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Espen Solaas Wins the Aussie Millions $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha

Espen Solaas
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  • The chip lead changed hands multiple times, but Norway's Espen Solaas would walk away the winner.

On the last day of the 2017 Aussie Millions, Crown Casino Melbourne was still buzzing with poker players. The chip riffling must have been heard from across the Yara River with cash games and multiple tournaments still running.

The closing party, called the AUD$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha, attracted a field of 65 entries, with a lot of them being reentries from players that busted early and used their single reentry option to give it another go.

After 14 hours of play, Espen Solaas from Norway came out as the victor, beating Dzmitry Urbanovich and title defender Daniel Demicki on the final table. Solaas walked away with AUD$100,815.

PositionPlayerCountryPrize
1Espen SolaasNorwayAUD$100,815
2Raj RamakrishnanAustraliaAUD$64,155
3Dzmitry UrbanovichPolandAUD$42,770
4Jonathan AbdellatifBelgiumAUD$33,605
5Allan DabbajhAustraliaAUD$24,440
6Thomas LevineUnited KingdomAUD$21,385
7Daniel DemickiPolandAUD$18,330
Dzmitry Urbanovich
Dzmitry Urbanovich

The $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event had a shot clock of just 20 seconds. Time breaker chips, like the high rollers had earlier this Aussie Millions, were nowhere to be seen. Every hand was quick; no one had time to ponder deep about decisions. Twenty seconds and not a second more was what the player had to do with.

Many of the regulars entered late. Bryn Kenney, Jeff Rossiter and Joni Jouhkimainen were just some of the names entering as the closing of registration neared. All four them busted well before the seven-handed, in-the-money table was even close to being formed.

Phil Laak, who had sat down the moment the tournament had started, came closer but eventually had to surrender his chips with double suited kings to Urbanovich's single suited aces.

There would be no real bubble excitement as two players departed in the same hand to go from nine to seven. Jarrad Godema and Gary Benson both lost to Raj Ramakrishnan. The latter, who had been leading until that point, was lucky enough to hit a nine on the river to crush both Godema's and Benson's hands.

With the bubble out of the way, usually a lot of players bust in quick succession. That wasn't the case here as everyone had plenty of chips for some post-flop action. Still, play was relatively tight with many hands not even seeing a turn. Urbanovich picked up a lot of hands and won just about all of them. He soon build a stack worth 400,000 in chips, more than double that of even his closest competitor.

The first in the money player to go was Daniel Demicki. The Polish player, who won this event last year for AUD$98,980, fell victim to Urbanovich. The latter made two pair with a double suited ace-queen-jack-five to crack Demicki's double suited kings.

Six-handed play lasted for an hour before Thomas Levine hit the rail. He got it in with top two against the wrap of Ramakrishnan and the latter hit on the river to send the Brit home.

Dzmitry Urbanovich had been the chip leader for most of the final table but three-handed, his lead started to crumble.


Allan Dabbajh eventually had to bow out in fifth place. He was the victim of a set-over-set situation where his set of sevens looked bleak against the set of nines of Solaas. Not enough help on the turn and river and Dabbajh went on to collect AUD$24,440 for fifth place.

Not much later, Jonathan Abdellatif would suffer the same fate. He got it in with a set against the over pair of Solaas, but the latter rivered a queen to make the bigger set and send his Belgian opponent to the rail.

Urbanovich had been the chip leader for most of the final table, but three-handed, his lead started to crumble. He lost more and more pots, especially to Ramakrishnan who was playing Omaha for the first time but was hitting like no other.

After multiple levels of play, Ramakrishnan had both of his opponents well covered and would soon eliminate the former chip leader Urbanovich. Ramakrishnan limp-reraised and then bet pot on a flop with two hearts. Urbanovich went with his flush draw and turned out to be up against a bare top pair. Urbanovich failed to hit on the turn or river and went to the cashier to collect his AUD$42,770 for his third-place prize.

The chip lead changed hands multiple times in the several-hour-long heads-up but in the end it was Espen Solaas from Norway who walked away a winner. The two players got it in, both holding kings but thanks to hitting both his other two cards, Solaas was awarded the Aussie Millions ring and AUD$100,815 first-place prize.

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