The inaugural WSOP APAC has provided the backdrop for a fresh page in the annals of poker history after Phil Ivey (pictured left with thanks to wsop.com) captured his ninth WSOP gold bracelet at Crown Melbourne yesterday.
Ivey was made to work all the way to the finish line after a heads-up match with Brandon Wong that lasted almost 180 hands and more than three hours.
The field in the $2200 buy-in Mixed Event may have been modest in terms of numbers but the bulk of the 81 starters were respected players across the range of disciplines.
Wong dominated most of the final table action, but in the end, Ivey battled back to win the title and $51,840, while Wong had to settle for his second WSOP runner-up finish.
Ivey was coming off a frustrating 2012 in WSOP events which included five final tables and a runner-up finish to Andy Frankenberger in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold’em event.
“I definitely wanted to win this event, especially when I got deep and realised I had a chance because my last five final tables were very tough. It took a lot out of me and I was happy to have the chance to finish this one," Ivey told wsop.com.
Ivey has defeated bigger fields and won more prize money, but this bracelet means he is now tied for fourth on the all-time bracelet list along with Johnny Moss.
This is the first bracelet for Ivey outside of Las Vegas and one that has added meaning for the long-time supporter of the Australian poker tournament scene.
“It ranks up there. The last [five] final tables I made I didn’t win. I was getting very frustrated, so I was very happy to win this tournament,” he said.
“This is my favourite place to play. I love coming down here, I love the feeling I have when I play here. Great staff, great dealers, and, you know, I love coming here.”
In addition to Ivey, the final table featured four-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu, experienced pros Kevin Song, three-time WSOP final table participant Brandon Wong, and Graeme Putt, who became the first player to make multiple WSOP final table appearances at WSOP APAC after finishing sixth in the Accumulator event.
WSOP APAC event 3: $2200 Mixed Event results (81 players; nine players paid; six players remaining; total prizepool $162,000 – Australian except where indicated)
1 Phil Ivey (USA) $51,840
2 Brandon Wong (USA) $32,039
3 Graeme Putt $22,427
4 Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $16,336
5 Rob Campbell $12,020
6 Kevin Song (USA) $8978
7 Sam Khouiss $7200
8 Billy Argyros $6002
9 Dale Townsend $5158
• Additional reporting, wsop.com