MicroMillions 8: Remiksas scratches, spins to a win in Event #20, $2.22+R NLHE (Saturday Splash Special Edition)

With its two-dollar buy-in, 3x-Turbo structure, unlimited re-buys for the first hour of play, and $75,000 guaranteed prize pool, the Saturday Splash is always a good way to spend part of the weekend here at PokerStars. But when the MicroMillions series rolls around this already great tournament only gets better, since the guarantee doubles and all the tournament's other goodness stays exactly the same.

Today was a day for extra goodness since MicroMillions 8 is in full swing, and PokerStars low-stakes tourney players took notice. Event #20, the special edition of the Saturday Splash, drew 16,139 players, who combined for 65,742 re-buys and 8,212 add-ons to build a guarantee-topping $181,987.96 prize pool. With 2,025 places set to be paid, and nearly $23,000 set aside for the winner, there was plenty on the line despite the small buy-in.

After five and a half hours the blinds and antes had risen to 1.4M/2.8M/280K and just these nine players remained at the table:

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Seat 1: Dreworks (21,513,406 in chips)
Seat 2: Remiksas (115,222,988 in chips)
Seat 3: ryokutya2525 (20,621,484 in chips)
Seat 4: linopolido (47,507,296 in chips)
Seat 5: kevin840302 (11,497,871 in chips)
Seat 6: 1RomanG1 (94,367,649 in chips)
Seat 7: zalupondiy (58,460,928 in chips)
Seat 8: natfalber11 (91,695,165 in chips)
Seat 9: robkepp00 (31,116,213 in chips)

Nobody was in good enough shape to wait around for very long, particuarly with the five-minute levels continuing to roll by, so the action got started quickly. Japan's ryokutya2525 opened the action on Hand #5 with an all-in bet of 19.2M from early position. Russian player 1RomanG1 flat-called with 3♠ 3♣. Nobody else joined the pot, the board came down 8♣ K♥ 5♠ 6♥ 9♣, and ryokutya2525 made an early exit in 9th place ($1,091.92).

Four hands later Latvia's Dreworks was in a similar position and moved in for 14.7M with 9♦ 9♠. Lithuania's Remiksas called from the hijack seat with A♠ K♠ and turned a pair of kings on the 3♣ 7♠ 8♥ K♣ 5♣ board, sending Dreworks out in 8th place ($1,637.89).

That 36M-chip pot moved Remiksas up to a total stack of 136M. The Lithuanian player backed into another 35.7M-chip pot on the very next hand after min-raising in middle position with 7♠ 7♦ and getting a call from Portugal's linopolido, checking down the 4♠ 8♣ T♣ flop and 4♥ turn, and betting 7.9M for value after catching the 7♣ on the river. Four hands later Remiksas took a stab at knocking out China's short-stacked kevin840302, calling with A♣ 5♦, but A♦ 9♣ was good for kevin840302 after the board came A♥ 6♦ 4♠ 2♠ 8♥.

With nobody wanting to step out of line due to the pay jumps, it took 14 more hands for the next confrontation. natfalber11 of Brazil opened that hand for 7.2M from the hijack seat and then called after linopolido moved all-in for 20.4M from the small blind. The Portuguese player was ahead with A♥ K♠ to natfalber11's Q♣ J♣, but the T♣ J♦ 6♠ flop turned that around. Any ace, king, or queen would have given linopolido a lifeline, but the turn and river came 2♥-3♥ and linopolido was out in 7th place ($3,184.78).

A change of plans

Eight hands later the trend of all the action coming from desperate short stacks was turned on its head when two of the table's titans butted heads. 1RomanG1 opened the betting with a limp for 4M from the button, and natfalber11 checked the option from the big blind to take a T♦ 5♣ A♠ flop. Both players checked, and natfalber11 led for 5.1M on the 9♦ turn. 1RomanG1 opted for the call and the river brought the 6♥. natfalber11 led again, this time for 15.5M, and snap-called all-in after 1RomanG1 shoved for 94.7M. natfalber11 showed 8♦ 7♣ for the rivered ten-high straight and the 198M-chip pot, while 1RomanG1 showed K♦ Q♠ for a busted Broadway straight draw and king-high.

That left 1RomanG1 with just 6.9M chips, all of which went in the middle three hands alter with A♠ 6♥. robkepp00 raised to isolate with A♣ Q♥, which held up when neither player improved on the J♠ 7♣ 4♣ 4♦ K♠ board, sending 1RomanG1 to the rail in 6th place ($4,913.67).

With five players left, natfalber11 was the leader with 211M chips. Remiksas still held second place with 178M, but the other three players were all had stacks worth less than 11 big blinds on the 2M/4M/400K level. robkepp00 was the first of those those players to take a stab at doubling up, and it was a successful one with T♣ T♠ against Remiksas' A♥ J♦, as the pair held up on a 3♦ 9♦ 9♥ 8♦ 5♥ board for the 78M-chip pot. Then the other two short stacks took each other on three hands later. It was another coin flip, this time with kevin840302 holding 9♣ 9♦ and Russia's zalupondiy going with A♣ J♣. zalupondiy would have been left with 6.7M in the event of a loss, but the board came T♦ 5♠ 3♦ 5♦ A♥ and kevin840302 was eliminated in 5th place ($6,733.55).

A deal and a drop-out

After just a few hands of four-handed play the remaining players agreed to look at numbers for a potential deal. natfalber11's 210M-chip stack commanded a premium above the regular chip chop numbers, but they eventually came to an agreement and play resumed.

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As soon as it did, robkepp00 moved all-in under the gun for 60.8M, holding A♦ 9♥, and zalupondiy called with A♣ K♠. The difference between the two players' stacks was less than one big blind, which is what robkepp00 was left with once the board ran out K♥ T♦ 4♦ J♣ J♠. natfalber11's K♣ 6♦ beat out the Lithuanian player's big-blind-special A♦ J♠ on the next hand, knocking out robkepp00 in 4th place ($11,815.43).

natfalber11 still had the lead and aimed to keep it, staying aggressive enough to take down five of the next seven pots, four of them without a showdown. The two largest came from Remiksas and zalupondiy in equal measure, boosting natfalber11's stack to 247M and making it look like the Brazilian would be playing heads-up for certain. Then zalupondiy min-raised to 10M on the button, natfalber11 re-raised to 25M, and natfalber11 made the call. It was another coin flip, this time natfalber11's 8♠ 8♣ against zalupondiy's A♦ Q♦. The overcards won out on the A♥ J♠ 9♣ K♦ 7♣ board, shipping zalupondiy the 172M pot and the chip lead.

Five hands later natfalber11 sparred over another enormous pot, one that opened with Remiksas min-raising to 10M on the button. natfalber11 re-raised to 27.8M and wasted no time calling with just 24.5M left behind after Remiksas moved in for 147M. The Brazilian held A♣ J♦ for the advantage over Remiksas' K♦ Q♥ and stayed ahead on the 4♠ 6♣ 5♥ flop, but the Q♠ turn gave Remiksas the lead. The 4♦ came on the river to give Remiksas the 299M chips in the middle and natfalber11 was suddenly in a lot of trouble. The last of the Brazilian's chips went in from the small bind on the very next hand with T♦ 9♥, which stayed ahead of Remiksas' 8♦ 7♥ until the river of the A♠ A♥ 2♠ 6♥ 7♣ board. That ended natfalber11's tournament in 3rd place ($17,799.05).

A brief conclusion

Those two key pots put Remiksas in the driver's seat as heads-up play began:

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Seat 2: Remiksas (324,236,570 in chips)
Seat 7: zalupondiy (167,766,430 in chips)

Playing behind for the title and the last $3,000 on the table, zalupondiy won eight of the next 12 pots. Most of them were small, though, save one worth 63.5M after flopping a pair of queens out of position with Q♦ T♥.

When the 13th hand of the match arrived, the Russian player was still trailing by 75M chips. Remiksas opened the action for a minimum raise to 11M on the button and zalupondiy called, bringing a A♦ 5♠ Q♠ flop. zalupondiy checked, then raised the minimum to 18.4M after Remiksas bet 9.2M. Remiksas called and the turn was the 9♦. This time zalupondiy led for 30.3M into the 60M-chip pot, and Remiksas simply called. zalupondiy thought for a moment after the K♦ hit the river, then moved all-in for 148M. It didn't take long at all for Remiksas to call with J♠ T♦ for a turned king-high straight, which beat zalupondiy's pair of fives with 6♥ 5♣ handily and brought the tournament to a close.

zalupondiy's 2nd-place share from the deal was $11,212.10 more than $11,000 above the Russian player's previous best sore on PokerStars. As for Remiksas, the extra $3,000 on the table for the winner meant a total prize of $18,570.49. That's a new career best by more than $12,000 and nearly doubles the Lithuanian player's total career PokerStars tournament earnings. Not a bad way to get the first weekend of MicroMillions 8 going!

MicroMillions 8: Event #20, $2.22+R No-Limit Hold'em (3x-Turbo, Saturday Splash Special Edition)
16,139 entries, 65,742 re-buys, 8,212 add-ons
$181,987.96 prize pool
2,025 places paid

1st place: Remiksas (Lithuania) $18,570.49*
2nd place: zalupondiy (Russia) $11,212.10*
3rd place: natfalber11 (Brazil) $17,799.05*
4th place: robkepp00 (Lithuania) $11,815.43*
5th place: kevin840302 (China) $6,733.55
6th place: 1RomanG1 (Russia) $4,913.67
7th place: linopolido (Portugal) $3,184.78
8th place: Dreworks (Latvia) $1,637.89
9th place: ryokutya2525 (Japan) $1,091.92
* - denotes results of a four-way deal

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions