Rack up another final table for Full Tilt Poker Red Pro James Akenhead. The British pro, who already final tabled both the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and World Series of Poker (WSOPE) Main Events earlier this year, not only made the crop of top six finishers in the Full Tilt Poker Million VIII event, but won the whole thing. He netted $500,000 in the process.
The Full Tilt Poker Million was an invitational event featuring 72 players from around the globe fighting for the half-million dollar first place prize. The shootout-style event’s preliminary and semi-final bouts were filmed earlier this year in London and already aired on Sky Sports in Europe. While those rounds were taped, the final table players returned to London Friday to play down to a champion.
One of the event’s organizers, Matchroom Sport, posted live updates in its online poker forum to keep non-Europeans posted on the tournament’s action. When the final table began, it was Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz who held the chip lead with 397,000, while Akenhead was in second place with 338,000. The players started the final table with the same number of chips they ended with in the semi-finals, save Craig Wakeham, an online qualifier from Full Tilt who was added to the mix at the last minute and given the shortest stack of 100,000 chips.
Joining Akenhead, Schwartz, and Wakeham at the final table were CardRunners instructor Taylor “Green Plastic” Caby, Juha Helppi, Dag Martin Mikkelsen, and another online qualifier who defeated a host of top pros to make the final table, Peter Vasiliou.
Those enrolled in the Piece of Taylor promotion at CardRunners will be sad to hear that Caby was the first player eliminated when he moved all-in with pocket sevens from the button and Mikkelsen called out of the blinds with K-4. A king on the flop and a king on the turn spelled disaster for Caby, who was eliminated in seventh place for a $50,000 payout. The winner of Piece of Taylor promotion will still earn $500 for taking part.
Vasiliou was the next player to fall, also knocked out at the hands of Mikkelsen, who overtook the chip lead after the qualifier’s sixth place elimination. The other qualifier was out only minutes later after losing a coin flip to Helppi. At that point, the blinds were so high that virtually every player at the table was in all-in or fold mode. Schwartz called an all-in shove from Akenhead holding pocket eights to Akenhead’s As-7s and the opinionated and vocal Schwartz started to leave the table even though he had the best hand. The eights only improved, as the flop fell 10-9-8, but it also brought straight and flush possibilities for Akenhead. The turn made a flush for Akenhead and when the board failed to pair on the river, the former chip leader was decimated, while Akenhead amassed a sizeable chip lead.
Schwartz returned to the table and quickly doubled up, but couldn’t repeat the feat, losing with A-5 to Mikkelsen’s K-Q and he was out in fourth place. It looked like Helppi would be next to fall, but he doubled up at the right time He then eliminated Mikkelsen in third place to take the chip lead headed into heads-up play against Akenhead.
Even though Helppi held the chip advantage, the blinds were high enough that the win was far from in the bag. It was only a matter of hands before Akenhead edged out his opponent for the chip lead and the final hand of play went down when Helppi picked up pocket sixes to Akenhead’s pocket tens. The tens held and Akenhead took down his first major title of 2009. In total, the final table took just under four hours to complete, which is pretty brief when compared to Akenhead’s other two final table appearances this year.
Here are the final table results from this year’s Poker Million:
1st Place: James Akenhead – $500,000
2nd Place: Juha Helppi – $250,000
3rd Place: Dag Martin Mikkelsen – $200,000
4th Place: Luke “FullFlush” Schwartz – $150,000
5th Place: Craig Wakeham – $100,000
6th Place: Peter Vasiliou – $75,000
7th Place: Taylor “Green Plastic” Caby – $50,000