MicroMillions III: IwentworthI is worth a win in Event 37 ($3.30 PLO, 6-Max, 2R1A)

What's that you say? You love action? Well, have we got a game for you! It's called Omaha. It's like playing hold'em, but you get four cards instead of two. And today we're playing it shorthanded - just six players to a table. If you sign up to play we'll give you 5,000 chips, with two chances to rebuy for another 5,000 in the first two hours; you can even take both of those rebuys at the start if you'd like. And at the end of the rebuy period you can take an add-on of another 5,000 chips.

Sound like a good time?

If you love action but you were somehow able to resist the siren song of today's 6-max PLO event, you're of a rare breed indeed. Action junkies turned out in force to play this tournament, with 3,568 players opting for 4,698 rebuys and 1,096 add-ons over the course of the first 120 minutes of play. That built a prize pool worth $28,086, topping the guarantee by more than $3,000 and setting up a top prize of $4,355.62. Three Russian players would end up with a chance at that sum, but in the end it was IwentworthI who came out on top.

All that action didn't make for a lightning-quick tournament. It took almost eight hours to reach the final table, which began on Level 42 (70K/140K/17.5K) with these six players:

Seat 1: lo-fi dream (7,174,940 in chips)
Seat 2: Manihani (8,414,348 in chips)
Seat 3: dzhek-kuropa (11,288,785 in chips)
Seat 4: PandaTheBear (5,143,760 in chips)
Seat 5: babygirl1935 (6,423,773 in chips)
Seat 6: IwentworthI (8,364,394 in chips)

MMM III Event 37 final table.jpg

Russia's Manihani started the final table on a strong note, winning the first three pots in a row. The first, worth 875K, was taken down with a bet on the flop; the second, worth 3.25M, was won at showdown with sixes full of queens to best Brazil's lo-fi dream; and the third, worth 4.61M, was won with a turned set of fives to best Russia's dzhek-kuropa. It was that last one that saw Manihani seize the chip lead with 13.06M, more than 4M ahead of the nearest competition.

A (lo-fi) dream deferred

Two hands later, on the first hand of the 80K/160K/20K level, the chip lead would shift in the biggest pot of the tournament so far. The action started with Russia's IwentworthI raising the minimum to 320K in second position, followed by lo-fi dream reraising to 688K in the cutoff. All the other players folded, and IwentworthI called to see a flop of 9♦ 7♦ 5♥. The Russian checked and lo-fi dream bet 703K, only to be check-raised to 1.7M. After a few moments' thought lo-fi dream moved all-in for 4.5M and IwentworthI wasted little time in calling. They turned up their hands:

IwentworthI: K♥ Q♠ 9♠ 9♣
lo-fi dream: A♠ Q♣ A♣ 9♥

In need of an ace to stay alive, lo-fi dream came up short when the turn and river came 2♦-T♠. The 10.74M-chip pot went to IwentworthI, who became the new chip leader, and lo-fi dream claimed 6th place ($491.50).

Aces, aces everywhere

The next dozen hands mostly went by without conflict, though IwentworthI did expand the lead with an 8M-chip pot thanks to a pair of aces in the hole holding up on a 7♦ J♠ Q♥ 3♣ J♣ board against Manihani's A♦ K♥ T♦ 5♣.

As it turned out, it was a pair of aces that did in the next player to be eliminated. The hand started with Manihani raising the minimum to 320K in the cutoff; dzhek-kuropa called on the button, as did Australia's PandaTheBear in the small blind. Then Canada's babygirl1983 opted for a three-bet to 1.7M from the big blind; that cleared out Manihani but brought on a four-bet to 5.84M from dzhek-kuropa. PandaTheBear got out of the way, and babygirl1983 called all-in. The two turned up their cards:

babygirl1983: K♥ K♣ 9♥ 8♣
dzhek-kuropa: A♦ A♣ K♠ 3♠

The flop came A♥ 9♦ 6♠, leaving babygirl1983 in rough shape as dzhek-kuropa picked up a set of aces. The 8♥ on the turn held out hope for a flush to keep the Canadian player in the game, but the river came the 4♣ and the set held up. The table was now down to four players with babygirl1983's departure in 5th place ($912.79).

From endangered to extinct

With the blinds and antes now up to 100K/200K/25K, the remaining four players were stacked like this:

Seat 2: Manihani (10,067,388 in chips)
Seat 3: dzhek-kuropa (14,758,558 in chips)
Seat 4: PandaTheBear (3,681,360 in chips)
Seat 6: IwentworthI (18,302,694 in chips)

PandaTheBear, the last Australian in the field, had some work to do to get back in the game. But after a blind steal on the first hand after babygirl1983's departure, there just wasn't much for the Aussie to hang on to. Seven hands later, in the small blind and facing a raise to 440K from dzhek-kuropa on the button, PandaTheBear decided to make a stand and reraised to 1.62M. That cleared out IwentworthI in the big blind but dzhek-kuropa responded with a raise big enough to cover PandaTheBear's last 1.48M chips. The Aussie called and the two turned over their cards:

PandaTheBear: A♣ K♦ T♦ 3♥
dzhek-kuropa: K♠ 6♠ Q♥ J♣

PandaTheBear was ahead for the moment, but that changed once the flop came J♠ 8♥ 8♦ to give dzhek-kuropa two pair. The 3♣ on the turn wasn't much help, still leaving PandaTheBear in need of an ace, kind, or trey. Once the T♣ came on the river, the 6.51M-chip pot shipped to dzhek-kuropa and it was lights out for PandaTheBear in 4th place ($1,502.60).

All Russia, all the time

With PandaTheBear's departure all three of the players left at the table were from Russia, guaranteeing that country would book its sixth win of MicroMillions III, the most of any country whose players have competed so far. The only remaining question was which Russian would walk away the champion. Almost immediately they began to talk about a deal. The mechanics were somewhat obscured since they spoke to each other in Russian, but after about 10 minutes they opted to continue play without a deal in place.

Manihani and dzhek-kuropa claimed most of the pots over the course of the next 20 hands as the blinds and antes rose to 125K/250K/31.25K, so it made sense that the first major clash of three-handed play would be between the two of them. It went down like this:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

That shifted dzhek-kuropa firmly into the lead and left Manihani virtually tied with IwentworthI for second place. Those two would butt heads just 11 hands later; it was Manihani who was at risk of busting out, but IwentworthI ended up losing the pot when K♥ 7♥ J♣ 9♠ couldn't overcome Manihani's A♣ A♠ J♥ 5♥ on a board of T♥ J♠ 2♥ 7♠ A♦. Left with just 5.37M chips, IwentworthI didn't fret; instead, two hands later, a double-up with K♠ K♦ 2♠ 2♥ against Manihani's Q♥ Q♣ J♥ 3♣ on a board of 4♦ 6♣ 2♣ 5♥ 6♠ was enough to bring the two nearly even again.

The next 19 hands most saw dzhek-kuropa increase an already sizable lead as the other two Russian players looked for opportunities to chip up. As it turned out their next confrontation would leave Manihani short-stacked. IwentworthI min-raised from the small blind before the flop and Manihani called; both players check the 2♦ 9♦ 9♥ flop, and IwentworthI led out for bets of less than half the pot on both the A♥ turn and 3♠ river. Manihani called both bets but mucked when IwentworthI turned over A♦ A♣ K♣ 6♣ for the turned full house.

Left with just 2.65M chips on the 150K/300K/37.5K level, Manihani would double up on the next hand before sliding back toward the danger zone. Finally a preflop, pair-versus-pair confrontation would do Manihani in:

Manihani: Q♣ J♠ J♥ 4♥
IwentworthI: K♠ K♥ 3♥ 5♣

The board came 5♠ T♠ A♥ T♥ 2♠, offering no help at all for Manihani, who left in 3rd place ($2,345.18).

Heads-up for the motherland

The stacks looked like this as the all-Russian heads-up portion of play began with blinds and antes at 200K/400K/50K:

Seat 3: dzhek-kuropa (34,122,184 in chips)
Seat 6: IwentworthI (12,687,816 in chips)

There was a sense of déjà vu as both players agreed to talk numbers for a possible deal but ended the discussion after a few minutes without any kind of agreement. From there the two got to work and most of the pots were won without much fanfare, taken down either before the flop or on it with a continuation bet, but the bigger ones went to IwentworthI without exception. After 13 hands, IwentworthI had reduced the chip deficit from 55 big blinds to just 20 big blinds.

That set the stage for the first big swing of the duel on the 14th hand, in a pot that seemed innocuous enough until it reached the river:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

Within a few hands the blinds and antes had gone up to 250K/500K/50K, making the former chip leader dzhek-kuropa's situation more dire. From that point IwentworthI was relentless in applying pressure to expand the chip lead. Winning 20 of the next 25 pots and only having to show down a winner a single time, IwentworthI reduced dzhek-kuropa to just 3.3M chips as what would be the final hand arrived.

IwentworthI started the hand off with a raise to 1M on the button, and dzhek-kuropa reraised the pot to 3.125M before calling off the last 175K. The two turns up their hands - A♥ A♦ 8♠ 6♥ for IwentworthI, Q♦ J♣ J♥ 3♥ for dzhek-kuropa - and watched as the board fell 9♥ 2♠ 7♣ 6♣ 5♣. The pair of aces alone would have been enough to win, but as it turned out IwentworthI had hit a straight on the river to win the pot and the tournament.

For second place, dzhek-kuropa earned $3,187.76. Meanwhile, a comeback at the end of the tournament meant that IwentworthI won a career-first MicroMillions bracelet, and with it the top prize of $4,355.62.

MicroMillions III Event #37: $3.30 PL Omaha (6-Max, 2R1A)
$25,000 guaranteed prize pool
3,568 entrants, 4,698 rebuys, 1,096 add-ons
450 places paid
$28,086 total prize pool

1st place: IwentworthI (Russia) $4,355.62
2nd place: dzhek-kuropa (Russia) $3,187.76
3rd place: Manihani (Russia) $2,345.18
4th place: PandaTheBear (Australia) $1,502.60
5th place: babygirl1935 (Canada) $912.79
6th place: lo-fi dream (Brazil) $491.50

If you're an action junkie but missed out on this event, never fear: there are still seven more Omaha events scheduled for MicroMillions III. That includes a no-limit Omaha tourney, which ought to be great fun for everybody. Be sure to check the official MicroMillions page for full info on the remaining schedule, past winners, and more statistics than you can shake a stick at.

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions III