We all have a favourite poker story. For Australian poker industry veteran and former Full Tilt Poker rep Rob “Hux” Huxley, it came during the 2012 Aussie Millions while looking after Full Tilt’s most prized asset, the great Phil Ivey.
At the time, the Aussie Millions had not only established itself as one of the world’s premier annual tournament series but the Crown Poker team among the most ambitious in the industry. They had, for example, pioneered the $100k Challenge in 2007 at a time when $25k buy-ins were considered Super High Roller.
So when, in 2011, Crown floated the idea of a $250k buy-in event, many dismissed it as sheer folly. But never doubt the degenerative sensibilities of the professional poker player as a field of 20 sat down to try their luck, with Erik Seidel coming out on top to claim the $2.5 million top prize.
Fast forward 12 months and the $250k was back again, but this time with a twist.
“The Hong Kong businessmen (Paul Phua and Richard Yong) were in town and wanted to play, but they wanted to fly out of Melbourne the following say so they said it has to be a turbo,” recalls Huxley during the latest episode of the PMA Podcast. “They wanted a one day tournament – and they got their wish!”
Ivey, however, was still in the Main Event.
“Phil Ivey’s day went a bit like this,” Huxley continues. “It’s Day 5 of the Main Event, he’s been playing for five days straight, he busts out at 2pm and the $250k has already started.
“He comes upstairs, late regos into this $250k turbo which because it was a one day event ended up going for so long. I must have had 50 Red Bulls that night.
“It was about 5am by the time they reached the bubble and it was the biggest bubble in history at the time – $800,000 – with four players remaining and only three making the money. The four players were Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Patrik Antonius and Daniel Negreanu.
“Daniel Negreanu winds up being the bubble boy and he is not happy. Gus is happy because he bubbled the $25k earlier in the week. Eventually it gets heads-up between Phil and Patrik.
“They go on a break and Phil is slightly in front but doesn’t have a big chip lead. The guys start talking and Patrik looks over at Phil, very serious, and says, ‘Do you want to make a deal?’ Remember first place is worth $2 million and second is $1.2 million.
“They’ve been playing for 20 hours straight and Phil looks back and says, ‘Yes I do – let’s play for it all.’ Patrick knew straight away he wasn’t joking, so that’s what they did.
“Five hands later they get it all in, Phil’s AQ holds and he takes the whole thing down.”
Watch the full podcast with “Hux” above.