The 2020 Aussie Millions began in fine style as the opening event was joined by other side events at the Crown Casino in Melbourne as the popular annual festival is building up to the Main Event.
The Aussie Million tournament director Joel Williams took the lectern inside the Crown Casino and dropped the microphone on a memorable opening speech: “It’s an early start and a packed tournament schedule. We remain committed to providing one of the world’s top poker offerings, and we’re confident that we’ll deliver a world-class series that all Australians can be particularly proud of,” said Williams.
“Your continued support is vital to Australian poker, and of course greatly appreciated by all of us here at Crown Melbourne. From locals, who started playing satellites as early as March last year, to international players that arrive earlier and earlier each year. To the staff, who help execute the Aussie Millions each and every day, from the back of house staff to dealers, I wish you all a successful and enjoyable Aussie Millions championship.”
The first player to win one of this year’s Aussie Millions Championship rings was a well-known poker pro, Dzmitry Urbanovich from Poland winning the second event to start but the first to end, the AUS$34,020 (US$ 23,581) $2,500-entry H.O.R.S.E. tournament after a gruelling four-hour heads-up battle.
With only six of the eight players making the final table making the money, play was off to a flying start on the last day of the tournament. With players including current WSOP Year Player Robert Campbell, Phil Hui, Bryce Yockey, Benny Glaser, and former WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem all failed to make a profit, Ari Engel was the first of two to make the final day, but not the money when he busted in 8th.
Next to go was Simon Chahine, which meant he was bubbling the case, but it also meant that Alan Wilson had succeeded in grinding his short stack into the cash places. Nevertheless, he would bust in 6th place, and Rainer Quel, who left Vasco Zapantzis as the only remaining home country player, was shortly followed.
Jan Suchanek started the day as chip leader, but by the time he bustled, both Zapantzis and Urbanovich had eclipsed him and play showed no signs of slowing down as Zapantzis left the party in the third.
Heads-up, however, was for the Polish player to be a long, drawn-out game. With five times Urbanovich’s chips, Julien Sitbon entered the heads-up duel, but was unable to hold on to his lead. Despite Sitbon continually rivering pots just for his opponent to rein in, he couldn’t end the fight, and the longer the game went on, Urbanovich seemed to get stronger.
Sitbon came with five-time Urbanovich’s chips in heads-up, but the Polish player was fighting to stay in the game. The young star eventually got his chance and jumped into the lead. While that may have seen the power pendulum swing toward a fortune reversal and a rapid end in his favour, nothing could have been further from the truth All it did was to prolong the duel, by the time midnight produced a winner, both men had been left to their elemental selves.
The final hand saw Sitbon going all-in with jacks in Seven Card Stud, but Urbanovich had made kings, and Sitbon couldn’t find the magical stay of execution that his final draw could have Urbanovich, who took down the second Aussie Millions event and first in the history books.
Players must hope that the recent, terrible bushfires can be quenched and the play will continue in a country that has lost so much in recent days, but continues to embrace the world with compassion and grace that has been shown, as ever, in spades at the Melbourne Crown Casino.
Aussie Millions Event #2: $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. results:
|4||Jan Suchanek||New Zealand||A$10,395|
We have our first #AussieMillions Champ!!
Congrats to @UrbanovichPoker who took out the Event 2 $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. #ANTONJewellery Championship ring for $28,755 after a heads-up deal with Julien Sitbon ($27,000)!! pic.twitter.com/mLxdRSmGau
— Crown Poker (@CrownPoker) January 6, 2020