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The 2019 Aussie Millions kicked off on January 15 with the A$1,150 Opening Event which broke its predecessors record by registering a record-breaking 1,752 entries, making for a massive $1,795,800 prize pool. Touted as the largest A$1K tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, the event ultimately crowned a champion in Muhammad Asad (cover image), who banked an impressive A$219,980 in first-place prize money after striking a three-way deal with runner-up Jason Pritchard (A$285,000) and third-place finisher Matt Edwards (A$195,000).
Last year, the Opening event had attracted 1,538 entrants with Austria’s Benedikt Eberle winning the title for A$315,295. He was back in action to defend the title this year as well, however, he was eliminated well before the final table commenced.
Asad came into the final table with an average stack and eliminated Justin Bernstein on his way to the final showdown against Pritchard. While Pritchard eliminated four players on the final table and locked up the lion’s share of the payouts in the 3-way deal, he eventually fell short of winning the title which was clinched by Asad.
In the post-event interview Asad said, “It hasn’t really sunk in. I focused on taking it one hand at a time, so I haven’t really thought about it too much.”
“Today I was really calm,” he continued. “I felt confident more confident going into today than yesterday. I knew that if I got through Day 2, I knew I’d have a good chance on Day 2. I just played my game and stayed confident. There were some times where I ran really good. You need to run good and it all worked out!”
The starting flight Day 1A was topped by Fedon Phaedonos (169,500) who led 18 survivors to Day 2 of the Opening event.
Day 1B saw 24 runners make the cut with Artur Koren (262,500) taking the top seat on the leaderboard. Indian-origin players Vishal Maini (200,000) and Gautam Dhingra (179,300) were among the 24 hopefuls.
Sean Eichendorf (218,300) was the chip leader of Day 1C, which also saw defending champion Benedikt Eberle (40,100) advance to Day 2 alongside a total of 26 players.
56 participants progressed further from the penultimate starting flight, Day 1D. Mostafa Haidary (179,900) accumulated the biggest stack following 12 levels of play.
An astonishing 138 advanced from the final flight, which was more than the other flights combined. The chip leader from the fifth and final flight was Simon Chahine (184,800), with Francis Artufel (178,400) and Oribe Rivero (168,600) close behind.
At the conclusion of all the five starting flights, the finally tally of entries stood at 1,752 which smashed the $1 Million guarantee of the event, generating a total prize pool of $1,795,800.
262 runners returned for Day 2 with Artur Koren as the overall chip leader. He ended the day on the same note with a stack of 1,978,000.
Day 2 witnessed a total of 250 eliminations bringing the field down to the last 15 players. Notable eliminations in the money included Joshua Abady (45th for A$5,566), Justin Liberto (61st for A$4,669), Sorel Mizzi (83rd for A$4,309), 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event champion Toby Lewis (120th for A$3,591) and Heidi May (165th for A$2,873).
The start-of-day chip leader Artur Koren was one of the first eliminations when his ace-jack was cracked by Didrik Manton‘s pocket sevens. Koren departed in 12th place for A$17,419.
By the time the nine-handed final table was formed, Jason Pritchard had taken over the chip lead with a stack of around 4 Million.
Pritchard extended his chip lead to over 5 Million when he ousted Tou Ta Wei in ninth place.
Next to go was Justin Bernstein. He was knocked out by Muhammad Asad in eighth place.
Finishing in seventh place was Ning Zhang who fell at the hands of Pierce McKellar.
Pritchard who was already in pole position, further increased his stack when his flopped set of sixes busted Kim Macnaught in sixth place.
Down to five-handed play, Pierce McKellar‘s were no match for Pritchard’s and the former was railed in fifth place. Pritchard was on an elimination streak as he next sent Didrik Mantok packing in fourth place.
With the final three players left at the table, they opted to look at the numbers for a possible deal. After much deliberations and discussion, the players agreed on some revised numbers, leaving A$14,908 aside for the winner along with the ANTON Championship Ring. Pritchard took away the biggest chunk at A$285,000, followed by Edwards who locked in A$195,000 and Asad who bagged A$205,000.
The first of the trio to fall was Matt Edwards when he moved all-in with against Asad’s . Though Edwards flopped a pair of eights, Asad rivered a set of deuces to end Edwards run in third place.
Following Edwards elimination, Asad took over the chip lead heading into the heads-up play against Jason Pritchard. On the last hand of the event, Asad shoved all-in with the outs for a flush draw against Pritchard’s top pair and open-ended straight draw. While the turn bricked, the river completed Asad’s flush and he went on to bag the Championship Ring along with the additional A$14,908 that was left in play. His final winnings for the event stood at A$219,908.
1. Muhammad Asad – A$219,908*
2. Jason Pritchard – A$285,000*
3. Matt Edwards – A$195,000*
4. Didrik Mantok – A$93,920
5. Pierce McKellar – A$62,493
6. Kim Macnaught – A$44,535
7. Ning Zhang – A$37,173
8. Justin Bernstein – A$31,785
9. Tou Ta Wei – A$26,398
*denotes a three-way deal
Images & Content courtesy: PokerNews/crownmelbourne.com.au
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