The Aussie Millions made history today as Australasia’s largest poker series took the humble game of poker to a whole new level. The largest buy-in tournament the poker world had ever seen was held in Studio 3 of the Crown Casino and you only had to fork over the equivalent of a small house to take part.
Not only was the $250,000 price tag an incredible proposition, but the fact that the event attracted a field of 20 players was just mind-blowing.
An enormous prize pool of $5 million was up for grabs, and quicker than a private jet, it was carved up amongst just three players.
The ultra-turbo format is surprisingly enjoyed by these super-high rollers as they prefer to indulge in their sense of gamble than any perceived skill advantage. It was also believed to be tailored to three wealthy Chinese businessmen – Richard Yong, Wang Qiang and Paul Phua, who we first met in the Million Dollar Cash Game earlier in the week – who were keen to return back to Macau late this evening.
PokerNetwork’s own Lynn Gilmartin caught up with the players before play kicked off in a preview of the day ahead...
A little after noon it was game on, but unfortunately for the Aussies, our only representative, young gun James Obst, had a day he’d rather forget. It was a sign of things to come as Obst ran his pocket kings smack into Erik Seidel’s pocket aces. Seidel leapt to an early lead as Obst earned the distinction of the first to be eliminated from the biggest poker tournament in history.
While Obst fell to a cooler, the turbo structure forced players to move chips around, so the eliminations came thick and fast. James Bord was next to go, soon followed by Tom Dwan, Roland de Wolfe and 2008 Aussie Millions champ Alexander Konstritsyn.
We then saw one of the more bizarre eliminations when Full Tilt Pro John Juanda hit the rail. Juanda may have been caught making a move, but his table chat indicated that he misread his own cards. With the chips in preflop, Juanda turned over and gave a cry of “Oops, I thought I had an ace!” but he couldn’t find any help to get past Tony Bloom’s pocket nines. Buy-in to the biggest poker tournament in history. $250,000. Misread your hand. Priceless.
PCA High Rollers champ Eugene Katchalov was next to go, before the only woman in the field, Annette Obrestad. She ended a disappointing Aussie Millions campaign 250k lighter as she lost a race with pocket fives against Wang Qiang’s ace-king, as the three Chinese businessmen found themselves nicely perched in the top five chip counts.
It’s always nice to run good in a tournament, but winning flips or sucking out in the biggest buy-in tournament in history is a pretty handy time to use up your run good. Just ask Sam Trickett. After already winning over $1.5 million earlier in the week in the $100k Challenge, Trickett shot to the top of the chip counts in a huge three-way all in. After Tony Bloom opened with a raise, Trickett shoved from the small blind, only to find Paul Phua move all in from the big blind. Bloom wasn’t going anywhere as he called with to have Phua’s and Trickett’s in bad shape. That is, until the board was spread to give Trickett a huge triple up and see Bloom and Phua eliminated moments later.
Online gun Daniel “jungleman12” Cates was next to be eliminated when he was outkicked by Chris Ferguson while Trickett continued to soar as the final table was formed.
Only three would finish in the money so there were always going to be some nervous moments heading towards a bubble worth $1,000,000 – the biggest in poker history.
Nikolay Evdakov, Phil Ivey and Andrew Feldman wouldn’t have to worry about the bubble as they were the first to depart the final table. Chris Ferguson then found out that even “Jesus” was no match for the run good of Sam Trickett as a flopped set over set saw Ferguson bust in 6th place.
The Chinese businessmen may have been the amateurs at the table, but they put in a great performance to get so deep in a field of this quality. Unfortunately Richard Yong was eliminated in 5th place after losing a race to Wang Qiang, who himself was then eliminated as the bubble boy after a horrible move when wrong. Holding the rather modest , Qiang decided to move all in over the top of a Trickett raise, but the Brit snap-called with . There was no miracle for Qiang as he was left heading back to Macau empty-handed.
A three-way deal was then done between David Benyamine, Erik Seidel and Sam Trickett to bump third-place prize money up to $1.1 million, leaving second place with $1.4 million, as the big-stacked Trickett wasn’t going to budge on the first-place prize money.
It looked like a wise decision when Trickett disposed of Benyamine in third-place, again with the fall of a fortunate card. It looked like a chop when Trickett and Benyamine got their chips in the middle on a board of with Benyamine’s and Trickett’s both playing just the ace. However Trickett’s incredible run continued as the completed the board to eliminate Benyamine in 3rd place in dramatic fashion.
Trickett held a 4-to-1 chip advantage but Seidel chipped away and regained the lead with multiple double ups before the final hand of the tournament. Seidel limped the button before Trickett raised to 175,000. Seidel called and the flop landed . Trickett checked to Seidel who bet 150,000. Trickett responded by moving all in with Seidel making the call. Trickett held overs with his and was trailing Seidel’s for top pair. The turn and river missed Trickett as he also missed the amazing double of back-to-back high roller titles. $1.4 million in prize money certainly eased the pain, as the title and accolades went to the Hall of Famer Erik Seidel.
Seidel’s win in the richest poker tournament in history, adds another chapter in one of the most decorated careers in the game. It also adds $2.5 million in prize money to his back pocket. When you throw in his 3rd place in the Aussie Millions 100k Challenge and his 4th place in the PCA High Rollers, Seidel has picked up $3.46 million in prize money this month alone!
Congratulations to Erik Seidel, and also well done to Jonno Pittock, Christian Vaughan and all the staff at Crown who raised the bar to a whole new level by hosting a tournament for the ages.
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