Local player Shurane Vijayaram bests a field that includes world class pros to claim his first ever tournament cash… of $1.6 million AUD!
The Aussie Millions $10,600 AUD buy-in main event in Melbourne ended in the early hours of Monday morning with what is probably the most astonishing victory yet…33-year-old local amateur cash game player Shurane Vijayaram managed to best a field of 725 that included some of the world’s top online and live professional poker aces to score $1.6 million AUD and a $30,000 AUD bracelet – and he did it on a stake of just $130 AUD paid as an entry fee for a satellite that won him a main event Aussie Millions seat.
It was the amateur’s first tournament cash.
The general expectation was that one of the roster of professionals in the field would claim the honours in this event, probably UK ace Ben Heath, or German prodigy Fedor Holz or perhaps local hard man Jeff Rossiter, but while all of these made it onto the final table, and ended the day with impressive pay-days, it was Vijayaram who took the trophy and the main prize home.
He achieved this after a brief heads up against the more experienced Ben Heath that ended with a hero river call.
Through skilled and disciplined play in the first days of the main event, Vijayaram started final table action with the top chip count, but he did not allow complacency into his game – a sensible attitude given the intimidating experience and talent seated around the table.
Favourites Holz and Rossiter busted out in fifth ($335,000 AUD) and fourth ($440,000 AUD) positions respectively, and they were followed at third by Tobias Hausen ($620,000 AUD) to set the Vijayaram vs. Heath heads up, with the Melbourne amateur still holding the chip lead he had kept for most of the 120-hand final table action to that stage.
The two players duelled enthusiastically, with Heath doing his damnedest to erode Vijayaram’s lead, but after another 30 hands he was conclusively bested and had to be content with the $1 million AUD runner up prize.
In other Aussie Millions events, UK pro Sam Grafton bested a stellar and mainly professional field in the $5,000 AUD buy-in six-max event to take home $140,860 AUD after a tough heads up against Pratyush Buddiga, who collected the $96,515 AUD runner-up reward.
And in the $50,000 AUD buy-in No Limit Holdem Shot Clock Six-Max only six players registered – Stephen Chidwick, online high stakes ace Ben Tollerene, Charlie Carrel, Sam Greenwood, Fedor Holz and Mikita Badziakouski from Belarus.
With such a limited field only first and second positions would cash, and the resulting melee produced some aggressive and exciting poker until just Charlie Carrel and Mikita Badziakouski faced each other in the heads up.
Carrel held a sizeable lead and with the shot clock running and the need for 30-second decisions the two finalists got to work. Early on Badziakouski took a big pot and leveraged it in the next hand to take the lead, and from then on he steadily dominated the game and his opponent until he finally sent Carrel packing with the $117,600 AUD second placing prize.
Badziakouski collected the main prize of $176,400 AUD and a championship ring worth $5,500 AUD in his first big win in a string of tournaments that goes back 6 years and has seen him make 14 cashes.