oO_D took a stab at a knockout after opening for 800K in early position and having Poland's Stas_kl11 move all-in for 1.4M from the hijack. But the short-stacked player's A♠ 9♣ held up against Fresh_oO_D's A♥ 4♣ when neither improved on the T♣ 5♣ J♥ 6♥ 2♠ board, keeping Stas_kl11 in the game. Another attempted knockout two hands later ended the same way when Fresh_oO_D's Q♥ 8♥ couldn't overcome A♠ 5♥, giving Germany's UlleMulle a double to 5M.

Those two chances to knock out short stacks cost Fresh_oO_D 5M chips, but the next hand would prove to be far more costly. Fresh_oO_D was in the small blind and re-raised after Buldo PP's 1M-chip opening raise to 2.4M. Buldo PP called and then bet 2.7M when Fresh_oO_D checked the T♦ J♣ 9♦ flop. Fresh_oO_D called with 8.6M left behind, which just covered Buldo PP's 7.9M, so the German player still 680K left over after check-calling Buldo PP's all-in bet on the 2♣ turn. Fresh_oO_D showed A♥ T♠ for middle pair, but Buldo PP had J♥ T♥ for top two pair. An ace on the river would have eliminated Buldo PP, but the 2♥ came instead and the Slovakian stacked up to a dominant 26.9M.

Fresh_oO_D was left with that 680K and managed to win a 1.8M-chip pot on the next hand with T♠ 8♦ against Karlagon1's J♣ 3♦. But two hands later a shove with K♦ 4♥ was met with a call in the big blind by Ukraine's Neones1221, who held A♥ 2♠. The flop came 2♦ 8♠ A♦ and suddenly Fresh_oO_D needed running cards for either a wheel or a flush. The 3♣ on the turn made the former possible, but the 8♦ on the river was the knockout blow as Fresh_oO_D finished in 7th place ($416.80).

Sea change

With the incoming chip leader knocked out early, and by the next biggest stack, no less, the situation of the table had changed considerably:

Seat 1: Patrik411 (5,046,942 in chips)
Seat 2: UlleMulle (4,877,964 in chips)
Seat 6: Stas_kl11 (3,016,692 in chips)
Seat 7: Karlagon1 (4,178,112 in chips)
Seat 8: Buldo PP (27,115,942 in chips)
Seat 9: Neones1221 (7,864,348 in chips)

As if having a monster stack ready to call all-in bets weren't pressure enough, the blinds and antes were also now up to 125K/250K/62.5K. Stas_kl11, the owner of the shortest stack remaining, was the first to make a move after picking up 9♥ 9♠ and moving all-in over Buldo PP's raise to 1.2M with J♠ 8♠ on Hand #27. The leader called but couldn't overcome the pair when the board fell 3♣ 7♦ A♣ T♥ 5♠, giving Stas_kl11 the 6.2M-chip pot.

Six hands later, though, Buldo PP got the boulder rolling. The Slovakian opened for 1.2M again and called after Patrik411 moved in for 5.2M, holding 9♥ 9♣. This time Buldo PP held K♥ J♠ and got some help from the river of the 4♣ A♥ 8♥ 5♣ K♦ board. That pair of kings was good for 11.5M and sent Patrik411 out in 6th place ($625.20).

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That gave Buldo PP a 31.4M-chip stack, which was more than 11M more than the other four players at the table combined. The result was a default scenario for almost every all-in encounter, one where Buldo PP opened the action and then called an all-in re-raise from one of the short stacks. Hand #39 followed the pattern every step of the way, with Neones1221 holding A♣ Q♣ and playing the role of the aspiring short-stack. This time it was Buldo PP who had 9♣ 9♥, and the nines held up on the 6♠ 5♦ J♦ T♦ J♠ board to knock Neones1221 out in 5th place ($833.60).

There was a momentary break from the pattern on Hand #46 when the two short stacks in the blinds picked up racing hands and played them fast. There was a difference of just 290K between UlleMulle's stack and Stas_kl11's, but it mattered when the latter's 4♦ 4♠ held up against the former's A♣ Q♥ on a board of K♦ 7♥ 7♦ 9♣ 6♣. That gave Stas_kl11 the 8.8M-chip pot and eliminated UlleMulle in 4th place ($1,042).

Ending with a bang and a whimper

More theft of the blinds and antes against nearly helpless opponents had Buldo PP up to 39.8M chips, so a loss of 3.9M on Hand #52 with Q♣ T♣ to Karlagon1's 2♣ 2♥ didn't hurt much. It hurt even less after a big win four hands later.

Stas_kl11 opened the betting on the button with an all-in raise to 6.8M. Breaking with the previous pattern, Karlagon1 opted to call in the small blind with 2.2M behind. Then Buldo PP called as well, building a 20.7M-chip pot before the 2♣ 9♠ Q♦ flop. Karlagon1 check-folded to a bet by Buldo PP, whose Q♠ J♠ had made top pair on the flop to jump ahead of Stas_kl11's A♣ 6♠. The K♣ turn and T♣ river made an unnecessary straight for Buldo PP, and Stas_kl11 was gone in 3rd place ($1,551.53).

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Coming in with a nearly 22-to-1 chip lead meant the heads-up match was destined to be a short one. Karlagon1 opened the betting with an all-in raise on the button, holding 5♦ 4♣, and Buldo PP called with A♠ T♥. There was some hope for Karlagon1 even though Buldo PP paired on the T♠ 3♦ 6♣ flop. But no straight emerged on the 9♠ turn or 3♣ river, and the tournament came to an end.

For being the last short-stack standing at a very quick final table - it took just 36 minutes - Karlagon1 earned $2,188.20, nearly 100 times as much as the player from Kazakhstan had ever earned in a PokerStars tournament before. As for Buldo PP, knocking out six of the eight final table opponents was good for a $2,982.26 top prize, more than $2,500 higher than the Slovakian's previous best cash for winning a large-field, $1 tournament here at PokerStars earlier this month. Congratulations to Buldo PP for a great month - and for capping it off in style with a MicroMillions title.

MicroMillions 8: Event #82, $2.20 No-Limit Hold'em
10,420 entries
$20,840 prize pool
1,350 places paid

1st place: Buldo PP (Slovakia) $2,982.26
2nd place: Karlagon1 (Kazakhstan) $2,188.20
3rd place: Stas_kl11 (Poland) $1,551.53
4th place: UlleMulle (Germany) $1,042
5th place: Neones1221 (Ukraine) $833.60
6th place: Patrik411 (Czech Republic) $625.20
7th place: Fresh_oO_D (Germany) $416.80
8th place: xmob357x (Canada) $229.24
9th place: Sargon117 (Russia) $145.88

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions