The Crown Australia Poker Championships 2006 - the Aussie Millions - has now concluded with an exciting Main Event final table and a deserving eventual winner, the highly consistent New Zealand pro, Lee Nelson. He eventually ground down two young US college kids, Robert Neary and Shannon Shorr (2nd and 4th), and Canadian Nenad Medic (3rd). A more detailed round up of the final was published in UK Poker News yesterday.
From a Pom's point of view, things didn't go quite so swimmingly in the Main Event, as they were collectively taken out by the sharks, albeit three of them managed to get a leg on shore before being dragged under. Those that managed to win back their buy-ins and air fare were Tony "The Lizard" Bloom (the 2004 Aussie Millions winner and regular final table player at this festival year on year), Willie Tann and Harry Demetriou. They finished 43rd, 47th and 41st respectively, taking home A$12,540 each.
However, for Willie Tann, it was not a wasted trip by any means. A gallant runners-up spot in the A$3,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament was enough to earn him a A$73,425 cheque. The winner, Australian Steve Hegyi has regularly cashed at this Aussie Millions festival in recent years.
Tony Bloom also participated in a special invitational A$100,000 Speed Poker Million Dollar Challenge, a winner-takes-all event. The line-up was top-notch, including as it did Phil Ivey, Barry Greenstein, Mike Sexton (World Poker Tour TV commentator, and great player in his own right) and John Juanda (huge money-earner in the States and three times WSOP Bracelet winner), all from the USA. Also lining up with The Lizard were the imposing Lithuanian Tony G, Italian Jeff "Iceman" Lisandro and Aussie players Jason Gray, Ralph Burd and Michael Sampieri (who finished 3rd behind Willie Tann in the A$3,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament). Ultimately, Tony Bloom fell out of the running of this A$1,000,000 Challenge, in 6th place, the eventual winner being John Juanda, for whom it was another day, another million dollars. His bank manager will be happy - even if the dollars are Australian!
In Part I of Poker Poms Down Under, I mentioned the form of Paul King after he had secured 15th place in the A$500 No Limit Hold'em tournament. Not satisfied with this, King subsequently entered the A$1,000 No Limit Hold'em contest and edged into the cash once more, this time taking away A$4,360 for a 16th placed finish. Just above him, Alan Purdy grabbed A$5,450 for his 13th placed finish.
Overall, an "old hand" - Willie Tann - takes the plaudits in the British camp but, like the WSOP and so many other festivals, placing high up the ladder is becoming harder to do with larger fields and more talented young players migrating from the internet and showing their abilities.
Roll on next year's Aussie Millions!
Ed note: Play poker all day at 24h Poker and pick up a free €200.