MicroMillions 8: Chip lead serves Jacomonster well in Event #64, $3.30 NLHE

Final table chip leads are funny things. They free a poker player from concerns about busting from the tournament, allowing him the freedom to play as many hands as he'd like. That can become a problem if he tends to play too many, or gets caught in a cooler situation. It can also be problematic if he chooses to sit back too long and allows the other players, or the blinds and antes, time to catch up. Walking the tightrope between playing too few and too many hands takes a perfect combination of skill and good fortune. But sometimes a player manages to pull it off, going all the way to the title after coming into the final table with the lead.

That's precisely what happened for one player today in Event #64 of MicroMillions 8, a $3.30 No-Limit Hold'em freezeout. The tournament drew 8,371 entries, good for a $25,113 prize pool to be split among the top 1,080 places. After eight hours of player it was Jacomonster from Belarus with the chip lead and these eight competitors trying to defy the odds:

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Seat 1: almazyan2030 (1,860,044 in chips)
Seat 2: PhD_Biogas (6,549,380 in chips)
Seat 3: LLl A K A /l (5,052,360 in chips)
Seat 4: deja.vu_mari (3,762,751 in chips)
Seat 5: jaatin533 (1,599,528 in chips)
Seat 6: Razorfunk (3,212,779 in chips)
Seat 7: Nikolo5 (1,701,519 in chips)
Seat 8: Jacomonster (15,556,104 in chips)
Seat 9: Pokerjoke909 (2,560,535 in chips)

A quick start

With 60K/120K/15K blinds and antes and a trio of short stacks in play it was never going to take very long to get the action going. Russia's Nikolo5 picked up A♥ J♠ on the button on Hand #2 and, when the action folded around, moved in for 1.6M. German player Pokerjoke909 was in the big blind and called with 9♣ 9♦, leaving only 919K behind in case of a loss. But the pocket pair held up on the 8♥ T♠ K♠ 5♥ 7♠ board, giving Pokerjoke909 the 3.4M-chip pot and eliminating Nikolo5 in 9th place ($194.62).

Two hands later the action folded around to the small blind and Kazakhstan's almazyan2030, holding K♣ Q♠, shoved for 1.6M. PhD_Biogas from Lithuania was in the big blind with J♣ J♦ and made a quick call. The 3♦ 2♥ 8♣ 6♦ 3♣ board never came close to helping almazyan2030, who left the tournament in 8th place ($301.35).

Settling in at seven

After that quick burst of action, the next 24 hands managed to go by without a single showdown, with no hand going past the turn and no single pot ending up larger than 2.4M. That ate up the entire 70K/140K/17.5K level and pushed the blinds and antes up to 80K/160K/20K.

That streak broke on Hand #29 after Pokerjoke909 opened for 320K on the button and got a call from Russia's LLl A K A /l in the big blind, bringing a J♦ A♥ T♦ flop. LLl A K A /l led for 860K, which Pokerjoke909 called, and then led again for 1.6M on the 9♥ turn. Pokerjoke909 called all-in for about 50K less than that and showed A♠ K♦ for top pair, top kicker, with a gutshot Broadway straight draw. LLl A K A /l held 8♦ 3♦ for a combination flush-and-straight draw, though only the lower end of the straight could win the pot for the Russian player. The 9♠ rendered those draws meaningless, though, giving Pokerjoke909 a double to 5.6M.

LLl A K A /l was able to get those lost chips back 11 hands later after moving all-in before the flop over the top of PhD_Biogas' 328K opening bet. The Lithuanian player called with A♠ T♣ but trailed LLl A K A /l's K♥ K♦, and the 9♠ J♥ T♥ 6♠ 8♦ board offered no help catching up. That moved LLl A K A /l back to 5.1M, and two straight steals during the next orbit moved the Russian as high as 6.6M.

Two hands later, Pokerjoke909 got back in the action again with a raise to 320K in early position. LLl A K A /l called on the button before Finland's jaatin533, who had been pretty quiet through the final table so far, moved all-in for 3.1M from the small blind. Pokerjoke909 raised all-in to isolate with A♦ K♠ and got LLl A K A /l to fold, but jaatin533's J♣ J♦ held up on the 7♥ Q♣ 5♠ 5♣ 5♥ board to claim the 6.8M-chip pot.

That left Pokerjoke909 with just 1.1M. The German player was able to steal the next pot to move up to 1.4M, and on the next hand after that was dealt A♥ K♦. That was good enough for an all-in re-raise over the top of PhD_Biogas' under-the-gun raise, and the Lithuanian player called with K♠ Q♠. Pokerjoke909 was poised to double up after the J♠ 4♣ 4♠ flop and 3♥ turn, but the A♠ on the river gave PhD_Biogas the spade flush and the German left in 7th place ($539.92).

Downhill for LLl A K A /l

Jacomonster's chip lead had slipped a bit since the beginning of the final table, but the Belarussian player began to expand it again immediately after Pokerjoke909s exit. Jacomonster opened that pot with a minimum raise to 400K, now that the blinds and antes were up to 100K/200K/25K, and LLl A K A /l called in the big blind to bring an A♠ Q♠ 6♠ flop. LLl A K A /l put out a pot-sized 1M-chip bet there, which Jacomonster called, but then bet just 200K on the 8♦ turn. Jacomonster raised to 400K, and LLl A K A /l called to see the 4♣ on the river. Both players checked and LLl A K A /l showed T♠ 4♦ for a pair of fours with a busted flush draw, which couldn't beat Jacomonster's [Ac ]3♦ for a pair of aces, giving the leader the 3.9M-chip pot.

That moved Jacomonster back over the 15M-chip mark, within less than three big blinds of where the Belarussian had started the final table, just as the table settled back into a rhythm where hands stopped going to showdown. The pots were larger on average than before, and not just because of the higher blinds, as the aggression factor ramped up with a $250 pay jump on the line. This time the stretch lasted for 16 hands until LLl A K A /l opened for 600K under the gun and Romania's Razorfunk shoved for 2.4M on the button. LLl A K A /l called and showed Q♥ J♥, while Razorfunk showed A♥ T♥. Neither player improved on the 4♦ 9♣ 9♠ 5♠ K♣ board, giving Razorfunk the double to 5.3M.

That left LLl A K A /l with just 913K, which was whittled down to 513K by the blinds and antes before the Russian could get the whole stack in the middle before the flop four hands later. It was a small enough bet that both blinds were able to call and check down to the river of a K♦ 5♠ 5♣ 5♦ Q♥ board. jaatin533 check-called a 200K bet there but mucked after Razorfunk turned over Q♦ 4♥ for fives full of queens. LLl A K A /l mucked as well, leaving in 6th place ($778.50).

Five-handed fury

Two hands later came the biggest non-all-in pot of the table so far. It started with a raise to 400K by Razorfunk in the cutoff, a bet raise to 850K by Romania's deja.vu_mari in the small blind. Razorfunk called to bring a 9♥ 3♠ 8♥ flop and then called deja.vu_mari's 997K bet to bring the 7♦ on the turn. deja.vu_mari led again, this time for 1.2M, and Razrofunk called once again. Both players checked the T♣ river, but Razorfunk mucked after deja.vu_mari showed 6♥ 6♠ for the backdoor, ten-high straight, leaying claim to the 6.4M-chip pot.

Another 14 hands went by without a single one going past the turn, long enough for the blinds and antes to progress to 125K/250K/31.25K and jaatin533's stack to shrink to 2.7M. The Finnish player moved all of that in the middle under the gun with T♠ T♣ and got PhD_Biogas to call with A♥ T♥ in the small blind. The tens held up on the 7♣ 8♣ 7♠ 6♦ K♣ board to get jaatin533 back up to 5.8M.

Another lull of 22 hands with just one showdown took the blinds and antes to 150K/300K/37.5K set in, ending with an enormous pot between the two chip leaders. Jacomonster, who had slipped into second place behind deja.vu_mari by less than one big blind, opened the betting with a raise to 600K under the gun. deja.vu_mari reraised to 1.2M on the button and Jacomonster called to see the 5♦ 9♦ K♦ flop. Jacomonster check-called 1.6M there and both players checked the T♠ turn, bringing the 3♣ on the river. Jacomonster check-called 2.7M this time and showed K♥ Q♥ for top pair, queen kicker, while deja.vu_mari held 7♣ 6♣ for a busted straight draw. That shipped the 11.9M-chip pot, the largest of the final table, to Jacomonster.

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Jacomonster now had 20.8M chips to work with, a margin that extended further two hands later after opening for 600K in the cutoff and calling an out-of-position re-raise to 1.2M by deja.vu_mari. The Romanian led for 1.8M on the K♦ 4♠ J♣ flop, a bet which Jacomonster called. But both players shut down as the board ran out A♠-7♥, and Jacomonster's pair of kings with K♣ 8♣ was good against Q♥ 8♥ for the 6.6M-chip pot.

With those two players picking up all the chips, the other three players were looking for chances to get their chips in the middle. Razorfunk and jaatin533 collided when both players picked up strong starting hands, with Razorfunk jamming for 2.5M with K♦ K♥ after jaatin533 opened for 777K under the gun with 7♠ 7♥. Razorfunk was covered and things were looking bad after the Q♠ 7♦ 4♦ flop gave jaatin533 a set of sevens, but after the 9♠ turn, the K♣ came on the river, giving Razorfunk a set of kings and a lifeline with 5.6M.

Seven hands later jaatin533 ended up all-in with another pair, this time calling all-in for 1.7M with 9♥ 9♠ after PhD_Biogas moved in on the button with A♦ 5♠. The 6♥ 7♠ K♥ flop was innocuous enough on its own, but it made for an open-ended straight draw after the 8♣ came on the turn. The 4♦ on the river completed that draw to give PhD_Biogas the 4.1M-chip pot, sending jaatin533 to the rail in 5th place ($1,029.63).

On down the line

Razorfunk was neck-and-neck with PhD_Biogas for last place now, holding 5M with blinds and antes now 200K/400K/50K. The Romanian player got in the action on the next hand by raising to 800K on the button, a bet which got two calls, from Jacomonster in the small blind and PhD_Biogas in the big, to bring a 4♠ Q♦ 5♣ flop. Both blinds checked to Razorfunk, who bet 970K into the 2.6M-chip pot, but then Jacomonster pulled out the check-raise to 1.9M. That got PhD-Biogas to fold, and Jacomonster called after Razorfunk moved all-in for 4.2M total. Razorfunk held Q♠ 7♣ for top pair but was out-kicked by Jacomonster's K♥ Q♣, a situation which remained the same as the board ran out 8♣-A♥, knocking out Razorfunk in 4th place ($1,330.98).

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Only two of the next 29 hands made it to a flop, and none of them went past it. Jacomonster held steady around 28M chips throughout, while deja.vu_mari was able to chip a few blinds off PhD_Biogas' stack to move over 11M and leave the Lithuanian with 2.4M. PhD_Biogas finally got those chips in the middle via a big-blind re-raise over the top of Jacomonster's 800K opening bet in the small blind. Jacomonster called and showed 5♦ 5♣, which held up through the Q♠ 7♣ T♦ 3♦ 6♦ to beat PhD_Biogas and end the Lithuanian player's run in 3rd place ($2,009.04).

The heads-up match would last just six hands, the first five going by without getting to the flop. The sixth saw both players pick up hands that demanded to be played, and it took just four bets to get deja.vu_mari's 12M chip in the middle. The Romanian held A♣ Q♥ but was in need of some help against Jacomonster's Q♦ Q♠. The 8♣ K♦ K♠ 8♦ 9♠ board brought none, though, and the tournament came to an end.

It was a banner day for both of the top two finishers. deja.vu_mari earned $2,771.72 as the runner-up, topping a previous best cash of $129. And Jacomonster, who led the final table from the beginning to the end with only a few momentary exceptions, won $3,772.31, nearly $3,000 more than the Belarussian player's previous best cash here at PokerStars. Congratulations to them both for living the MicroMillions dream!

MicroMillions 8: Event #64, $3.30 No-Limit Hold'em
8,371 entries
$25,113 prize pool
1,080 places paid

1st place: Jacomonster (Belarus) $3,772.31
2nd place: deja.vu_mari (Romania) $2,771.72
3rd place: PhD_Biogas (Lithuania) $2,009.04
4th place: Razorfunk (Romania) $1,330.98
5th place: jaatin533 (Finland) $1,029.63
6th place: LLl A K A /l (Russia) $778.50
7th place: Pokerjoke909 (Germany) $539.92
8th place: almazyan2030 (Kazakhstan) $301.35
9th place: Nikolo5 (Russia) $194.62

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions