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Event #11: $10,600 Main Event
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Ari Engel and Tony Dunst Headline Aussie Millions Main Event Final Table

donpeters • Level 26: 25,000-50,000, 5,000 ante
Main Event Bracelet

The 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event has reached its final table. Returning on Sunday, Jan. 31, are Ari Engel, Tony Dunst, Samantha Abernathy, Alexander Lynskey, Kitty Kuo, John Apostolidis, and Dylan Honeyman to battle for the Southern Hemisphere's most prestigious poker prize and the life-changing $1.6 million payday that comes with it.

Leading the final seven was Engel after he bagged up 8.155 million in chips, and the remaining competitors are all guaranteed a cool $210,000.

Along with his chip lead, Engel brings a tough poker résumé to the finale that includes career live tournament earnings in excess of $2.24 million. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Engel spends his days traveling the tournament circuit chasing poker glory. He did live in Melbourne for eight years when he was younger, so winning this title would be extra sweet for the player who has plenty of friends and family nearby.

Only six people stand between Engel and the most remarkable win of his career, but those six will provide quite the competition, led by Tony Dunst and his second-place stack of 5.99 million. Like Engel, Dunst spent time living in Australia and will share a similarly heightened feeling of fulfillment should he go on to victory.

The most interesting part of Dunst's run was that it almost never happened. Prior to buying in, Dunst had lost one of the two $5,000 chips that he was going to buy in with. Angered with himself and plenty flustered, the American World Poker Tour host was ready to up and leave Melbourne altogether, but friends talked him back into playing, and now he has reached the final stage in an epic turnaround of fortune.

Along with the stories of Engel and Dunst, we would be remiss if we didn't mention that two women are still alive in the event as well. In the modern era of the Aussie Millions when the event's buy-in was raised to $10,000, only three prior times did a woman reach the final table — Kirsty Gazes in 2007, Annette Obrestad in 2010, and Jay Tan in 2013. Each of them finished in seventh place, which means that with Samantha Abernathy and Kitty Kuo both making the final table, the event is guaranteed its best female finisher ever.

Honeyman, who was one of three Australians to reach the final table, finished with the shortest stack heading into the final table with 885,000 in chips.

With so much at stake in the event, a much deserved day off will allow the players to rest their tensions and focus on what's to come, but that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of exciting poker action filling Crown Poker Room. Remember, the $100,000 Challenge final table will be taking place on Saturday, as Ben Tollerene heads up the pack containing Connor Drinan, Jason Mercier, Fabian Quoss, Sam Greenwood, and Fedor Holz looking to capture the event's $1.446 million top score.

Tags: Alexander LynskeyAnnette ObrestadAri EngelAussie MillionsBen TollereneConnor DrinanDylan HoneymanFabian QuossFedor HolzJason MercierJohn ApostolidisKitty KuoKristy GazesSam GreenwoodSamantha AbernathyTony Dunst