Phil Ivey won a sensational Aussie Millions $250K Challenge, after four different players had held the chip lead at the final table during four-handed play.
The conclusion to the Aussie Millions $250K Challenge had so many twists and turns in it that observers could be forgiven for losing track of who was exactly ahead at any given time and how they got there.
The need for many players to chip up quickly at the start of Day 2 resulted in plenty of questionable betting decisions and bad beat stories, but from it all Phil Ivey emerged victorious to claim the Au$4 million first prize – the second time he has won this huge buy-in event.
Aussie Millions $250K Challenge Day 2 Recap
Eighteen players returned to the Crown Poker Rooms after surviving nine levels of play during Day 1 of the “Challenge”, and they were joined by nine more late entries/re-entries, including Daniel Negreanu who was firing his third bullet in the Au$250,000 buy-in event.
Organisers confirmed that the total number of entries and re-entries amounted to 46 – creating a prize pool of Au$11.26 million, which would be shared among the top six players, with the winner of the 2014 Aussie Millions $250K Challenge taking home Au$4,000,000!
Plenty of Action in Early Levels
The players who had entered or re-entered the tournament at the start of play were each given a starting stack of 250,000 chips; but with blinds already at 10,000/20,000 (ante 2,000), this amounted to just over twelve big blinds and resulted in a lot of early action as players tried to manoeuvre themselves towards the top of the leaderboard.
Justin Bonomo made a blinding start to bust Elton Tsang 2♥ 2♠ > A♥ Q♠, Igor Kurganov found four diamonds to double up against Isaac Haxton K♦ J♠ > Q♣ 10♣, and then Justin Bonomo eliminated Igor Kurganov A♠ A♦ > J♦ 9♦ to take an early chip lead. Tom Dwan was the first player across the 2 million chip threshold when busting out Philipp Gruissem and Richard Yong in successive hands and then Phil Ivey doubled up A♠ A♦ > K♥ Q♥ over Justin Bonomo to go in pursuit of Tom Dwan.
The Questionable Calls Continue
Daniel Negreanu chipped up during the second level of the day when his K♥ K♣ held up against Doug Polk´s K♠ 6♣, and Negreanu later found A♠ A♥ to double up once again – this time against the unfortunate Mike McDonald who had been dealt K♣ K♥. Kid Poker was also lucky when he attempted to steal Tobias Reinkemeier´s Big Blind with K♣ 6♦, and Reinkemeier called his bluff with A♥ 2♣ – the 6♥ sending Reinkemeier to the rail.
Fabian Quoss was also the recipient of some good fortune when rivering a gutshot straight to bust Doug Polk, and Mike McDonald scored a massive double up at the expense of Christoph Vogelsang J♥ J♣ > A♥ K♦ when the a five-club board was dealt – including the A♣ and K♣.
Vogelsang was bust in practically identical circumstances against Tony Bloom, when Bloom shoved with K♣ 8♣ and Vogelsang made the call with Q♣ Q♦. Vogelsang hit the Q♠ on the Turn for a set of Queens, but with two clubs on the flop and one more on the River, Bloom completed his flush and Christoph Vogelsang was bust from the Aussie Millions $250K Challenge just short of the final table.
The Chip Lead Roundabout Starts to Revolve
Phil Ivey continued his pursuit of Tom Dwan up the leaderboard when his A♠ Q♦ was too strong for Justin Bonomo´s A♦ 10♥, and then took the lead by default when Isaac Haxton doubled-up against Dwan K♣ K♦ > 9♦ 9♠. However, Tom Dwan doubled back up A♦ A♥ > K♥ K♣ against Ivey to present the lead back to Haxton. Haxton then bust his Team PokerStars colleague Jason Mercier A♥ Q♥ > 4♦ 4♥ to have a commanding lead as the final nine players congregated around one table.
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Erik Seidel is $250K Challenge Bubble Boy
The final table of the 2014 Aussie Millions $250K Challenge got underway with blinds of 15,000/30,000 and a 4,000 ante. Tony Bloom was bust pretty much straight away when he ran J♣ J♠ into Isaac Haxton´s Q♦ Q♣ and Max Altergott (K♣ 9♦) was eliminated in eighth after hitting top pair on a Nine-high flop, but failing to improve past Tom Dwan´s 10♦ 10♥.
Daniel Negreanu chipped up against Tom Dwan when his 5♠ 5♦ made a straight on the River, Phil Ivey doubled-up A♣ Q♠ > A♠ K♦ against Isaac Haxton and Fabian Quoss made Quad Queens to double up against Tom Dwan, and leave Erik Seidel as the short stack. Seidel eventually got the last of his chips in with J♦ J♣ and was sent to the rail in seventh place when he failed to improve past Fabian Quoss´ K♠ K♣.
Dwan Crippled and Out – Quoss Exit Sparks Another Roundabout
Tom Dwan was the first of the players to leave the final table of the Aussie Millions $250K Challenge in the money after Fabian Quoss had again doubled up through him A♦ K♠ > A♣ Q♣, and Isaac Haxton then caught the K♠ on the flop to eliminate Dwan K♥ J♥ > 8♣ 8♥. Isaac Haxton retained the chip lead until after the dinner break, when Phil Ivey took over at the top following the elimination of Fabian Quoss K♦ Q♥ > 8♠ 8♦.
Mike McDonald then temporarily took the chip lead during four-handed play when hitting a straight against Isaac Haxton, before Haxton doubled back Q♥ 10♥ > A♠ J♠. Never to be outdone, Daniel Negreanu also had a spell at the top of the leaderboard after besting Phil Ivey´s A♣ 9♣ with pocket Fives, before Mike McDonald regained the chip lead with two double-ups against Isaac Haxton K♥ 3♣ > J♦ 3♦ and Q♣ 9♣ > K♠ J♥}.
Negreanu Picks Up a Profit in Fourth – McDonald Finishes Third
The roundabout continued going into Level 18 (blinds 60,000/120,000 – ante 10,000) when Isaac Haxton found A♠ A♦ to double up against Daniel Negreanu (5♦ 5♠}) and Negreanu was soon eliminated in fourth place when his A♦ 2♣ could not improve past Haxton´s A♥ K♥. Negreanu´s fourth-place finish earned him Au$1,250,000 – a profit of Au$500,000 on his three entries.
Mike McDonald´s participation in the tournament came soon after – having laid down a big hand to Phil Ivey´s post-flop pressure, and then shoving all-in with 10♦ 8♠ and getting a call from Isaac Haxton who was holding A♠ K♦. The board ran Six-high, McDonald was eliminated in third place and Isaac Haxton took a 6.15 million -v- 5.35 million chip advantage into the heads-up against Phil Ivey.
Haxton Starts Strongly, but Ivey Pressure Wins the Challenge
The heads-up of the 2014 Aussie Millions $250K Challenge took little more than 90 minutes to conclude. Isaac Haxton started off strongly and built a 3:1 chip lead with plenty of post-flop aggression and victory in the only pot to go to showdown in the first 30 minutes when his Q♥ 4♣ paired on the flop.
Ivey fought back, and doubled-up when his 5♦ 4♥ flopped two pairs and improved to a Full House against Haxton´s Seven-high straight. Ivey then took a massive pot on the board of 8♥ 5♦ 5♠ / K♣ / 6♠ when Haxton bet 2.1 million chips following the River and Ivey moved all-in. Haxton snap-folded and Ivey all of a sudden had a 4:1 chip advantage.
The final hand came soon after Phil Ivey had taken the chip lead. Isaac Haxton moved all-in from the Big Blind with 8♠ 7♦ and Phil Ivey made the call with A♥ 6♣. The flop of A♦ K♥ 9♠ almost sewed up the hand for Ivey, but there could have been a twist in the tail when the 7♠ was dealt on the Turn. Fortunately for Ivey, the River card (3♠) was a brick for both players and Phil Ivey was the 2014 Aussie Millions $250K Challenge Champion.
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