APPT Melbourne Day 4: Levels 25 & 26 (blinds 30,000-60,000, ante 5,000)
Leo Boxell wins APPT Melbourne (AU$330,000)
A huge congratulations to Leo "The Mechanic" Boxell who has overcome a field of 260 players and a tough final table to capture a memorable victory.
It's been an incredible 18 months for Boxell with several deep runs on the local tours, and now he captures that elusive APPT title on the third APPT final table of his career. Boxell displayed superb patience and used his experience to pick his spots to make moves at the right times. In the end, he caught some cards to overcome the talented Phil Willcocks heads-up to grab a novelty cheque with $330,000 written on it. With a great support crew including his wife Bev, his son Gary and a few grand kids, this win will be long remembered by all that were present in the Crown Poker Room this evening.
That's it for our live updates but we'll be back with a full wrap of the day's action for you shortly.
12:20am: Phil Willcocks eliminated in 2nd place (AU$207,600)
In 2007, the first PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour event in Australia was hosted at the Star City Casino in Sydney. That year, a local schoolteacher by the name of Grant Levy was crowned champion and was written into poker history as the first Australian player to win a million-dollar prize in a poker tournament on home soil - and in his home town.
Fast forward to 2011 and Leo Boxell, a retired mechanic from Melbourne has also won the first APPT event hosted at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, defeating New Zealander Phil Willcocks for the title and AU$330,000 in prize money!
The final hand of the night capped off what was an incredible final day of play - from the button, Willcocks raised to 125,000 before the flop and Boxell called before check-calling on the flop of 2♥Q♠6♠ after Willcocks bet 175,000.
Boxell then check-called Willcocks' bet of 300,000 after the turn of the 4♠, then checked again on the river of the J♥. Willcocks moved all-in for 1,155,000 and the crowd leaned in over the rail as Boxell brought his clasped hands to his mouth as he contemplated his decision.
No sooner than his hands had touched his lips, he drew them back away and quickly stood up. "I call," Boxell said, flipping up 4♣2♠ for two pair. Willcocks, who had flipped up J♠T♥, leaned back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling in disbelief, as if the poker gods had forsaken him.
Once the dust settled and the floor staff moved in to set up the trophy and chips for the winner's photo, Willcocks and Boxell shared a friendly hug and a handshake. We'll be seeing a lot more of Willcocks around the circuit, and AU$207,600 for second place - more than double the amount for his breakthrough result in the 2009 ANZPT Queensland event - is certainly nothing to be sneezed at.
12:10am: The beginning of the end?
Having started the final table with the chip lead, New Zealand's Phil Willcocks now finds himself in a precarious position after being reduced to 1.9 million against Australia's Leo Boxell as we begin burn the midnight oil here in Melbourne.
Boxell raised to 160,000 from the button preflop and Willcocks called before check-calling Boxell's bet of 200,000 after the dealer spread the flop of J♦K♣4♥. Both players checked the turn of the 8♠, but after Willcocks opened for 400,000 on the river of the K♠., Boxell announced that he was all in. Willcocks let out a frustrated sigh and mucked his hand. Boxell is now edging closer to victory, now up to 5.9 million in chips.
12:00am: Opportunity knocking for Boxell
Leo Boxell has extended his chip lead in the heads-up encounter against Phil Willcocks, now up to 5.1 million in chips as the action continues here in the Crown Casino Poker Room.
Boxell limped in from the button and Willcocks checked his option from the big blind before check-raising to 325,000 after Boxell opened for 100,000 after the flop of 3♦A♠5♥. Willcocks called, then both players checked the turn of the 3♥ before Willcocks checked again on the river of the 7♥, only to fold after Boxell bet 400,000.
Boxell showed 6♥4♦ before raking in his newly-found chips to move up to 5.1 million in chips, while Willcocks drops to 2.7 million.
11:50pm: Willcocks slipping
It appears that New Zealand's Phil Willcocks is beginning to feel the pressure, as Australia's Leo Boxell has wrested back the chip lead in the heads-up battle for the APPT Melbourne Main Event title.
Earlier, Boxell limped in from the button before the flop, but Willcocks raised to 250,000 from the big blind. Boxell called and then both players checked their option on the flop of Q♠T♥8♣ before Willcocks opened for 325,000 on the turn of the 4♥.
Boxell called and the dealer brought forth the river of the A♥, which saw Willcocks check, only to fold after Boxell fired out 600,000. A few hands later, Willcocks raised to 120,000 from the button and Boxell called before check-raising to 475,000 after Willcocks opened for 175,000 after the flop of 7♦T♦3♥.
Willcocks called and then called Boxell's opening bet of 400,000 on turn of the 4♣ before both players checked the river Q♠. Boxell opened up T♠8♠ for middle pair and Willcocks mucked his hand. Boxell is now up to 4.7 million in chips, while Willcocks is down to 3.1 million.
11:40pm: Play resumes, blinds 30,000-60,000 (ante 5,000)
11.30pm: 10-minute break
Phil Willcocks (New Zealand): 4,550,000
Leo Boxell (Australia): 3,250,000
11:20pm: That Boxell's hard to budge!
Leo Boxell was on the verge of being busted at the hands of Phil Willcocks yet again, but he's pulled another rabbit out of a hat in one of the last hands before the break to keep his APPT Melbourne title dream alive - but not without controversy.
Having lost several hands to surrender the chip lead to Boxell previously, Phil Willcocks raised to 100,000 from the button before the flop, but Leo put out a bet of 150,000 from the big blind, which raised eyebrows everywhere, especially with the floor staff. As it was 50% of a full raise, Boxell was required to put in the other 50,000.
Willcocks then came back with a four-bet of 400,000, Boxell shoved and Willcocks insta-called, showing down J♠J♣, but flipping for his tournament life against Boxell's A♥K♦. Fortunately, the board ran out 4♠9♦6♣2♦2♣ and Willcocks doubled up to six million in chips.
As Willcocks sat back down to stack up his chips, he came right out an asked if Boxell if that was an "old angle shoot" he was trying there. "It really was an honest mistake," was Boxell's reply. Regardless, Boxell was down to just 1.8 million and a few hands later, after calling Willcock's preflop raise of 100,000 from the big blind, he checked-raised to 500,000 after Willcocks led out for 150,000 on a flop of 6♠5♣7♦. Willcocks shoved and Boxell made a crying call with 6♥3♠, but was in a world of hurt against Willcocks' K♠K♥.
Incredibly, the 4♥ appeared on the turn, giving Boxell the straight! With the only hope for Willcocks being either a three or an eight to chop, the river Q♦ completed the board and we've still got a game on our hands!
11:10pm: A much-needed fix for "The Mechanic"
Leo "The Mechanic" Boxell has fought back (with a little Brunson-esque luck) in order to stay alive in this heads-up battle, moving up to 3.8 million in chips as the action continues here in the Crown Poker Room.
Boxell limped in from the button before the flop, only to see Phil Willcocks raise to 200,000 from the big blind. Boxell flat-called, then Willcocks check-called Boxell's bet of 350,000 after the flop of 8♦6♣3♠ before both players checked the turn of the K♠.
On the river of the 5♠, Willcocks checked to Boxell who shoved for 1,375,000. Willcocks snap-called with his A♦K♥, but was less than thrilled to see Boxell table T♠2♠ for the runner-runner flush!
Willcocks still has the lead though, but it's now a lot smaller as he's got four million. Don't go anywhere!
11:00pm: Boxell punch-drunk after Willcocks' haymaker
The winds are in the favour of the man from the Land of the Long White Cloud, as Phil Willcocks has doubled up through Australia's Leo Boxell in this heads-up battle to take the chip lead!
Willcocks raised from the button to 100,000 preflop before Boxell shoved from the big blind with 2♥2♦. Willcocks snap-called and the home crowed groaned as the Kiwi turned up Q♠Q♦.
Willcocks found a third queen on the flop of J♠8♠Q♥ and when the 6♦ fell on the turn, that sealed the deal and the double-up for Willcocks. The river was the T♦, for those of you keeping score at home.
Willcocks is now on 5.9 million in chips, while Boxell was gutted down to 1.9 million.
10:50pm: Willcocks pegs one back
From the button, Leo Boxell limped in Phil Willcocks raised to 150,000 from the big blind before Boxell called to see a flop of 7♥3♣J♥, which they both checked, as well as the turn of the Q♠ before Willcocks bet 150,000 on the river of the 8♥.
Boxell showed 8♠6♣ for a pair of eights, but was out-kicked by Willcocks' K♣8♣. Willcocks moved up to 2.9 million, but Boxell's still ahead on 4.9 million.
10:40pm: Advantage Boxell
When we said that this was going to be one helluva battle, we we meant it. And Leo Boxell and Phil Willcocks are already beginning to deliver, even with the chip counts having started practically even.
Boxell made his intentions clear in the very first hand, shoving for 4.45 million after Willcocks raised to 100,000 from the button. Willcocks let it go, but then checked his option on the big blind after Boxell limped in from the button before opening for 100,000 after the flop of 2♣4♠J♠. Boxell folded. That'll be one-all.
In the next hand, Willcocks raised to 100,000 from the button and Boxell called before leading out for 200,000 on the flop of 3♠5♣6♦. Willcocks raised it to 550,000, but Boxell came straight with a re-raise worth 1,050,000. Willcocks mucked his hand and he's down to 2.55 million while Boxell is ahead with 5.25 million.
10:30pm: Steve Bouya eliminated in 3rd place (AU $116,000)
We're now in for the Trans-Tasman heads-up showdown of the decade after Steve Bouya was eliminated in third place!
Bouya raised to 125,000 from the button before the flop and both Boxell and Willcocks called from the small and big blinds to go into the first family pot of the final table into a flop that read J♦5♦2♣. Both Boxell and Willcocks checked and Bouya opened for 225,000, but Boxell check-raised to 500,000 straight, forcing Willcocks out of the way before Bouya went into the tank once again.
After about three minutes, Bouya moved all-in. Boxell snap-called.
Bouya: 9♠9♦ Neither hand improved as the turn and river ran out K♣, 3♣ and Bouya is now AU$116,000 richer - a valiant effort.
It's now the moment you've been waiting for - Aussie versus Kiwi, the old guard versus the new school, Boxell versus Willcocks. If you've been following the action over the last eight hours, then you know that this is going to be the most epic heads-up battle ever witnessed in the Southern Hemisphere. Be prepared.