MicroMillions 8: Masterful strokes by Maisteri lead to victory in Event #19 ($4.40 NLHE, 4-Max)

Each time the MicroMillions series comes back into play; this writer is mixed with emotion. Happy to see the low stakes players get their dues with awesomely packed tournaments with big guarantees (Five million dollars over two weeks of play), plenty of satellite options, and low buy-ins that do not crack one's fragile bankroll. The sadness seeps in that instead of check-raising for the potential $4,769.25 first place prize tonight, there is only play chip play available at the moment. I'm sure Maisteri was not worried about a reporting accountant while taking over tonight's MicroMillion 8 Event #19 final table and walking away with the title and the mentioned $4,769.25 prize.

The chip disparity as the penultimate table set up was the most noticeable thing on the leaderboard. With eight players remaining, guilefa held over half the chips in play with over 36 million and blinds at 70K/140K ante 17.5K as second place DragLion88 luckily sat on the adjacent table holding around nine million chips.

Sanek24's short stack would be the first go. After shoving on the button with 1.1 million chips holding pocket eights 8♥8♠ Sanek24 watched Maisteri in the small blind with A♣4♥ make the call. The flop 4♦ A♦ 3♣ Q♠ 5♠ hit Maisteri like a Bubba Watson drive and sent Sanek24's eight reeling in eighth place ($408.23).

Still in the 70K/140K ante 17.5K level guilefa was getting an itch to start up the final table and decided to push the subject against one of the three unfortunate players at Table 371. Sturmstange would raise to 420,000 from the cutoff as guilefa made the call on the button as the blinds checked for updates on the Open. Sturmstange would check-call a 560,000 bet after the K♣K♦A♦ flop. After the 9♠ turn guilefa doubled the bet to 1.12 million, Sturmstange check-called again. 7♦ river guilefa put Sturmstange all-in for the remaining 2.86 million as Sturmstange made the call again holding Q♠A♠. Preflop domination turned into seventh place cash as guilefa showed the flopped trips K♥Q♥ and Sturmstange collected $408.23.

With the rules of a 4-max tournament, Sturmstange's exit would start up a lengthy hand-for-hand play session as guilefa tried a few times to dispatch Skolmo_PL and yizhar1 but was unsuccessful but still maintained a sizable 33.4 million chip stack going into the 125K/250K ante 31.25K level. Both Skolmo_PL and yizhar1 would make the final table as sixth place exited from the other table. paplic would shove all-in from the small blind for 2.72 million as DragLion88 put a sizable chunk of the 3.4 million chip stack in play to make the call with 7♥K♠. paplic was happy with the call holding pocket queens Q♠Q♥, not so pleased with the flopped king 6♠ 3♦ K♥ 4♠ T♥ as paplic earned $408.23 in sixth place, starting up the final table below:


Seat 1: guilefa (33586047 in chips)
Seat 2: yizhar1 (8292739 in chips)
Seat 3: Skolmo_PL (5323174 in chips)
Seat 4: DragLion88 (6205137 in chips)
Seat 5: Maisteri (10062903 in chips)

Not letting good fortune go to waste

DragLion88 was looking to capitalize on cracking those queens and found an opportunity to do so just eight hands into the final table. With the blinds holding at 125K/250K ante 31.25K Skolmo_PL would try a small blind push for 3.94 million. Similar to the previous hand, DragLion88 decided to defend with a king 9♦K♦. Skolmo_PL's A♥8♥ held strong until the river as a king took the throne 7♥ 7♠ 3♦ Q♠ K♠ and handed DragLion88 the 8.3 million chip pot. Skolmo_PL would claim fifth place and sizable ROI on the $4.40 buy-in ($655.01).

Roar is no more

DragLion's attempts to improve on the shortstack worked for a while but then met yizhar1 in a dark alleyway and only one returned to the table. With the blinds moving up to 150K/300K ante 37.5K and 2.85 million already in the pot, DragLion88 checked as yizhar1 shoved for 7.19 million as DragLion88 decided it was a bluff and called holding pocket fives 5♥5♦. yizhar1's pair of sevens 7♠9♦ was enough to drag the 17.2 million chip pot after a five failed to hit 7♣ 6♣ T♣ 6♦ Q♣. Two hands later, nearly the same action as yizhar1 shoved post flop and DragLion88 could not let go of the pocket pair 4♣4♠ on the 2♣A♦J♠ flop. yizhar1 showed the flopped two pair A♠2♠ and carried them to victory after the 6♥ turn and 9♠ river to ship $1,038.87 to DragLion88 in fourth place.

Knock someone out, lose your stack

Thus far karma for knocking someone off the final table seems to come full circle as seen with DragLion88 and now with yizhar1. With the blinds up to 250K/500K ante 62.5K and no deal in place despite some whispers in the chat box, yizhar1 would raise out of the small blind for 1.5 million as Maisteri wasted no time in asserting chip dominance and shoving for 31.5 million. yizhar1 holding just 9.28 million and 9♠T♥ decided to take a risk and make the call. yizhar1 may have been hoping for a flip or two live cards and got neither as Maisteri turned up the dominating A♥T♠. The flop would open up a few more outs for yizhar1, but the 6♣ 7♥ T♣ Q♣ 6♥ board closed out the tournament for yizhar1 in third place ($1,670.02).

Masterful stroke

With two tables remaining, it seems as though guilefa would simply run through the remaining seven opponent as easily as polishing off a cold beer on a warm summer day. Maisteri however had more selfish plans after claiming taking a sizable chip lead (42.5 million to 20.9 million) into heads-up play. It would take just eight minutes between the final two contestants to crown today's Event #19 champ after over nine hours of intense 4-max play. With the blinds still at 250K/500K ante 62.5K Maisteri would push guilefa all-in after a series of raises and guilefa made the call all-in for 14 million chips holding K♦T♥. Maisteri once again held the dominating hand showing Q♠K♥. While the flop offered more outs and chance at a chop, the J♥ J♦ A♠ 5♣ 9♥ sent the final pot and $4,769.25 to today's Event #19 champion Maisteri!

MicroMillions-019: $4.40 NL Hold'em (4-Max)

Entrants: 12,694
Places paid: 1,600
Prize pool: $50,776.00

1. Maisteri (Finland) $4,769.25
2. guilefa (Brazil) $2,882.04
3. yizhar1 (Israel) $1,670.02
4. DragLion88 (Russia) $1,038.87
5. Skolmo_PL (Poland) $655.01

Five million in guarantees at stake continues until next week's Main Event. Get in on the action and find out more about the Player of the Series race and future tournaments at the MicroMillions website.

David Aydt is a freelance contributor

David Aydt
@PokerStars in MicroMillions 8