Aussie Kevin Blackwood made a miraculous comeback heads up to win the opening event of the 2016 Aussie Millions Poker Championship and its $275,300 first-place prize at Crown Entertainment Complex on Monday.
Phachara Wongwichit dominated the final table, taking a 5:1 chip lead into heads-up play, but could not beat Blackwood, who also took home an exclusive LK Boutique Aussie Millions Championship ring by ultimately defeating a field 1,320 players put together over four starting flights this week.
The event's third and final day began with 17 players at 12:30 p.m. Monday and was quickly whittled down to nine with German Ferenc Riech going from chip leader to the final table bubble in a big hurry.
The final nine began with American Jacob Elmore Dahl and Brit Louis Salter in a dead heat for the chip lead and Wongwichit close.
Salter would soon separate himself from the pack with some aggressive play and it would take two 60-minute levels before the first player was felted.
Finally, Patrick Fletcher shoved a weak ace and Wongwichit called with a small pair, holding to send Fletcher home ninth and take the lead.
Canadian Sean Giesbrecht then ran kings into Sinan Aydogan's aces and spiked a king on the river to double through. Aydogan exited eighth a few hands later.
A short stacked Dahl jammed eights on an six-high flop into Alexandre Thomas' set of threes to say goodbye seventh.
But it was Thomas himself who busted sixth, running a weak ace into Wongwichit strong one, leaving Wongwichit with more than four million chips five handed.
Stephen Koutsouvelis busted fifth when he lost a coinflip versus Blackwood's pair and Giesbrecht was the next player out, becoming yet another to run a weak ace into Wongwichit strong one.
Wongwichit had over seven million chips when three-handed play began and when he busted Salter third, getting lucky with a dominated ace of his own, he took a 5:1 chip lead into heads up play with Blackwood.
Within an hour, Blackwood had turned things around and taken the lead himself, running extremely hot and pummelling Wongwichit into virtual submission to secure his first Aussie Millions title.