What started five days ago with 681 ended with just one in Melbourne early Sunday morning when Adelaide chef-turned-poker player Stewart Scott went wire-to-wire at the final table to grab the $2 million AUD first-place prize.
When play began eight-handed just after 1 p.m., short-stacked Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman got off to a fast start, picking up a few chips to jump back into the fray.
But Barny was still the first to go, losing a sizable pot when Stewart rivered a boat against the man, then shipping the last of his stack in with his A♦ 2♣ dominated by Zach Gruneberg's A♠ Q♥.
Boatman took home $100k from his second appearance at an Aussie Millions final table, and although we were then down to seven, seven-handed play didn't last very long. Just a few hands after Boatman's exit, Full Tilt pro Richard Ashby pushed in facing a Rajkumar Ramakrishnan raise and a call from Elliot Smith.
Both players made the call and checked down a board of bricks, but in the end, Ramakrishnan's big slick had the ace-queen in both Ashby and Smith's hands outpipped, and Ashby was dusted off seventh.
It was about that time Canadian Elliot Smith began to make his move. He doubled up, turning a flush against Ramakrishnan, then shoved into a Raj reraise with jacks a little later. Although Ramakrishan's A♥ Q♥ spiked an ace on the flop, Smith found a miracle in one of the two remaining jacks on the turn and doubled up again, this time to $3 million in chips.
The players took a short dinner break and returned to see the exit of sixth-place finisher Zach Gruneberg, who must have had a rather sick feeling in the pit of his stomach after shoving with top pair on the turn, only to find out rather quickly that Raj had flopped quads.
It wasn't long before a short-stacked Sam Capra said goodbye next, open-shoving with tens and finding Peter Rho in the small blind with pocket aces.
It was still all about Stewart Scott four-handed, as he maintained a stack more than twice the size of anyone close to him. However, things evened up a little and play tightened in between several discussions regarding a possible prize-pool chop.
When the deal finally got done, things looked like they might loosen up a bit before a massive cooler presented itself. Ramakrishnan limped aces, Rho woke up with kings in the big blind and all the money found itself in the middle before long.
It appeared Raj would double and jump back into contention, but he was sadly sent home fourth when Rho flopped a king.
The sick suck-out suddenly put the Californian in a dead heat with Scott for the lead, with Elliot Smith not that far off the pace, but the Aussie moved back into control, turning broadway against Rho and getting paid off big time.
He followed that up by pushing both Rho and Smith around over the next hour, turning his lead into an almost-insurmountable one.
Three-handed play continued until Scott made a rather loose call with queen-high against Smith's weak ace to double him up, then donk-shoved with a weak ace only to get called by Smith's strong one. It looked like Scott was handing Smith an opportunity to get right back in it before he managed to suck out, pairing his kicker and sending the Canadian out third.
Heads-up was almost over before it started and it took just a few hands to make it all official. In the end, Rho shoved with A♥ J♣ and of course, the best-running Aussie since Joe Hachem looked down at A♠ A♦ and made the call to win it all.
It was all Aussie, Aussie, Aussie with a side of Oi, Oi, Oi from there as Scott hoisted the trophy and the decidedly homer crowd went completely nuts.
The cash was shipped to Scott, the boys from the PL.com TV crew performed the interview and PokerListings was out.
The crew is headed up and over now, but we're already counting the days until we're back Down Under again.
With the most player-friendly structure in any hemisphere and an eye on the small but important details that make everyone feel welcome here in Oz, Jonno Pittock and the Crown Casino staff run a fabulous show, and our newly purchased Akubra hats are off to them.