The 2014 Aussie Millions AUD$100,000 Challenge was a tournament to remember. From high stakes action and record-breaking entries to epic comebacks and turnarounds, the event had it all.
After a monster first day with 66 entries including half-million dollar investments by Daniel Negreanu and Isaac Haxton (both players rebought five times yesterday), the second and final day started with 10 more entries that set a new tournament record of 76 total buy-ins and a prize pool of AUD$7,486,000.
Haxton tried his luck one more time but lost a flip against Patrik Antonius to start the action. Soon after that, other big names busted out of the tournament, including Scott Seiver, Gus Hansen, Viktor Blom and Justin Bonomo.
The Germans who dominate the high roller scene ran out of luck in Melbourne and not even one managed to survive to make the final table. Tobias Reinkemeier and Marvin Rettenmaier were the first eliminated, while Ole Schemion, Phillipp Gruissem and Fabian Quoss soon followed them. Quoss was the unfortunate final table bubble boy, losing with his pocket tens against Doug “WGCRider” Polk’s big slick.
The story of the day, however, was all about the Canadian Mike “Timex” McDonald. He started the second day as the chip leader and after losing two big pots to Negreanu and Quoss, he was near annihilation. He had only two big blinds left, but a series of all-ins put him right back in the race for winning the challenge. When the final table started, McDonald was third in chips and ready for revenge.
He eliminated Negreanu in a battle of all-ins preflop. This time, “KidPoker” was the one with two big blinds and had to make a move with his Ace-Ten. McDonald isolated him with Ace-Queen suited and won the pot, busting Negreanu in sixth place.
“Timex” marched on and set eyes on his next victim: Patrik Antonius. The Finnish pro made an uninspired bluff on a 6-5-2 flop and McDonald called with his pocket sevens. Nothing changed on the turn and river and Antonius had to settle with fifth place and a AUD$700,000 prize.
Although he started the final table as the chip leader, Polk was eliminated in fourth place, winning AUD$860,000. He three-bet all-in with Ace-Ten only to get called by Erik Seidel, who held pocket queens.
Seidel was the next player to bust out, this time at the hands of Yevgeniy Timoshenko. Seidel lost a major flip against the Ukrainian although he was a big favorite after the flop. The American flopped two pair but the turn gave Timoshenko a miraculous set that helped him fill the gap in chips between him and McDonald. Seidel left the table as a millionaire; he won AUD$1,076,000.
The heads-up play lasted around an hour and a half. The pot that decided the champ was played during level 22. Timoshenko open-raised and also called a three-bet from the button to see the 9-2-5 with two spades flop. He check/called the flop and did the same thing on an Ace of spades turn. On the river, McDonald bet all-in and the Ukrainian quickly called with his flush. The Canadian had only top pair good kicker and was severely crippled. He didn’t have the same amount of luck when he started shoving again: he was called by King-Queen and his Ten-Seven suited didn’t catch anything post-flop. McDonald finished second and won AUD$1,500,000. Timoshenko cashed in an impressive AUD$2,000,000.
Congratulations to the Ukrainian on the second-best performance of his poker career. He was very close to beating his single tournament prize record of $2,149,960 won in 2009 at the Five-Star World Poker Classic.