MicroMillions 7: robaldo12 rules the roost in Event #96, $3.30+R NL Omaha Hi/Lo (8-max)

Of the last 10 tournament scheduled for the final day of MicroMillions 7, eight were variations on No-Limit Hold'em and a ninth was Razz. For those whose need for action was a few light years beyond anything those games could offer, there was still an outlet, a chance to tap the MicroMillions prize pools one more time for unlimited re-buys and more possible hands than hold'em or Razz could ever deliver: Event #96, a $3.30 No-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament.

Event #96 had it all: eight players per table, four hole cards apiece, split pots, and none of that restrictive pot-limit betting that usually restrains all the action Omaha has to offer. It was an attractive proposition to the 5,091 players who showed up, combining for 7,022 re-buys and 3,423 add-ons to build a $46,608 prize pool. The top 640 players made the money, with $7,344 waiting for the winner.

What might have appeared on paper to be the definition of a fast-moving tournament ended up drawing out as long as a no-limit hold'em tourney of double the size. After eight hours and 44 minutes the field had been reduced to the final two tables, but eliminating the next eight proved difficult. After 50 minutes of play with two tables left, a stretch that saw the elimination of Danny "THE__D_RY" Ryan (13th) and past SCOOP PL Omaha Hi/Lo champion and Sunday Warm-Up runner-up Ozenc "ozenc" Demir (11th), the lineup for the finale was set. The blinds and antes were at 400K/800K/100K and these eight players still had chips and a chair:

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Seat 1: robaldo12 (19,210,990 in chips)
Seat 2: rid666 (6,578,708 in chips)
Seat 3: kartmen777 (25,365,571 in chips)
Seat 4: moncton27 (8,725,322 in chips)
Seat 5: valentina225 (6,463,632 in chips)
Seat 6: Luk_m (10,827,542 in chips)
Seat 7: seiw (4,698,656 in chips)
Seat 8: imre (4,367,079 in chips)

Russia's kartmen777 and Germany's robaldo12 were in the top two spots as the final table began, and they faced off in the very first hand. robaldo12 opened the betting from second position with a minimum raise to 1.6M and kartmen777 in the hijack seat was the only caller, bringing a 3♥ Q♦ 7♠ flop. robaldo12 led for 2.4M and kartmen777 called to make the pot worth 10M, the sum that robaldo12 won with contest after leading for 4.4M on the J♣ turn.

Austria's Luk_m opened the action on Hand #2 with an all-in bet of 10.2M, holding 6♦ 3♣ 3♠ 2♥, and got an all-in call of 3.6M from Russia's seiw in the small blind. seiw's A♣ 6♣ 5♦ 2♠ split the 4.5M-chip high pot with Luk_m, since both players held two pair, sixes and deuces, but won the entire 4.5M low when Luk_m's hand didn't qualify.

Hand #3 was a split between Estonia's imre and the United Kingdom's rid666 when the latter flopped a set with K♠ K♥ 6♥ 2♥, then lost the high to imre's set of aces with A♥ A♦ Q♦ J♣ and made a 7-6 low with the same card on the river of a 5♠ K♦ 7♣ 9♦ A♠ board. Hand #4 was the first to be taken without a fight before the flop, and Hand #5 produced the first scoop when rid666 jammed for 6M from the small blind with K♦ Q♥ 7♦ 3♥ and caught trip queens on the Q♣ Q♦ J♠ 3♣ 5♦ board to beat kartmen777's J♣ T♦ 7♥ 5♣.

Breakthrough

Blinds and antes went up to 500K/1M/125K from there. After four more blind steals, one pot won with a continuation bet on the flop, and one more split pot, Hand #11 saw two short stacks clash before the flop when Luk_m moved in for 5.1M and imre called all-in on the button for 3.5M. Luk_m's K♥ K♠ J♠ 2♥ looked likely to split the pot with imre's A♠ 5♣ 2♣ 2♦ after the flop came 6♠ 8♠ T♣. The T♠ on the turn gave Luk_m the flush, and the Q♣ on the river made that good for the entire pot since low hand was possible. Luk_m won the 9.5M in the middle and imre left in 8th place ($349.56).

More blind steals and split pots ensued before Hand #16, when rid666 jammed for 12.8M under the gun and seiw called all-in for 3.6M from the big blind. The Russian player's T♠ 4♣ 3♣ 2♠ flopped trips and rivered deuces full of fours to scoop the 8.3M-chip pot after rid666's A♥ K♦ T♥ 8♣ missed all its outs. Two hands later Canada's moncton27 also opened all-in from early position, this time for 9.9M with A♣ K♣ 4♦ 4♥, and the action came from robaldo12, who successfully raised to isolate from the small blind with A♠ K♦ 3♣ 2♦. A split pot looked likely with the board reading J♠ 7♥ 9♦ A♦ after the turn, but the T♦ on the river gave robaldo12 the scoop with the nut flush. With that moncton27 was gone in 7th place ($582.60).

The next two pots went to kartmen777 before the flop, bringing the Russian player back up to 19.5M , just more than half of what robaldo12 held but still good for second place at a table full of short stacks. Then Hand #21 sent kartmen777 sliding backward again. rid666 opened all-in for 7M with A♣ 8♠ 8♦ 2♦ and got action from kartmen777 with A♠ 7♥ 6♠ 3♥, but the Russian's low cards were no use on the J♥ 4♣ Q♦ 9♥ 9♠ board and rid666 chipped up to 16.3M.

The next hand was the first of the 600K/1.2M/150K level and started off with robaldo12 opening for 3M under the gun, holding A♥ 5♣ 4♠ 3♠. The German player called after Luk_m jammed for 12M in the small blind and was up against A♠ Q♦ Q♣ 3♣. The J♠ 3♦ K♣ flop and 9♦ flop were great news for Luk_m, since no low was possible, but the 5♥ on the river made two pair, treys and fives, for robaldo12. That topped the Austrian's pair of queens to claim the 26.1M-chip pot and eliminate Luk_m in 6th place ($1,351.63).

rid666 won the next two pots uncontested before the flop to move over 19M. Then robaldo12 opened Hand #25 for 3M in the cutoff and Latvia's valentina225 moved all-in for 176K more on the big blind with A♥ A♦ A♠ 4♠. robaldo12's A♣ Q♥ 8♥ 3♦ was a mild underdog until the J♥ K♣ T♣ flop gave the German player a Broadway straight and left valentina225 with a 1.1 percent chance of hitting running cards for a full house. The 9♣ turn and K♠ river didn't fit the bill, knocking out valentina225 in 5th place ($2,283.79).

Turning the corner

seiw had begun the final table with a short stack and managed it well, a trend that continued on Hand #35 when the Russian player moved in for 2.8M before the flop with K♠ K♥ J♥ 2♠. kartmen777, who hadn't won a pot since before doubling rid666 up back on Hand #21, called in the big blind with A♠ 9♣ 8♥ 3♠ and made two pair on the river of the 4♥ Q♣ 3♥ 4♦ A♥. Unfortunately that was the same card that gave seiw the heart flush and the 6.9M-chip pot, dropping kartmen777 to 4.2M.

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kartmen777 managed to double up to 7.8M two hands later, scooping with a pair of jacks and a 6-5 low against robaldo12's lone pair of treys on the 7♣ J♦ A♠ 6♦ 3♥ board. That moved the Russian player out of the cellar and compatriot seiw back into it. Both players would factor into the outcome on Hand #42, the last before the blinds and antes rose to 700K/1.4M/150K:

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kartmen777 and robaldo12 split the pot, and seiw mucked and left in 4th place ($3,215.95).

Still short on chips and looking for a way back into the game, kartmen777 jammed for 11.9M in the big blind two hands later after robaldo12 opened the action for 3.5M on the button. robaldo12 called with K♥ Q♣ T♣ T♦ and was in very strong shape agaisnt kartmen777's Q♦ 7♠ 3♥ 2♥ after the flop came down J♥ A♠ 9♦. The 6♦ on the turn left room for a low, though, and the pot was split when it came in with the 4♠ on the river.

Hand #46 saw precisely the same action take place before the flop between the same two players. This time it was the all-in kartmen777 who had the high hand on the 3♦ K♠ 6♥ flop with A♠ K♥ 8♦ 6♣ for kings and sixes, but robaldo12's A♥ 8♠ 5♠ 4♠ had the better low draw, plus an open-ended straight draw to go with it. The 7♥ turn brought that draw home and left kartmen777 with slim hope of salvaging the high half of the pot if another king or six came on the river. But the 5♥ came instead, giving robaldo12 the 25.1M-chip scoop and kartmen777 was out in 3rd place ($4,148.11).

Worthy adversaries

Heads-up play started with the lead in robaldo12's hands:

Seat 1: robaldo12 (62,168,636 in chips)
Seat 2: rid666 (24,068,864 in chips)

There was a disparity in heads-up experience at the end. robaldo12 had some previous deep cashes in a few NLO/8 tournaments, but 11 of rid666's largest 14 cashes all-time had come in NLO/8, including nine outright wins. On just the fourth hand rid666 was able to get back into familiar territory and seize a narrow lead:

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robaldo12 regained the lead on the strength of two re-steals via all-in bets in the next five hands. But rid666 moved right back in front on Hand #56:

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Now up by just over 10 big blinds, rid666 would stay ahead by about that much through Hand #71. The next hand, the first of the 800K/1.6M/200K level, opened with a button raise to 3.2M by robaldo12 and a call from rid666 to take a flop of 8♣ 3♣ 6♠. Both players checked to bring the 8♥ on the turn, and robaldo12 called rid666's minimum bet of 1.6M to bring the 3♦ on the river. rid666 bet 3.2M this time and got another call, but robaldo12 mucked after rid666 showed Q♥ 6♥ 4♠ 3♠ for treys full of sixes and scooped the 16.4M-chip pot.

Hand #73 was robaldo12's ticket back into the game. The German player picked up A♥ A♠ T♠ T♦ in the big blind and called all-in when rid666 opened for 22.4M on the button. The U.K. player held J♥ 7♠ 7♦ 6♣ and couldn't catch up on the K♠ Q♥ 8♥ J♦ 3♣ board, pushing robaldo12 back into the chip lead by less than one big blind.

rid666 responded by reeling off wins in seven wins in the next eight pots and scooping the ninth at showdown with K♠ Q♠ 9♠ 5♦ for kings and nines on a 3♥ 9♣ 3♣ 4♠ K♥ board. robaldo12 trailed by 28M chips as Hand #86 began and moved all-in for a little more than that from the big blind with A♦ Q♠ T♣ 9♠ after rid666 opened for 4.8M on the button. rid666 called with T♥ 7♦ 5♦ 2♣ looking for something low, but too much paint on the J♣ Q♥ T♦ 3♦ 5♠ board gave the 58M chips in the pot to robaldo12.

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With a lead of 30M chips now, robaldo12 was back in the driver's seat. The two players split the next pot and the three after it were taken down without contest before the flop. Finally, on Hand #90, robaldo12 opened all-in on the button for 56.1M with 7♦ 7♥ 6♥ 3♦ and rid666 called for 29.6M total with A♠ K♥ K♣ T♠. The A♣ T♦ 4♦ flop gave rid666 top two pair, but robaldo12 had draws to both a diamond flush and a low. rid666 had no draws and was hoping for more cards like the 9♠ that hit the turn. But the 9♦ on the river completed the flush and gave robaldo12 a 59.6M-chip scoop to end the tournament.

rid666 fought a tough battle throughout the final table and earned $5,114.76 for second place, the largest cash of the U.K. player's career here at PokerStars by nearly $3K. And the $7,344 win for robaldo12 was worth nearly three times as much as the German player's previous best PokerStars cash back in 2008, making for a very memorable close to MicroMillions 7 for both players.

MicroMillions-096: $3.30+R No-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
Entrants: 5,091 (7,022 re-buys, 3,423 add-ons)
Prize pool: $46,608
Places paid: 640

1. robaldo12 (Germany) $7,344
2. rid666 (United Kingdom) $5,114.76
3. kartmen777 (Russia) $4,148.11
4. seiw (Russia) $3,215.95
5. valentina225 (Latvia) $2,283.79
6. Luk_m (Austria) $1,351.63
7. moncton27 (Canada) $582.60
8. imre (Estonia) $349.56

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions 7