The final seven included two women, three Aussies, and a pair of online regulars from the peak of the online poker boom in the late 00s. Only one of them emerged the newest Aussie Millions champion.
Ari 'BoDogAri' Engel bested Tony 'Bond18' Dunst heads-up for the Aussie Millions Main Event title and $1.6 million in Aussie bucks (that's $1.13 million Benjamins).
Samantha Abernathy and Kitty Kuo were trying to make history by becoming the first female Main Event champ, but they fell short of the mark when Kuo busted in sixth place and Abernathy went out in third.
The final seven didn't waste any time before someone hit the rail. Local hero John Apostolidis busted on the third hand with Big Slick losing to Samantha Abernathy's pocket Queens. Down to six and down to two Aussies.
By the 20th hand, Engel surged to over 10M or more than 50% of the chips in play. He slipped back under 50% the next orbit, but he and Tony Dunst combined held more than 75% of the chips in play.
By the 30th hand, short-stacked Kitty Kuo went out in sixth place. She made a final stand with A-J but lost to Engel's pocket nines.
Tony Dunst took out Dylan Honeyman on the 34th hand. Dylan had flopped a set with pocket Jacks, but Dunst rivered a Broadway straight to win the pot and picked off Honeyman in fifth place. Dunst snagged the lead.
With four to go, there was only one Aussie left, but Alex Lynskey was the short stack.
By the 75th hand, Lynskey tried to double up with Ah-7h, but got ambushed by Engel's A-A. Lynskey was the last Aussie standing, but he was dunzo in fourth place.
With three to go, Engel was back in front of Dunst (10M to 9M) and Samantha Abernathy was the short stack (less than 3M).
Abernathy busted in third place, which marked the highest-ever finish for a female at the Aussie Millions Main Event.
When heads-up began, Dunst led 10.9M to 9.2M. 600K in Aussie bucks separate first and second place prize money.
The final two slugged it out and swapped the lead several times. Back and forth. Forth and back.
About 20 hands in, Engel regained the lead.
Around 30 hands into heads-up, Dunst snatched it right back, only to lose it again. Engel won a key pot when he turned a set of Queens and opened up a 14M to 8M lead. And that lead was short-lived because Dunst quickly made up the ground.
After 50 hands, they were dead even.
After a break, Engel started to pull away. By the time heads-up hit 75 hands, Engel had opened up a 2-1 edge (15M to 7M). Guess what? Dunst rallied back once again and pulled ahead by the time the two went on a dinner break.
Dunst took home $1M AUD for a sensational second-place finish.
And Ari Engel shipped the Main Event for $1.6M AUD, which is his largest single cash to date.
2016 AUSSIE MILLIONS - MAIN EVENT
Main Event Final Table Results:
1. Ari Engel (Canada) $1,600,000 AUD
2. Tony Dunst (USA) $1,000,000
3. Samantha Abernathy (USA) $625,000
4. Alexander Lynskey (Australia) $445,000
5. Dylan Honeyman (Australia) $340,000
6. Kitty Kuo (Taiwan) $270,000
7. John Apostolidis (Australia) $210,000
Buy-in: $10,600 AUD
Prize Pool: $7,320,000
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