MicroMillions III: AzartOleg aces Event 30 ($3.30 NLHE HU Turbo)
The semifinal round was a tough one for AzartOleg, as fighting Phoenix1307 took many levels and continued aggression without letting up. AzartOleg did stay strong, though, and took that tenacity into the final round against EzioLavezzi. The latter did not want any part of the even-money deal that AzartOleg proposed, so the two played, and AzartOleg scored a very significant double-up to clear the way for victory. Overcoming obstacles was the name of the game, and AzartOleg did it handily.
Heads-up tournaments can be long ordeals, especially when players are given generous structures as in MicroMillions tournaments. By making the heads-up event into a turbo, though, there is less waiting for other matches to conclude, and winners of rounds move on more quickly. The art of heads-up play is analysis and careful decision-making, and a turbo structure simply requires those decisions be put into motion faster. It's a challenge that many poker players enjoy.
For Event 30, MicroMillions III offered a $25K guarantee for those interested in the $3.30 NLHE Heads-Up Turbo. With no late registration, players had to decide immediately if they wanted to play, and more than 16,000 of them did just that. That took the prize pool to nearly double the guarantee, and the event was set up for big excitement.
Prize pool: $49,152.00
Paid players: 2,048
Players who made it to the fourth round were guaranteed the minimum payout of $8.35, and prize money increased incrementally from there. It was a bit later in the tournament that the last member a PokerStars team - Team Online's Richard "Tzen1" Veenman - left the event in 637th place: That $13.27 cash was positive for his standing in the MicroMillions III challenge against fellow Team Online member Grzegorz "DaWarsaw" Mikielewicz.
The eighth round was in play as the seven-hour mark came and went, and players eliminated then were making $60.45.
Round 9 began just seven minutes before the eight-hour point, and players were then guaranteed $107.64. It took ten levels to get to Round 10, at which point the payouts jumped to $177.93. Round 11 paid $341.60 to those finishing in ninth through 16th place.
Round 12 guaranteed payouts of $635.04 to the next four finishers.
The first of those matches was over in the first level, as AzartOleg defeated sweetlips6 to move forward. Bstefano88 departed in seventh place, and Phoenix1307 took out bokske69 in sixth. With the fifth place elimination of Sergey2388, the round was quickly over.
Table 1: EzioLavezzi v. chanke635
Table 2: AzartOleg v. Phoenix1307
Fairly big swings were indicative of both tables' play, and Table 1's players exchanged the chip lead regularly. Chanke635 finally took a significant lead over EzioLavezzi, though, and the latter required - and earned - a double-up in the middle of Level 4 to get back into action.
And that was all it took. EzioLavezzi climbed from that point on, and chanke635 was down to nearly 2K chips before pushing all-in during a preflop raising war. Chanke635 had A♦8♦, but EzioLavezzi showed A♣K♠, and that king kicker played through the J♦4♠5♠Q♠7♦ board. Chanke635 took fourth place in the tournament for $1,152.61.
On Table 2, however, Phoenix1307 was behind most of the way through the battle. At the end of Level 4, Phoenix1307 chipped all the way down below 1K chips but never gave up. Phoenix1307 doubled up with pocket deuces over A-T for a little more than 3K, but struggled continued. In Level 7, another double with A-8 over Q-J put Phoenix1307 over 3K again. Chipped down again, Phoenix1307 doubled with pocket threes over A-3 to 2,700 chips. But quickly, Phoenix1307 was down below 2K chips again and pushed with 5♣5♠. AzartOleg challenged with 9♠8♥ and flopped the straight when it came 7♠T♣6♦. The A♦ and K♠ cards finished it, as Phoenix1307 accepted third place and $1,152.61.
Final heads-up match
The final table matchup started as every new round, in Level 1 with blinds of 25/50, and each player began with 5,000 chips.
AzartOleg v. EzioLavezzi
Almost immediately, AzartOleg began to talk about making a deal for even money, but EzioLavezzi wanted to play. "Play pls" was the message in the chat box. And so they did.
By Level 2, EzioLavezzi had the lead, but AzartOleg kept that distance at a minimum by staying aggressive, as evidenced by this hand that scored a huge double-up for AzartOleg:
AzartOleg had the advantage with pocket queens over J-7 to start, but the rivered flush gave each player a flush, but EzioLavezzi's was lower. AzartOleg scooped 7,440 chips to take the lead.
Only 10 hands later, EzioLavezzi began it with a raise, and AzartOleg reraised. EzioLavezzi called 400 more all-in with K♠2♣, and AzartOleg showed A♣Q♣. The ace-high was the best hand throughout the display of the 3♦J♦6♣ flop and the 8♣ turn, and the A♠ on the river only made that into a pair of aces. EzioLavezzi had to take $2,282.12 for the second place finish.
AzartOleg won the tournament in Level 2 of the final round, which was worth a MicroMillions III title and $3,596.82 in cash. Congrats!
MicroMillions III Event 30 ($3.30 NLHE HU Turbo) Results:
Total players: 16,384
Paid players: 2,048
1st place: AzartOleg (Russia) - $3,596.82
2nd place: EzioLavezzi (Austria) - $2,282.12
3rd place: Phoenix1307 (Romania) - $1,152.61
4th place: chanke635 (Russia) - $1,152.61
For any and all information about MicroMillions, including the current leaderboard and satellites for upcoming events, check out its main tournament page.
Jennifer Newell is a PokerStars freelance contributor.