Michael Binger took the chip lead into the final table of Event #6 of the Aussie Millions, but it was local low-stakes player Marlon Goonawardne who took home the trophy in the $1,650 Bounty Tournament and the $155,400 first-place prize money. Along the way, he also claimed a $1,000 bounty on the head of Binger, the sole bounty player left when the final table started.
Binger was atop the leader board to begin the day, with the final-table seating assignments and chip stacks as follows:
Seat 1: Ramy Tadros - 162,500
Seat 2: Steve Leonard - 145,000
Seat 3: Jeppe Nielsen - 56,000
Seat 4: Michael Binger - 393,000
Seat 5: Marlon Goonawardne - 322,000
Seat 6: Kim Pearl - 311,000
Seat 7: David Kruger - 236,000
Seat 8: Josh Egan - 225,000
Goonawardne jumped out to a big chip lead after eliminating fellow big stack Kim Pearl on the second hand of the day. Goonawardne raised preflop from the big blind, and called Pearl's reraise from the big blind. Goonawardne checked the flop of , and Pearl moved all in with . Goonawardne made the call with and hit his flush on the turn when the landed. The river didn't help Pearl, and she was eliminated in eighth place ($11,936). It was just three hands later when David Kruger's pocket queens held up against Jeppe Nielsen's to send Nielsen to the rail in seventh ($17,094).
The remaining players jockeyed for position for another hour before the next elimination, but then Goonawardne went on a rush to send two players to the rail in back-to-back hands. In the first, Goonawardne min-raised from early position and found a caller in Josh Egan. Goonawardne led out on the flop and Egan called again. The came on the turn, and Goonawardne check-raised Egan. Egan went all in over the top of Goonawardne, and Goonawardne called and tabled to Egan's . Goonawardne's set of threes held up and Egan collected $23,310 for sixth place. On the very next hand, Goonawardne raised preflop with and was called by Ramy Tadros in the big blind. The flop came down and Tadros check-raised all in. Goonawardne called with top pair, and Tadros revealed for second pair. The turn and river brought no help and Tadros was eliminated in fifth for $31,080.
After a short break and a few more hands, Goonawardne was back to work, this time taking on Kruger. Goonawardne raised preflop and Kruger called with . Both players checked the flop of . Kruger checked the on the turn, and then called Goonawardne's small bet. The river brought the and Kruger made a big bet. Goonawardne raised all in, and Kruger called with his two pair. Goonawardne tabled for the runner-runner straight and Kruger was eliminated. He picked up $41,440 for his fourth-place finish.
A few hands passed before Goonawardne took out his next victim, this time sending Steve Leonard to the rail in third ($51,800). Leonard pushed all in over the top of Goonawardne's preflop raise, and Goonawardne called with . Leonard was dominated with , and a king-high flop left him drawing to running sixes. The on the turn left him drawing dead, and Goonawardne took a huge chip lead into heads-up play.
With nearly 1.5 million chips to Michael Binger's 378,000, Goonawardne was in a good position at the beginning of heads-up play. The experienced Binger was content to play small-ball and work to control the pot size while Goonawardne continued his aggressive play. Heads-up play lasted for nearly an hour before the final confrontation. Binger moved the last of his short stack all in preflop with , and Goonawardne called with . The board ran out , and Binger exited as the runner-up for $88,060. Marlon Goonawardne picked up Binger's $1,000 cash bounty, the trophy for first place, and the $155,400 winner's check.
In his own words, Goonawardne "did this for all the $2-5 donks out there!" Goonawardne is a regular at the Crown Casino, playing in the $2-5 no-limit cash games nearly every day. The local, self-proclaimed 'donk' built a big stack early and rode it to an impressive victory against the much more well-known Binger.