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Aussie Millions 2019: Rainer Kempe Wins A$25,000 Challenge For A$826,465, Indian-Origin Gautam Dhingra Finishes 5th

Rainer Kempe and Gautam Dhingra
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  • Namita Ghosh January 27, 2019
  • 3 Minutes Read

The ongoing 2019 Aussie Millions has crowned another champion with Rainer Kempe (cover image) taking down the $A25,000 Challenge for A$826,465. Kempe bested a field of 151 hopefuls and outran a number of elite players to win the title. He cut a heads-up deal with the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event winner Toby Lewis to claim his first-ever Aussie Millions title, along with the ANTON Championship ring. Lewis banked a hefty A$786,214 for his second place finish.

While the duo pocketed the lion’s share of the A$3,624,000 prize pool, 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event champion Chino Rheem scored a third place finish for A$416,760 as Kempe sent him packing after winning a big flip with ace-queen against Chino’s pocket nines.

“It’s really cool. I was kind of close to winning an Aussie Millions ring in one of my first live deep runs so it’s nice to close this one out, so that’s awesome,” Kempe said, after the event got over. He had missed out on an Aussie Millions title in 2015 where he had finished runner up to Michael Soyza in the Accumulator event.

2019 is already looking very bright for Kempe who recently won two events at the 2019 PCA. He first took down the $50K NLHE ($908,100) and then went on to win the $10,200 NLHE – KO Turbo ($117,280). Now, with an Aussie Millions title under his belt, Kempe`s poker resume boasts of over $19.2 Million in total live earnings.

“I’m going to play the AU$50,000 tomorrow most likely. Then there’s the Main Event. My whole family is here having a delayed Christmas so I might be fine with maybe not making a Main Event deep run, but I’ll try,” Kempe added.

Day 2 began with 29 finalists coming back for one final shot at the title but there was also the money bubble looming. A total of 17 players were to make it in the money, good for at least a min-cash of A$63,420.

Several big names fell out before the bubble including Alex Foxen, Sorel Mizzi, Vojtech Ruzicka and Robert Heidorn.

After Korey Aldemir was eliminated in 19th place, the remaining players were spread across the final three tables with hand-for-hand play initiated. There was several all-ins and both Kempe and Rheem benefitted by doubling up through Guillaume Nolet and Martijn Gerrits respectively.

Kitty Kuo came dangerously close to bubbling the event herself after losing a big pot to Jack Salter that left her with just two big blinds. However Kuo sailed safely past the bubble even as Jack O’Neill and Najeem Ajez, both went out on the money bubble at the same time on two different tables.

It was Kempe who eliminated O’Neill when her aised on the button for 35,000 and O’Neill moved all in from the small blind for 517,000. Kempe called and tabled against O’Neill’s . The rundown eliminated O’Neill.

Even as this hand was playing out, over at another table Jack Salter check-called a bet of 25,000 from Ajez on a flop. The turn was the and Salter checked again while Ajez bet 50,000. Salter check-raised all in cornering Ajez who eventually called for his last 260,000. Ajez tabled for top pair against Salter’s . The on the river improved Salter to a set of sevens and Ajez was relegated to the rail.The duo split the 18th place payout of A$63,420, taking home A$31,710 each.

Some other notables who made it in the money but fell shy of the final table include Martijn Gerrits (10th for A$99,600), Jack Sinclair (13th for A$63,420), Kitty Kuo (14th for A$63,420) and Elliot Smith (15th for A$63,420).

Japanese pro Kazuhiko Yotsushika bubbled the seven-handed final table after losing all his chips to Indian-origin Gautam Dhingra. After losing a big pot to Dhingra, Yotsushikawas down to his last 300,000 while Dhingra was sitting comfortably with over 2 Million in chips. Yotsushika then ran his pocket kings into Gautam Dhingra’s ace-seven. Dhingra flopped a seven-pair and improved to two-pair after an ace appeared on the turn. Yotsushika ended up as the final table bubble, finishing 8thfor A$117,780.

Dhingra came into the final table with a dominating chip lead with 2,250,000 in chips, while Kempe was the second biggest stack with 1,585,000 and Rheem held 880,000.Lewis was running fourth in chips with a stack of 875,000.

Final Table Chip Counts

  1. Gautam Dhingra – 2,250,000
  2. Rainer Kempe – 1,585,000
  3. Chino Rheem – 880,000
  4. Toby Lewis – 875,000
  5. Luke Marsh – 750,000
  6. Guillaume Nolet – 615,000
  7. Jack Salter – 575,000


Final Table Recap

Jack Salter was the shortest on the final table and failed to get much going. Salter open shoved for 248,000 from the button and after Toby Lewis folded his small blind, Luke Marsh called from the big blind.



Salter’s rail shouted as he insisted that “Its always coming seven.” No seven appeared on the flop . The turn was the and the river brought the . Salter was eliminated in seventh place.

Several hands later, Luke Marsh was eliminated in sixth place after he moved his last 55,000 in the pot with against Kempe’s . The flop came and Kempe immediately surged ahead with three-of-a-kind sixes. The on the turn and the on the river blanked out for Marsh.

Gautam Dhingra who had entered the final table as the chip leader then lost a series of crucial pots. Finally, Dhingra put his tournament life at risk when Kempe opened to 60,000 and Dhingra 3-bet all in for 375,000 from the big blind. Kempe folded but Nolet made the call.



The flop gave Dhingra the nut straight. Nolet flopped a set of jacks and got extra flush outs on the turn. The on the river however, ended Dhingra`s dream run in fifth place.

The four-handed play saw the chip lead exchange hands a few times before Guillaume Nolet was sent packing. On his last hand of the tournament, Nolet led out for 90,000 from under the gun and Rheem 3-bet the small blind to 325,000. Nolet moved all in for 965,000 and Rheem called.



The board ran , eliminating Nolet at fourth place.

Three-handed play went on for a while before the reigning PCA Main Event champion Chino Rheem hit the rail. Rheem opened to 175,000 and Kempe 3-bet to 460,000. Rheem 4-bet all in for approximately 1,900,000 and Kempe made the call.



The ace on the flop and the on the turn meant that Rheem needed to hit a nine on the river to stay in the running. The on the river eliminated Rheem in third place.

At the starts of the heads-up play both Toby Lewis and Kempe agreed to a deal based on their chip counts. Kemp, who held 4,240,000 in chips, got A$831,465 and Lewis, who had a stack of 3,260,000, locked in $781,214. With the ANTON Championship ring to battle for, the duo agreed to go all in blind. “Imagine if this is a cooler!” Kempe said, as the cards were tabled.



The board ran and Kempe turned a pair to seal his victory. “Ok, you win,” Kuo said from the rail, “Now we sleep!”

Rainer Kempe
Rainer Kempe – Winner of A$25,000 Challenge

Final Table Results (AUD)

  1. Rainer Kempe – A$826,465*
  2. Toby Lewis – A$786,214*
  3. Chino Rheem – A$416,7604
  4. Guillaume Nolet – A$308,040
  5. Gautam Dhingra -A$217,440
  6. Luke Marsh – A$154,020
  7. Jack Salter – A$117,780

*denotes heads-up deal


Content & Images courtesy: PokerNews/

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