Day 2 of the 2016 Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge – a tournament that attracted 122 entries (100 unique + 22 reentries) and created a AUD$2.928 million prize pool – saw 26 players return to action, but by the end of the night just one remained as Chance Kornuth vanquished all others to capture the AU$790,560 first-place prize, the second-biggest score of his career.
It marked the third 2016 Aussie Millions cash for Kornuth, who finished ninth in Event #6: No-Limit Hold'em Six Max for AU$9,415 and eighth in Event #3: No-Limit Hold'em Shot Clock Shootout for AU$4,520. Kornuth, who won a World Series of Poker bracelet back in 2010, was also less than two weeks away from finishing seventh in the PCA $25,000 High Roller for $192,780.
The win was made all the more special for Kornuth as he was down to just 5,100 at the 800/1,600 blind level on Day 1. He found himself all in in six of the next seven hands, winning each time to put himself back in contention. Kornuth said he was 50/50 to play the $100,000 Challenge, which is slated to start in a mere 10 hours.
When action resumed on Saturday afternoon, a dozen players needed to hit the rail before the money, and among those to leave empty handed were 2015 GPI Player of the Year Byron Kaverman, online star Daniel "Jungle Man" Cates, EPT12 Malta champ Niall Farrell, and Australia's Dean Spagnuolo, who finished as the bubble boy when his pocket sixes failed to hold in a standard race situation.
From there, the in-the-money finishes began to mount on the way to the final table of seven. Those who fell short were Team PokerStars Pros Yaxi Zhu (14th – AU$58,560) and Eugene Katchalov (10th – AU$87,840), as well as German pros Dominik Nitsche (9th – AU$87,840) and Benny Spindler (8th – AU$109,800).
It took several hours for the next player to fall, but it happened when Michael Egan, the last Australian left in the field, ran pocket jacks into aces. After Phanlert Sukonthachartnant and Oliver Price were eliminated in sixth and fifth place respectively, Steve O'Dwyer, just over a week removed from winning the 2016 PCA $50K Single-Day High Roller for $945,495, followed them out the door in fourth.
Not long after, Jason Les hit the rail after running two pair into Kornuth's set, which set up a near even heads-up match between Kornuth and Igor Kurganov, who was looking to win the title for the second time in four years after taking it down in 2013, albeit in a field of just 30 runners for a top prize of AU$275,000.
The two jostled back and forth for a bit, but before long Kurganov pulled out to a healthy lead only to have Kornuth battle back. Eventually Kornuth had Russia's all-time money leader on the ropes, and he delivered the knockout blow after both players flopped a pair.
Final Table Results
|1||Chance Kornuth||United States||$790,560|
|3||Jason Les||United States||$351,360|
Congratulations to Chance Kornuth, the 2016 Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge champ!