The PokerNews Live Reporting Team is in Melbourne, Australia this weekend to live report both the AU$10,000 Main Event and AU$100,000 Challenge – both of which are happening now – and it just so happened those events were ushered in by the AU$25,000 Challenge, a tournament that blew away expectations by attracting 104 entrants and created a prize pool of AU$2,496,000.
The tournament, which saw a 60% increase over 2014's 65 entries, saw 11 players take advantage of late registration and join the fray at the start of Day 2, which included both Phil Ivey and Patrik Antonius. Unfortunately for them, neither of those players managed to make the money at the top nine. Eventually Australian local Alex Trevallion emerged victorious to capture the title and AU$645,150 first-place prize. Here's who earned a payday:
$25,000 Challenge Results
Trevallion made the final table as chip leader thanks to a double elimination with just 12 players left, sending Jason Les and Erik Seidel home in the same hand. Not long after, Alex Lynskey got his chips in with the and was racing against the of Stephen Chidwick. Lynskey managed to find a jack on the flop, but it was no good as Chidwick found a third five. Neither the turn nor river helped Lynskey, and he was eliminated as the bubble boy in 10th place, which guaranteed the remaining nine players a minimum payday of AU$75,000.
According to Poker Asia Pacific, Connor Drinan was the first in-the-money elimination. It happened in Level 16 (6,000/12,000/1,000) when Drinan raised to 26,000 from the button only to have Chidwick three-bet to approximately 90,000 from the big blind. Drinan hit the tank before moving all in, and Chidwick snap-called.
Drinan picked the wrong spot, and he paid for it after the board ran out a dry . Drinan fell in ninth place while Chidwick took over the chip lead.
After the eliminations of Rahul Byrraju and Raiden Kan in eighth and seventh place respectively, Steve O'Dwyer, who was fresh off his PCA $100,000 Super High Roller win, followed them out the door in sixth after he got his short stack all in preflop holding the and ran smack dab into the of Thomas Muehloecker. The flop gave O'Dwyer a pair of tens, and the turn provided him an open-ended straight draw. However, the blanked on the river and O'Dwyer had to settle for sixth place and AU$156,000.
After the dinner, Muehloecker bowed out in fifth after he shoved all in for 456,000 from the small blind after Trevallion had opened for 45,000 under the gun. A call was made and Muehloecker discovered the bad news.
Muehloecker was in desperate need of a deuce, but it wasn't in the cards as the board ran out a clean .
Four-handed play lasted awhile, but with the blinds up to 20,000/40,000/5,000, Chidwick fell after his failed to improve against the of Tobias Reinkemeier. Not long after, Pratyush Buddiga fell after committing his last 550,000 with the and going up against the of Trevallion. The board ran out and that was all she wrote for Buddiga, who took home AU$335,000 for his third-place finish.
Trevallion and Reinkemeier began heads-up play essentially even in chips, so they opted to strike a deal in which the former locked up AU$605,150, the latter AU$614,850, and left AU$40,000 on the table to go along with the gold championship ring.
Despite being so close in chips, the two would find themselves all in shortly thereafter courtesy of a big hand. It happened when Reinkemeier raised the button and Trevallion called to see a flop of . Trevallion check-called a bet of 125,000 and then checked the turn. Reinkemeier bet 250,000, Trevallion check-raised to 675,000, and Reinkemeier called to see the river.
Trevallion bet 1.5 million, which was the exact amount Reinkemeier had remaining. The German snap-called off with the for a turned straight, but much to his surprise it was no good as Trevallion had rivered a bigger straight with the . Reinkemeier had to settled for runner-up status, while Trevallion, a noted online cash game player, became the 2015 Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge champ.
If the AU$25,000 Challenge was any indication, the big buy-in events are primed to attract big numbers. Be sure to visit our Live Reporting Section to for updates on the AUD$10,000 Main Event from Sun. Jan. 15 through Sun. Feb. 1; $100,000 Challenge from Sun. Jan 25 through Sat. Jan. 31; and $250,000 Challenge from Sun. Feb. 1 through Mon. Feb. 2.