Ivey wins 250,000 Challenge
Andrew Feldman [ARCHIVE]
January 29, 2012
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For most players, finishing 12th for 100,000 AU$ in an event in which first place is 1.6 million AU$ could be a little frustrating. By going so deep yet coming up short, a player must be in the mindset that their chance to hit a massive score just vanished. It's not easy to go deep in large-field events, regardless of who you are. Your "one time" just ended and it must be devastating. All that said, after a major cash like this, most players would be content with the payout and spend at least the next day enjoying the victory for their bankroll.

Phil Ivey does not fall into the category of "most players."

After becoming the first casualty on the penultimate day of the 2012 Aussie Millions main event, Ivey didn't collect his winnings and head home, dejected after the close call. Instead, he took that 12th-place 100,000 AU$ and immediately sent it back to the cage, with an additional 150,000 AU$ to complete his buy-in for the second most expensive tournament that will be held this year -- the Aussie Millions 250,000 Challenge. Ivey was one of 16 individuals who participated in the event, the majority of them household names for all poker fans. The four that aren't were potentially the reasons for many of these players to enter; they're simply businessmen looking to play in the biggest games. Daniel Negreanu, Patrik Antonius, Gus Hansen, Jason Mercier, Tom Dwan, Erik Seidel, etc., decided that a quarter million dollars would be best spent in an event that Negreanu likened to "flipping coins" based on the lucrative turbo structure.

One by one the icons of the game fell until it was Ivey, sporting a rare smile, sitting behind a stack of chips, holding the winning hand, a plaque, bottle of champagne. In addition to the 100,000 AU$ he earned for his main event finish earlier in the day, Ivey pocketed 2 million AU$, the biggest single pay day of his career. The cash moved Ivey into third on the all-time tournament money list.

For most of the lengthy one-day tournament, Negreanu was in control, but given the high blinds, it was simply a goal to get the chips in good and hope that the hands held. Unfortunately for Negreanu, the big pot didn't fall his way, and he would ultimately be the bubble boy of the event, going all-in with A-8 and unable to overcome the J-J of Antonius.

"Slightly disgusted 4th on an 800k bubble," Negreanu wrote in a Twitter post.

Ivey eliminated Hansen in third after flopping two pair with J-4 against Hansen's top pair (holding K-8). Hansen was the bubble boy in the 100,000 AU$ buy-in last week and was pleased that this time around he'd be taking home something for his effort.

"After all is said and done I am happy to cash in a big buy-in event as I felt I was going through a minor dry spell in those events," Hansen said on his blog.

Heads-up play began with Ivey holding a small chip lead over Antonius. That small lead quickly became a big one and with Ivey holding nearly a 7-to-1 edge, he'd call Antonius' all-in with A-Q and in a strong position over his opponent's K-3. Antonius did hit a three on the flop, but a queen on the turn gave Ivey the win. Antonius earned 1.2 million AU$.

Welcome back Mr. Ivey.

Oliver Speidel wins Aussie Millions main event

It's rare that any other tournament could steal the headlines from someone who wins 1.6 million AU$, but unfortunately for Oliver Speidel, that really is the case. Speidel won the 10,000 AU$ buy-in Aussie Millions main event, defeating a field of 674 players to win one of the most prestigious events of the year. Turnout was down from 721 players a year ago, but to achieve this number given the current poker economy should be viewed as a victory for the Crown Casino.

The victory for Speidel came after two previous final tables during the 2012 Millions. The Melbourne native finished second in the 1,000 AU$ shootout and sixth in the 1,500 AU$ bounty event before his second career Aussie Millions victory. This one, worth the 1.6 million, far exceeds the $99,491 he earned from his victory a year ago in a 1,000 AU$ event.

According to PokerNews, Speidel entered the final table second in chips behind Bjorn Li and would take the chip lead after his elimination of Yann Dion in seventh place. Mohamad Kowssarie eliminated Li in sixth, then handed most of his stack to Speidel a short time later. From that point on, Speidel had the tournament within his grasp and ran over each of his competitors in very quick fashion. Patrick Healy (fifth), Kowssarie (fourth), Mile Krstanoski (third) and finally Kenneth Wong (second) fell to Speidel in short time and one of the biggest events of the year ended with a local at the top offering a huge smile as he sat behind the bricks of cash.

Here's a look at the final table results from the 2012 Aussie Millions:

1. Oliver Speidel (1.6 million AU$)

2. Kenneth Wong (1.0 million AU$)

3. Mile Krstanoski (610,000 AU$)

4. Mohamad Kowssarie (405,000 AU$)

5. Patrick Healy (300,000 AU$)

6. Bjorn Li (230,000 AU$)

7. Yann Dion (170,000 AU$)

Small blinds: The WSOP Circuit main event is underway at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. A strong turnout of 662 entries created a prize pool of $963,210. First place in this event is worth $197,451. … The $3,500 Borgata Poker Open main event began on Sunday. The event offers two starting days. Day 1A featured a field of 243 players. … More from the Borgata: Brock Parker won the $2,150 Bounty event for $76K, Chris Reslock won the HORSE event for $14,045 and Kevin Saul won the $400 bounty event for $25,473. … The Isle Casino Pompano main event began on Saturday with 173 players entering the $2,500 event. … John Dolan, Joe Tehan and Jonathan Little were some of the big winners from the Beau's Million Dollar Heater. This tournament series was previously a WPT-sponsored stop. Dolan won $336,105 as champion of the $5,000 main event. … The next edition of "The Nuts," ESPN.com's poker rankings, comes out this week. Where should we rank Ivey? Weigh in below with your thoughts.

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