The 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event has been reduced from a field of 732 entrants to a final table of seven. It’s a fantastic mix of international and local, live and online as well as male and female players!
Let’s take a closer look at the seven remaining players in preparation for the Aussie Millions final table on Sunday.
Seat 1: Dylan Honeyman (Perth, Australia) – 885,000 chips
Dylan Honeyman is a 25-year old professional poker player from Perth in Western Australia. An unassuming character at the table, Dylan’s quiet demeanour belies his aggressive play that has been honed in the online world under the moniker “WhiteRabbito”.
Dylan clearly enjoys the big stage of the Aussie Millions. His best live result came with a win in the Bounty Event at the 2013 Aussie Millions for AU$120,000. He also cashed in the Aussie Millions Main Event last year in 56th place. Now with at least AU$210,000 locked up, Dylan has recorded his best ever result and will be looking to at least climb a few more pay jumps as the short stack of the final table.
Dylan says that his progress through this tournament has been “a blur”, but clearly it was Day 2 where he made the biggest impact where he ended the day as the chip leader. He says that he has enjoyed the excellent deep structure of this event and has had an amazing time in Melbourne. There would be nothing more amazing that to end his trip with the Aussie Millions title.
Seat 2: Alex Lynskey (Brisbane, Australia) – 2,390,000 chips
Another Australian young gun on this final table is Queensland’s Alex Lynskey. At just 25 years of age, Alex has already racked up an impressive poker resume at events all around the world.
Last year Alex rose to prominence with a deep run in this very event. He looked set to reach the final table before a cruel bad beat would send him home in ninth place. He has bettered that mark this time around and looks focussed to gain vengeance with a run at the top prize of AU$1.6 million.
The 2015 Aussie Millions kick-started a great year for Alex with a couple of WSOP cashes and results on the EPT and UKIPT. However his biggest cash came with a final table result at the WPT Choctaw event where his sixth place finish was worth US$135,504. The experience he gained under the bright lights of that TV table will hold him in good stead for this final table.
Away from poker, Alex enjoys travel, food and sport, and he says that he has enjoyed the home field advantage over the international visitors at this event. He says he has enjoyed playing with such a good structure in a venue as great as the Crown Poker Room.
Seat 3: Tony Dunst (Las Vegas, United States) – 5,990,000 chips
A familiar face on the final table to most of the poker world is World Poker Tour commentator Tony Dunst. With fourteen years experience in poker and over US$1.6 million in career earnings, Tony is arguably the most experienced player on this final table.
Tony is particularly familiar here in the Crown Poker Room where he spent several years grinding the local poker scene while studying in Melbourne. His first poker results came in this very room way back in 2005, and he was the runner-up in the inaugural ANZPT event in Adelaide in 2009. Since then, he’s amassed a string of results in the US, with multiple WSOP and WPT cashes, including a victory at the WPT St. Maarten Event and two final tables in back-to-back years at the WPT World Championship.
The biggest story with Tony at this event was that he was almost not going to play at all. Tony somehow dropped a $5,000 chip from his pocket while waiting in the registration line. He was obviously upset by this and decided he didn’t want to play at all. It wasn’t until late on day one, that Mike “Timex” McDonald offered him a freeroll for a small percentage of his action. Tony thought “what the hell” and in attempting to punt off his stack, he has turned it into the second biggest stack at this final table.
In his spare time, Tony enjoys tennis, reading and travelling, and says that he has enjoyed everything that the Aussie Millions and the Crown Poker Room has offered during this series.
Seat 4: Samantha Abernathy (Las Vegas, United States) – 2,485,000 chips
Samantha Abernathy has captured the hearts of the Australian poker community. The 24-year old hails from Las Vegas and despite being relatively new to the game, she’s proving to have plenty of game at the tables thanks to the tutelage of online phenom Calvin Anderson.
Samantha’s live resume is modest, with a string of small tournament cashes throughout Vegas, but she did finish third in the Aussie Millions Terminator Event just a few days ago. However Samantha is known primarily as a cash game player, grinding stakes up to $5/$10. Those familiar with the television show “Poker Night in America” would know Samantha for a rather impressive bluff in the cash game where she bombed the river with an eight-high bluff and managed to get ace-king to fold top pair. Don’t let her innocent smile fool you, this girl’s got game!
However it might be another video which propels Samantha into the poker spotlight. Some are calling it a slowroll, others think it’s a nitroll, but when Mikel Habb took his time to call with pocket kings against Samantha’s pocket sixes with just fifteen players left in this event, the Twitterverse started trending #shipittomama when Samantha hit a two-outer six on the river.
Samantha says that every single person at the Aussie Millions has made her felt right at home, unlike anywhere else she has ever been.
Samantha has a background in graphics design, but it seems that the transition from poker as a hobby to a profession will be complete following this final table. A woman has never won the Aussie Millions Main Event but with two females on the final table, we are already guaranteed of the best result ever by a female at this event.
Seat 5: Ari Engel (Toronto, Canada) – 8,155,000 chips
Alan “Ari” Engel is a former number one ranked online player in the world and 2014 PokerStars SCOOP champion. At one point “Bodog Ari” was considered one of the highest volume online tournament players in the world, but following Black Friday, he was forced to pack up his residence in Las Vegas and travel the world as a nomadic poker grinder.
It’s worked out well for Ari with over US$2.2 million in live career earnings to date with results all over the world. His biggest score came with a win in the 2014 Punta Cana Classic for US$177,000 but he is best known for his six WSOP circuit rings across the US. An Aussie Millions title would further confirm his place as one of the world’s elite players, and with a big chip lead entering the final table, he’s in pole position to do so.
Ari credits Andrew Brown for teaching him the game some 12 years ago, while Kevin McColgan and Nachman Berlin have been his biggest poker influences.
Ari spent eight years of his youth living in Melbourne, so winning the Aussie Millions would be a very special accomplishment.
Seat 6: Kitty Kuo (Chinese Taipei) – 1,005,000 chips
Chinese Taipei’s all-time leading money earner, Hui Chen “Kitty” Kuo is a popular figure on the Asia poker circuit with her colourful attire and entertaining table banter.
A former Asia Player of the Year, Kitty has over US$900,000 in lifetime earnings with results spread all over the world. Kitty is a former Macau Poker Cup champion while she has two fourth place finishes in open WPT and WSOP events.
Approaching the final table of this event, Kitty was all in with ace-king against both ace-queen and pocket kings. She was one card away from elimination but one of the two remaining aces appeared on the river to keep her alive and from there, she carved her way to the final table.
Kitty says she has enjoyed her time in the Crown Poker Room with the professional tournament directors and dealers running a great tournament. Kitty says her hobbies are drinking and shopping – she’ll have plenty of time for both if she can win this tournament to become the first ever female Aussie Millions champion.
Seat 7: John Apostolidis (Melbourne, Australia) – 960,000 chips
The final Australian on the final table is John Apostolidis. He’s also the only amateur player and the lone Melbourne local representative remaining in the field.
A regular grinder in the $5/10 cash game and local tournaments at Crown, this final table result is already larger than John’s career tournament earnings to date. No one was happier when they made the pay jumps for ninth place and then for the final table of seven. Despite being one of the short stacks, expect John to dig in his heels to try and climb further up the payout ladder on the final table.
John is a little fortunate to still be alive after he was all in preflop with pocket kings against pocket aces earlier in the tournament. He found a third king on board and used that stroke of luck to make it all the way to his first major final table.
Away from poker John likes playing chess and he says he has most enjoyed the restaurants and dining options available here at the Crown Casino.