MicroMillions 8: Check-raises serve cascas73 well in Event #9, $3.30 PLO (6-max)

Pot-limit Omaha fans are used to having lots of options in PokerStars tournament series. They got their first chance to get in on the MicroMillions 8 action via their game of choice today with Event #9, an $8.80 6-max PLO tournament. The game known for its constant action and quick turnarounds provided exactly the kind of show players and spectators alike were expecting at the final table.

Event #9 drew a field of 3,491 players, creating a $27,928 prize pool with 450 players sharing in the money. The blinds had reached 50K/100K at 1:22 p.m. ET when these six players sat down to see who would walk away with the $4,330.82 top prize:

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Seat 1: bog23a (1,492,841 in chips)
Seat 2: Dainiux (1,652,696 in chips)
Seat 3: AleksejKK (7,280,129 in chips)
Seat 4: cascas73 (5,716,716 in chips)
Seat 5: MachNichDies (930,598 in chips)
Seat 6: SHOODZ (382,020 in chips)

A quick start

Denmark's SHOODZ was in the big blind for the first hand and folded to a small-blind raise from Germany's MachNichDies. That made Hand #2 a do-or-die situation when SHOODZ moved in from the small blind with A♥ K♠ 9♠ 4♠ and bog23a called with T♠ 9♥ 8♥ 2♠. Both players caught spade flushes on the the T♦ 3♠ J♠ 7♥ 6♠ board, but SHOODZ's king-high flush was best and won the 564K-chip pot.

Five hands later SHOODZ was up to 714K after a blind steal and sat in the big blind with Q♥ Q♣ 7♣ 5♣. The Danish player called after Latvia's AleksejKK raised to 200K in the cutoff, seeing a flop of T♠ 9♠ 9♥. SHOODZ led for 450K with 64K left behind, then called that off after AleksejKK made the raise. AleksejKK held K♦ K♠ J♠ 4♦ for not only a better two pair but a straight-flush draw to boot. The flush part got there on the 6♠ turn, and the T♦ on the river eliminated SHOODZ in 6th place ($488.74).

MachNichDies was now the short stack with 880K, all of which went in the middle before the flop on the next hand. The German jammed from the button after Denmark's cascas73 raised to 287K from the cutoff. The rest of the table got out of the way and cascas73 called with T♦ T♠ 8♠ 4♦, which was well behind MachNichDies' A♥ A♣ J♠ 6♠ even after the flop came 3♣ K♣ 9♦. The 4♣ on the turn left MachNichDies needing to dodge any ten, eight, or four. But the deck delivered the 4♥ on the river, giving cascas73 trip fours and ending MachNichDies' tournament in 5th place ($907.66).

Four on the floor

Short-stack status now belonged to bog23a of Romania, who held 921K and opened Hand #9 with a pot-sized raise to 350K on the button. AleksejKK called from the big blind to take a 3♦ 2♠ 9♣ flop and promptly led out for 750K, more than enough to move bog23a all-in. The Romanian player called and showed J♠ J♦ T♣ T♥ for a pair of jacks, while AleksejKK held A♥ 3♥ 7♦ 6♣ for a pair of treys with a few backdoor straight draws. The K♠ on the turn killed those draws, and the 9♥ on the river made bog23a the first short-stacked player to survive an all-in at the final table.

After all that action the table was four-handed, with AleksejKK and cascas73 in a virtual tie around 7M for the chip lead and bog23a and Lithuania's Dainiux both holding stacks between 1.5M-2M. The blinds rose to 60K/120K and the pace of play remained brisk, with everybody except Dainiux able to chip up a little bit. Hand #21 saw the Lithuanian player open on the button for a pot-sized raise to 420K, which cascas73 called in the big blind to take a 2♣ 5♥ J♥. cascas73 sandbagged, checking with J♦ 5♦ 5♠ 3♣ for middle set, and the plan worked to perfection as Dainiux moved all-in for 512K with A♣ 9♠ 7♣ 4♦ for nothing firmer than a gutshot wheel draw. The desperation move wouldn't pay off as the turn and river came 4♣-K♥, giving cascas73 the 1.92M-chip pot with a set of fives and knocking out Dainiux in 4th place ($1,494.14).

Two bigs and a shorty

Three-handed play began with two big stacks and a third looking for a way back into the match:

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Seat 1: bog23a (2,501,642 in chips)
Seat 3: AleksejKK (7,083,348 in chips)
Seat 4: cascas73 (7,870,010 in chips)

After nine hands of trading the blinds back and forth, bog23a found that entry back into the thick of things. The Romanian opened for a min-raise to 280K on the button, which AleksejKK called to see a 5♥ 9♦ 5♦ flop. bog23a bet 360K into the 700K pot when checked to, and when the action returned to AleksejKK the Latvian raised pot to 1.78M. bog23a wasted no time moving in for 2.39M total and showed K♠ J♣ T♣ 5♠ for trip fives after AleksejKK called with A♥ T♠ 7♥ 4♣. AleksejKK's flush draw was dashed when the J♦ hit the turn, giving bog23a fives full of jacks, and the 6♣ river locked in the 5.48M-chip win for bog23a. Now it was AleksejKK who was the short stack, though there was still room to maneuver with 4.05M chips and blinds at 70K/140K.

The next significant action saw bog23a complete the move from worst to first on Hand #43. cascas73 opened the action with a raise to 401K in the small blind, then called after bog23a raised pot to 1.2M in the big blind. The 2.41M chips in the pot went to bog23a after cascas73 check-folded to a 1.54M-chip bet on the 4♠ 9♠ 6♣ flop. But most of the lost chips found their way back to cascas73 two hands later after the Danish player called bog23a's button raise in the big blind, then check-raised on a 7♥ T♠ 3♦ flop.

AleksejKK finally found a spot for making a stand on Hand #55. The Latvian player raised to 320K on the button and both cascas73 (small blind) and bog23a (big blind) called to see a 3♠ 9♦ 2♦ flop. AleksejKK bet 555K into the 960K pot and both blinds called, building the pot to 2.62M. The blinds checked around to AleksejKK again and this time the Latvian player bet pot, leaving 499K behind. Then cascas73 pulled out the check-raise, getting a fold from bog23a and a call all-in from AleksejKK. The two showed down their hands:

AleksejKK K♣ Q♠ 9♣ 6♣
cascas73 A♥ K♠ Q♦ 4♥

AleksejKK's two pair, queens and nines, was a 4-to-1 favorite going to the river against cascas73's pair of queens with a gutshot wheel draw. But the A♠ on the river made aces and queens for cascas73, sinking AleksejKK in 3rd place ($2,331.98).

End of the line

The 20-hand heads-up match began with 80K/160K blinds and the chips distributed like so:

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Seat 1: bog23a (4,743,140 in chips)
Seat 4: cascas73 (12,711,860 in chips)

cascas73 put the chip lead to work, winning six of the first seven pots, only one at showdown, to whittle bog23a down to 2.36M. The Romanian player struck back with four consecutive wins but they were all small, only chipping the trailing stack back up to 3M. The 18th hand of heads-up play (and 73rd of the final table) saw cascas73 call a button raise from the small blind and check-call a small bet on a A♦ 4♠ K♦ flop. The turn brought the T♦ and both players checked; cascas73 then led for a pot-sized 1.28M bet after the J♠ came on the river, scaring bog23a off the pot and reducing the Romanian's stack to just 1.88M.

The end came on Hand #75 of the final table, just as the blinds went up to 100K/200K. bog23a opened the action with a raise to 600K on the button, which cascas73 called to see a 2♥ Q♠ Q♣ flop. The Danish player checked, allowing bog23a to jam for 1.08M, and then called with K♠ Q♦ 6♠ 4♠ for trip queens. bog23a had moved in with A♣ T♠ 8♠ 7♦ and needed some back-door help to take the lead, but none was coming. The turn and river came 6♦-9♣, cascas73 won the pot, and the tournament came to an end.

For the runner-up finish, bog23a received $3,169.82, a second-best career score on PokerStars and the best in PLO by nearly $2,700. As for cascas73, the win was worth $4,330.82, also a second-best tournament score here on PokerStars and worth nearly five times the Danish player's total combined PLO scores before this event. Not a bad finish for either player!

MicroMillions 8: Event #9, $8.80 PL Omaha [6-max]
3,491 entries
$27,928 prize pool
450 places paid

1st place: cascas73 (Denmark) $4,330.82
2nd place: bog23a (Romania) $3,169.82
3rd place: AleksejKK (Latvia) $2,331.98
4th place: Dainiux (Lithuania) $1,494.14
5th place: MachNichDies (Germany) $907.66
6th place: SHOODZ (Denmark) $488.74

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions