James Akenhead wins Poker Million

James Akenhead wins Poker Million

Monday, 7 December 2009

James Akenhead will be sorry to see the end of 2009. Reaching the final table of the main in event of both the WSOP and WSOPE would have marked a highly successful year in itself but winning the Poker Million really finished things off in style.

The former train driver navigated his way through the live seven-man final to scoop the $500,000 first prize. There was to be no big payout for Card Runners subscribers though as Taylor Caby was the first man out. Short stacked, he pushed his pocket 7s and was outdrawn by Dag Martin Mikkelsen’s K4. The Internet qualifiers were next to go. Peter Vasiliou’s A9 beaten by Mikkelsen’s Jacks and Craig Wakeham’s 7s beaten by Juha Helppi’s A10.

Akenhead then got an all-important slice of luck at just the right time when he pushed all in with A7, both spades, against Luke Schwartz’s pocket eights. A flop of 10-8-9 gave _FullFlush_ a set and Akenhead a flush draw. The fifth spade arrived on the turn giving the November Niner a flush, leaving Schwartz crippled. Poker’s enfant terrible had to settle for 4th place after seeing his A5 push outdrawn by Mikkelsen’s KQ.

Mikkelsen then missed a couple of opportunities to enhance his position and eventually paid the penalty when his 3s ran into Helppi’s AQ. An ace on the flop eliminated the Norwegian in third leaving Helppi and Akenhead to battle it out for the title.

The Finn held the chip lead going into two-handed play but the momentum shifted in Akenhead’s direction after some aggressive early moves. The chips eventually went in with Akenhead holding pocket 10s against Helppi’s pocket 6s. A 3-4-5 flop gave the EPT Deauville High Roller champion some hope but an Ace and King on the river gave the young Brit the title.

Speaking after the event, the delighted winner said, “I'm really looking forward to next year and all the events I'm going to play. Every year that I've played since I started I've won more than the previous year so I've got a big hill to climb next year!”.

We have been warned!

The final table positions and payouts were as follows:

1 James Akenhead $500,000
2 Juha Helppi $250,000
3 Dag Martin Mikkelsen $200,000
4 Luke Schwartz $150,000
5 Craig Wakeham $100,000
6 Pete Vasiliou $75,000
7 Taylor Caby $50,000

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