Making the most of his starting position on the penultimate day of the event, home country favorite Vincent Wan outlasted a talented final table at his home casino, the Crown Casino in Melbourne, and emerge as the champion of the 2020 Aussie Millions Main Event. It wasn’t an easy battle, however, as it took more than 15 hours and more than 400 hands for the champion to be determined.
Ullmann Leads, Seidel In the Mix At the Start
At the start of play, Germany’s Nino Ullmann led his fellow countryman Oliver Weis, but Wan was not to be overlooked. Although Ullmann held 5.5 million in chips and Weis 4.475 million, Wan’s 4.15 million was a definite threat at the table. Add in the skills of Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, stacked with 4.05 million, and there were some challenges around the table.
Apparently one of the challenges was in getting to the Crown Casino on time. Only six men were at the table for the start of the final day, with Ngoc Tai Hoang missing the call to “shuffle up and deal.” That was quickly rectified, however, as about 15 minutes into the action he would arrive, by which point Wan had taken over the chip lead.
Ullmann was an active player in the early going, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. He fought back to take the lead away from Wan before getting into a hand with Hoang that would change the course of the tournament. With both he and Hoang holding Big Slick, the board would four-flush Hoang to double him up and chop Ullmann’s stack down a bit.
The action would be rather slow, with Ullmann maintaining his lead by knocking out Nicolas Malo in seventh. Soon after Malo hit the cash out cage, he would have company. Weis actually was the major contributor at the final table, watching his chip stack slowly slip through his fingers before meeting his end against Gareth Pepper to depart in sixth place.
After a dinner break, it was time to say goodbye to Seidel. Like Weis, he would spin his wheels for much of the action on the final day, getting his final chips in the center against Wan. Seidel’s A-10 looked good, but Wan’s A-J was better, especially after the board blanked out for both men to leave Wan’s hand standing tall.
From Four-Handed to an Epic Heads Up Match
Once the play went four-handed, Wan took over the table. He dominated the action so much he would eventually vacuum up more than half the chips on the table. Hoang would continue to ride a rush, knocking out Ullmann by making a better two pair than the German and becoming the major challenger for Wan. With three players remaining, however, a deal was discussed and agreed to rather quickly.
Both Wan and Hoang locked up nearly the same amount of money, while Pepper got a nice deal in that he received $1 million (Australian) when his chip stack did not rate that payout. After the numbers were crunched, here’s what each man got:
With the deal completed and the trophy and Aussie Millions bracelet left to play for, the players could have just gone through the motions. Instead, Pepper and Hoang traded double ups, before Wan would take down Pepper on his own.
The Wan/Hoang match was one for the ages. Over a four-hour span, the duo fought back and forth with Hoang, who had pulled into the lead, unable to put Wan away. At one point, Hoang had nearly seven times the chips of Wan, but then the unlikely happened. In three consecutive hands, Wan would come from behind to win, first with an A-9 against Hoang’s A-Q (flopped nine), then with A-10 against Hoang’s A-Q (rivered a ten). On the final hand, Wan would use his 10-9 against Hoang’s A-3 to catch on the J-9-6-J-10 board to capture the Main Event championship of the 2020 Aussie Millions.
1.Vincent Wan, $1,318,000*
2. Ngoc Tai Hoang, $1,318,000*
3. Gareth Pepper, $1,000,000*
4. Nino Ullmann, $480,160
5. Erik Seidel, $378,660
6. Oliver Weis, $307,820
7. Nicolas Malo, $240,080
(* – denotes three-way deal)