Twenty-five players shelled out $100,000 to play in the largest buy-in event at the Aussie Millions series of tournament. This created a prize pool of $2.5 million, to be divided amongst the top five finishers with fifth place earning their $100,000 back and the winner earning half of the prize pool, or $1.25 million. Several poker superstars were there, as in addition to Lederer there was also Erick Lindgren, who won the event in 2007, Phil Ivey, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, Tony G, and several well-known online pros. Only three tables were required to seat all of the participants in this event. In 2007, only eighteen players participated in the event
This Texas Holdem tournament had an unusual structure, as the game was pot-limit before the flop, and no-limit after the flop, and when the tournament was down to heads-up play, it would be entirely no-limit.
The tournament started off slow, as no one wanted to be reckless given the large amount of money each player had to fork over to enter the event. The early excitement was provided by the reigning champion, Erick Lindgren, who eliminated Gus Hansen when Erick flopped a set to beat Gusâ€™s top pair. Erick would follow this up by knocking out Tony G when Tonyâ€™s pocket queens could not overcome Erickâ€™s pocket aces. Erick would go on to make the final table, even entering it with the chip lead, but Erick could not hold on and was eliminated in sixth place, one short of the money.
The two remaining internet stars, Tom Dwan and Jeff Garza were the first to be eliminated at the final table, Dwan losing his stack when his A-Q fell to Garzaâ€™s pocket kings. Garza would quickly follow Dwan when his A-K lost to the pocket jacks of Mark Teltscher. Dwan and Garza finished in eighth and seventh, respectively.
The competitors had reached the money bubble, with the next elimination determining who made the money and who didnâ€™t. Michael Sampoerna, who entered the final table as the short-stack, would be the one to eliminate Erick Lindgren. Erick raised with pocket kings preflop and flopped his set on a board of Kc-Jc-3d. Erick bet and Sampoerna called, leading to a 4c as the turn card. Erick bet, and Sampoerna pushed all-in. Sampoerna had made his club flush, and Erick could not get any help on the river to survive, forcing Erick to walk away after being able to smell the money.
Michael Sampoerna would quickly eliminate another opponent, making a straight on the turn to beat Nikolaus Jedlickaâ€™s flopped set. Jedlicka left the tournament in fifth place, earning back his buy-in of $100,000.
Jeff Lisandro would be the next to exit, his A-6 losing to Mark Teltscherâ€™s K-10 when a king fell on the flop. Jeff won $150,000 for his fourth place finish. Sampoerna would soon go all-in with pocket sevens, but the pair wasnâ€™t good enough to beat Teltscherâ€™s pocket eights. Howard Lederer and Mark Teltscher had now made it to heads-up play.
Howard Lederer, the â€œProfessor of Poker,â€ had been fairly quiet at the final table, not eliminating any of the other players, but he had built up a stack that would make Lederer the chip leader going into heads-up play. Lederer continued to amass chips during heads-up play until he finally eliminated Teltscher. Teltscher held 8-7 off suit and flopped two pair after checking for a free flop. The flop was 9-8-7. Teltscher bet out, and Lederer called. The turn was an A, and once again, Teltscher bet and Lederer called. The river card was a J, and Teltscher pushed all-in. Lederer called and showed A-J for a higher two pair, winning the $1.25 million first prize and an Aussie Millions trophy.