A young British poker pro by the name of Michael Kane found himself grossly outnumbered by Australians last week as the final stages of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour Perth Main Event wound down. Stacked against a lot of great, and often much more experienced competitors, the UK pro persevered, claiming the title and adding AUD $98,000 (USD $77,069) to his bankroll.
Michael Kane hasn’t been playing poker professionally all that long. According to the Hendon Mob database, the young Brit won his first tournament at Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn in September of 2012, earned his second cash in December of 2013, then then notched four scores in 2014 before taking down the ANZPT Perth earlier this month.
Kane’s impressive road to victory began on Wednesday, February 11, as 192 competitors—the majority being local Aussies—ponied up the AUD $2,300 buy-in for the ANZPT Perth Main Event. It was a long and arduous five days before the final table was created, and once more, the UK poker pro found himself seated amidst a throng of Australian-born pros. In fact, only three other final tablists had traveled abroad to participate.
As his opponents began hitting the rails, starting with Bryan Huang (9th, $10,500), Gregory Wheeler (8th, $13,000) and Robert McLean (7th, $16,500), Kane was in a great position, leading the table by a large margin. The Brit had approximately 40% of all the chips in front of him at that point, and his lead was further increased when he personally eliminated Raiden Kan (6th, $20,200) with A-J over pocket 7’s.
With just five players left, the Aussie domination of the ANZPT Perth Main Event was at its strongest. Michael Kane was the only non-Australian left at the table, facing off with one of the region’s finest poker players, Michael Guzzardi, plus Gavin Bechar and two relative newcomers, Michael Doyle and Stephen McHugh.
Michael Kane was able to relax for a bit as the Aussies picked each other off one by one. Guzzardi was the first go (5th, $26,000), soon followed out by Bechar (4th, $31,000). Michael Doyle (3rd, $37,000) became the next victim when he shoved top pair on the turn, running headlong into the trips of the British pro.
As Kane and McMugh prepared to battle it out in heads-up for the title, they struck a chip-chopping deal*. The Brit had a nominal lead already, giving him the advantage of $78,900 guaranteed to McHugh’s$72,100. That left $20,000 to play for, but the clock would tick down three more hours before the title was claimed.
On the final hand of play, Stephen McHugh had only 20 big blinds left in his stack. Peeking down at Kd-10d, the Aussie gave it his all, and it didn’t take Kane long to call with 9s-9h underneath. The Ah-10c-Jh put McHugh ahead, and it looked like the ANZPT Perth Main Event would carry on even longer before a winner emerged, but the turn brought another 10h. The young Brit was back in the lead with 2 pair, and the 4h river finished off McHugh’s run for the title.
Stephen McHugh took home a respectable $72,100 for the 2nd place finish while Michael Kane scooped the 1st place prize of $98,000 and his first major poker title.