10/01/2004

The Aussie Millions, Melbourne
A$5,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold'em
Report by Joe on Saturday, 10 January 2004 at 7:43 pm

When I was here in Melbourne last year the cricket Ashes were taking place. The Aussies were winning the series 4-0 and the final test was in Sydney. We all know that the Aussies take their sport very seriously but we also know that the competitive spirit can wane if they have nothing to play for. Gareth Jones, The Nugget from Blackpool, and I couldn’t believe that England had been priced up as no-hopers especially as the Aussies were resting several key players. We took all the near double figure prices we could, arranged tickets via Crown and booked flights to Sydney. We spent the fourth day of the test watching Aussie wickets fall one by one until England finally secured victory. We slept well that night in the knowledge that we would be returning to the UK with surplus Aussie dollars however the poker turned out.

India are currently on tour in Australia and having watched them nearly win the last test here were amazed that they were 3.30 on Betfair for the first one day in the VB series yesterday. It was a day night game and even if India lost the important toss they should never have been that big. Their stars, Tendulkar et al, are all bang in form, India are the second best one day side in the world and with Australia’s two bowling stalwarts out, Warne on a one year ban for drugs and McGrath out with an ankle injury we fancied the Indians to post a decent score. It also helped that Brett Lee wasn't in their line-up either. Gareth and I therefore duly filled our boots and secured tickets for the the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The MCG is currently under renovation and two of the main stands are just a pile of rubble but that didn’t stop a huge crowd of over 62,000 turning up.

I’d like to add at this point that I did also play yesterday’s seven card stud event but as it was small field and the cricket didn’t start until mid afternoon the only way that I would miss the cricket was if I made the final table and that wouldn’t have been a hardship.

Even though the Aussies won the toss and decided to bat we still felt that we had value bets. The VB’s flowed but unfortunately so did the Aussie runs and they finished up with 288, a tough chase. Sehwag and Tendulkar made the batting under lights look easy and at one point India were trading on Betfair at 1.14. If we had been at home we would probably have hedged but we ran our positions and finished up unlucky losers in a close fought finish. It was a great day’s sport and we didn’t get back to Crown until gone 10.30pm. One thing for sure those Aussies are overated.

Today was the $5000 Heads Up event restricted to 32 runners and it was full with a waiting list. You need two victories to get into the money ($8000) and there were some interesting match-ups. Barny drew Phil Helmuth in the first round and this match was centre stage in the arena. In defeat Phil was gracious and complimented Barny on his play. I played Martin Comer and dropped behind early before I secured my first round victory. Ross also won his first round match against none other than Mad Marty Wilson. The match lasted one hand; Ross had AK, Marty A8 and an Ace flopped. Ram was the only Mobster not to win his first round match losing a hard fought battle to an aggressive internet player from Sweden.

In the second round Ross finally lost out in a three hour battle versus Layne Flack and I played Barny (Poker Million rematch?). I have to admit that I had all the run of cards where as Barny hardly found anything at all and still managed to last an hour and a half.

One Mobster left and into the last eight: I was playing another Aussie; Mike Ivin. The chips went back and forth until I built up a 65% / 35% lead and checked in the big blind with Jh,Qh. On a flop of Ah,6d,Qd I checked and called a smallish bet. The turn brought the 6h giving me a pair and a flush draw and I check raised Mike for nearly all his chips. I fancied he had a Queen as well or maybe an Ace and that I could make him pass. He has 6s,10h and all his remaining chips went in. Looking for a heart but happy when the Qc hit the river and I was in the semis with a minimum pay day of $16,000.

Unfortunately for me I now had to play Layne Flack. Unfortunately because he had now had a few drinks inside him and I knew it would be tough. Phil asked Barny whether he would prefer to play him (Phil) when Phil was slightly off his game or Layne drunk. Barny replied that he would rather play Phil on his A-game rather than Layne drunk. I suppose it’s a bit like bowling to Matthew Hayden when he’s made a hundred runs and the wicket is perfectly flat.

It is fun to play Layne but I was never going to beat him for aggressiveness. I missed a chance when with a marginal chip lead I check raised him with a flush draw and he moved on me. I had 10s,7s on a 4s,5s,Kh flop. I passed leaving Layne a 50,000 / 30,000 lead now and he rolled over pocket 6’s !

When down to 25,000 I completed on the button with Ah,Jh hoping that Layne would raise. He did, I moved, he called and rolled over AK. I turned a heart flush draw which didn’t come and Layne is in tomorrow’s final. The other side of the draw is still a long way off completion and full results will be posted in due course.

The pro-celebrity event has just started downstairs. Ram is playing and I believe that Barny is doing the commentary so I’m off to watch that. I understand that there are some Neighbours stars and Aussies rules footballers. I’ll let you know if Kylie or Jason show...