It was a long and grueling final day to the 2019 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North America CA$10,300 Main Event but a winner has finally been crowned. It took over 14 hours from start to finish but Francois Billard outlasted a 521-entry field to claim the title and the first-place prize of CA$961,400.
After making a three-way deal with Kevin Rabichow and Joni Jouhkimainen, Billard eliminated both of his final opponents for his first major title in his hometown at Playground Poker Club. Billard carried a massive lead into heads-up play but Rabichow hung tough on the short stack and nearly brought it back to even. However, just as Rabichow got a sniff of the lead, Billard was able to close things out.
Billard quickly took over a massive chip lead at the beginning of the day and he was clearly the most aggressive player since having the majority of the chips. "Maybe I pushed the action a little too much at times so I don't know if it was the right strategy but it worked out in the end."
In the last hand of the night, Billard turned two pair against Rabichow's pair and open-ended straight draw. All of the chips got in the middle on the turn and Rabichow bricked the river. The noise in the room was the loudest all night as the French-Canadian supporters broke out in cheers. "I'm a little bit exhausted but excited as well. All my friends are here so I'm excited to go have a small drink at wherever is open right now."
It will be Billard's largest career cash to date as he closes in on the $3 million lifetime mark. When asked if he has any plans with the money, Billard was hoping for a little vacation. "A beach house maybe, I don't know. Where are we going?!" he shouted to his rail.
Final Table Results
|2nd||Kevin Rabichow||United States||$578,990||$430,848|
|7th||Ben Heath||United Kingdom||$200,000||$148,828|
Only six players returned to the felt for the final day of competition but with so many blinds in play and 90-minute levels, it was a bound to be a war of nutrition. Danick Landriault began the day as the short stack and he was looking for a spot to quickly double up. Unfortunately for him, he flopped middle pair against Rabichow's top pair and all of the chips got in the middle on the turn. Landriault wasn't able to improve and he exited in sixth place.
The final five players battled for over six hours with Billard holding a comfortable chip lead throughout. The other four took turns on the short stack but each managed to find key double ups time and time again. It was a Rabichow double up that left Paul Fontan with just a few big blinds and he eventually bowed out in fifth place.
Alexandros Kolonias used his passive play style to ladder up through a couple of eliminations. Eventually, the blinds caught up to him and Kolonias called off a river bet from Rabichow. Kolonias had two pair, tens and nines, but Rabichow rivered queens and tens to bring the final table down to three players.
After taking a 40-minute dinner break, the three players returned to discuss a deal. After about 30 minutes of working out the numbers, they finally agreed to ICM chop after leaving CA$212,370 to play for. Billard was the current chipleader and he earned himself CA$749,030. Jouhkimainen locked up CA$583,310 while Rabichow pocketed CA$578,990.
While most of the prizepool had already been divided up, three-handed play still continued for over two hours. Billard continued to build up a stack while the Finnish partypoker pro saw his stack dwindle. Jouhkimainen eventually picked up two suited cards he decided to go with from the small blind but Billard woke up with a big ace in the big blind. Despite picking up plenty of outs on the turn, Jouhkimainen bricked off and was forced to settle for third place.
That left Billard and Rabichow to play heads-up for over CA$210,000 with Billard holding a healthy chip lead. He was able to wrap things up in about an hour as he hoisted the MILLIONS LIVE trophy high in the air.
That wraps up all of the coverage for the 2019 partypoker LIVE MILLIONS North America in Montreal, Canada. The PokerNews live reporting team will now be heading to Las Vegas for the 2019 World Series of Poker and you can follow all of the coverage right here.