A special event on the agenda for the second annual PokerNews Cup at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia was a high-stakes H.O.R.S.E. event on Tuesday evening. Set up to cater to the "deeply bankrolled" players in Melbourne for the upcoming PNC Main Event, this one drew the very best of the players in the region, even if the overall turnout was tiny when compared with lower-buyin events. After a short delay, action began with these six players at the table:
Seat 1: James "Andy McLEOD" Obst
Seat 2: Joe Hachem
Seat 3: Mark Vos
Seat 4: Billy "The Croc" Argyros
Seat 5: Van Marcus
Seat 6: Tony "G" Guoga
The unknown factor at the table was Obst, a talented 18-year-old who took up poker at a young age – too young, in fact, by Internet standards. Obst was once banned from online sites when his real age at the time (16) was unearthed, to be allowed back on when he recently reached the proper minimum age of 18, where he quickly resumed his dominance in some of the biggest events around. The other five players are well known, each a veteran star of the game. Obst would hold his own in this event, despite the fearsome competition, though he did not cash.
The major early pots in this one went against Joe Hachem, the 2005 WSOP Main Event champion. First Tony G scooped a largish pot in stud hi/lo by showing three deuces in a hand where neither player made a low, and then Billy Argyros and James Obst split a pot where Hachem started out with a four-card seven but bricked out on the final three streets. Hachem became the first to fall after the game rotated back around to stud hi-only. Hachem was all in early behind an up-card ace, but mustered only a pair of deuces while Mark Vos built a full house, tens over kings.
Obst, the online wunderkind, was the second player to be crippled in a three-way stud hi/lo pot. Obst had the bring-in with the , and it was quickly four-bet as Vos (with the showing) and Argyros (with the ) joined the fray. It was capped again on fourth street with Obst and Argyros driving the action, and after single bets and calls on fifth and sixth, the players' boards were as follows:
Following a seventh-street bet from Argyros and calls from the other two players, "The Croc" opened for an 8-5-3-2-A low and a modest pair of aces for high, but that was good for the scoop as Obst bricked out while trying for the low and had only a pair of tens for the high, and Vos showed a worse 8-7-6-5-3 low. Obst exited soon after after failing to fill another low against Tony G, whose small two pair ensured Obst's exit.
That hand crippled Mark Vos as well, and after a series of forced bring-ins and folds during the stud rotations, he would exit in fourth. Vos doubled up once during an Omaha hi/lo hand but was dismissed by Tony G later in the same rotation. The chips went in after a , low-friendly flop, and Vos showed to Tony G's . Vos's trip sixes needed more help, but when the board completed with the and Tony G's nut low and wheel straight claimed both halves of the pot.
At this point, the final three players – Tony G, Argyros and Van Marcus — decided on a friendly chip-count chop for the remaining prize money. With the deepest chip stack at the time of the chop, Tony G was the "official" winner of the event.