This year’s Aussie Millions Main Event attracted 724 players from around the world, and the field included most of the top professional players. The professional who came closest to winning was the UK's Ben Heath, who finished in second place and won $1 million for doing so.
Speaking to the press after his momentous win, Vijayaram was incredibly down to earth about the whole thing. ‘I’ve always just tried to play cards and relax,’ he said. ‘It’s only a game.’ He then commented on what it was like to be playing some of the biggest names in the poker world, adding: ‘I just try to play my best game and not think about people that are really good players.
As if winning the Aussie Millions event wasn’t enough, the way in which Vijayaram did so was even more notable. The Australian amateur had a significant lead when he entered the final hand, with a stack of around $16 million, whilst the British professional had just over $5 million.
Heath was dealt the Ks8c, and Vijayaram had 5d5h in the hole. Heath checked, Vijayaram raised, Health called to take the pot to $700k and the flop brought 7s6h9c, giving the former the best hand but also giving the latter an open-ended straight draw. Vijayaram bet $400k, Heath called and the turn brought 3h. Vijayaram bet $500k, Heath check-raised for an additional 400k and Vijayaram called. The river brought Qs, and at this point Heath went all in with his remaining $3.2 million.
At this stage the pot was worth $7.5 million, and looking at the community cards alone, Vijayaram would have known that it would have been perfectly possible for Health to be sitting on a straight. Given the way Heath was betting, that would normally have been enough of a reason for Vijayaram to fold his pocket 5s, especially as a win for Heath would have evened the game. Amazingly, after almost five minutes of thought, Vijayaram chose to call and the tournament was won.
As far as Aussie Millions finals go, this is one that will be remembered for a long time to come. We congratulate Shurane Vijayaram on his epic success, and also Ben Heath on his second-place finish, and we look forward to seeing how both players fare throughout the rest of 2017 and beyond.