Coming to the final table as the short stack, Bryn Kenney wasn’t expected to make much noise during the Aussie Millions Main Event. Instead of heading into the Australian night with a nice payday, Kenney fought his way to the final three players and negotiated a three-way deal that left him crowned the event’s champion.
Less Than a Million to Start…
Kenney literally was overlooked by anyone who was in the Crown Casino for this event. Mike Del Vecchio, who also made the final table of this tournament in 2018, was sitting on the top of the standings with his 5.465 million chips and playing outstanding poker. Del Vecchio’s efforts were nearly equaled by that of Andrew Hinrichsen, the Aussie favorite sitting on 5.3 million chips. Another Australian, Matthew Wakeman, was waiting for someone to falter with his 4.01 million chips, while Hamish Crawshaw (3.64 million), Clinton Taylor (3.845), Gyeong Byeong Lee (1.54 million) and Kenney (920,000) rounded out the table.
Del Vecchio, who held the lead for much of the Day ___ leading to the final table, immediately lost that honor. In a blind versus blind battle against Taylor, Del Vecchio sat with top pair/Ace kicker on a 2-7-3-Q-6 three spade board. Del Vecchio fired on every street and Taylor responded on the flop and turn with just a call. On the river, however, Taylor moved all in over Del Vecchio’s 800K bet. Del Vecchio pondered whether Taylor could have hit the runner-runner flush against him and eventually assumed that he did, folding the hand. As the cameras displayed, however, Taylor had bluffed Del Vecchio massively with only a 4-2 for bottom pair. The 1.5 million pot pushed to Taylor knocked Del Vecchio from the lead and the free-for-all began.
Hinrichsen took over the lead and extended it with the first knockout of the final table. Hinrichsen used the button for a raise and Crawshaw, in the small blind, three bet him. Hinrichsen responded with a four-bet all in and Crawshaw, with fewer chips, decided it was time to make a stand and called. Crawshaw’s timing was impeccable; his pocket Queens were racing against the A-J of Hinrichsen but, although it was good timing, good fortune wasn’t to be his. An Ace on the flop pushed Hinrichsen into the lead and running deuces didn’t change anything for Crawshaw, sending him out in seventh place.
Kenney began his run up the ladder by doubling through Del Vecchio, his A-J remaining ahead of Del Vecchio’s A-2 all the way through the board. He would then double up through Lee, his pocket Jacks over Lee’s Big Slick, to crack the two million barrier. But Hinrichsen would burst through the ten million chip mark in busting Lee to maintain mastery over the remaining five players.
At this point, everyone was looking to Hinrichsen as the next Aussie Millions champ. But Kenney picked a great time to get on a hot streak. He used a four bet on Hand #68, moving all in against both Taylor and Hinrichsen with pocket Queens, to win a massive pot that increased his stack to over three million. He would then take a chunk from Wakeman, calling each street on a 6-2-A-9-2 board to pick up another big pot. Once again, however, Hinrichsen kept the table at distance by knocking out Taylor in fourth place and held more chips than Del Vecchio and Kenney added together.
Kenney Outlasts Opposition to the Title
Starting out with a measly 2.935 million chips, Kenney faced a tough battle against Del Vecchio (6.4 million) and Hinrichsen (15.91 million). The three men would battle over a span of more than 100 hands, with Hinrichsen and Del Vecchio holding the lead for much of the time. While the trio took a break due to the fact that the live stream of the event had caught up with the live action, they began to talk amongst themselves of a deal.
The three men emerged from the break not only with a financial arrangement but also with a champion determined. Although Del Vecchio had more chips (9.315 million) than Kenney (8.89 million), he was OK with letting Kenney have the title and splitting most of the first and second place money. The reason that was “most” was there was a nice bump up in cash for Hinrichsen (6.505 million), who also took home a seven-figure payday for his efforts. In discussing the deal, Kenney also negotiated the Aussie Millions championship, the first time in quite a while that a major tournament had been decided by deal rather than playing.
1. Bryn Kenney, $1,850,000 (* – actual payout $1,272,598)
2. Mike Del Vecchio, $1,130,000 (* – $1,272,162)
3. Andrew Hinrichsen, $662,900 (* – $1,097,739)
4. Clinton Taylor, $483,000
5. Matthew Wakeman, $380,300
6. Gyeong Byeong Lee, $309,000
7. Hamish Crawshaw, $242,000
(* – three-way deal)
(All figures Australian dollars)