Dan Smith wins the $100k Challenge at Aussie Millions

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 23, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

With a final table that included established poker pros like Tony G, Sam Trickett, Gus Hansen, Joe Hachem, and Sorel Mizzi, it was young gun Dan Smith who would come away victorious in the $100k Challenge tournament at the 2012 Aussie Millions.

The $100k buy-in event saw a total of 22 players register for the tournament on Sunday, and eight of those players reach Monday’s final table:

* Seat 1: Tony G — 102,000

* Seat 2: Gus Hansen — 567,000

* Seat 3: Nam Le — 79,500

* Seat 4: Sam Trickett — 73,000

* Seat 5: Mikhail Smirnov — 265,000

* Seat 6: Joe Hachem — 538,500

* Seat 7: Sorel Mizzi — 228,500

* Seat 8: Dan Smith — 346,500

With all of the star-power sitting at the final table it ended up being the two least accomplished players who would battle for over 1.6 million if the $2.1 million prize-pool, Dan Smith and Mikhail Smirnov. Smith dominated the final table, including knocking out both Tony G and Joe Hachem (both men happen to be Australian Poker Hall of Fame Members) in 4th and 3rd place respectively. Smith then used his chips to wear down Smirnov, and thanks to winning virtually every race he was involved in, as well as his dominant hands holding-up, he made quick work of his heads-up opponent on his way to claiming the biggest prize of his poker career.

Only 4 players made the money in the tournament, which means Sorel Mizzi, Gus Hansen, Nam Le, and Sam Trickett all walked away from the tournament down $100k, despite making the final table! Here is a look at the massive payouts the four players who did cash in the tournament received:

* 1st place: Dan Smith — $1,012,000

* 2nd place: Mikhail Smirnov — $616,000

* 3rd place: Joe Hachem — $330,000

* 4th place: Tony G — $242,000

Smith may not be well-known to the masses but he has been a fixture on the tournament trail since 2010, racking up over $600k in tournament winnings before his seven-figure score at the Aussie Millions. This is the second title of his short career, the other coming in a 2008 Heartland Poker Tour Championship event.

For the Russian Smirnov, this was by far his biggest cash in a poker tournament, besting his previous record cash of $67k in the 2011 WSOP $25k Heads-Up Championship. Seemingly out of nowhere, Smirnov switched from playing tournaments with buy-ins measured in the hundreds of dollars in 2004, to playing the biggest tournaments in the world after having only a single result in the intervening 6 years! This leads me to believe that the Russian sharpened his skills at the online poker tables during that time.

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