As the final nine players of Event #63 sat down at the final table few seemed to notice the mild breeze blowing from the Czech Republic. zzzzephyr16 started the final table as the shortest stack with little more than 2,000,000 chips, just 12.5 big blinds, but having made it this far in a 5,239 strong field zzzzephyr16 wasn't about to drift away. As Dutchman TMZTRU pointed out 'Blinds are very high' and the volatile action allowed zzzzephyr16 to claw his way back into the pack, then swipe the chip lead before ultimately claiming the MicroMillions title and $3,555.28.
The player that you would perhaps have expected that comeback from, PhoenixSag, was actually the first player sent to the rail, despite having an incredible chance to live up to his name. The Russian lost a large flip to zzzzephy16 after calling a three-bet shove with 6♣6♠ and failing to hold against the Czech's A♦K♥ leaving PhoenixSag with crumbs, just 1,917 with blinds at 125,000-250,000. On the other hand, that pot nudged zzzzephyr16 just ahead of gcamisa, the only other player to have broken the 10,000,000 mark.
PhoenixSag managed to win the next pot with 7♣T♥ catching against bleram's A♣J♥ to boost him up to 17,253 (about half an ante now) but his chances of rising from the flames still weren't looking good. He was dispatched the next hand by bustamoov.
Just three hands later and it was CHICKENMAKAN's turn to fly away. The Singaporean had started as chip leader with 6,690,013 but was down to four big blinds at the 150,000-300,000 level when he stuck it in with queens. Optimistic as he should have been, that smile would have quickly turned upside down after BaBiloff tabled A♠A♥. No queen and he left in 8th.
gcasmisa's contention for the chip lead took a large dent when he made a large check-raise all-in into 779920 with J♠T♣ on a 6♠Q♥8♦ flop. 779920 made the call with A♣Q♠. No suckout and a key double for the man with numbers for a name.
Back to back aces
Getting aces, getting action and having them hold at a final table is a dream. Having that take place back to back to rocket you into a huge chip lead? That's almost impossible. Not so, as zzzzephy16 proved after waking up with A♣A♦ in the big blind after bustamoov had open shoved with A♠K♥ for a 10m pot. The case ace hit the flop to boost zzzzephy16 into a commanding chip lead and bustamoov to the rail.
Six players remained, but not for long. zzzzephyr16 found aces again the next hand against the flopped top pair of bleram's K♠9♠ to claim another scalp. Click below to see how it panned out.
In the meantime Ducthman TMZTRU had found himself blinding short, but those back to back aces had ensured him a minimum $1,020.82 pay out, almost doubling his payout, so he must have been fairly carefree getting his last three big blinds in with K♣T♠ over a raise from BaBiloff. He found himself in good shape against the Latvian's pocket nines but the board blanked out leaving four players; zzzzephyr16 in possession of half the chips in play and the other three players reasonably level.
It wasn't long before another clash, BaBiloff crippling 779920 in a battle of the blinds. 779920 opened from the small blind with J♥J♣ and quickly called the big blind shove from BaBiloff with K♥Q♦. The board ran out 2♠9♦5♣T♣K♦ for a painful river but the Russina doubled back through BaBiloff just a couple of hands later with a dominating ace, then again with T♠T♣ through BaBiloff's A♥Q♥ when it 779920's turn to river the best hand as the board ran out 6♥A♦Q♣K♠J♠.
Pausing for a breath of fresh air
In contrast to the speedy eliminations of the last few players, four-handed play lasted for 27 hands with gcamisa the next player to go after his three-bet resteal from the big blind with Q♠9♠ went wrong. Unfortunately for him BaBiloff had opened the button with a premium hand, A♦K♥, but he certainly wasn't without a sweat even after hitting his king on the 4♠5♦6♦K♠Q♥ board.
Gcamisa's biggest score was from a $3 rebuy he finished in third around this time last year. He pocketed $7,264 then and his talent meant that the others would be pleased to see him go. As soon as he'd been knocked out zzzzephyr16 asked if the remaining two players wanted to look at a deal.
BaBiloff: I want 2900 for me
zzzzephyr16: if you want 2900 then I want 3000
zzzzephyr16: 779920 would have to be ok with the rest
zzzzephyr16: 2200 rest for you 77920
BaBiloff: can I ask him in Russian?
Russia? Come in Russia
Thankfully, to save me trying trying to translate Russian, a PokerStars Russian host stepped in to assist. 779920 played hard ball and refused to answer any questions or, perhaps more likely, as zzzzephyr16 suggested he was 'having a lunch'.
PStars HostPauloE: Please give us a minute, we are trying to contact him using a different method.
Smoke signals were wafted, carrier pigeons took flight, Morse code was tapped on railway linesand, just maybe, emails were sent and telephones rung. 779920 appeared in the chat box. There was an answer. It was a blank. Then his name appeared again, this time with 2500 next to it. The wait was not worth it for BaBiloff and zzzzephyr16, they both refused the deal. Play resumed.
In the direct aftermath of the broken negotiations zzzzephyr16 stretched his lead even further, perhaps beyond reach, from 19,000,000 to 29,000,000. before BaBiloff critically managed to peg him back (watch below), all but pushing 779920 to the rail in third.
779920 was eventually forced to call all-in in his big blind with 8♠5♥ only to find himself up against zzzzephy16's T♦T♥. No magic suck out and zzzzephyr16 took a three-to-one chip lead into the heads up. Or rather into the second round of deal negotiations.
BaBiloff: 3k for me?
zzzzephyr16: Give me 3500
After some help from the PokerStars hosts a deal was struck; zzzzephyr16 was guaranteed $3,255.28, BaBiloff $2,950 and $300 was set aside for the winner.
HostPauloE: We have a deal! Congratulations guys, very well done!
Five hands later zzzzephyr16 took the title so it was some astute dealing by BaBiloff to lock in an additional $180 profit (equivalent to 60 tournament buy-ins). Considering zzzzephyr16's previous largest tournament score was $48 this result should bolster the Czech's bankroll significantly. Will we see zzzzephyr16 breezing into any of the Sunday majors final tables now? If he can keep getting back-to-back aces, we certainly should.
1st: zzzzephyr16, Czech Republic, $3,555.28
2nd: BaBiloff, Latvia, $2,950
3rd: 779920, Russia, $1,962.18
4th: gcamisa, Argentina, $1,343.79
5th: TMZTRU, Netherlands, $1,010.82
6th: bleram, Greece, $772.98
7th: bustamoov, United Kingdom, $534.14
8th: CHICKENMAKAN, Singapore, $297.30
9th: PhoenixSag, Russia, $190.27
To catch up with all the MicroMillions coverage you can click through this handy MicroMillions link here. And you can also keep up to date with the MicroMillions leaderboard here. No big points for Team PokerStars Pro Marcin 'goral' Horecki in this tournament, he busted some way before the money in 1,910th but he's still in 5th position overall.