97 players, including a former World Champion, an Oscar-nominated WSOP bracelet winner and a former WPT Player of the Year, took the field in the PokerPro No-Limit Hold 'Em Championship in Event #11 of the 2008 Aussie Millions. This year's field of 97 was not only more than triple the size of last year's contest, but also featured some of the biggest stars in poker, including Joe Hachem, Jennifer Tilly, Gavin Smith, Andy Bloch, Phil Laak and Clonie Gowen. The event was held on the electronic PokerPro™ tables, with physical cards or chips in play.
The pace of the tournament was quick, with more than 60 players eliminated by the dinner break. Among the early eliminations were Clonie Gowen, Phil Laak and Shannon Elizabeth. Gavin Smith went out right before the dinner break when he got the last of his virtual chips in the middle with A-10 and lost to an opponent with A-9. 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem made his 2008 Aussie Millions Debut in this event, and he ran into Michael 'Timex' McDonald in his last hand. Hachem shoved preflop with , and McDonald called with . Hachem missed his flush draw when the board ran out , and he was eliminated in 15th.
Damien Oborne was the bubble boy when he ran his pocket sevens into McDonald's pocket queens. No two-outer would show for Oborne, and he busted in tenth to set the final table. The final-table chip counts and seating assignments were:
Seat 1: Lei He - 18,400
Seat 2: Greg 'DuckU' Hobson - 110,900
Seat 3: Heng Zhang - 42,500
Seat 4: Andrew Demetriou - 26,800
Seat 5: Michael 'Timex' McDonald - 62,000
Seat 6: David Lee - 22,900
Seat 7: Ramy Tadros - 44,600
Seat 8: Nick Binger - 25,200
Seat 9: Martin Cardno - 34,700
Lei He and David Lee went out within moments of each other, both with A-Q. Lei He ran his A-Q into Andrew Demetriou's pocket kings to finish in ninth ($1,940), and Lee also got his chips in behind with A-Q against Martin Cardno's A-K. Lee picked up a queen on the flop, but Cardno rivered a king to send him home in eighth ($2,910). Ramy Tadros eliminated Nick Binger when he won a coin flip with pocket eights against Binger's . Tadros turned a full house on a board of , and the on the river sent Binger to the rail in seventh ($5,820).
Sixth place was decided when Heng Zhang raised preflop and Michael McDonald re-raised with . Zhang made the call with to see a flop of . Zhang pushed all in, and McDonald quickly called. The on the turn sealed Zhang's fate, and he exited with $5,820. Martin Cardno then went on a tear, eliminating three opponents in a matter of moments to set up the heads-up match with McDonald.
First, Cardno got all his chips in with against Greg Hobson's , and hit a queen on the flop to send Hobson home in fifth ($7,760). Immediately after, Cardno took our Andrew Demetriou when his pocket sixes held up against Demetriou's K-10. Demetriou finished in fourth place for $9,700. Then, to end his flurry of eliminations, Cardno took out Ramy Tadros when his held up against Tadros's . Tadros picked up $11,640 for third. The rush left Cardno only a small chip underdog to McDonald, with the heads-up chip stacks as follows:
McDonald - 200,000
Cardno - 188,000
It didn't take these two aggressive players long to get all the chips in the middle, and it happened when Cardno raised preflop with and was re-raised by McDonald. Cardno pushed all in, and McDonald quickly called with . The board ran out , and McDonald's was good to send Cardno to the cage for runner-up money of $19,400. Cardon's exit left McDonald as the survivor of a field of tough pros, winning Event #11 and collecting a $33,950 payday.