MicroMillions 8: Nico3088 tops action-packed field in Event #75, $5.50 NLHE (6-max, Big Antes)

Everybody knows that 6-max poker favors aggression. Throw in a Big Antes structure with more money on the line in every single pot before a card is even dealt, and you have yourself a recipe for high-grade action at the table. That recipe was exactly what a large field of poker players were searching for on the final weekend of MicroMillions 8.

Event #75, a $5.50 No-Limit Hold'em tournament with the Big Antes structure and 6-max tables, brought out a field of 9,336 players, who together built a $46,680 prize pool. The top 1,200 of them made the money, though they all had designs on the scheduled $7,007.52 top prize. After eight hours and 21 minutes of play all the action had narrowed the field down to just these six players:

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Seat 1: Rose Gambit (6,222,556 in chips)
Seat 2: slender2037 (7,542,797 in chips)
Seat 3: BuurniingSky (3,444,256 in chips)
Seat 4: jpdmx (1,760,439 in chips)
Seat 5: Anton2423 (7,068,978 in chips)
Seat 6: Nico3088 (20,640,974 in chips)

Three in thirteen

The blinds and antes were at 80K/160K/32K as they sat down to the final table. With only 11 big blinds in play, Portugal's jpdmx was the most likely of them to end up all-in first. That's exactly what happened, but not before a couple of big pots in the early going.

Hand #1 of the final went to Australia's slender2037, who won a 2M-chip pot in the big blind after calling a raise to 480K by Brazil's Rose Gambit. All it took was a raise of Rose Gambit's 453K-chip bet on the 3♣ J♣ A♣ flop. The pot on Hand #2 was even bigger. Russia's Anton2423 opened for 320K in the hijack seat and then called after slender2037 re-raised to 752K in the small blind. slender2037 check-called 640K on the K♣ A♠ 3♥ flop, and then both players checked the K♥ turn. slender2037 checked again and Anton2324 took down the 3.1M in the middle with a bet of 1.2M.

jpdmx managed one blind steal in the meantime, giving the Portuguese player 1.4M as Hand #10 began. Rose Gambit opened the betting for 400K with A♦ A♥ and then called when jpdmx moved all-in with A♣ 9♣. The K♦ 3♠ T♦ flop left jpdmz drawing to running king-queen for a chop, but the 6♦ on the turn nixed that. The Q♣ on the river gave the 3.2M-chip pot to Rose Gambit and knocked jpdmx out in 6th place ($700.20).

Just two hands later, pocket aces would be in play again. Germany's BuurniingSky opened the betting for 400K under the gun and slender2037 re-raised to 1.1M from the big blind. BuurniingSky made it four bets and all-in for 4.3M, and slender2037 made the call with A♥ A♣. BuurniingSky was drawing to two outs with 9♥ 9♠, though the Q♠ 2♣ 7♠ gave a little more hope with a backdoor spade flush draw. No help came on the 2♦ turn or 4♠ river, though, and BuurniingSky was gone in in 5th place ($1,050.30).

Hand #13 kept the action going after Rose Gambit opened for 400K on the button. Anton2423 re-raised to 880K from the big blind, sending Rose Gambit to the time bank to think over the decision. Finally the Brazilian opted to move all-in for 4.6M, and Anton2423 called pretty quickly with A♣ J♠. Rose Gambit's K♠ Q♦ trailed but still had live outs after the J♣ 7♥ 4♠ flop. The 6♣ turn and 3♦ river were no help, though, and Rose Gambit exited the tournament in 4th place ($1,983.90).

The tournament was paused just five hands into three-handed play so a deal could be discussed. Sometimes this portion of the proceedings can take a while, but not this time. Everyone immediately agreed to ICM numbers with $500 left on the table for the winner, allowing them to get back to the action just seven minutes later.

Get the money

With everyone's payday locked in, Argentina's Nico3088 had the edge:

Seat 2: slender2037 (9,814,203 in chips)
Seat 5: Anton2423 (14,351,823 in chips)
Seat 6: Nico3088 (22,513,974 in chips)

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The Argentine player won most of the pots through the remainder of the 125K/250K/50K level, with slender2037 grabbing a few as well. But Anton2423 won the biggest of them all, doubling up to 19M with 5♥ 5♠ against Nico3088's A♦ K♣ after a pre-flop raising war and a T♠ J♠ 3♠ 4♣ 4♠ board. That gave the Russian the chip lead and dropped Nico3088 back into second place with 14.6M, just ahead of slender2037's 12.9M.

Anton2423 and Nico3088 split the next two pots before Nico3088 moved back into a four-big-blind lead after opening for 750K, being re-raised to 2.1M by Anton2423, and four-betting to 5.7M to seize the pot. That advantage served the Argentine well two hands later when it took six bets to get Anton2423 all-in for 17M before the flop. The Russian held A♥ Q♣ and was racing against Nico3088's 9♣ 9♥, but the race nearly came to an end as soon as it began on a 9♦ 5♠ Q♥ flop. Nico3088's set held up as the turn and river came T♣-6♠, busting Anton2423 in 3rd place ($3,384.30).

That huge pot made Nico3088 a solid favorite for the title as heads-up play began with 36.4M chips to slender2037's 10.2M. slender2037 only managed to get above that count at one point in the first 16 hands of heads-up poker, and chasing a busted flush draw against Nico3088's top pair with A♥ T♠ on the 17th hand cost 4.2M chips, dropping slender2037's stack to just 3.4M with the blinds and antes at 150K/300K/60K.

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The next 12 hands went by without a flop as the two players traded opening raises, until slender2037 moved all-in for 3.9M on the button with Q♥ 9♠ and Nico3308 called with A♣ J♦. The 3♠ J♥ 2♦ flop left slender2037 in need of either running straight cards or a queen. The 4♣ on the turn broke up those straight possibilities, and the 8♣ on the river gave Nico3308 the pot with a pair of jacks to bring the tournament to an end.

slender2037 walked away in second place with $4,448.91 from the three-way deal, which just beat out a $4,200+ cash in the summer of 2012 for the Australian player's all-time best PokerStars cash. And the extra $500 on the table after the deal made for a $5,873.81 prize for Nico3088, whose previous best Stars cash of $1,400+ came back in November 2011. Congratulations to both players for breaking those long-standing personal bests in a tournament to remember.

MicroMillions 8: Event #75, $5.50 No-Limit Hold'em [6-max, Big Antes]
9,336 entries
$46,680 prize pool
1,200 places paid

1st place: Nico3088 (Argentina) $5,873.81*
2nd place: slender2037 (Australia) $4,448.91*
3rd place: Anton2423 (Russia) $4,864.06*
4th place: Rose Gambit (Brazil) $1,983.90
5th place: BuurniingSky (Germany) $1,050.30
6th place: jpdmz (Portugal) $700.20
* - denotes results of a three-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions