2015 Aussie Millions Day 9: Mike McDonald Scores Big in $250,000 Challenge

Mike McDonald Phil Ivey Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge

Phil Ivey Wins Again in the $250,000 Challenge

Of the past four incarnations of the elite LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge at Aussie Millions, the same man has won that event three times, and that man is arguably the most famous name in poker. After winning the $250,000 Challenge in 2012 and 2014, Phil Ivey has come back to do it again in 2015.

Day 2 of this quarter-million-dollar tournament at Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia began with 12 players pulling up chairs to the felt. Day 1 had 23 entries and 10 survived, but the field was bumped up to 25 when two more entries dropped the big buy-in at registration before play started on Day 2. Brian Rast entered the action and Ike Haxton reentered after being eliminated on Day 1.

When the day began, our one Canadian entrant had a sixth-best stack. Mike McDonald had a challenging day ahead of him as he faced the likes of the aforementioned Phil Ivey, Ike Haxton, and Briant Rast, as well as Doug Polk, Scott Seiver, Erik Seidel, Igor Kurganov, and Ole Schemion, among others.

When action resumed for the day, it got off to a hot start. In the first three hands of the day, three players were eliminated. First was short-stacked Schemion, then Kurganov, who were both eliminated by Polk. Then Rast got it in with {a-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds} to Haxton's {a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} and was eliminated, meaning Rast got to play three hands of poker for his $250,000 buy-in.

With five players making the money, it was Richard Yong who earned the honour of bursting the bubble. Just two days after winning the $100,000 Challenge for $1.87 million, Yong was eliminated in sixth place for no return on his $250,000 investment after three-betting all in with {a-Spades}{2-Spades} into Ivey's {q-Clubs}{j-Clubs}. Ivey paired his queen and Yong headed to the exit.

Then Seidel got his short stack in the middle with {a-Diamonds}{3-Clubs} but ran into the brick wall of Polk's {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}, failing to find one of the three matching aces in the deck.

Seiver was next to go when he ran into McDonald's flush, and his fourth-place finish was good for $735.000. However, as Seiver had fired three times in this event, he was still down by $15,000 overall.

Fresh off the dinner break, Ivey raised preflop in the first hand and Polk three-bet it all with {a-Clubs}{5-Clubs}, and that action was followed by McDonald four-betting all in over the top with {a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}. Ivey gave up and the two players saw a flop. It was a scary {5-Hearts}{q-Clubs}{8-Clubs}, giving both players a pair and providing Polk with plenty of outs to a flush. But the turn and river of {3-Hearts} and {9-Spades} meant McDonald's paired queen was good enough to take him heads-up while Polk left to collect his third-place prize.

The heads-up match began with Ivey holding about a three-to-two advantage over McDonald. Ivey whittled away at our Canadian's stack and then the two got it in with McDonald looking to be headed for a double-up. He held the dominating {a-Spades}{q-Hearts} to Ivey's {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}. According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, McDonald should double his chips in this spot a little more than 69 percent of the time.

However, the first three cards off the deck were {10-Spades}{10-Clubs}{k-Spades}, reducing McDonald's outs to the aces and jacks. The turn of {8-Hearts} and river of {9-Hearts} were no help, and McDonald collected the runner-up prize of $1,592,500 while Ivey scored $2,205,000.

With that, our coverage of the 2015 Aussie Millions has come to an end, but European Poker Tour Deauville has begun in France and we'll be following our local contenders closely. Check back in with PokerNews Canada for our recaps of the action.

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