Melbourne's Manny Stavropoulos wins 2015 Aussie Millions Main Event
"Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé! Mannnny... Mannnny!"
The cries could be heard across the Exhibition Hall as Melbourne local Manny Stavropoulos overcame Germany's Lennart Uphoff to win the 2015 Aussie Millions Main Event
And it wouldn't be a local victory without a little bit of...
"Aussie, Aussie, Aussie... Oi! Oi! Oi!"
The final hand of the tournament saw 20-year old Uphoff limp the button. Stavropoulos checked from the big blind and the dealer flipped over a 8♦A♦9♠ flop. Stavropolous check-called a bet of 250,000 here and a 7♥ hit the turn. This time Stavropoulos led out for 650,000 and Uphoff called.
When the board completed with a 8♥, Stavropoulos led for 850,000 and Uphoff moved all in for what looked like 2 million behind. Stavropolous made a quick call, turning over J♦T♠ for the nut straight, while Uphoff had been coolered with T♦6♦ for the smaller straight.
After a heads-up deal, Uphoff claimed $1,214,500 while the champion, Manny Stavropoulos, takes home a very hefty $1,385,500.
"I just kept showing up every day and trying to make it to the next day and here we are," Stavropolous said as his rail of at least two dozen friends cheered and applauded.
"You dream of winning a tournament like this," he added, overcome with emotion.
"Hey Manny, throw me over a bundle!" one of Manny Stavropoulos's railbirds shouted as the new champion posed for pictures in front of a pile of cash wads to the value of $1.6 million.
Not often someone asks you to throw them a bundle of cash.
The action at the final table began quite slowly. All the players were sitting snug and grinding hard with no one wanting to make any moves and be the first player out.
It couldn't stay seven-handed forever though and eventually it was the USA's Richard Lyndaker who eventually found the rail. He busted in unfortunate circumstances too, having his A♣A♦ all in preflop cracked by Lennart Uphoff's 6♠6♥.
For that result, Lyndaker added $160,000 to his resume which already includes more than US$1.3 million in tournament scores.
Following Lyndaker's elimination, play once again slowed to a crawl.
Then young Australian Anthony Legg was left crippled when he held 9♠9♣ and sent a double up to Joel Douaglin's A♥Q♠. The jovial Douaglin was happy to find a queen to double up, while Legg was on life support.
Just a short while later and Douaglin finished Legg off when Legg shoved his short stack with K♣9♥ and couldn't compete against A♣J♥. Legg pocketed $235,000 for the 6th place finish.
Five-handed play would run for a couple of hours until prominent US pro Brian Rast would hit the rail just a short while before the dinner break.
Rast had started the final table as the short stack and fought gallantly to make it to five-handed play before it was all over. Rast got his chips in with K♠T♠ on the turn of a 8♥3♠2♠2♥ board and wasn't able to find a spade to trump Lennart Uphoff's A♠A♦.
The four remaining players - Uphoff, Douaglin, James Rann and Manny Stavropoulos - returned from their dinner break with a glint in their eye and looked clearly ready to play poker as the action was noticeably faster.
So fast, in fact, that it was down to heads-up in under an hour.
Firstly, the UK's James Rann was eliminated in 4th place collecting $430,000.
Rann's final hand saw blinds at 80,000/160,000 when he open-shoved holding 2♣2♠. Uphoff found J♦J♣ in the big blind and called it off and with no help for Rann, it was all over.
Not too long after and Douaglin would hit the rail in 3rd.
Douaglin was the short stack for much of the evening and ultimately made a move with 8♥2♦ on a 7♣T♥8♦ flop only to have Uphoff call with K♠T♠. Dougalin's middle pair needed help against Uphoff's top pair and it never came as the K♣ turn gave
Uphoff two pair and the A♥ river wasn't the eight Douaglin needed.
Douaglin scored $630,000 for that result, which makes him the all-time tournament money earner from New Caledonia.
Just like that it was Manny Stavropoulos Vs. Lennart Uphoff.
When the cards were in the air, Uphoff had a big lead, but Stavropoulos pounded away until he claimed a slight chip lead. It was at this point that a deal was struck and from there it would take only a short while before the final hand of the tournament would see Manny Stavropoulos crowned the champion to the deafening approval of his railbirds.
2015 Aussie Millions Main Event - Final Table Result
1st: Manny Stavropoulos - $1,385,500*
2nd: Lennart Uphoff - $1,214,500*
3rd: Joel Douaglin - $630,000
4th: James Rann - $430,000
5th: Brian Rast - $315,000
6th: Anthony Legg - $235,000
7th: Ricahrd Lyndaker - $160,000
denotes heads-up deal
Congratulations to Manny Stavropoulos on his fantastic victory and congrats also to the team at Crown Poker and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour for running a world-class event.
The 2015 Aussie Millions Poker Championship isn't over yet, however, as the final day of the $250,000 Challenge is set to begin in just over 12 hours. The action kicks off at 2:15pm local time on Sunday and you will be able to find out who wins right here at the PokerStarsBlog.