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The focus of the poker world has shifted down South, as the popular Aussie Millions has returned to the Crown Casino in Melbourne. The action started on January 17 with small buy-in preliminary events. Many poker pros from around the globe have congregated in Melbourne for the longest running poker tournament in the Asia-Pacific region.
The event got its first winner in local Melbourne player Salvatore Ribbera (cover image) who won the first ANTON ring of the series, after taking down Event #2: $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. inside the Crown Poker Room and collected the top prize of A$39,700 ($31,852). The tournament attracted 49 players, matching the same number of entrants that played this event last year.
The Aussie Million brings 26 events to its lineup this year. The series features both low and high-stakes events to enable poker players from all walks of life to take part and have a crack at winning large sums of guaranteed cash money. Among the most anticipated events during the series are the three high-roller events i.e. $25,000 Challenge (January 26), $50,000 Challenge (January 28) and the $100,000 Challenge (February 4). However, the spotlight at the series will undoubtedly be on the $10,600 Main Event which will start on Jan 28 and conclude on February 4.
Three of the usual high-roller challenges make a comeback to the series, except for the $250,000 Challenge that organizers pulled out from last year’s roster because of a low turnout of only 14 players. The $250,000 Challenge ran from 2011 to 2016 with seasoned pro and one of the most popular poker player of all time Phil Ivey winning the tournament three (in 2012, 2014, and 2015) out of the six occasions it was held. Ivey missed the action last year, but the ten-time WSOP bracelet winner was recently spotted on a flight to Australia by two-time WSOP bracelet winner Nipun Java, so there’s a good chance of Ivey’s return to the felts this year!
The action-packed tournament will also witness at least three Indian challengers in attendance i.e. Adda52 Team Pro Nikita Luther, Paawan Bansal and Nipun Java. While Nikita is expected to be at the series till January 28, Bansal plans to play the entire schedule.
— Nipun Java (@nipunjava) January 17, 2018
$2,500 H.O.R.S.E. Final Table Recap
Melbourne's Jarred Graham started the final table with the strongest stack of 208,500 while the eventual champion Ribbera started fourth in chips with 105,500. The final table was packed with experienced players including three players with over $1 million in live cashes i.e. United Kingdom's Richard Ashby ($2.4 million), American Christopher Bolek ($1.9 million), and Graham ($1.6 million).
Eliminations started off with Australian Mark Betts hitting the rail in sixth place followed byUK’s Richard Ashby in fifth place. Ashby has remarkably final tabled the same event two years in a row now.
Next up, another Australian Jarred Graham busted in fourth place and US based Christopher Bolek was then quickly sent packing in third place to set up the heads-up battle between the two local players – Greg Cook and Ribbera.
Cook was the more accomplished of the two survivors with almost $300,000 in tournament cashes. However, at the end of the play, it was Ribbera who clinched his first title while Cook settled for the runner-up spot.
Final Table Results (AUD)
1. Salvatore Ribbera – $39,700
2. Greg Cook – $25,355
3. Christopher Bolek – $16,535
4. Jarred Graham – $12,125
5. Richard Ashby – $8,825
6. Mark Betts – 7,710
Keep following all the updates from Aussie Millions 2018 right here on PokerGuru!