MicroMillions III: mattwut1 makes some magic in Event 46 ($11 NLHE, 6-Max, SuperKnockout)

Shorthanded poker, at its core, is a game of aggression. Sitting back and waiting simply isn't an option when you're dealt nearly half as many hands per orbit. Most of the time nobody has a very strong hand, so the player who applies aggression the most effectively is usually going to come out ahead.

As if that weren't already enough reason for the competitors in today's Event 46 to get involved in the action, there was also a knockout bounty on every player in the field. But not just any knockout bounty, worth a fifth of the buy-in or less. No, this was a SuperKnockout tournament. With half of each player's buy-in going to whomever could knock him out, the bounty and buy-in were effectively equal.

Of course, navigating through a tournament, even a bounty tournament, isn't always about being personally responsible for the departure of one's opponents. Sometimes it's a matter of picking up the pots that nobody else is willing to claim, or being the player who survives all-in situations instead of being the one who creates them. Such was the case with our eventual champion, the United Kingdom's mattwut1, who earned the $5,332.17 top prize despite only having knocked out five of the tournament's 6,765 participants leading up to the final table. In knockout tournaments - even SuperKnockout tournaments - there's always more than one path to victory.

A quick start

After eight hours and two minutes of play, the final table began with blinds and antes at 70K/140K/17.5K and these six players:

MM III Event 46 final table.jpg

Seat 1: @LEXSIS10! (6,681,289 in chips)
Seat 2: doublehocus (3,804,000 in chips)
Seat 3: mattwut1 (5,305,028 in chips)
Seat 4: Liorya (5,296,474 in chips)
Seat 5: uitto1656 (1,525,256 in chips)
Seat 6: iGOTmySelf (11,212,953 in chips)

Norway's iGOTmySelf came to the table with the chip lead thanks to two big knockouts on the cusp of the final: the first with A♣ Q♣ against A♦ 2♠ to knock out Antonios_fk in 9th place ($365.81), and the second with A♥ T♣ against A♣ K♥, catching two pair to knock out fluppe65 in 8th place ($365.81). Those two KOs gave the Norwegian player a total of 18 for the tournament, tops among the final six. As it turned out, the other player with the most knockouts over the course of the day would collide with iGOTmySelf in the first significant pot of the final.

Finland's uitto1656 had been the beneficiary of 16 other players' demise before arriving at the final table with the short stack. With 1.03M chips - good for just over seven big blinds - the pressure to stack up was high, so when the action folded to the small blind on the eighth hand of the final table, uitto1656 moved all-in holding J♣ 9♣. Sitting in the big blind with A♥ 8♠ and the chance to collect another bounty, iGOTmySelf made a quick call. The 3♥ K♠ T♠ flop gave uitto1656 a few more outs, but the A♠ on the turn meant no jack or nine would save the Finn from elimination. With the 3♣ on the river, iGOTmySelf collected bounty number 19 and uitto1656 left in 6th place ($532.74).

The rise of mattwut1

On the other end of the final table lineup's knockout spectrum was mattwut1. The U.K. player had navigated the field with the benefit of just five knockouts, the lowest total among the last six players, but two big pots after the field shrank to five would help earn mattwut1 the chip lead.

The first came in a tangle with iGOTmySelf, who opened the betting for 281K in the cutoff before calling mattwut1's reraise to 698K from the big blind. On the A♠ 5♦ 3♣ flop, mattwut1 led out for 700K into the 1.55M-chip pot and was again called; after checking the 9♠ turn, mattwut1 called iGOTmySelf's 1.32M-chip bet. Both players checked the A♣ river, and mattwut1 won the 5.6M chips up for grabs with A♥ K♦ for three of a kind.

That hand put mattwut1 within about four big blinds of iGOTmySelf's leading 9.6M-chip stack, which itself was reduced to 8.21M four hands later when Israel's Liorya chipped away at it. Within a few orbits, though, mattwut1 would vault ahead of everyone else thanks to this huge hand:

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The queens held up, mattwut1 won the 12.94M-chip pot and a sixth bounty, and @LEXSIS10! was sent home in 5th place ($892.16).

Pulling away from the pack

With four players left, and the blinds and antes at 80K/160K/20K, mattwut1 was now the clear chip leader:

Seat 2: doublehocus (2,396,000 in chips)
Seat 3: mattwut1 (15,432,581 in chips)
Seat 4: Liorya (7,451,874 in chips)
Seat 6: iGOTmySelf (8,544,545 in chips)

With the exception of a hand where Russia's doublehocus ended up all-in against mattwut1 only to split the pot as both players held ace-jack, and another where Liorya took down the pot preflop with a three-bet, the next 15 hands were all blind steals. Then mattwut1 took another chunk of change away from iGOTmySelf, calling down three streets' worth of bets out of position with A♦ T♠ to win a pot worth 5.75M, holding a pair of tens on a board of T♥ 9♠ K♦ 3♠ 3♣.

At the other end of the leaderboard, doublehocus was fighting for survival. There was one double-up in the cards for the Russian player, with A♦ 6♦ against iGOTmySelf's attempted steal with 8♣ 3♣. But a lack of good spots and blinds and antes that had now advanced to 100K/200K/25K meant that doublehocus folded away most of the chips earned from that pot before doubling again with A♦ Q♥ against Liorya's 5♥ 5♠.

That brought doublehocus, Liorya, and iGOTmySelf settled into a sort of equilibrium with all three of them within 1.7M chips of each other. Meanwhile mattwut1 was closing in on 20M chips, more than 70 big blinds ahead of them. The U.K. player would eventually climb over 23.5M after shutting iGOTmySelf down on the turn in this 6.46M-chip pot:

RSS readers, please click through for replay

In the end the balance among the shorter stacks would be broken in a blind-versus-blind situation. After the action folded to Liorya in the small blind, the Israeli player raised to 500K; iGOTmySelf called in the big blind to see a flop of 7♦ Q♣ 9♥. Liorya checked before calling a 412K bet, and both players checked after the turn came the 4♥. After the river came the 3♠, Liorya thought for a moment before moving all-in for 2.84M. iGOTmySelf didn't have to think at all, calling with 6♣ 5♣ for a seven-high straight. Liorya's bluff with K♣ T♥ had run into the nuts, and that meant the Israeli finished the day in 4th place ($1,598.23).

Knockout number 20

After Liorya's departure, the remaining three players were stacked like so:

Seat 2: doublehocus (2,136,861 in chips)
Seat 3: mattwut1 (23,801,620 in chips)
Seat 6: iGOTmySelf (7,886,519 in chips)

They had been preparing to discuss a deal before Liorya was knocked out, so before another hand could be dealt they began looking at numbers. But after some back-and-forth discussion over the difference between chip-chop and ICM numbers there was no agreement, and the game continued.

Just three hands later, with the blinds and antes freshly risen to 125K/250K/31.25K, mattwut1 would claim a sixth bounty for the day. Holding 9♥ 9♠ on the button, the U.K. player opened for 500K and didn't take long to call after doublehocus moved all-in for 2.72M from the big blind. Coin-flipping against doublehocus' A♦ J♠, the nines managed to dodge a minefield of outs after the turn to hold up on a board reading 6♦ T♦ 4♥ Q♦ 5♠. With that doublehocus, the only remaining Russian at the table, was eliminated in 3rd place ($2,663.71).

A war of attrition

As the final duel began, mattwut1 held 26.33M chips to iGOTmySelf's 7.49M. iGOTmySelf had been in high gear throughout the tournament and particularly at the final table, but the heads-up match saw the Norwegian shift down a notch and play a slightly more reserved game. Rather than a chance at the top prize being put on the line in a big gamble, a war of attrition developed. Over the course of the first 54 hands iGOTmySelf only had to survive two all-in moments, but the Norwegian also never stacked up any higher than 9.28M, or seven big blinds more than at the start of heads-up play. The longer the game went on, the more it favored the big stack of mattwut1.

Finally, on Hand #55 of heads-up action, with the blinds and antes up to 150K/300K/37.5K, iGOTmySelf moved all-in for 2.88M holding J♣ 8♣ and got a call from mattwut1 with A♥ Q♣. The 3♥ Q♦ T♣ flop paired mattwut1 but gave iGOTmySelf an inside straight draw; similarly, the A♠ on the turn gave mattwut1 two pair but gave iGOTmySelf four more outs to a straight. But the river card was the 7♣, leaving iGOTmySelf with no more chips and the tournament with a winner.

In addition to the $3,729.20 prize for second place, iGOTmySelf collected 20 knockouts at $5.25 apiece for another $105. For mattwut1, who collected eight knockouts, there was the top prize of $5,332.17 and the pride of joining the ranks of MicroMillions champions.

MicroMillions III Event #46: $11 NL Hold'em (6-Max, SuperKnockout)
$25,000 guaranteed prize pool
6,765 entries
900 places paid
$35,516.25 total prize pool, $35,516.25 total bounty pool

1st place: mattwut1 (United Kingdom) $5,332.17
2nd place: iGOTmySelf (Norway) $3,729.20
3rd place: doublehocus (Russia) $2,663.71
4th place: Liorya (Israel) $1,598.23
5th place: @LEXSIS10! (Russia) $892.16
6th place: uitto1656 (Finland) $532.74

We're at the halfway point of MicroMillions III, but there's still plenty of time to get in on the action with nine events every day and satellites running around the clock. Check out the MicroMillions III schedule for more information on how you can get involved.

Jason Kirk is a freelance contributor to PokerStars Blog.

Jason Kirk
@PokerStarsBlog in MicroMillions III