Five champions have been crowned so far during the 2017 Aussie Millions being held at the Crown Entertainment Complex in Melbourne. Several of the events have seen record entries and millions of dollars have already been awarded, with over 200 players collecting payouts. With another 21 events yet to be completed, culminating with the highly anticipated $250,000 Challenge on January 30, and of course the Main Event that finishes a day earlier, much excitement is expected across the remaining schedule.
Event 1 – $1,150 NLHE, Entrants: 1565, Prize pool: $1,604,125
An impressive first prize of over $320,000 would go to the eventual champion, Robert Raymond (pictured) of Melbourne, in the opening event. A record field of 1565 across four day 1 flights would see 153 players cash in the event, the minimum cash being $2,885. In 2016 there were 1320 entrants, so it was a great way to start the 2017 Aussie Millions campaign.
Flight 1 saw 254 players enter (no re-entries), flight 2 was locked out at 240, flight 3 had an impressive 405 players, and flight 4 a massive 666 players.
The final day got underway with 16 players remaining. The first player eliminated was Espen Solaas from Norway. As players continued to hit the rail, Sam Higgs, fresh off his 2nd place finish at the APPT Melbourne event in October, busted in 8th, leaving the final seven to battle it out for the remaining prizemoney. Tournament veteran Sam Khouis from Sydney would add to his over 140 career cashes to bust in 7th place for $35,290.
With play four-handed, the odds seemed stacked against the eventual winner. Raymond only had 1.64 million in chips, leaving him as the short stack against Qiang Fu with 3.7 million, Alex Lynskey with 4.95 million, and chip-leader at the time, Michael Addamo, with 5.4 million. The two shortest stacks however, didn’t surrender and ended up facing off against one another, as Lynskey and Addamo would bust out. Raymond would outlast Fu for the lion’s share of the prize pool and claim his own coveted Aussie Millions championship.
Top 16 payouts:
|2nd||$198,115||Qiang Fu||Auckland||New Zealand|
|6th||$41,705||Jack Efaraimo||Wellington||New Zealand|
|9th||$25,665||Hoong Ping Yong||Malaysia|
|11th||$17,645||Slade R Fisher||Bluff||New Zealand|
|13th||$14,435||John R Brans||Perth||Australia|
Event 2 – $2,500 H.O.R.S.E., Entrants: 49, Prize pool: $110,250
On the third day of the 2017 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, Taiwan’s James Chen has claimed the first championship ring of the series, taking down the $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event and walking away with the top prize of $39,700 for his efforts. The tournament attracted 49 players, another increase from the 39 entrants that played this event last year.
As play reached a final table of seven on Day 2, the decision was made to play though the bubble to the money. The final six remaining players would return the following day to crown a winner.
Australia’s Dylan Honeyman, who entered the final day in fourth place, was the first to exit the tournament on Day 3. Honeyman added to his over $600,000 in live tournament cashes, having recorded his biggest win of his career during the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event, finishing 5th for $340,000.
Fellow Aussie Jarrett Bullock would benefit from Honeyman’s early exit, as he entered the day with the short stack. However, Bullock was unable to hang on, bowing out in 5th place for $8,825, his largest live poker tournament cash.
Melbournian Jarryd Godena was next to bust, leaving Rainer Quel the lone Aussie left in the event. Quel would outlast the most experienced player, England’s Richard Ashby, who would finish 3rd. Ashby has over $2.3 million in tournament winnings, including a World Series of Poker triumph in 2010 when he won a gold bracelet in the WSOP $1,500 Seven Card Stud event.
|3rd||$16,535||Richard Ashby||Great Britain|
Event 3 – $1,150 NLHE Shot Clock Shootout, Entrants: 153, Prizepool: $156,825
Leading Austrian poker professional Thomas Muhlocker has taken down the third event of the series for $40,125. The event featured a fun, fast-paced shootout format on day 1, which instituted a shot clock to keep the game moving.
The event began with 153 runners and 17 shootout tables, up from the 126 players who played the same event in 2016. Each of the table winners of the shootout format would min-cash for $2,075, and return on day 2 for a standard multi-table tournament.
Among those to win their shootout tables and move to the final day were 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event 4th place finisher Julius Colman, and 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event champion Ari Engel. Neither Colman nor reigning champ Engel would add this Aussie Millions title to their list of accomplishments though, finishing 12th and 7th respectively.
When the dust settled on the final day’s play, it would be Muhlocker to claim victory, leaving Crown Poker regular Henry Szmelcer with $26,775 for his runner-up finish.
|1st||$40,125||Thomas R. Muhlocker||Vienna||Austria|
|3rd||$17,365||Dejan V. Boskovic||NSW||Australia|
|6th||$9,130||Ryan Van Sanford||Florida||USA|
|7th||$7,565||Alan Ryan Engel||Toronto||Canada|
|9th||$4,425||Gary Tomes||New Zealand|
|13th||$2,465||Tatjana Zizic||Nelson||New Zealand|
Event 4 – $1,150 Pot Limit Omaha, Entrants: 237, Prizepool: $242,925
Australia’s Serge Osalan has become the second local player to be crowned a champion in this year’s poker series after taking down the fourth event for $58,315. Osalan not only recorded his first win in an Aussie Millions event, but it was his first tournament win overall and his first cash in any Aussie Millions tournament.
The event began with 237 runners, up from the 217 players who played the same event in 2016. Day 2 would see 16 players advance through, all in the money, with 27 players in the tournament min-cashing for $1,945.
Top 10 Payouts:
|3rd||$24,280||William J Zavos||Gold Coast||Australia|
|4th||$19,435||Andre Moracchini||Noumea||New Caledonia|
|8th||$7,895||Alfred Clear||Wellington||New Zealand|
|9th||$6,075||Jan Suchanek||Nelson||New Zealand|
Event 5 – $1,150 NLHE – Mix Max, Entrants: 230, Prizepool: $235,750
After two days of intense action in the Mix Max event, Niall Murray has triumphed over fellow Brit Jack Salter, for $61,300. It was his first championship ring, first Aussie Millions cash, and he now has more than $200,000 in live tournament winnings.
The Mix Max event was locked at 230 entries with play continuing on Day 1 through the money bubble to end with 23 players, all min-cashing for $2705. The format saw everyone initially seated at full ring tables before switching to six-handed tables with only 36 players remaining. When the final eight players were left they locked horns in a series of heads-up battles to crown a champion.
The Aussies didn’t fare too well though; with only one top seven finish, that being Nelson Smith from Adelaide. The final heads-up battle was an all-British affair with Murray facing Salter for the title. Salter, an Aussie Millions champion in 2014 when he won the $5,000 no-limit hold’em Six-Max event, was to narrowly miss out on winning a second ring when he finished runner-up to Scott Davies in the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event. Unfortunately for Salter he would again finish in 2nd place, with Murray triumphing.
Top 10 Payouts:
|3rd||$21,405||Linh Tran||Ho Chi Min||Vietnam|
|4th||$21,405||William A Molson||Montreal||Canada|
|5th||$9,145||Elliot K Smith||Vancouver||Canada|
|6th||$9,145||Nelson K Smith||Adelaide||Australia|
|7th||$9,145||Colin Morris-Denby||Rongotea||New Zealand|
|8th||$9,145||Brian M Payne||Melbourne||Australia|
|9th||$5,660||Michael J Egan||Melbourne||Australia|
|10th||$5,660||Geoffrey L Mooney||Sydney||Australia|