Akenhead Aces Full Tilt Poker Million VIII

James Akenhead

James Akenhead finally won his first major title at the Full Tilt Poker Million VIII in London this weekend.

It was little more than a month ago Akenhead entered the 2009 WSOP Main Event final table as one of the short stacks, couldn’t get anything going, and finished in ninth place.

Akenhead also finished in ninth place at the 2009 WSOPE Main Event and back in 2008 he finished second in a $1,500 WSOP No-Limit Hold’em event, thanks to a heart-wrenching bad beat.

In addition to getting the monkey off his back, Akenhead picked up $500,000 for his effort in the Poker Million VIII.

“It’s been such a great year and ever since I came second for a bracelet in such a brutal way I’ve been striving to win a big tournament,” Akenhead said. “I’ve made lots of final tables but not come first so to win an event as big as the Poker Million is fantastic.”

Akenhead outlasted some stiff competition with pros like Juha Helppi, Dag Martin Mikkelsen, Luke "FullFlush" Schwartz, Taylor Caby and online qualifiers Craig Wakeham and Peter Vasiliou gunning for first place at the prestigious final table.

CardRunners instructor Caby was the first player eliminated, much to the chagrin of fans who took part in the “Piece of Caby” promotion.

Both of the internet qualifiers soon followed Caby to the rail and Schwartz, who entered the final table as the chip leader, looked primed to take down the tournament.

Instead Akenhead won a large number of his chips and Mikkelsen finally busted the trash-talking Schwartz in fourth.

Mikkelsen's victory was short-lived as he was eliminated in third, which left Helppi and Akenhead to fight it out for the title.

Although Helppi held a slight chip lead heading into heads-up, it didn’t take long for Akenhead to draw even.

In the final hand Akenhead bet with pocket tens, Helppi shoved all-in with pocket sixes and Akenhead made the call.

The tens held and Akenhead became the latest Poker Million winner joining the likes of past winners Marty Smyth, Joe Beevers and Donnacha O'Dea.

Here are the complete final table payouts for the Poker Million VIII:

1. James Akenhead - $500,000
2. Juha Helppi - $250,000
3. Dag Martin Mikkelsen - $200,000
4. Luke Schwartz - $150,000
5. Craig Wakeham - $100,000
6. Peter Vasiliou - $75,000
7. Taylor Caby - $50,000

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