A star-studded field took to the felt at the Crown Casino in Melbourne for Event #7 of the Aussie Millions, $3,000 Pot Limit Omaha with rebuys. Among the famous international players present were Steve Zolotow, Andy Black, Lee Watkinson and Mike Sexton. Watkinson eventually triumphed over an extremely tough final table to claim a win in his first appearance at the 2008 Aussie Millions, collecting the $180,600 winner's prize.
The field was smaller than the earliest Aussie Millions events, but the high star power of the tournament led to some tough tables, including one starting table that included Julian Powell, Mick 'The Hoon' Stanton, Sam Khouiss, Jim Sachinidis and Josh 'JJProdigy' Field. The tournament included unlimited $3,000 rebuys for the first two levels, and one $3,000 add-on at the end of Level Two. By the end of the rebuy/add-on period, the total prize pool had swollen to $516,000.
Nikolaus 'Kaibuxxe' Jedlicka was an early casualty, heading to the rail shortly after the rebuy period at the hands of Eli Elezra. Jedlicka put the last of his chips in on a flop of , and found callers in Elezra and Steve Zolotow. Zolotow and Elezra checked down the turn and river, and the final board read , and Elezra's was good for the jack-high straight and the win. Elezra, though, soon followed Jedlicka to the rail when his rivered nut straight was no good to Leonard Barshack's rivered full house. Other notable eliminations included Jeff Lisandro, Josh 'JJProdigy' Field, Kevin 'BeLOWaBOVe' Saul, Tony G and Graeme Putt. Peter Peeters was the final-table bubble boy when his two pair couldn't hold against Lenny Barshack's rivered trips.
The final table chip stacks and seating assignments were as follows:
Seat 1: Van Marcus - 42,500
Seat 2: Lenny Barshack - 62,900
Seat 3: Max Pescatori - 60,300
Seat 4: Mark Kassis - 99,700
Seat 5: Jamie Pickering - 65,300
Seat 6: Michael 'Sticky' Guttman - 38,200
Seat 7: Lee Watkinson - 35,500
Seat 8: Tom 'durrr' Dwan - 41,600
Seat 9: Mike Sexton - 71,000
Max 'The Italian Pirate' Pescatori was the first casualty of the final table when he got into a big pot with Tom 'durrr' Dwan on a flop of . Action checked around to Dwan, who bet out. Three players folded before Pescatori check-raised. Dwan thought for a moment before declaring his all-in, and Pescatori called with for an overpair, gutshot straight draw and the nut flush draw. Dwan tabled for bottom set. The on the turn provided little help, and the on the river sent Pescatori to the rail in ninth ($10,320).
Jamie Pickering was looking for his second '08 Aussie Millions trophy after winning Event #4 ($1,100 Limit Hold 'Em), but it was not to be. Pickering finished eighth ($15,480) after getting in a big hand with Dwan. The flop came down , and Pickering led out with a bet. Dwan raised, and Pickering went all in over the top. Dwan called instantly with for top set with a nut-flush redraw, but he was trailing Pickering's , which flopped the nut straight. The on the turn gave Dwan the flush, and the river improved his hand again, to a full house. Pickering was eliminated and Dwan took a big chip lead.
Lenny Barshack got all his chips in preflop with against Michael 'Sticky' Guttman's . The flop of gave Guttman a better pair, and the and on the turn and river sent Barshack to the rail in seventh ($20,640). Guttman went out shortly after Barshack when Lee Watkinson pushed all in on a flop of holding . Guttman called with , and Watkinson's trips held up to bust Guttman in sixth place ($30,960).
The pace of the final table slowed to a crawl after Guttman's elimination, with several hours passing before Mark Kassis fired out the last of his chips preflop with . Lee Watkinson called with and turned a full house on a board of to eliminate Kassis in fifth place ($41,280).
Watkinson continued his dominance of the final table when he busted Mike Sexton in fourth place ($51,600) a few minutes later. Watkinson raised preflop with , and Sexton called from the big blind. When the flop came down , Sexton led out and Watkinson raised enough to put the 'Ambassador of Poker' all in. Sexton thought for a moment before making the call, putting the last of his chips in with . Watkinson was ahead with top pair and a straight draw, but Sexton had the nut diamond draw. The turn and river were both sevens, giving Watkinson the full house and sending Sexton to the rail. Van Marcus busted in third place when he flopped two pair on a board while holding . Dwan called his all-in with for the flopped straight, and the turn and river brought no help for Marcus, who was eliminated in third place ($61,920).
With the chip stacks virtually even and plenty of chips relative to the blinds, a lengthy heads-up battle was anticipated between Watkinson and Dwan. Instead, it took less than 15 minutes for all the chips to get into the middle of the table and a winner to be decided, as Watkinson eliminated Dwan in second place ($103,200) to claim the victory. In the last hand, Watkinson raised preflop and Dwan re-raised. Watkinson called and the flop came down . Dwan led out, Watkinson made a pot-sized raise, and Dwan reraised all in. Watkinson called and tabled for the wrap (several straight draws), and Dwan revealed for a set of kings. The on the turn gave Watkinson a flush draw to go with his straight draws, and the gave him the runner-runner flush to take down the AUD $180,600 first prize in his first 2008 Aussie Millions event.