2013 Aussie Millions - $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha Event

Final Table Live Updates

Sam VakiliSam Vakili wins $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha ($53,600)

An interesting final table has come to an end with Sam Vakili carrying his overnight chip advantage all the way to an Aussie Millions Gold Ring.

It was a final table of two halves.

The first hour was pure carnage as we lost our first six players before the first break as the short stacks were both desperate and unlucky. It left our two runaway chip leaders in Vakili and John Messina to battle for the crown.  The only problem was that with over one million in chips apiece, and the final table blinds still in their infancy, both players were forced to settle in for the long haul.

Credit must go to Vakili for his extreme patience. He kept the pots small, value bet with the goods and made plenty of big lay downs when it appeared that the luck was going the way of Messina.  In the end, Vakili was able to grind down his opponent, and eventually things turned his way.

A dominant performance late on Day 1 of this event has turned into the Aussie Millions title and $53,600 in prize money. Congratulations Sam! 

Final Table Results:

1st Sam Valiki - $53,600
2nd John Messina - $37,300
3rd Trung Tran - $29,125
4th Nick Nicolaou - $22,125
5th Simon Twaites - $17,440
6th Vadmin Pinsky - $13,950
7th Minh Nguyen - $10,500
8th Graeme Putt - $7,000

John Messina eliminated in 2nd place ($37,300); Sam Vakili Wins!

After an epic heads-up battle, the final hand of the $1,100 Pot-Limit Omaha has finally been dealt!

It started with Sam Vakili limping the button, at which point John Messina raised it up to 64,000. Vakili made the call and the dealer flipped over a 4 hearts5 spadesK diams flop. Messina led for 100,000 here, which was around half his stack. Vakili thought for a few moments before tumbling out the call.

On the 10 hearts turn, Messina decided it was best to check, while Vakili didn't take long to bet 125,000. When Messina called for slightly less than Vakili's bet, we finally had our first all in during heads-up play.

Vakili: K hearts2 clubs2 heartsA spades
Messina: A diamsA clubs8 hearts8 clubs

Messina was in front at this point, but had to dodge Vakili's wheel and flush draw. When the 7 hearts completed the board on the river, Messina was sent home in 2nd place, while Vakili became our champion!

Vakili on the verge of victory

After winning several small pots in a row, Sam Vakili has now taken a strong grip on this match after winning one of the biggest heads-up pots we’ve seen so far.

John Messina limped the button, Sam Vakili raised to 60,000, but Messina responded with some aggression of his own with a re-raise to 128,000.  Vakili made the call and the flop landed 7 diamsK clubsQ spades.

Vakili check-called for 100,000 before both checked the 6 hearts turn and 8 clubs river.

Messina tabled A heartsJ spades10 clubs10 hearts but it wasn’t enough for Vakili’s A spadesK diams3 diams2 clubs top pair as he took down the pot.

Vakili is now up to over 2 million with Messina down to his last 270,000.

Level up: Blinds 12,000-24,000

Win an Aussie Millions Main Event seat for free on Twitter!

For your chance to win, simply tell Crown Poker what you love best about Crown's Aussie Millions and be sure to include @crownpoker and #aussiemillions in your tweets.

Competition runs daily from 8.59am Wednesday 23 – 8:59pm Monday 28 January 2013.

Three winners will be drawn at 9pm each night (based on the originality of their tweets) and go through to battle it out in a Freeroll Tournament at 10am Tuesday 29 January. 

The lucky winner of the Freeroll Tournament will receive an entry into the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event Day 1 Flight 3 at 12:30pm on Tuesday 29 January. 

Competition Terms and Conditions

River check-raise with the nuts

A rare check-raise has seen Sam Vakili take a nice chunk of change from John Messina and swing the game back in his direction.

The board read 2 diamsQ spades3 clubsK clubs5 clubs when Vakili checked it over to Messina who bet 100,000.  Vakili came back with a check-raise to 265,000.  As careful as Vakili has been, Messina just could fold his queen-high flush as Vakili showed A clubs9 clubs4 hearts3 diams for the nut flush.

With that, Vakili is back in front with 1.4 million to Messina’s 900,000.

John MessinaMessina forces fold from Vakili

Sam Vakili raised the button to 40,000 and John Messina (pictured) made the call to see a flop of 2 clubsK clubsJ clubs. Messina decided to lead out with a bet of 40,000 but Vakili clicked it back to 80,000.  Messina made the call and the turn paired the board with the K diams.

Messina led out again, this time for a hefty 135,000.  Vakili quickly folded but spoke to his rail indicating that he held aces with an ace-high flush.  Vakili continues to play it careful as he sits on 1.05 million to Messina’s 1.25 million.

Play resumes

The ten-minute break drifted into a lazy twenty, as these two don’t seem in any hurry to finish this anytime soon!  The blinds are now up to 10,000/20,000 which should help them along.

Updated chip counts

John Messina – 1,480,000
Sam Vakili – 845,000


Ten-minute break

Momentum for Messina

The biggest pot of this heads-up contest, and the momentum, has swung the way of John Messina.

The flop of 7 clubsJ hearts9 spades saw Messina check-call for 50,000 before the K hearts hit the turn.  Messina tapped the table again and Vakili upped the price to 100,000.

Messina tanked for a long time, exchanging plenty of smiles and friendly banter with his opponent.

“You’re not lucky on the river,” quipped Messina before making the call.

The river was the J spades and Messina reached for 100,000 and tossed them into the middle. Again Vakili appeared unhappy by the final card and eventually verbalized a fold.  Messina proudly opened a monster 10 hearts8 heartsJ clubsK clubs for flopped straight, turned flush draw and rivered full house!

Vakili flashed 10 spades8 clubs for the same straight as again the luck was against him.  Vakili slips to 750,000 with Massina now up to 1.55 million.

Messina swimming on the river

John Messina has clawed some chips back after two favourable river cards left Sam Vakili shaking his head in disgust.

On a flop of K clubs5 clubs4 hearts, Messina check-called for 35,000 before being faced with another bet from Vakili of 60,000 on the 2 spades turn.  Messina gave it some thought and made the call as were heading towards a rare showdown when the Q clubs hit the river.

This time Messina led out with a small bet of 30,000. Vakili gave it up as Messina flashed 7 clubs4 clubs for a flush.

Moments later, another healthy pot had built by the turn on the board of 3 clubs6 diams7 clubs2 spades.  Vakili bet 95,000 and Messina thought long and hard before making the call as the J clubs landed on the river.  Vakili checked and groaned in disgust when Messina tossed out another tiny bet of 50,000.

“C’mon!?!?”  Vakili exclaimed before making a crying call with 10 hearts10 diams5 diams4 hearts for the flopped straight.  But it wasn’t enough as Messina opened 8 clubs5 clubsA hearts3 hearts for another rivered flush.

Messina is now into the lead with 1.4 million to Vakili’s 900,000.

Check-raise by Vakili

With the blinds notching up we were hoping to see some signs of action to report, and we did just see our first check-raise, even if the hand fizzled out pretty quick.

John Messina limped the button and Sam Vakili (pictured) checked the big blind to see a flop of Q clubs4 spades9 diams.  Vakili checked and Messina bet 20,000. Vakili check-raised to 55,000 and Messina made the call. The turn was the 5 hearts and Vakili bet 65,000.

“You have trips?” chuckled Messina before folding, as Vakili indeed flashed 4 diams4 clubs for a set.

Vakili is slowly nudging ahead with around 1.4 million to Messina’s 900,000.

Level up: blinds 8,000/16,000

It’s a Shootout!

While this final table hits a bit of a lull, across the room the third event of the Aussie Millions Championships is in full swing.  The $1,100 No Limit Holdem Shootout event has attracted a star-studded field with estimations of a field in excess of 200 entries.  That is already more than last year, with registrations still open for another hour. Some of those spotted in this event include international superstars Annette Obrestad, Sam Holden, Jake Balsiger and Vanessa Selbst!

Massage for Messina

John Messina looks like he’s settled in for the long haul.  He’s just called for the masseuse and is currently enjoying nice relaxing massage in what is the most exciting activity of this heads-up battle so far! 

Slow going

We’ve yet to write a hand that wasn’t a bustout, but the crazy rate of eliminations were largely due to the overwhelming chip advantage held by the two big stacks in Sam Vakili and John Messina.  Of course now that it’s just the two of them, play has slowed down considerably.  The blinds are a tiny 6,000/12,000 and with both players over a million chips each, we could be here a while, despite an apparent deal struck during the break.

Vakili seems content to keep the pots small and chip away at his opponent for now, marginally increasing his lead in the early stages of heads-up play.

Heads-up chip counts

Sam Vakili – 1,300,000
John Messina – 1,025,000

Ten-minute break


Trung Tran eliminated in 3rd place ($29,125)

Just 45-minutes into play on this final table and already we’re heads-up for the title, following the elimination of Trung Tran (pictured) in 3rd place.

Tran started with a raise to 24,000 on the button with both Sam Vakili and John Messina making the call in the blinds.  The flop landed 10 diams9 clubs2 diams and Vakili led out with a bet of 60,000. Messina folded but Tran declared himself all in.  Vakili instantly called.

Vakili: 10 clubs10 spades3 clubs5 diams
Tran: 9 diams9 spadesK diamsJ clubs

It was a huge flop for Tran with middle set and the second-nut flush draw, yet incredibly he found himself behind the top set of Vakili.

The turn was the K clubs and river the 5 hearts to leave Vakili with the goods and eliminate Tran in 3rd place for $29,125.

With that elimination, the players are taking a quick break, and we’re going to catch our breath, before we come back to play for the Aussie Millions title.

Nick Nicolaou eliminated in 4th place ($22,125)

The carnage and the brutality continues here on the PLO final table as the short stacks are getting swallowed up left and right.

This time it was Nick Nicolaou who was the unlucky victim, falling once again to John Messina.

Sam Vakili opened the action with a raise to 25,000 from the cutoff and Messina made the call.  Action folded to Nicolaou in the big blind who squeezed it to 111,000.  Vakili folded but Messina deliberated before making the call.

The flop landed 10 diamsJ clubs2 hearts and Nicolaou moved all in for around 175,000.  Messina made the call.

Nicolaou: A heartsA spades9 spades5 clubs
Messina: Q heartsQ spades8 spades7 hearts

Nicolaou was in control with his aces but incredibly the 7 clubs turn and 9 clubs river delivered Messina a running straight for the knockout blow.

A shell-shocked Nicolaou headed to the cashier to collect $22,125 for 4th place.

Level up: Blinds 6,000-12,000

Chip Count Update

Sam Vakili – 1,008,000
John Messina – 780,000
Trung Tran – 290,000
Nick Nicolaou – 290,000

Simon Thwaites eliminated in 5th place ($17,440)

With the action fast and frantic here on the PLO final table, we were only able to pick up the action from the turn where Simon Thwaites had moved all in for his last 89,000 on a board of 3 diamsA clubsJ hearts8 clubsJohn Messina was in the tank before eventually emerging with a call.

Both players were reluctant to show, with Thwaites pretty stoked to find that his A diamsQ diams4 clubs4 spades top pair was ahead as Messina gambled with K clubs7 clubs10 spades3 clubs.  Thwaites had to fade the river to double up, but the 5 clubs fell to complete Messina’s flush and eliminate Thwaites in 5th place for $17,440 in prize money.

Vadim Pinsky eliminated in 6th place ($13,950)

Trung Tran limped in from middle position before Vadim Pinsky (pictured) raised it up to 45,000, leaving himself just 28,000 behind.  Tran took a glance at his opponent’s stack and postured for a moment before making the call.

The flop landed 9 hearts9 diamsJ spades and Tran checked to Pinsky who quickly slid his last 28,000 into the middle.  Tran sighed and matched the bet with A clubsJ hearts5 hearts7 clubs but he was in trouble against Pinsky’s K heartsK spadesQ heartsQ clubs.

The turn was a 5 spades brick, but the river was a cruel J clubs to improve Tran to the winning hand.

Pinsky collects $13,950 for his 6th place finish.

Minh Nguyen eliminated in 7th place ($10,500)

Minh Nguyen opened with a raise to 20,000 from early position, with Sam Vakili and Nick Nicolaou making the call to see a flop of 6 spades6 diams10 clubs.

Nicolaou checked and Nguyen bet 22,000.  Vakili made the call as Nicolaou got out of the way.  The turn brought the 8 diams and with roughly around 50,000 chips behind, Nguyen declared himself all in.  We didn’t get a chance for a count as Vakili instantly and confidently tossed out a single chip to make the call, as Nguyen cringed.

“Do you have a full house?” sighed Nguyen.

Vakili gave a nod and opened 10 diams10 spadesQ heartsQ clubs for the flopped boat, leaving Nguyen to re-check his cards before tossing them into the muck before the river was even dealt.  Nguyen was already out of his chair and walking away before the 8 clubs was dealt on the river.  He picks up $10,500 for 7th place as Vakili continues on his merry way.

Graeme Putt eliminated in 8th place ($7,000)

The news wasn’t great for Graeme Putt (pictured) at the start of today after coming back with just 22,000, or a little over two big blinds.  It got worse, when Putt drew the big blind first hand.

Sam Vakili opened with a raise to 22,000 and John Messina made the call.  Putt toyed with the idea of folding, but bravely committed his last 12,000.

The two live players checked down the board of A diams5 clubs10 diams8 spadesA hearts.  Vakili tabled Q spadesJ clubs5 spades3 clubs for not much with Messina’s J spadesJ diams6 diams6 hearts for jacks and aces good enough to take the pot as Putt flashed Q hearts9 hearts8 diams7 diams.

Putt collects $7,000 for his 8th place finish.

Final Table Payouts

1st $53,600
2nd $37,300
3rd $29,125
4th $22,125
5th $17,440
6th $13,950
7th $10,500
8th $7,000

Cards are in the air!

The players have taken their seats on Table 10, unbagged their chips, and exchanged pleasantries before the cards were launched into the air!

The blinds will start with 26:50 left in Level 17 with the blinds at 5,000/10,000. For a couple of our short stacks, there’s not much room to move.


Aussie MillionsThe second championship event of the 2013 Aussie Millions schedule saw a very healthy field of 233 entries take part in the $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha event.

The top 20 would finish in the money, and late last night, the final table was formed as follows:

Event #2: $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha Final Table Lineup

Seat 1: Graeme Putt - 22,000
Seat 2: Minh Hau Nguyen - 140,000
Seat 3: Simon Thwaites - 204,000
Seat 4: Sam Vakili - 857,000
Seat 5: Giovanni Messina - 646,000
Seat 6: Khac Trung Tran - 165,000
Seat 7: Nicholas Nicolaou - 202,000
Seat 8: Vadim Pinsky - 93,000

Sam Vakili went on a tear late yesterday to accumulate a massive stack, and along with John Messina, who finished 3rd in the Joe Hachem/Shane Warne Charity Event earlier in the week, hold close to two-thirds of the chips in play.

The Poker Asia Pacific team will be live on the floor of the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne to bring you live and exclusive updates of the Event #2: $1,100 Pot Limit Omaha final table from 2pm today.