02/01/2012 : MELBOURNE POKER ACE WINS THE AUSSIE MILLIONS
26-year-old takes home A$1,6 million
26-year-old Oliver Speidel from Melbourne is A$1.6 million richer after winning the Aussie Millions main event poker championship at the Crown Casino in his home town.
The professional poker player relied on experience gained after three years travelling the world as a professional poker player to emerge victorious from five days of action this week that included some 12-hour sessions against 658 determined and talented international opponents.
The competition culminated in an eight-hour final table battle against Canadian ace Kenneth Wong, Yann Dion, Bjorn Li, Patrick Healy, Mohamad Kowssarie, and Mike Krstanoski, whose departure in third place with A$610,000 cleared the way for the final heads up between Speidel and Wong.
Wong's pocket nines proved no match for Speidel's pocket aces in the final hand, played before nearly 200 spectators and a worldwide audience watching on the internet.
Speidel's skill, chip advantage and good cards enabled him to win the day and claim the main prize, but Wong collected an impressive second placing cheque for A$ 1 million.
Speaking to Australian reporters, Speidel said he felt ”exhilaration and disbelief” at his major win. The young pro worked in risk management at the Australian Reserve Bank before turning to poker as a livelihood, and says he will take a conservative approach with his new wealth, having previously been burnt playing the share market with poker earnings.
”I'm looking to maybe getting an apartment in the city,” he said, adding that the greatest advantage the big prize gives him is the ability to enter poker tournaments around the world, where entry fees can rise to $100,000, but earnings can be equally substantial.
Speidel revealed that after the big match he unwound by….playing poker late into the night with friends, winning a few hundred more dollars from them.
The young ace also has a word of advice on emotion control for tournament hopefuls:
”When I first started playing poker I would get really upset when I lost, really happy when I won. The emotional swings were crazy and that's not optimal.
”If you want to play your best all the time you need to keep your emotions under control and not let the losing streaks get to you.”