Australia's Stewart Scott survived a 680-player tournament loaded with top tournament pros, internet qualifiers, world champions and more to take down the Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event title and its AUD $2 million top prize on Saturday. Scott answered former world champion and fellow Aussie Joe Hachem's Day 1 challenge for an Australian player to bring home the championship in style, claiming the chip lead at the end of Day 4 and holding it throughout the final table to collect the champion's custom bracelet.
The chip stacks looked like this when the final table began:
Seat 1: Zach Gruneberg - 1,355,000
Seat 2: Barny Boatman - 349,000
Seat 3: Elliot Smith - 1,120,000
Seat 4: Richard Ashby - 658,000
Seat 5: Stewart Scott - 4,520,000
Seat 6: Peter Rho - 2,420,000
Seat 7: Rajkumar Ramakrishnan - 2,050,000
Seat 8: Sam Capra - 1,161,000
Barny Boatman came into the table as the short stack, and the Hendon Mobster worked his few chips methodically until his finally fell in eighth place (AUD $100,000). Boatman moved all in from under the gun with , and Zach Gruneberg called from the big blind with . The flop brought little help when it came down . Boatman picked up outs to chop when the hit the turn, but the on the river was no help, and Boatman exited in eighth.
Richard Ashby's seventh-place elimination ($150,000) ended any chance of the title heading off to merry old England. Just moments after Boatman headed to the rail, Ashby moved all in over the top of a raise from Rajkumar Ramakrishnan and found action from not only Ramakrishnan, but Elliot Smith as well. The live players checked down the board of . Smith showed an unimproved A-Q, and Ramakrishnan tabled an unimproved . It was good enough for the pot as Ashby also showed an unimproved A-Q and headed off to the pay window.
Zach Gruneberg started off the Main Event freerolling in the truest sense of the word. After winning a freeroll on Cake Poker for his Main Event entry, Gruneberg notched a win in Event #4 for $35,000. The young American busted in sixth place here to Rajkumar Ramakrishnan, adding $210,000 to his successful journey down under. In his final hand, Gruneberg raised preflop with , and Ramakrishnan called from the big blind. The flop came down , and Gruneberg led out. Ramakrishnan called again and the came on the turn. Gruneberg moved all in with his two pair, and Ramakrishnan snap-called with for flopped quads. Gruneberg was drawing dead, and when the meaningless came on the river, his tournament was over.
Sam Capra was another player who got into the Main Event on the cheap, winning a $330 live satellite for his seat. He returned his investment nearly a thousandfold when he picked up $300,000 for finishing in fifth place. With pocket tens under the gun, Capra open-shoved preflop. Peter Rho called from the small blind, and Capra was drawing very slim when Rho showed . The board left matters unchanged, and Capra was eliminated.
Four-handed play turned into an endurance contest as the remaining players jockeyed for position and took down as many unchallenged pots as they could. Nearly half of the final table, by hand count, elapsed between Capra's elimination in fifth place and Rajkumar Ramakrishnan's fourth-place bustout. Ramakrishnan limped from under the gun, then three-bet Peter Rho preflop. Rho moved all in over the top, Ramakrishnan snap-called, and Rho saw the ultimate cooler – he had run his into Ramakrishnan's , without even the possibility of a four-flush to win. As it turned out, Rho didn't need the four-flush, as he made a set on the flop, and when the turn and river blanked out () Ramakrishnan departed to collect his $400,000.
The three survivors returned to their locked-down play after Ramakrishnan's elimination, with another 70 hands passing before Elliot Smith fell in third place ($700,000), the victim of another miracle card. Smith limped in from the small blind and quickly called when Stewart Scott moved all in from the big blind. Smith's dominated Scott's , and the was no help for either player. The on the turn gave Scott a huge advantage. Smith still had outs to win or chop, but the on the river was no help and heads-up play began.
Stewart Scott held a huge chip lead and the weight of an entire nation on his back going into heads-up play. The duel began with these chip counts as the Aussie tried to keep the trophy on the home continent:
Stewart Scott - 10.7 million
Peter Rho - 2.9 million
With the chip stacks so disparate, it didn't take long for all the chips to get in the middle, and Scott finished Rho off in second place ($1,000,000) in dramatic fashion. Scott raised from the button, and Rho went into the tank before moving all in over the top. Scott snap-called and tabled , a huge favorite against Rho's . The flop came down , and Rho needed runner-runner to survive. The on the turn left him drawing dead, and he could only watch as the superfluous fell on the river. Stewart Scott took down the $2,000,000 top prize, the Main Event championship bracelet, and a heaping helping of national pride as he became the first Australian player in recent memory to win the Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event.