Poker fans that were disappointed when Phil Ivey missed the final table of the 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event were treated to quite the performance anyways by a relatively unknown 26 year old by the name of Oliver Speidel.
Speidel, the only Melbourne-born player to make the seven-handed final table, crushed the final table to take home his first major title and a whopping AU$1.6 million ($1.75 million US). Kenny Wong finished as runner-up and will have to console himself with the AU$1 million ($1.1 million US) second place prize money.
“Words can’t describe it. I’ve just been incredibly lucky this week,” said Speidel, who’s been playing poker for five years. “It’s almost a joke to me really how lucky I’ve been this week. It keeps amazing me and now to win it all, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say really.”
Early on it seemed as if Bjorn Li, who started as chip leader, was simply going to run away with all of the chips. After stemming the initial surge from Li it was all Speidel right through until the very end. Yann Dion was the first to go when his 7 7 wasn’t able to improve against Speidel’s Q Q. Dion earned AU$170,000 ($181,000 US).
Despite starting the day with more than 25% of the chips in play and the biggest stack, things didn’t go well for Li after the first hour. After losing a big pot to Wong, Li was left with just 600,000 chips and found them committed to the pot pre-flop against Mohamad Kowssarie needing to win a race. Li held A Q while Kowssarie had 3 3. The board ran out with no help for Li and he was out in sixth place for AU$230,000 ($ US). Li would be the only player eliminated by somebody other than Speidel.
Over the next four hours Speidel found himself in complete control. After seeing a flop of 9 8 4 Speidel got Healy to commit all of his chips with A K against the 9 8 of Speidel. The turn and river brought no help for Healy and he was out in fifth for AU$300,000 ($320,000 US). Kowssarie was the next victim. Speidel raised from the button and Kowssarie responded by moving all-in from the small blind. The big blind folded, Speidel called from the big blind and turned over K K. Kowssarie was drawing live with A 2 but found bad news with the K in the door. Unable to hit any miracle straights or flushes, Kowssarie was the fourth place finisher and pocketed AU$405,000 ($432,000 US).
Holding over 14 million of the 19.7 million chips in play didn’t slow Speidel at all. Just fifteen minutes after he ended Kowssarie’s tournament he did the same to Mile Krstanoski. Short stacked Krstanoski put his final 1.1 million into the middle pre-flop with K 8 and Speidel called with 9 8. The flop brought the 9 and put Speidel in front. Despite picking up a flush draw on the turn Krstanoski couldn’t catch up and was eliminated in third for AU$610,000.
Heads-up play began with Speidel holding a 4-1 chip lead and lasted only 20 minutes. On the final hand the two exchanged a total of five bets before Speidel moved all-in and Wong called. Wong tabled 9 9 but found himself way behind the A A of Speidel. Wong watched in disbelief as the board ran out with no help and Speidel had claimed his sixth victim and the title.
“Kenny is a really tough player. I was really lucky against him,” said Speidel. “I’m glad I didn’t really have to make some really hard decisions (against him) because it was over so quickly.”
Aussie Millions Main Event Final Table Payouts
- Oliver Speidel – $1,600,000
- Ken Wong – $1,000,000
- Mile Krstanoski – $610,000
- Mohamad Kowssarie – $405,000
- Patrick Healy – $300,000
- Bjorn Li – $230,000
- Yann Dion – $170,000
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