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Over the weekend, the poker paparazzi gathered together for one of the most enticing tournaments held anywhere in the world. The $100,000 challenge asked the world’s very best players to put up one hundred thousands Australian Dollars to compete against each other in an elite tournament. Only 24 players could afford to enter, including the likes of Barry Greenstein, Tony G, Gus Hansen, Howard Lederer, Erick Lindgren, David Steicke, Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, and Jonathan Karamalikis. This was another of the Aussie Million’s uniquely structured tournaments, with the game switching between PLHE and NLHE pre and post flop. Players only had 30 seconds to make each decision and were armed with two time extension chips to give themselves some emergency thinking time. Just 5 players would cash, but with $1.2 million on offer for first place the prizes were well worth winning.

Going into the final table, the chipstacks were as follows:

Seat 1: Bill Jordanou – 195,000
Seat 2: Phil Ivey – 328,000
Seat 3: Tony Bloom – 227,000
Seat 4: Jonathan Karamalikis – 508,000
Seat 5: Howard Lederer – 141,000
Seat 6: Dan Shak – 453,000
Seat 7: Tony G – 200,000
Seat 8: Barry Greenstein – 388,000

The Professor, Howard Lederer, had barely warmed his seat before he was walking to the rail. All in with A-10 against Tony G’s A-A left him with little hope, which the board did nothing to aid. Jonathan Karamalikis demonstrated that he is skilled enough to compete with the best in the game, but made the elementary error of doubling up the indomitable Phil Ivey. Shortly after, he failed to win a coin flip and exited the event in 7th place. With just one place to go until the money, it was left to the Robin Hood of Poker, Barry Greenstein, to be the unlucky bubble boy. After having his Kings cracked a few hands earlier, he got his last chips in with Q-10 against the K-K of Tony Bloom. Sadly for Barry, history would not repeat and he left the tournament in 6th. Tony G’s new PartyPoker sponsorship was just enough to propel him into the money, before he ran into Dan Shak. A classic race between pocket 10s and A-K was all but over once the A-K-5 flop arrived. The turn and river held nothing for Tony and he was out in 5th.

From here until heads up it was all about Phil Ivey. By making it this far, the 7-time WSOP bracelet winner had confirmed that he would move ahead of Daniel Negreanu as the all-time leader in live tournament winnings. He now stands on $12,804,162 – just $400k ahead of his plucky Canadian rival. Phil’s first victim was Tony Bloom, who found himself dominated with Q-9 against Q-10 on a Queen-high board. Following him was Bill Jordanou, who can consider himself unlucky not to win the pot with his J-10. Both players got their stacks in the middle on an all-club J-10-6 board. Ivey was behind with Qh-Qc, but he had three queens and lots of clubs to draw to. As it happens, he got both. A Queen arrived on the turn to give him the lead and a 3c on the river finished off his flush. With just two players remaining, you would have put your money on Phil to take it down, but his opponent, Dan Shak, was no slouch. By employing an aggressive strategy, Dan was able to assume a solid chip lead before the final hand, in which he was all-in with A-7 against Ivey’s A-10. This time, the board was not so kind to Phil and a 7 on the flop was all Shak needed to take down the $1.2 million AUD first place prize.

Full payouts were as follows:

$1,200,000 AUD – Dan Shak
$600,000 AUD – Phil Ivey
$300,000 AUD – Billy Jordanou
$200,000 AUD – Tony Bloom
$100,000 AUD – Tony G