Last year’s $1,050 PokerPro No Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament at the Aussie Millions drew 31 players on 4 tables. Imagine the surprise of late registrants when they saw that the 2008 version drew a field of 97 (out of 100 available seats), among them Joe Hachem, Jennifer Tilly, and Gavin Smith! The big field held plenty of big stars, as Andy Bloch, Phil Laak, and Shannon Elizabeth also competed in the event, eventually won by Michael ‘Timex’ McDonald.
PokerPro is an automated poker table that seats up to 10 players. Each player has a touch screen that displays their hole cards, community cards, bet amounts and action buttons. A larger display in the center of the table shows community cards, action, and chip stacks. Players cup their hands around their cards to view their hole cards, which peel up to reveal the corners of the cards just like real cards.
Games at a PokerPro table are much faster than standard poker games, so the 97-player field was cut by 2/3 by the dinner break. Among the early eliminations were Phil Laak and Clonie Gowen, who demonstrated the PokerPro Heads Up table before the tournament began. Laak came from behind to take down Gowen in their best-of-three match, but they both missed the money in the PokerPro main event. Joe Hachem made an early splash when he flopped quads to eliminate one opponent, but he ran into Michael McDonald after the dinner break with , and McDonald called with . Hachem picked up a flush draw on the flop, but got no further help and was eliminated.
With the final table making the money, Damien Oborne was the bubble boy. McDonald took him out in 10th place when his pocket Queens held up against Oborne’s pocket sevens. The chip counts looked like this as the final nine settled in around their screens -
Seat 1: Lei He - 18,400
Seat 2: Greg 'DuckU' Hobson - 110,900
Seat 3: Heng Zhang - 42,500
Seat 4: Andrew Demetriou - 26,800
Seat 5: Michael 'Timex' McDonald - 62,000
Seat 6: David Lee - 22,900
Seat 7: Ramy Tadros - 44,600
Seat 8: Nick Binger - 25,200
Seat 9: Martin Cardno - 34,700
It didn’t take long for Lei He and David Lee to make their exit, as each of them got their last chips in holding A-Q. Lei He ran into the pocket Kings of Andrew Demetriou, and he was done in 9th place ($1,940). David Lee went out a few hands later when his A-Q was no good against Martin Cardno’s A-K. Lee pulled ahead with a Queen on the flop, but a King on the river sent him home in 8th ($2,910).
Nick Binger was the next to fall when he pushed all in with and found one caller in Ramy Tadros with pocket eights. Tadros’ eights held up on a board of , and Binger picked up $5,820 for 7th place. Michael McDonald sent Heng Zhang to the rail in 6th ($5,820) when his pocket Tens held up against Zhang’s .
After Zhang’s elimination, Martin Cardno took out three opponents in a matter of moments to set up a heads-up match between himself and chip leader Michael McDonald. In the first hand, Cardno got it all in holding to Greg Hobson’s and picked up a Queen on the flop. Hobson never caught up and earned $7,760 for 5th place. Andrew Demetriou was Cardno’s next victim when Cardno’s pocket sixes held up against Demetriou’s K-10 to send him home in 4th place ($9,700). Cardno then took out Ramy Tadros in 3rd place ($11,640) when his held up against Tadros’ to bust him. Once Tadros was eliminated, the chip stacks were virtually even, with McDonald holding a slight chip lead -
Not many hands into the heads up match, both players woke up with a big hand, and all the chips went in the middle. Cardno raised preflop with , and McDonald reraised. Cardno pushed all in, and Cardno called, revealing . No help on the board for either player and McDonald busted Cardno in 2nd place ($19,400). Michael ‘Timex’ McDonald kept on ticking to the finish in his first Aussie Millions 2008 title and a $33,950 payday!