One thing about 2020 you know for sure – Kahle Burns will not be tiptoeing through live poker tournaments.
Coming into the final month of 2019, Burns led the 2019 Global Poker Index (GPI) Player of the Year (PoY) rankings, only for Alex Foxen to put in an incredible performance at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic, to snatch the win.
Burns may not have won the big one. Still, a career-high annual haul of $4.3m ensured he took the GPI Australian PoY honour. Burns won four tournaments in 2019 including two World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets: €25,500 No-Limit Hold ’em Platinum High Roller and the €2,500 No-Limit Hold ’em Short-Deck events at the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE).
2020 begins as 2019 ends.
The Australian wizard can add more socks to his drawer after topping the 37-entrant $25,500 No-Limit Hold ’em High Roller at partypoker’s MILLIONS UK in Dusk Till Dawn (DTD), Nottingham for $350,000.
Here is the nutshell action.
The Nutshell Action
Eighteen sandals, Gucci shoes and trainers found their way beneath the final table.
Only ten of those toes would earn any money.
Rainer Kempe was the first pearl to fall from the neck, roll through the rail, and into the gutter after he moved his final 11 big blinds into the middle holding Qs7s. Preben Stokkan called and beat him with AhQh.
When it comes to the high stakes action, you don’t get more pious than Yair Bitoun, but the wolf ran out of howl in 8th place. Bitoun fired pocket sixes from a gun labelled ‘under’, and Luke Reeves found those magical aces to cut the field down to 7.
Igor Kurganov took the chip lead after the next duel with Steve O’Dwyer.
O’Dwyer opened to 300,000, holding AcQc on the button, and Kurganov three-bet from the small blind holding KsTc. O’Dwyer called, and soon the pair were staring at a Kh7d4d flop like a couple of monks staring at lipstick stains on their habits. Kurganov bet 575,000, and O’Dwyer made the call. The turn was the 5h, and Kurganov bet 1,700,000; O’Dwyer called. The river card was the 7c – and both players meekly checked, handing Kurganov the chip lead.
We reached the bubble after the king of the King’s Resort saw his pocket kings cracked by the AhQs of Reeves. An ace on the river ending the alliteration of the letter ‘K’.
Despite sending two final tablists to solitary confinement, Reeves didn’t don his cape and become the superman this show needed. Instead, he bubbled. Kurganov picked up pocket queens in the small blind at the same time Reeves looked down to see pocket fours in the big. The pair got it in, and Kurganov’s queens held to send everyone but Reeves into the money.
O’Dwyer picked up the quaintest bag of bills when he made a stand holding KsJh only for Kurganov to end the defence of his title after calling and winning with a raggedy ace. Ben Heath eliminated Preben Stokkan when AK battered Ah8h, and Heath followed him when Kurganov’s Ks5s beat Jc9s when all-in, pre.
The heads-up encounter between Kurganov and Burns began with Kurganov in the lead, but it ended the other way around. The final hand saw Kurganov’s pocket fours lose to AsTh, as Burns turned a Broadway straight to collect his first title of 2020.
- Kahle Burns – $350,000
- Igor Kurganov – $222,250
- Ben Heath – $150,000
- Preben Stokkan – $100,000
- Steve O’Dwyer – $75,000