Full Tilt Poker pro Erik Seidel won the largest buy-in tournament in poker history late Thursday night at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. The newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame took down a prize of AUD $2.5 million for winning the Aussie Millions Super High Roller event, which sported a hard-hitting field of 20 players who each put up AUD $250,000 to enter.
The star-studded lineup included players like Phil Ivey, Tom “durrrr” Dwan, John Juanda, David Benyamine, Chris Ferguson, Dan “jungleman12” Cates, Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, Eugene Katchalov, Alexander Kostritsyn, and Roland de Wolfe. Also among the field were three Chinese businessmen who purportedly lost millions of dollars to the aforementioned Dwan, Ivey, and Juanda in Macau in December.
Despite the outrageously large buy-in, players dropped quickly in a surprisingly fast-paced structure. Seidel was the first to double his stack, sending Aussie young gun James “Andy McLEOD” Obst out in 20th after his aces coolered Obst’s kings. Dwan, de Wolfe, Kostritsyn, Juanda, Katchalov, Obrestad, and Cates followed him to the rail, setting up the following final table:
Seat 1: David Benyamine (258,500 chips)
Seat 2: Nikolay Evdakov (428,000 chips)
Seat 3: Sam Trickett (1,219,500 chips)
Seat 4: Phil Ivey (186,000 chips)
Seat 5: Erik Seidel (619,000 chips)
Seat 6: Andrew Feldman (423,000 chips)
Seat 7: Richard Yong (313,000 chips)
Seat 8: Chris Ferguson (860,000 chips)
Seat 9: Wang Qiang (623,000 chips)
Titan Poker Pro Sam Trickett, arguably the hottest player in the world after winning the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge just days earlier, was a one-man wrecking ball at the final table. He eliminated Evdakov (ninth place), Ivey (eighth place), Ferguson (sixth place), Qiang (fourth place), and Benyamine (third place); the latter collected a cool AUD $1 million payday. The 24-year-old Trickett held a 4:1 chip edge over Seidel going into heads-up play and appeared poised to win his second major title of the week.
The two players got to know each other quite well in the $100,000 Challenge. Seidel finished third in that one and the seasoned veteran was able to eradicate Trickett’s lead quickly on Thursday. Trickett attempted some creative moves that were picked off by Seidel and then handed over his remaining chips on a semi-bluff on the final hand of the match.
With the blinds at 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante, Seidel limped on the button and Trickett raised to 175,000. Seidel called and the two players saw a flop of 9h-5h-3s. Trickett checked to Seidel, who led out for 150,000. Trickett moved all-in and Seidel decided to call with Jh-9c for top pair, which was out in front of Trickett’s As-Qh. The Ks on the turn and 10d on the river were no help to the young phenom, who collected AUD $1.5 million for his efforts. Seidel, meanwhile, added yet another title to his impressive resume along with AUD $2.5 million.
The always-humble Seidel told Bluff Magazine how thrilled he was to win such a prestigious event. “I’m really, really excited to win this,” he said. “This was very special because it’s such an elite field. The entry fee was so big, I didn’t want to lose $250,000. I’m just having such an amazing month, year so far. It’s just incredible.”
The win gave Seidel his third High Roller cash in January. He took fourth place in the $25,000 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure High Roller event for $295,960, and, combined with the Aussie Millions results, he has more than $3.3 million in earnings already in 2011. Seidel began the year ranked eighth on poker’s all-time money list, but with Thursday’s victory, he moved past Jamie Gold into third place with $13,788,227. He now trails only Ivey ($13,859,944) and Daniel Negreanu ($14,116,192).
Here’s a look at the final results of the 2011 Aussie Millions Super High Roller event:
1. Erik Seidel – $2.5 million
2. Sam Trickett – $1.5 million
3. David Benyamine – $1 million
4. Wang Qiang
5. Richard Yong
6. Chris Ferguson
7. Andrew Feldman
8. Phil Ivey
9. Nikolay Evdakov
10. Dan Cates
11. Paul Phua
12. Tony Bloom
13. Annette Obrestad
14. Eugene Katchalov
15. John Juanda
16. Alexander Kostritsyn
17. Roland de Wolfe
18. Tom Dwan
19. James Bord
20. James Obst