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James Chen Wins Biggest Aussie Millions $25K Ever for AUD$861,840

James Chen

The year couldn't have started any better for James Chen from Taiwan. Coming from a high roller win in the Macau Poker Cup in September of last year, he was heading for Australia with a good feeling and some cash in his pocket. He played the $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. event last week and won it for AUD$39,700 ($29,322). He parlayed that win into a ticket for the $25,000 Challenge and turned it into a straight out win worth a massive AUD$861,840. His name will go into the record books as the winner of the biggest $25,000 poker tournament on Australian soil ever.

PositionPlayerCountryPrize in AUD$Prize in $
1James ChenTaiwanAUD$861,840$648,098
2Brandon AdamsUnited StatesAUD$590,520$444,067
3Antoine SaoutFranceAUD$383,040$288,032
4John JuandaIndonesiaAUD$287,280$216,024
5Ryan D'AngeloUnited StatesAUD$207,480$156,017
6Nick PetrangeloUnited StatesAUD$143,640$108,012


The second day of the $25,000 Challenge of the 2017 Aussie Millions saw 25 players out of 133 entries return to the poker room at Crown Casino. With just 14 players finishing in the money, it promised to be an exciting day. The day lived up to the highest of expectations with plenty of action right from the get-go when the tournament director announced the shuffle up and deal at 2:30 p.m.

Dan Shak, Jason Pritchard and Sam Higgs were just some of the early exits. Another player to head to the rail well before the money stage of the tournament commenced was defending champion Chance Kornuth. He got it in with ace-three against ace-king and did not get any help from the board.

Help sometimes comes from unexpected sources, and for Hall, it was Claas Segebrecht who brought solace.

As familiar high rollers like Stephen Chidwick and Martin Kozlov hit the rail, the bubble got closer and closer. Cate Hall found herself getting short and made several short trips to other tables to see if there were others with just as few chips. Every time, she returned to her seat disappointed as no one was in such dire straits as she was.

But help sometimes comes from unexpected sources, and for Hall it was Claas Segebrecht who brought solace. The German player jammed for 26 big blinds over Antoine Saout's small blind open. Big stack Saout had been active and him raising didn't necessarily mean much of anything, but the Frenchman had kings this time and wasn't laying them down.

Segebrecht had ace-seven and was drawing dead on the turn as Saout hit a king on the flop. The ace on the river only added insult to injury for Segebrecht who was officially the last one to go before the checks were handed out. "Stonecold bubbling 25Ks isn't fun." tweeted Segebrecht whose Twitter handle fittingly is @livetourneysfml.

In the Money

Local favorite Jeff Rossiter was the first to go in the money, busting with ace-king to [B]Nick Petrangelo[/B]'s pocket kings. Rossiter, who announced his retirement from poker a couple of months ago and might be playing his last tournament series here in Melbourne this week, took home the min-cash worth AUD$63,840.

Cate Hall had been patient but ended up on the rail for the same min cash Rossiter had just collected. She got it in with jack-ten against queen-jack and did not make a miraculous escape.

Manig Loeser (12th, AUD$79,800), [B][Removed:17][/B] (11th, AUD$79,800), Rajkumar Ramakrishnan (10th, AUD$95,760), Tomas Jozonis (ninth, AUD$95,760) and Pratyush Buddiga (8th, AUD$119,700) followed in quick succession to get the event down to a final table of seven.

James Chen Wins Biggest Aussie Millions K Ever for AUD1,840 101
John Juanda

Final Table

Ryan D'Angelo pulled a Houdini after getting it in with top pair and top kicker against the set of start of day chip leader James Chen, making runner runner flush. Chen won those chips back when he busted Mustapha Kanit with queens to jack-ten. Kanit, just about the biggest regular on the high roller circuit these days, had to settle for seventh place, worth AUD$119,700.

Co-high roller Petrangelo followed him to the rail just eight minutes later as he rivered a flush and moved in with it. Unfortunately for him, Brandon Adams had rivered a full house with queen-five and Petrangelo went to the payout for his sixth-place money (AUD$143,640).

Five-handed play lasted for quite some time. D'Angelo was chip leader for some time but went out in fifth anyway after some pots didn't go his way. In the end, it was ace-queen against ace-king that did him in. The player known as 'g0lfa' online collected AUD$207,480 for his fifth-place finish.

Poker veteran John Juanda was short and had to go with it when he got ace-eight suited.

John Juanda followed not much later. The poker veteran was short for quite some time and had to go with it when he got ace-eight suited. He got most of his opponents to fold but big blind James Chen had nines and called. A nine on the flop resulted in Juanda drawing dead on the turn and he had to settle for AUD$287,280.

Three-handed play lasted for well over 3.5 hours. The only remarkable hand played in that time period was a double up by Adams who turned a straight and caught Chen bluffing. Other than that double, it was mostly small pots and a lot of hands that saw no turns or rivers.

Antoine Saout would eventually be the next to go as he got short and made a move with ace-nine. Chen was once again the executioner, this time holding ace-king and turning a king. Saout, third in the WSOP Main Event back in 2009, secured third in the $25,000 Challenge for AUD$383,040, the second biggest score of his poker career.

James Chen Wins Biggest Aussie Millions K Ever for AUD1,840 102
Brandon Adams

Heads-Up Play

The heads-up between Adams and Chen lasted another two hours. Adams, whose last two cashes have been in the WSOP Main Event in 2016 and 2015, and Chen, were in the lead multiple times but could never hold it for long. After some 90 minutes of heads-up play, Adams' momentum seemed gone. He started bleeding chips and Chen nibbled on his stack, grinding him down bit by bit.

In the last hand of the tournament, Adams made a move with jack-four suited being down 5-to-1 in chips. Chen called with ace-three and, despite Adams picking up a ton of outs on the flop and turn, the river blanked and Adams had to settle for second place. Adams's deep run was worth AUD$590,520, by far the biggest score of his career.

The Aussie Millions Ring, designed by ANTON Jewellery, and AUD$861,840 went to James Chen. His last three cashes are wins now; let's see if he parlays this win again and signs up for the $100,000 Challenge tomorrow.

Besides the $100,000 Challenge tomorrow, it's also time for the $10,000 Main Event. is on the floor at Crown Casino for live coverage of both events, so be sure to check the live reporting to stay up-to-date on all the poker action from Down Under.

YearEntriesPrize PoolWinnerCountryPrize in AUD$Prize in $
201220AUD$500,000Dominykas KarmazinasLithuaniaAUD$200,000$205,895
201330AUD$723,000Igor KurganovRussiaAUD$275,000$290,317
201465AUD$1,560,000Max AltergottGermanyAUD$241,785*$211,522*
2015104AUD$2,496,000Alexander TrevallionAustraliaAUD$645,150**$521,835**
2016122AUD$2,928,000Chance KornuthUnited StatesAUD$790,560$547,874
2017133AUD$3,192,000James ChenTaiwanAUD$861,840$650,481
* denotes a five-way deal with Dan Smith (second, AUD$278,414), Jason Mercier (third, AUD$265,538), Martin Jacobson (fourth, AUD$285,921) and Scott Seiver (fifth, AUD$265,538)
** denotes a deal with Tobias Reinkemeier (second, AUD$614,850)

James Chen Wins Biggest Aussie Millions K Ever for AUD1,840 103
  • James Chen's last three cashes were wins. The latest was the $25K High Roller @AussieMillions.

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