The competition began on January 6, 2007 when the first series of tournaments began. Each series contained one $500 freeroll, one global freeroll, in which the prize would be a prize package including a major live tournament entry, and seven low buy-in tournaments. Sponsored by PokerNews and 888 and Pacific Poker, there would be a total of six series, twelve freeroll tournaments, and more than fifty league events throughout the year to determine who would earn enough points to compete at the live final table. The ten finalists who maneuvered their way to that final event would receive an all-expenses paid package, including flights, accommodations, and expenses, to the secret filming location, which turned out to be the site of the Aussie Millions at the Crown Casino.
The final table ran for nearly six hours, and the competitors were Joanne Abolins, Massimo Di Marco, Martin Page, Robert Ritchie, Luke Abolins, Robert Price, Ilja Smid, Kairit Leibold, Andrew Ritchie, and Carlo Carione.
The first casualty of the table was Di Marco, who was eliminated by Price within the first hour and a half of competition. Soon after, Luke Abolins took out Robert Ritchie. The eighth place finisher was Page, seventh place was Smid, and sixth was Price. Andrew Ritchie was the next to go, with Leibold following in fourth place.
The final three players were interesting, as Carlo Carione was left with family members Luke and Joanne Abolins. But it soon became obvious that there was no soft play going on when Luke sent Joanne to the rail in third place. She did win a prize for her finish, which was $1000 worth of online tournaments at Pacific Poker.
Carione held a slight chip lead over Luke Abolins upon entering the heads-up portion of the tournament. In two hands, Abolins took a slight chip lead, and the deciding hand would then be played. After a raise from Abolins, Carione moved all-in with pocket 3’s, and Abolins called with K-10 suited. The board rolled out a flop of 6-8-8, then the 10 on the turn to give Abolins the best hand, and a Jack on the river ended the tournament. Carione finished in second place and received an entry into the 2008 Aussie Millions main event which began a few days later.
Abolins received the coveted first prize which included entries into four major 2008 tournaments – with flights, accommodations, and expenses paid. The tournaments are said to be the Aussie Millions, World Series of Poker, 888 UK Poker Open, and 888 Canadian Heads-up Challenge. He will also have his own personal blog on PokerProForAYear.com to document his journeys and poker experiences.
Upon the completion of the event, 888 representative Gareth Edwards said, “We were excited to send the PokerProForAYear finalists to Australia to battle it out for the Champion. It was a great series and it was good to see that the final table lived up to the excitement. Crown was a great venue and I would like to thank them and PokerNews.com for their support. Luke was a worth winner and we look forward to him representing 888.com at events around the world this year.”
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