MicroMillions 8: Major comeback pushes arkntoz to title in Event #3, $3.30 NLHE (6-max)

Shorthanded poker is a lively game, with more frequent confrontations between players leading to bigger pots - and often times quicker tournament eliminations, too. Nothing is ever over in big-bet poker until the river card is dealt, but a shorthanded game, on average, offers a lot more of those river cards.

For anybody looking for a little shorthanded action on the first day of MicroMillions 8, Event #3 was the only game in town. A $3.30 No-Limit Hold'em tournament, it drew a whopping 31,155 entries for a $93,465 prize pool. Of those players 3,900 would cash for at least $8.41, with a prize of $10,091.19 awaiting the fortunate player who outlasted the entire field.

It took nine and a half hours of play to reach the final table, which started with the blinds and antes at 300K/600K/75K and these six players holding stacks ranging from 15 to 59 big blinds:

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Seat 1: buberilios (19,469,696 in chips)
Seat 2: arkntoz (16,448,668 in chips)
Seat 3: Pumakralle (25,872,732 in chips)
Seat 4: Mernski (35,407,242 in chips)
Seat 5: DenissTy3 (18,275,456 in chips)
Seat 6: sashaluna512 (9,146,206 in chips)

A key double early

Not long after the blinds rose to 400K/800K with a 100K ante, buberilios opened the betting on Hand #13 with a raise to 1.6M from the small blind. arkntoz re-raised to 3.55M from the big blind, and after a bit of thought bubilios opted to four-bet for 11.2M. arkntoz finally pulled the trigger with a fifth bet, all-in a total of for 21.3M chips, and buberilios made the call with 3.85M left behind. The players revealed their hands:

buberilios 5♥ 5♣
arkntoz A♠ Q♠

arkntoz's tournament was on the line going to the flop, which came 6♠ Q♣ T♣ to give the Colombian player the advantage. The turn and river came 7♦ and 7♥, shipping the 43.2M to arkntoz and leaving buberilios with a stack worth a little under five big blinds. The Portuguese player stole four of the next five pots without a flop to get above 11 big blinds but was still neck-and-neck with the Ukraine's sashaluna512.

sashaluna512 managed to get that short stack in good on Hand #23, jamming for 7.1M from the small blind after Pumakralle opened for a minimum raise to 2M in the cutoff and getting a call from the German player with Q♥ T♦. The board came down Q♦ 4♣ 4♦ T♣ 7♦ to give Pumakralle two pair, queens and tens, and sashaluna512 became the first to depart the final table, in 6th place ($927.17).

Goodbye, buberilios

Hand #26 saw buberilios find a hand and make a stand, moving in for just over five big blinds on the button with J♦ J♥ and finding a caller in Pumakralle, whose A♦ 3♣ in the big blind trailed but had three outs to score a second knockout blow. A safe K♣ Q♠ 2♦ 9♥ 6♦ board came, though, and buberilios chipped up to 11.2M.

Just five hands later buberilios picked up jacks again on the button again and moved all-in over the top of DenissTy3's opening raise to 2M. DenissTy3 got out of the way after Pumakralle re-raised to isolate, leaving the German player heads-up with 9♠ 9♥ against buberilios' J♣ J♦. buberilios was in even stronger position than before. This time Pumakralle flopped strong, though, catching top set as the first three cards came 4♥ 3♦ 9♣. The Q♣ turn was no help, and the T♥ sent buberilios to the rail via bad beat in 5th place ($1,463.66).

Fighting for survival

The next pot worth more than 10 big blinds wouldn't come for 17 more hands as the blinds and antes rose to 600K/1.2M/150K and the last four players felt each other out. Short-stacked Latvian player DenissTy3 took advantage of either some good cards, some passivity among the other three players, or a little of both, and stole four out of five pots during this stretch to claw closer to the other players' chip stacks at 20.2M.

Finally the United Kingdom's Mernski defended the big blind with Q♥ T♥ against a button raise to 2.4M by arkntoz, then check-called bets on the flop and turn of a Q♦ 9♦ J♥ 2♠ 6♥ board to win a 20M-chip pot and move into second place. Two hands later Mernski raised on the button with K♦ 7♣ and flopped top pair against arkntoz, who defended with Q♠ 6♠ and caught middle pair on the 4♦ 6♦ K♥ flop. Both players checked there and arkntoz check-called 3.6M on the J♥ turn before both players checked the 8♣ river and Merski won 13.2M with a pair of kings.

arkntoz was now less than one big blind ahead of DenissTy3. But eight hands later, with the blinds and antes up again to 700K/1.4M/175K, the Latvian player would choose a poor time to three-bet from the small blind. Holding A♠ 9♥ on Hand #58, DenissTy3 jammed for 23.2M after Mernski opened for the minimum raise to 2.8M, and Mernski had an easy call with Q♣ Q♦. DenissTy3 caught one of three outs to take the lead on the 5♣ 5♥ A♥ flop, and the T♥ flop left Mernski in danger of becoming the table short stack. But the Q♠ came on the river to give Mernski a full house and the 48.5M-chip pot, which ended DenissTy3's tournament in 4th place ($2,548.79).

Worst to first

With just three players left now, the chips were distributed like so:

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Seat 2: arkntoz (18,986,600 in chips)
Seat 3: Pumakralle (44,194,925 in chips)
Seat 4: Mernski (61,438,475 in chips)

Mernski had the lead but wasn't far enough ahead to lean on the other players too heavily. arkntoz made a habit of three-betting all-in and collecting the pot before a flop could be seen, but on Hand #78 just such a move with K♠ T♦ was called by Mernski with A♥ J♣. The Colombian player was against the ropes but found an escape thanks to a 9♦ 5♥ K♣ 6♦ 2♣ board. That 43.7M-chip pot made arkntoz the chip leader by just over two big blinds, with both Pumakralle and Mernski hovering right at 40M.

The game was anyone's at this point. Starting on Hand #85, arkntoz won four pots in a row. The first, worth 6.1M, came with a flop bet. The second, worth 12.1M, was won from Pumakralle after raising from the small blind and leading out of position on both the Q♦ 6♣ K♦ flop and A♠ turn. The third was taken down before the flop with an all-in four-bet on the button, over the top of Pumakralle's re-raise to 5.6M from the small blind. And the last, worth 13.6M, was also taken from Pumakralle, this time after check-calling a button raise in the small blind and check-raising the German on a T♥ 2♠ Q♥ flop.

Putting the lead to work

Now it was arkntoz in the lead with 66.6M, Mernski in second with 35.8M, and Pumakralle trailing with 22.2M. That balance held until the blinds were up to 800K/1.6M and arkntoz opened for the minimum on the button. Mernski called in the big blind and check-called a bet on the A♦ 5♥ T♥ flop. Both players checked the 3♥ turn, and on the 5♠ river Mernski led for 6.4M into the 12.6M-chip pot. This time arkntoz dipped into the time bank before emerging with a raise to 13.1M, one which Mernski quickly called. arkntoz showed K♥ 6♥ for the heart flush and dragged the 38.8M-chip pot.

Mernski stayed aggressive and chipped up where possible, while arkntoz stayed ahead of the blinds and antes and Pumakralle mostly ended up staying out of the way, save a hand where the German and arkntoz both held pocket eights and split the pot. Hand #116 finally saw Mernski and arkntoz both pick up strong hands before the flop and get the short stacked U.K. player's chips in the middle. Mernski held 8♦ 8♣, but the timing was poor as arkntoz had picked up [J♣ J♦. The 2♥ 9♥ 5♣ K♥ 6♥ board never came near helping and Mernski departed in 3rd place ($4,899.43).

A short battle

Pumakralle had a hill to climb as heads-up play began:

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Seat 2: arkntoz (103,512,574 in chips)
Seat 3: Pumakralle (21,107,426 in chips)

The German got started on Hand #124, moving all-in from the button with T♥ 8♠. arkntoz contemplated and then called with 3♥ 3♦, but Pumakralle hit a straight on the turn of the 9♦ 6♦ A♥ 7♣ 8♥ board and doubled to 33M. After stealing the next two pots before the flop, Pumakralle was up over 36M, but that was as far as the comeback would go.

Hand #127 saw arkntoz open for a minimum raise to 4M on the button and then call quickly after Pumakralle moved in for 36.2M. arkntoz showed A♠ J♣ and had the edge against Pumakralle's K♠ 7♥. The German picked up a gutshot straight draw to go with six pair outs by the turn with the board reading 6♦ 6♣ T♠ 8♠. But the 4♦ came on the river, ace-high won the pot for arkntoz, and the tournament had come to its conclusion.

Pumakralle's second-place finish was worth $7,259.42. Meanwhile arkntoz's win earned the Colombian player $10,091.19, a new career high by nearly $9,500. That ought to translate to more appearances in MicroMillions events over the next nine days - and regardless of the outcome of any further entries, it's quite an accomplishment for arkntoz, who was on the verge of elimination from the moment the final table began. Congratulations to arkntoz, Pumakralle, and all the rest of the final table players for their strong performances!

MicroMillions 8: Event #3, $3.30 NL Hold'em [6-max]
31,155 entries
$93,465 prize pool
3,900 places paid

1st place: arkntoz (Colombia) $10,091.19
2nd place: Pumakralle (Germany) $7,259.42
3rd place: Mernski (United Kingdom) $4,899.43
4th place: DenissTy3 (Latvia) $2,548.79
5th place: buberilios (Portugal) $1,463.66
6th place: sashaluna512 (Ukraine) $927.17

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions