MicroMillions 8: Guerre23 wins the war in Event #30, $3.30 NLHE (Turbo, Heads-Up)

With their five-minute levels consistently whittling away at players' stacks, turbo no-limit hold'em tournaments usually play out pretty quickly even when they attract monster fields like they do here in the MicroMillions. The only thing that can slow them down is to throw some kind of wrench in the gears - and today's wrench was a heads-up format that ended up stretching a turbo tourney to more than eight hours in length.

Event #30, a $3.30 turbo, heads-up no-limit tournament, was an attractive proposition for MicroMillions 8 players. With no late registration available, the 15,646 players in the field all got started at 11 a.m. ET. Together they built a $46,938 prize pool that 2,048 of them would end up sharing, with $7.97 guaranteed to anyone who cashed and $3,439.17 waiting for the player who could survive all 14 rounds of play. After seven hours and 33 minutes, 12 of those rounds had been completed, leaving four players in the semifinals.

Semifinal: BettyandMany (Russia) v. lenos89 (Cyprus)

lenos89 opened the match by winning the first six pots in a row. None of them were particularly significant on their own but they did allowed the player from Cyprus to open an early 720-chip lead over BettyandMany. The two continued to play small-ball for the rest of the 10/20 level, and lenos89's lead was 740 chips when Hand #27 arrived and the blinds went up to 15/30.

That second level saw a fair bit less raise-and-take it and the pace of play slowed down accordingly. Each player won a pot worth 19 big blinds, but lenos89 remained in the lead the entire time and only expanded it to 800 chips once blinds went up again on Hand #41. BettyandMany finally caught a stroke of luck on Hand #45. The Russian called in the small blind with A♦ 4♣ after lenos89 raised to 80 on the button, bringing a 4♠ 2♠ 2♦ flop. BettyandMany led for 80 into the 160-chip pot, then shoved for 1,560 total after lenos89 raised to 200. lenos89 made the call with a dominated J♣ 4♥, and the ace kicker played after the board ran out 7♠-3♠ to give BettyandMany the 3,280-chip pot.

lenos89 was down to just 720 chips and tried seeing flops to hit something, but nothing was coming and the player from Cyprus dropped to 400 chips by the time 30/60 blinds rolled around. lenos89 opened that level by moving in with K♣ 8♦ on the button and getting a call from BettyandMany with A♣ 7♠. It looked like the end of the line for lenos89, but the board came 6♥ 2♣ 4♦ K♥ 9♦ to give lenos89 a pair of kings and the 800 chips in the middle.

On the very next hand, lenos89 was in the small blind with T♠ 2♠ and called BettyandMany's button raise to 120. The flop came 6♠ 7♠ 9♠ to give lenos89 a flush, and the Cypriot just check-called a bet of 120 to bring the J♣ on the turn. lenos89 checked again and this time BettyandMany moved all-in; lenos89 called with the flush and saw that BettyandMany had turned a set of jacks with J♥ J♠. Any six, seven, nine, jack, or spade would have ended the round, but the T♣ came on the river and lenos89 doubled to 1,600 chips.

MM8-030 semifinal 1.jpg

BettyandMany took the next three pots in a row without showdown, then called lenos89's button raise to 120 to see a 2♣ 8♣ 7♠ flop. The Russian held 7♥ 6♠ for a pair of sevens and check-raised all-in after lenos89 bet 120; lenos89 called with 7♣ 4♣ for sevens with a worse kicker with a club flush draw. The Q♦ on the turn didn't help but the 9♣ on the river did, doubling lenos89 back into the chip lead with 2,480. The Cypriot maintained that lead through the end of the level, though the lead could have been even larger had BettyandMany not ended up hitting quad aces toward the end of it.

The turning point came when lenos89 called BettyandMany's button raise to 160 to see a 6♠ 7♥ 2♠ flop. lenos89 check-called 160 there and on the K♦ turn, then turned over K♠ 5♠ for the winner after both players checked the 6♣ river. That 1,280-chip pot left BettyandMany with just 700 chips, and though the Russian maintained an aggressive posture, lenos89's careful avoidance of a big confrontation kept BettyandMany from getting back above 860.

Finally BettyandMany raised to 160 on the button with 2♦ 2♥ and then jammed for 700 after lenos89 checked the 5♦ Q♣ 4♦ flop. lenos89 made the call with 7♠ 6♥ and 14 outs twice, and the 7♣ on the turn was one of them. That left BettyandMany drawing to one of two deuces left in the deck, but the Q♣ arrived on the river instead and the Russian player's tournament came to an end in 4th place ($1,100.69).

Semifnal: Negreany697 (Ukraine) v. Guerre23 (Mexico)

Guerre23 won the first pot of this semifinal match uncontested with a raise on the button, so it's unlikely the Mexican player could have been prepared to lose 17 of the next 18. After the first 13 of those, during the middle of which Negreany697 won one 420-chip pot by calling down a triple-barrel bluff with ace-high, Guerre23 was down to 1,270. Then Guerre23 picked up A♣ A♠ on the button, raised to 50, and bet for value on every street of a 5♥ 5♣ 7♦ 8♦ J♥ board to stack back up to 1,610 as the 10/20 level ended.

Negreany697 went back on the offensive on the 15/30 level and began chipping away at Guerre23 again until Hand #24. The Ukrainian limped on the button with K♥ 4♠ and then called Guerre23's out-of-position raise to 75, bringing a flop of 6♥ T♥ 7♥. Negreany697 smooth-called Guerre23's bet of 60, then checked behind on the 3♥ turn to bring the J♠ on the river. Guerre23 led for 150 into the 270-chip pot this time, and Negreany697, holding the king-high flush, raised to 450. Guerre came back with a third bet to 750, then called all-in for 1,183 total after Negreany697 shoved. The Mexican player showed A♥ 9♥ for the nut flush and doubled to 2,636, moving into the chip lead for the first time since the end of Hand #1.

MM8-030 semifinal 2.jpg

That lead held through the end of the level but Negreany697's aggression helped to make up ground more quickly as the blinds went up to 20/40. Fortunately for Guerre23, the pots that punctuated Negreany697's winning streaks tended to be large and mostly offset the Ukrainian's wins.

After 16 hands Guerre23's lead had dropped by a little less than three big blinds, but the 30/60 level would go better. It started with a win via continuation bet after raising on the button and a fold to Negreany697's button raise on the next hand, but then it came to a sudden halt on the next hand after Guerre23 opened for 120 on the button with A♣ K♠ and Negreany697 jammed for 1,286 with 7♥ 7♦. Guerre23 made the call and paired up immediately on the A♥ Q♠ T♣ flop. The T♦ turn and J♣ gave the Mexican player an unnecessary Broadway straight and a berth in the final, while Negreany697 left in 3rd place ($1,100.69).

Final: lenos89 (Cyprus) v. Guerre23 (Mexico)

Perhaps it's because both players had to mount semifinal comebacks just to make it to the final round, but almost immediately after the final started, lenos89 and Guerre23 paused to talk about making a deal. They agreed to leave $500 on the table for the winner and split the rest of the prize money evenly, cutting down on variance by guaranteeing each of them $2,559.25. With that arrangement in place, play continued as scheduled.

Much like in the semifinal, Guerre23 was on the defensive from the beginning, winning just three of the first 12 pots. The first significant loss came after firing two barrels on the button and checking down the river of a T♦ 3♣ 4♣ 8♣ K♥ board, losing the 440-chip pot to lenos89's A♣ 9♥ for ace-high. The second, and larger, loss came after calling a pre-flop raise out of position, check-raising to 100 on the Q♥ 8♠ T♦ flop, and then leading on the A♦ turn and 6♥ river. lenos89 called the turn bet but raised to 680 on the river, winning the 940-chip pot uncontested to move into a 2,710-1,190 lead.

Guerre23 struck back as the 10/20 level ended, winning 960 chips after check-calling a Q♠ 9♥ 6♥ flop and then check-raising on the Q♥ turn. lenos89 actually fired in a three-bet but ended up folding when Guerre23 four-bet all-in, and after winning 200 chips on the last hand of the level Guerre23 had closed back to within 380 chips to start the 15/30 level.

MM8-030 final.jpg

The first hand of 15/30 proved to be a turning point for Guerre23. The Mexican player opened for 67 on the button, then four-bet to 420 after lenos89 re-raised to 180. lenos89 called and checked the Q♦ 5♣ K♣ flop, and surprisingly, Guerre23 checked behind. That induced a bet of 510 chips from lenos89 on the turn, which appeared to be exactly what Guerre23 wanted. The Mexican player moved all-in and lenos89 folded immediately.

By the time 15/30 ended, Guerre23 was out front with 3,316 chips to lenos89's 684. Guerre23 continued to stay aggressive and had the Cypriot against the ropes, but lenos89's K♥ Q♦ survived an all-in against 7♥ 7♠ to double up to 1,048 and stay alive. Guerre23 continued to lean on lenos89 and won eight of the next 13 pots to end the 20/40 level.

lenos89 was down to just 788 chips as Hand #53 arrived and was glad to call with A♥ 4♣ after raising to 120 and begin re-raised all-in by Guerre23. The Mexican player had A♦ T♣, though, so things looked grim until the K♣ 4♦ J♣ flop gave lenos89 a pair of fours and the lead. Any queen or ten on the turn would have moved Guerre23 ahead, but the 5♣ came instead and added eight more outs to a club flush. The 3♣ on the river brought that flush home, beating lenos89's pair of fours and ending the tournament more than eight hours after it began.

It was a successful end to the weekend for both players. The terms of the deal meant lenos89's runner-up prize was $2,559.25, a new career high here at PokerStars by more than $1,100. Guerre23 grabbed the extra $500 on the table for a total prize of $3,059.25, also a new career best by nearly $2,800, not to mention earning the pride of being a MicroMillions champion.

MicroMillions 8: Event #30, $3.30 No-Limit Hold'em (Turbo, Heads-Up)
15,646 entries
$46,938 prize pool
2,048 places paid

1st place: Guerre23 (Mexico) $3,059.25*
2nd place: lenos89 (Cyprus) $2,559.25*
3rd place: BettyandMany (Russia) $1,100.69
4th place: Negreany697 (Ukraine) $1,100.69
* - denotes results of a two-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions