It wasn’t long ago that millionaire poker pro, degenerate and Instagram poster boy Dan Bilzerian declared the one and only Phil Ivey ‘broke’. It sounded like fiction at the time and now, just a few weeks later at the Aussie Millions in Melbourne, Ivey confirmed it by entering the outrageous $250,000 buy-in LK Boutique Challenge and winning it all for AUS $4m. Despite winning 9 WSOP bracelets and 1 WPT title it is the single biggest score in Ivey’s historic career.
The event, which brought the hugely successful Aussie Millions festival to a close, drew an impressive 46 runners (including re-entries). Ivey was one of the lucky ones, entering just once (and thus clearing a cool $3.75m profit) unlike Daniel Negreanu who managed to squeak out a profit by finishing 4th for AUS $1.25m. Players were allowed to buy-in as late as Day 2, where a stack would equate to just 12.5 big blinds.
Despite the gambling nature of it, many players still elected to put down $250k at that stage (including Negreanu), eliciting some criticism on Twitter from players such as Dan Shak who tweeted to Negreanu that:
‘You are a role model whether you like it or not and it’s my opinion that not necessary to glorify it to the young.’
The debate between Shak and Negreanu about these super high roller events makes for some fascinating, fun reading – we’ll have an update on PokerPlayer.co.uk tomorrow where you can air your thoughts.
Unfortunately for railbirds around the world, the Crown Casino in Melbourne didn’t have a live stream for this event, or any at the Aussie Millions, disappointing poker fans that have grown accustomed to brilliant coverage such as EPT Live at every major poker tournament. Though the event will be televised later in the year, the final table of Ivey, Negreanu, Tom Dwan, Mike McDonald, Fabian Quoss and Isaac Haxton was a TV producer’s dream.
After the departures of Dwan (6th), Quoss (5th) and Negreanu (4th), McDonald was the one player in prime form to go on and win. After a runner-up finish at the PCA in January, the young Canadian followed it up with another 2nd place showing at the Aussie Millions $100k even earlier in the week. Despite his hot streak, McDonald was next to depart in third place for an additional AUS $1.9m to add to his yearly total.
That left Ivey and Haxton, two behemoths on the world poker scene, to battle it out heads-up. There was plenty of pressure on Haxton’s shoulders, who would have been AUS $1.16m in the Aussie hole if he had failed to cash in this event. The heads-up match swung back and forth before a failed bluff by Haxton handed Ivey a big chip lead. It was over soon after that. Ivey limped the button with A-6, Haxton moved all-in with 8-7 and was quickly called. Ivey flopped an Ace and the tournament was over.
After two days of millionaire poker players throwing money at the year’s most expensive event – before this summer’s WSOP Big One for One Drop event anyway – it was the biggest poker player of them all, Phil Ivey, that stood tall over his competition.
Welcome back to the big time Phil, we’ve missed you.