Billy Argyros has a Hendon Mob database stretching back 25 years, but yesterday he collected his biggest ever payout when winning the APPT Melbourne Main Event
There were emotional scenes in Melbourne´s Crown Poker Room yesterday when one of Australia´s most colourful poker players won the APPT Melbourne Main Event. “I haven’t won a poker tournament since Cleopatra was water skiing down the Nile!” claimed Argyros after defeating Bowdy Tolhopf in the heads-up.
Argyros was quickly on the phone to tell his family the good news, while poker historians looked up when Billy “The Croc” had last won a poker tournament (a side event at the Aussie Millions in 2009) and he then returned to collect his winner´s cheque of Au$134,500 – the biggest cash of his long career.
Few would have predicted Argyros´ victory in a field packed with experienced and rising stars – especially as he was one of the shortest stacked of the remaining players when the cards were in the air at the start of the nine-handed final table.
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Good Start for the Croc as Short Stacks Start to Fall
The action happened thick and fast when play got underway for the conclusion of the APPT Melbourne Main Event. Jazz Mathers decided that his last six Big Blinds should go in with 9♣ 9♠ and he was called by Ravindran Maravar, who was holding A♣ 10♣. Maravar popped the A♦ on the Turn to send Mathers to the rail; but Maravar´s own participation in the tournament was soon to come to an end when his stack was decimated by David Yan K♣ K♦ > Q♥ Q♦ and then dismantled completely by Ashley Mason A♣ 9♠ > K♥ 9♦.
Billy Argyros´ chip stack had seen a significant improvement after a double up against David Yan (A♥ J♥ > 7♣ 7♠), and a similar hand (A♦ J♥) enabled him to bust out Phi Luu (Q♣ 9♣) in seventh – although he was still a long way behind new chip leader David Yan, who took his chip stack to 3.4 million chips with the elimination of Joe Cabret (A♣ Q♠ > pocket Eights) in sixth. With Cabret´s departure, four players had bust from the tournament within the first hour of play.
The Croc Starts to Fly – Thanks to the River
Before the end of the second level, five became four as Bowdy Tolhopf (A♠ 7♦) paired his Ace to dispatch Robert Damelian (8♠ 8♦) to the rail; and the field was reduced to three shortly after when Ashley Mason – having been crippled by David Yan (A♣ K♥ > 5♦ 5♥) – got the last of his chips into the middle with Q♣ Q♦ and was eliminated by Billy Argyros A♥ K♥ when the K♦ spiked on the River.
A deal was thereafter agreed between the three remaining players which would see current chip leader Bowdy Tolhopf (4.835 million chips) lock up Au$156,000, David Yan (2.68 million chips) receive Au$133,000, and Billy Argyros (1.65 million chips) guaranteed a minimum cash of Au$115,000 with Au$29,500 still to play for.
Argyros Wraps Up APPT Melbourne after Long Session
Although the deal had been made, players were not keen to take chances with their chips. Four and a half hours passed between the eliminations of Robert Damelian in fourth and David Yan in third – during which time Billy Argyros had taken the chip lead courtesy of double-ups against Bowdy Tolhopf (A♠ J♥ > J♣ 9♣) and David Yan (K♣ 3♣ > 8♣ 6♣ on a three-club board).
David Yan can consider himself to be highly unfortunate to bust out in third, having called Bowdy Tolhopf´s A♠ 9♠ shove with his own A♥ K♣. Unfortunately for Yan, the 9♣ spiked on the River and he was sent home in third place – Tolhopf going into the heads-up of the APPT Melbourne Main Event against Billy Argyros at a 4.15 million -v- 5.12 million chip disadvantage.
A second deal was agreed that would see Billy Argyros tie up a further Au$14,500 and Tolhopf Au$10,000, leaving Au$5,000 to play for – Au$5,000 that was rapidly heading in Billy Argyros´ direction as he took down the first hands of the heads-up.
Tolhopf eventually decided to take a chance and shoved all-in with A♣ 10♠. Argyros made the call with 8♣ 8♦, and the cards were on their backs. The board of 4♣ 9♦ 3♣ / 6♠ / 3♣ blanked for Tolhopf, and Billy Argyros claimed his most valuable live poker win ever – and his first since Cleopatra last went water-skiing.
APPT Melbourne Main Event Result
309 players took part in the PokerStars-sponsored APPT Melbourne Main Event – either qualifying online or ponying up the Au$3,000 buy-in. The top 36 collected a minimum cash of Au$5,000, while those who made it to the final table picked up significantly more –
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