Hansen Takes Full Tilt Poker Million IX
The final table of Full Tilt Poker Million IX tournament was a long time in the making with the first heat for the tournament kicking off all the way back in July. Hundreds of the world’s best players competed for a seat – including recent Hall of Famer Erik Seidel, online prodigy Tom Dwan, 2010 WSOP final tabler Michael Mizrachi, popular poker villain Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, WSOPE champion Annette Obrestad and WSOP champion Huck Seed. It was the toughest field in the event’s nine year history, all the way through the final heat in October. In fact, the competition was so tough that none of the previously mentioned pros made it to the final table.
Who did make it to the final table? A line-up of pros worthy of any high stakes TV show, which was good news for Sky Sports’ numbers since they televised the event live on Friday night. The eight notable players vying for the big million on Friday were: Patrik Antonius, Tony Bloom, Barny Boatman, James Bord, Gus Hansen, Howard Lederer, Gary Peniket and Seth Webber. Bloom, Boatman and Lederer were especially hungry, having played at the Million’s final table before. At the other end of the spectrum was online pro and freeroll qualifier Gary Peniket, who had never played a televised tournament before.
Each of the heat winners had already won $90,000, but their eyes were already on the bigger prize Friday night: the tournament’s top-heavy $1,630,000 pool. As you know from the headline, Gus Hansen claimed the first place $1 million payout to continue his amazing end-of-the-year turnaround. Here’s how the rest of the action went down.
With such a fierce field, the Million felt like anyone’s game, but Patrik Antonius’ early exit to Bord on Hand #37 still seemed surprising. It was another familiar face – Howard Lederer – that would go next in the first of several eliminations made by Hansen himself. Young pro Seth Webber was the Great Dane’s next target followed by online hopeful Gary Peniket in fifth. In the very next hand Hansen eliminated the short-stacked Boatman when he two-paired his A-K against Boatman’s inferior (and unpaired) Q-T.
Three-time Million final tabler Tony Bloom then took Bord out in third, commencing the heads-up segment of the event. It was the closest Bloom had yet come to the big prize he’s been pursuing for years, and with 1,130,000 chips to Hansen’s 1,270,000 it seemed like a close call.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of all, then, was how quickly it actually ended for Bloom. Hansen scored a pair of queens in his first heads-up hand, made a big re-raise and scared Bloom off the pot. When Bloom put his foot down on the next hand and shoved all-in, Hansen’s luck held; he outdrew Bloom to take the tournament only two hands into the heads-up portion.