Aussie Millions; Main Event sets new record of 800 players; Ben Lamb wins the 25K Challenge

The Aussie Millions is rockin’ Down Under with the country’s biggest poker festival currently underway. The top story is the record-breaking turnout of the AU$10,600 Main Event with 800 players at the scene. Also in the up was Ben Lamb winning a title on his first visit.

Unfortunately it wasn’t all up and up at the festival. Some events saw a downturn in numbers with the 50K Challenge event drawing some heat. Below is an update of the biggest events of the ongoing festival.  

Record breaking Main Event

Aussie Millions - Photo Crown Poker
Aussie Millions – Photo Crown Poker

Up this year is the AU$10,600 Main Event with a record-breaking 800 entries. The previous record was set in 2008 with 780 players. This year’s huge turnout is nothing short of impressive given that online poker has been banned in Australia. Early last year, organizers worked hard promoting this event, offering satellites to generate these numbers. During the opening ceremony of the Main Event, Tournament Director Joel Williams stated,

“It’s an enormous satellite campaign, and particular thanks goes to our locals for their continued support. We’re on track this year to generate 400 satellites. We never thought it would be reached, and it’s a number not matched around the world. I’m sure all our international players appreciate how many locals win their way into the Main Event.”

To enter the Main Event, players could enter any of the three starting days or as late as the first level of Day 2. German prodigy, Fedor Holz, was one of those players that jumped in during the final hour. When registration closed with 800 strong, Williams announced,

“In this current poker landscape, in a country that has just had online poker banned, to reach 800 entries in a $10,000 freezeout is absolutely phenomenal.”

Although attendance was up and the prize pool at an eye-popping AU$8,000,000, there were downs with several reputable players railed early in the game. One of those was defending champion Shurane Vijayaram. Last year, Vijayaram made one of the best calls ever seen in poker history thus turning his AU$130 satellite ticket to AU$1.6 million. There won’t be a repeat performance this year as he was eliminated prior to reaching Day 2. Other pros in the list include Mustapha Kanit, Ben Lamb, Michael Addamo, Felipe Ramos, Hui- Chen “Kitty” Kuo, and Christopher Michael Soyza.

Day 2 action is currently underway. While they are still far from crowning a champion, the payouts have been posted. 88 players will see a profit with the eventual winner shipping in AU$1,800,000 big ones.

USA’s Ben Lamb wins the AU$25K Challenge

Ben lamb - Photo Crown poker
Ben lamb – Photo Crown poker

Upping his total live earnings another six-figures was USA’s Ben Lamb who topped the 114 entry field of the AU$25K Challenge. This was Lamb’s first title outside of his home country and impressively his first visit to the Aussie Milions.

After the elimination of Singapore’s highest ranked player, Wayne Yap in 3rd place, Lamb and eventual runner-up Jan-Eric Schwippert struck an ICM deal. With Lamb slightly ahead in chips he had the higher cut. They flipped blind for the title. Lamb scored AU$647,114 and now nears US$9M in total live earnings.

On the not-so downside, Italy’s Mustapha Kanit missed the official final table again this year, finishing in 7th place for the second year in a row. Taiwan’s Hui-Chen “Kitty” Kuo who brought over a very large stack into Day 2 missed her bid for a title, finishing in 4th place. And lastly, this year’s numbers were slightly lower than last year’s 133 turnout.

Final Table payouts
1st Ben Lamb – USA – AU$647,114 (deal made)
2nd Jan-Eric Schwippert – Germany – AU$597,765
3rd Wayne Yap – Singapore – AU$328,320
4th Hui-Chen “Kitty” Kuo – AU$246,240
5th Jack Salter – England – AU$178,740
6th Roger Teska – Italy – AU$123,120

AU$50K Challenge high roller event attracts only 4 players

Not much good can be said about the turnout of the Anton Jewelry AU$50K Challenge high roller event that attracted only 4 players. Last year, this event had its inaugural moment at the Aussie Millions and only saw 6 players sign up. With two less now, the event finished in just six hours. Canadian high roller Sam Greenwood defeated Jan-Eric Schwippert to earn the AU$116,400 first prize. As for Schwippert, this was his second runner-up berth at the ongoing festival. He earned AU$77,600.

 After his victory, Greenwood took to Twitter to air his disappointment at Team Germany (though no names addressed specifically) for opting out of playing the event but “hung around in the tourney room like vultures waiting for worse recs to join the tourney. It’s predatory and cowardly.”

Many joined in on the thread including Germans Koray Aldemir and Steffen Sontheimer extending their thoughts on the accusation.

Up next in the High Roller bracket is the 100K Challenge on February 4 – 5, the last two days of the festival.

Article by Triccia David


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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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