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Ivey Storms Back with $2 Million Victory
Less than 24 hours after busting out of the 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event, Phil Ivey has won the $250k Challenge for $2 million.
Making a deep run in the Aussie Millions Main Event earlier in the day, Ivey eventually busted in 12th place just shy of the final table.
Unperturbed, Ivey immediately took a seat in the $250k Challenge.
About 13 hours later, Ivey beat fellow pro Patrik Antonius heads-up to win the super high roller tournament.
“It feels good to be back,” said Ivey moments after winning. “I took some time off from poker.
"This is one of my first tournaments back and it’s nice to get back to winning again.”
Ivey went on an extended hiatus from poker after the events of Black Friday before re-emerging in Macau in November.
Ivey received more for winning the $250k Challenge than he would have for winning the Main Event.
The Main Event, which plays out tomorrow, will only pay out $1.6 million. Ivey still received $100,000 (AUD), however, for finishing twelfth.
“I got pretty close in the Main Event,” he said. “Luckily I got knocked out just in time to play this. It worked out.”
Murderer's Row of Poker Players
The high-profile $250k Challenge ended up drawing 16 brave participants and, as expected, it was a collection of some of the best poker players in the world.
Pros Daniel Negreanu, Antonius, Gus Hansen, Jason Mercier, Sam Trickett, Erik Seidel, John Juanda, Tony Bloom, Dan Smith and Tom Dwan all got it on the action.
It wasn’t only poker pros in the field however as Chinese businessmen Winfred Yu, Paul Phua, Nick Wong and Richard Yong all bought into the tournament.
When registration finally closed organizers did a quick tally and informed players they were playing for a $4 million prizepool and only three players would be paid.
Negreanu Bubbles in Elite Final Four
Negreanu had the unfortunate distinction of being the bubble boy. He went out in fourth place when his A-8 fell to Antonius’ pocket jacks.
That left Antonius, Gus Hansen and Ivey to battle it out three-handed.
Hansen was the next player to go when he flopped top pair against Ivey’s flopped two-pair, although the $800,000 payout for third likely softened the blow.
Ivey and Antonius played heads-up for over an hour before a short-stacked Antonius finally moved in with K-3 and Ivey called with A-Q.
Ivey’s hand held up and Antonius had to settle for $1.2 million - now the biggest cash for the Finn in a live poker tournament.
With the victory Ivey also passed Negreanu for second place in all-time career tournament winnings with $15,990,000.
Durrrr Busts Quickly
One of the marquee players in a marquee field, Tom "durrrr" Dwan went bust first early in Level 2, losing with trips queens when Hansen filled up on the river.
Businessman Wong was the next to bust, going out early in Level 3. Fellow businessman Yong followed when he flopped a set of kings against Hansen’s flush draw.
The flush came on turn and Yong was sent packing.
John Juanda, Sam Trickett and Erik Seidel followed shortly after and Paul Phua was the final-table bubble boy busting out in tenth to kickstart the final table redraw.
Jason Mercier was the first to crack in the final nine, getting all in with A♣ 7♠ against Ivey’s A♥ Q♠ and failing to improve.
Dan Smith, Tony Bloom and Winfred Yu went out in short succession before Sorel Mizzi exited fifth to set up the elite final four, getting in with nines against Ivey’s tens.
The Final 3 and Payouts:
1. Phil Ivey $2,000,000 AUD
2. Patrik Antonius $1,200,000 AUD
3. Gus Hansen $800,000 AUD