MicroMillions III: BarCode54 scans a win in Event 28 ($5.50 NLHE, 6-max)
Not all final tables are created equally. Some of them see a player come in with the chip lead and pick off her opponents one by one. Others are full of swings and lead changes, with variance ruling the day. At the end of the day, those possibilities are what keep the game of poker interesting; even after you've seemingly seen just about everything it can throw at you, you still never really know what's going to happen.
In today's event, a $5.50 shorthanded no-limit hold'em affair, a field of 12,024 players was whittled down over the course of nearly nine hours until only six players still had a chance at a top prize worth almost 1,700 times the buy-in. When they arrived at the final table the chip stacks seemed like they might dictate the flow of play, but almost from the beginning that possibility was turned upside down. For 50 minutes the slings and arrows of fortune had their way with the competitors, until only Russia's BarCode54 was left standing, with $7,956.40 and the latest MicroMillions III title in hand.
The final table began at 2:52 p.m. ET with blinds and antes of 150K/300K/37.5K. These six players were all eyeing a scheduled first-place prize of $8,425.39:
Seat 1: j0maK (9,239,454 in chips)
Seat 2: BarCode54 (11,175,477 in chips)
Seat 3: noteworthy86 (11,120,017 in chips)
Seat 4: Lasuch$merf (16,455,428 in chips)
Seat 5: Zet Jrian (4,721,970 in chips)
Seat 6: Romaxa228 (7,407,654 in chips)
Out with a bang
Armenia's Zet Jrian came to the final six short-stacked and didn't waste any time before trying to chip up. On just the second hand A♠ 4♥ was no good against Romaxa228's K♠ Q♣ thanks to a queen on the turn, leaving Zet Jrian with 2.24M chips. One orbit later, the Armenian had the good luck to pick up 6♠ 6♦ on the same hand where noteworthy86 of Poland raised on the button with 4♠ 4♥. The sixes held up on the 5♠ A♦ 7♦ 6♣ J♠ board and earned the right to stick around a little longer.
In the meantime the rest of the table was still playing poker, and Greece's j0maK and Poland's Lasuch$merf ended up playing out a pot that would turn the chip standings upside down:
That pot left Lasuch$merf with just 2.79M chips, while j0maK stacked up to 15.96M and took over the lead with about four more big blinds than the nearest opponent, Russia's Romaxa228.
On the very next hand, Zet Jrian and Lasuch$merf would both pick up big hands and get the money in before the flop. Lasuch$merf held A♠ Q♣, while Zet Jrian held Q♠ Q♦ and had the Pole covered by just 26K. The board came 6♥ 4♦ 2♥ 2♠ 3♣ and Lasuch$merf, who had come into the final as the chip leader, was out in 6th place ($751.50).
As for Zet Jrian, it was the highest mark the Armenian player had reached since hitting quads to survive an all-in at the next-to-last table. "zet jrian you win," typed noteworthy86. "it was hard," Zet Jrian replied, "all u guys deserve respect."
Two more down
For several orbits afterward respect was the name of the game; nobody looked ready to get out of line. Most of the pots were taken down before the flop or on it with a continuation bet, though noteworthy86 did manage to flop top pair and extract some value from Romaxa228 on the river to win one worth 6.85M chips. Soon the blinds and antes went up to 250K/500K/62.5K, injecting a little more pressure into the proceedings.
On just the third hand of the new level, Romaxa228 and j0maK would end up playing out the biggest pot of the tournament so far, and all of the money went in the middle preflop. The action had folded to Romaxa228 on the button and the Russian player moved all-in for 9.38M chips. j0maK didn't take long to move all-in over the top with Q♥ Q♦, leaving Romaxa228 with just two outs to stay alive. But the T♠ K♣ 6♠ J♦ 3♣ board changed nothing, sending Romaxa228 out in 5th place ($1,202.40).
Two hands later another big confrontation looked like it would mean another double-up for Zet Jrian. The hand began with BarCode54 raising the minimum to 1M on the button and Zet Jrian flat-calling to see a flop of 7♣ 9♦ T♦. Zet Jrian checked and BarCode54 bet another 1M chips, only to see the Armenian check-raise all-in for a total of 4.23M. BarCode54 made the call with J♥ J♦, which had outs but was trailing Zet Jrian's A♠ A♥. The jacks picked up more outs when the 6♦ came on the turn, and the 4♦, which fell on the river, happened to be one of them. After a fine performance, Zet Jrian was out in 4th place ($1,202.40).
Buckle up - rough ride ahead
The last three players were separated by a range of just over 32 big blinds - j0maK with 28.33M chips, BarCode54 with 19.49M, and noteworthy86 with 12.2M. The leader pressed the advantage in the early going and chipped away at both opponents, while BarCode54 and noteworthy86 switched places in the standings in this pot worth 12.18M chips:
After about four orbits of back-and-forth poker where noteworthy86 won most of the pots - including four in a row at one point - the Polish player would seize the lead in a blind-versus-blind pot with j0maK. After raising to 1.5M from the small blind and getting the call preflop, noteworthy86 led out for 2M into the 3.18M chip pot. j0maK called, and then did so again after noteworthy86 bet 4M on the T♥ turn. The two checked down the 6♣ river, and noteworthy to the 15.18M-chip pot with K♣ 9♦. Four hands later j0maK's bad run in blind-versus-blind would continue as the Greek player doubled BarCode54 up when K♠ 8♠ couldn't overcome A♠ Q♣.
The status quo - noteworthy86 on top, with BarCode54 and j0maK trailing - held up for nine hands and saw the blinds and antes go up to 300K/600K/75K before BarCode54 made a big breakthrough. After noteworthy86 raised to 1.2M on the button, BarCode54 made it three bets for 3.6M; noteworthy86 called to see a flop of 3♦ J♠ 4♦. BarCode54 bet the size of the pot and called quickly when noteworthy86 raised enough to put the Russian all-in. With A♦ A♣ against noteworthy86's K♣ J♣, BarCode54 only had to dodge five cards to win the pot. After the turn and river came 6♣ 4♣, BarCode54 had done just that to lay claim to the 36.61M-chip pot.
j0maK managed to chip up enough to make the next stretch a neck-and-neck race with noteworthy86 to see who could survive to the heads-up portion of play. But after raising preflop and then calling bets from BarCode54 on the flop and turn of a board reading J♣ 9♣ 5♥ 7♠, the Greek folded to another bet on the Q♥ river. Down to just under seven big blinds with 4.06M, j0maK scraped out a few blind steals before managing to pick up Q♠ Q♦ and survive an all-in confrontation against BarCode54's A♥ J♦.
With that j0maK was out of immediate danger and the threat of imminent elimination moved back to noteworthy86, who slipped from 7.47M down to 4.55M after calling preflop and flop bets from BarCode54 but folding on the turn with the board reading 9♠ 3♠ J♣ J♦. Seven hands later, trying to keep ahead of the blinds, noteworthy86 would move all-in from the small blind with Q♠ 2♦ and run into j0maK's K♣ J♣. The board ran out T♥ T♠ A♦ A♣ K♠, giving j0maK two pair and sending noteworthy86 to the rail in 3rd place ($4,058.10).
As heads-up play began, the two remaining players were in very different positions. BarCode54 held 43.08M chips and all the momentum from the latter half of the final table, while j0maK had 17.03M. Still, one double-up for j0maK could change everything, so the two quickly agreed to talk about a deal. After some back-and-forth on the numbers they came to an agreement that gave BarCode54 $7,156.40 and j0maK $6,330.69, leaving $800 on the table for the winner.
BarCode54 took down the first pot after the deal, picking up another 4M chips, before the two traded pots back and forth before the flop for the next 17 hands in a row. In the meantime, the blinds and antes went up to 400K/800K/100K. BarCode54 finally broke the streak by betting a gutshot straight draw and then showing down a winner with J♥ 8♥ on a board reading 3♠ T♣ 7♦ 5♣ J♦, and the two traded pots taken down with preflop three-bets on the next two hands in a row. Then j0maK took down a 13M-chip pot after raising to 2.4M before the flop, betting 4M into the 5M-chip pot on the 3♦ 7♦ 6♣ flop, and moving all-in for 4.11M on the 6♥ turn.
That moved j0maK up to just over 17M chips. Things were looking bright two hands later when the Greek player got all-in after four bets before the flop with a big advantage, holding K♣ K♠ against BarCode54's 4♣ 4♦ in a pot big enough to seize the chip lead. The kings were safe through the A♠ 5♠ 8♣ flop and T♦ turn, but the river brought the 4♥ to give BarCode54 a set, crack j0maK's kings, and bring the tournament to a close.
Per their previous agreement, j0maK received $6,330.69 - almost $500 more than second place was originally scheduled to take. And BarCode54, for outlasting the entire 12,054-player-strong field, took home $7,956.40.
MicroMillions III Event #28: $5.50 NL Hold'em (6-Max)
$40,000 guaranteed prize pool
12,024 entrants, 1,650 places paid
$60,120 total prize pool
1st place: BarCode54 (Russia) $7,956.40*
2nd place: j0maK (Greece) $6,330.69*
3rd place: noteworthy86 (Poland) $4,058.10
4th place: Zet Jrian (Armenia) $2,311.01
5th place: Romaxa228 (Russia) $1,202.40
6th place: Lasuch$merf (Poland) $751.50
* - denotes result of a two-way deal
There's still another full week of play left in MicroMillions III. Check out reports for all the events so far, or check out the MicroMillions schedule for the lowdown on this low-buy-in, big-prize festival.
Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.