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Broke? Phil Ivey Wins $4 Million in the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge

Last month, the poker community was buzzing with rumors of Phil Ivey hitting rock bottom. Dan Bilzerian started the whole thing by stating in a Card Player interview that “Phil Ivey just went broke.” One month after the comment, Ivey returned to the poker felt in style by winning AUD$4,000,000 in the Aussie Millions LK Boutique Challenge. Ivey is also planning to conquer South Africa in four days by participating in the exclusive high roller event at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Alpha8 in Johannesburg.

As opposed to Daniel Negreanu and Isaac Haxton, the winner needed only one shot to make it happen. Ivey invested only AUD$250,000 in the last event in Melbourne. Negreanu and Haxton, on the other hand, had to rebuy. The two Team PokerStars Pros raised the bar higher than ever by investing over $2 million combined at Aussie Millions events in the last four days. Their decisions eventually turned out for the best, both of them showing positive ROIs after the major nosebleeds challenges.

Like two days ago, history was once again rewritten. The 2014 Aussie Million AUD$250,000 Challenge had 46 entries, 26 more than the previous record established in 2011. The total prize pool passed the AUD$10 million mark, leaving no less than AUD$4 million for the winner.

Because of the 40-minute level, the tournament seemed like a turbo shallow online Sit’N’Go at times. After an action-packed first day with big names hitting the rail, the decisive day started off strong and only eight of the 31 registered players managed to qualify for the final table. But being in the spotlight didn’t guarantee anybody a place in the money. In fact, only six of the eight final tablists left the event with a cash prize.

The unlucky bubble boys were Max Altergott and Erik Seidel. After a great score in the AUD$100,000 Challenge, Seidel got unlucky and finished seventh, although he had a premium hand going all-in: pocket Jacks. However, Fabian Quoss had an even better one – pocket Kings – to burst the money bubble.

After that, it was all about who gets the big AUD$4 million prize. Tom Dwan was the first to fail on that mission, losing a flip against Haxton – pocket eights versus King-Jack. Quoss had the same unlucky snowmen in a pre-flop battle against Ivey, who held King-Queen. The future winner eventually spiked a King on the river and sent the German home with AUD$800,000.

Negreanu had some ups and downs going from chip leader to bust in just one hour. He raised all-in from the small blind with Ace-Two but was severely dominated by Ivey’s big slick. The 10-6-2 flop turned the odds upside down, but yet again the American hit a lucky King river.

Third place was sealed by another Canadian who started the New Year on fire. Mike “Timex” McDonald tried some late heroics being super-short and coming back on top just like in the AUD$100,000 Challenge. He took down yet another million-dollar-plus cash prize, his third in 2014. McDonald has won $4,322,895 in 2014 for a total of almost $10 million in tournament winnings.

After McDonald’s departure, Isaac Haxton and Phil Ivey were the only ones left battling for the big prize. The heads-up play lasted three hours and boiled down to one huge pot that left Haxton with around 17 big blinds. Ivey started the action open-raising over 2x. Haxton called and both players checked on an 8-5-5 rainbow flop. Haxton fired on a King turn and tried another bullet on the river. Ivey hesitated and raised all-in, just to see his opponent snap-fold.

On the final hand of the tournament and Aussie Millions festival, Haxton moved all-in with Eight-Seven and was called by Ivey’s Ace-Six. The Ace high flop sealed the deal and the winner.

Here are the final payouts:

  1. Phil Ivey (USA) – AUD$4,000,000
  2. Isaac Haxton (USA) – AUD$2,820,000
  3. Mike McDonald (CAN) – AUD$1,900,000
  4. Daniel Negreanu (CAN) – AUD$1,250,000
  5. Fabian Quoss (GER) – AUD$800,000
  6. Tom Dwan (USA) – AUD$500,000

Congratulations to Phil Ivey, who won the Aussie Millions AUD$250,000 Challenge for the second time in his career. He also came out on top in 2012. This win helped him reach the $20 million mark in tournament winnings and if we also take into consideration the $16 million won online, then we can assume that the American is far from being broke.

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Florian Gheorghe