One hundred and two players signed up for the inaugural $1,100 limit Omaha hi-lo event of the 2009 Aussie Millions. The combination of fixed-limit structure, split pots and a tough field made for a whopping 17-hour tournament. When the last bleary bet was made early in the morning, it was Mel Judah scooping the final pot of the night to take down the AU $30,600 top prize and the gold championship ring. Judah triumphed over a field that included 2008 Aussie Millions Main Event champion Alexander Kostritsyn, Tony G, WSOP Main Event runner-up Ivan Demidov, Sam Khouiss, Jamie Pickering and James Potter, who was going for his third consecutive cash in Melbourne.
The limit format led to a slow start, but before long the bustouts started to flow more quickly. Among the early eliminations were Demidov, Steve Topakas and Kostritsyn. Kostritsyn saw a four-way flop with Van Marcus, Ashish Gupta and Constantine Harach which came down . Marcus bet out on the flop, Gupta got out of the way and Kostritsyn raised all in. Harach folded as Marcus called with for the flopped straight. Kostritsyn showed for two pair. Kostritsyn couldn't pick up the full house as the turn and river ran out to send him to the rail. Other notable eliminations included James Potter, Tony G, Harry Demetriou and Karib Karib. Annette Obrestad registered for the event but never showed up to play. Her orphaned stack busted halfway through the field.
As the night grew late and the blinds grew high, many of the remaining players found their chip stacks in the critical stage. Finally, after many hours of play, Robert Collina busted in tenth place and became the bubble boy. All his money went in on a flop of . Collina had a huge draw with against Danny Mountt's . The board ran out to brick out for Collina as Mountt's pair of kings was good enough to send Collina home one off the final table and the money.
With Collina's elimination, the final table looked like this:
Seat 1: Rainer Quel (132,000)
Seat 2: Danny Mountt (89,000)
Seat 3: Mark Furniss (10,500)
Seat 4: Mel Judah (109,500)
Seat 5: Derek Raymond (37,000)
Seat 6: Michael Guzzardi (12,500)
Seat 7: Jeffrey Duvall (36,000)
Seat 8: Billy Argyros (68,500)
Seat 9: Mick Stanton (12,500)
The chip stacks at the final table were very short in comparison to the blinds, so it didn't take long for the casualties to start to pile up. Mick "the Hoon" Stanton was the first to fall when Danny Mountt called him down on every street to send him packing. The last of Stanton's money went in on the turn with a board that read . Stanton showed for a gutshot straight draw and a 6-5-4-2-A low. Mountt opened nut-nut with for the nut flush and the nut low. The on the river couldn't save Hoon and he was finished in ninth place for $2,550.
Michael Guzzardi spent much of his last few levels nursing a short stack, but he finally busted in eighth place ($3,570) at the hands of Mel Judah. Guzzardi moved all in preflop with . Judah called from the big blind with , and the board ran out to give Judah two pair and send Guzzardi packing.
Mark Furniss took advantage of the split-pot format to chop several hands before finally busting at the hands of Derek Raymond. Raymond raised preflop with , and Furniss called off the last of his chips in the big blind with . Furniss held all low cards, and the board came down , missing him entirely. Raymond's set of tens was good enough to bust Furniss, who collected $4,590 for his seventh-place finish.
Sixth place went to the irrepressible Billy "The Croc" Argyros, who logged his first cash of the 2009 Aussie Millions in Event #3. Argyros moved all in preflop and found action from both Mel Judah and Derek Raymond. Judah folded on the turn as the board read . Raymond tabled for the straight, while Argyros tabled for a club flush draw. When the hit the river, Argyros had to settle for $6,120 in prize money.
As the field shrank, so did the time between eliminations. It took very little time after Argyros' exit for Danny Mountt to bust in fifth place ($8,160). Mountt three-bet preflop from the button and Jeffrey Duvall called to see a flop of . Mountt moved all in with , and Duvall called with . Duvall's flopped straight held up as the turn and river bricked out for Mountt.
A couple of hands later, it was Derek Raymond's turn to make a stand with his last few chips. He moved all in preflop with , and all three remaining opponents called. The three live players checked the flop, and when the board read on the turn Jeffrey Duvall bet out. Judah and Rainier Quel folded, and Duvall showed for the nut flush. Raymond was drawing dead on the turn and picked up $10,170 for his fourth-place finish.
Duvall found himself quartered by Mel Judah almost immediately after busting Raymond, and busted in third place shortly thereafter. All his chips went in on a flop after a bet from Judah. Quel raised, and Judah called to see the hit the turn. Quel bet out again, and again Judah called. The came on the river, and Quel fired once again. Judah folded, leaving the side pot to Quel, who opened for the nut flush. Duvall headed to the rail with $14,280 for his third-place finish.
With the blinds sky-high in relation to the chip stacks, it still took more than two hours for the heads-up match between Mel Judah and Rainier Quel to play out. Quel started off with nearly a 4:1 chip lead, but the experienced Judah came back time and again before finally putting away his opponent in one big hand.
As happens so many times in Omaha, it came down to a game of the nuts. In the final hand, action picked up after a flop. The put a possible straight flush on board, and the fireworks really erupted. Judah led out again on the river, and a pot-committed Quel called with for the second-nut flush. Judah tabled for the nut flush to scoop the pot and cripple Quel. Quel's last few chips went into the pot on the next hand with . Judah called with . The board ran out an anticlimactic to give Judah the full house and send Quel home in second place ($21,420), while Judah collected $30,600 for first place and the Aussie Millions Event #3 championship ring.