A Melbourne man has become an instant millionaire after forking out a measly $130 to win his way into the Aussie Millions Poker Championship.
After eight days of poker, Shurane Vijayaram’s pair of fives and nerves of steel, won him a whopping $1.6 million in the early hours of Monday.
But it’s his journey to victory in the main event, which has captured the imagination of the poker community.
Last Sunday, the 33-year-old paid $130 to enter a poker tournament at Crown Casino, which he won, earning himself a $10,600 ticket into the Aussie Millions main event.
On top of this, the $1.6 million he just pocketed is his first ever recorded cash win, meaning this is the first time he’s ever won a professional tournament.
“I’ve always just tried to play cards and relax, it’s only a game,” he said after the win.
“It’s just been a really fast, surreal journey.”
Vijayaram beat a field of 724, which included virtually every single top poker professional from around the globe, including the United Kingdom’s Ben Heath, who had hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money to his name before he took home the Aussie Millions second prize of $1 million.
— Aussie Millions (@AussieMillions) January 29, 2017
Vijayaram said he tried not to be intimidated by the more experienced players around the table.
“I just try to play my best game and not think about people that are really good players,” Vijayaram said.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, you just have to get the cards.”
The event was watched by more than 30,000 people via an online stream, hosted by poker ace Jason Somerville on twitch.tv.
Somerville described the win as one of the most amazing performances he had ever seen, particularly the final hand which saw Heath ‘go all in’ holding a king and an eight, forcing Vijayaram to make a call based on a pair of fives.
“He’s never cashed a tournament before… only in poker do you see things like that,” Somerville said.
“Shurane with a pair of fives, is the sickest call I think I’ve ever seen.
“We may never see a call again as good as that for as much money as that ever.
“That is just an unreal performance.”
— Jason Somerville (@JasonSomerville) January 29, 2017
Wearing a T-shirt, cap and drinking orange juice, Vijayaram astounded the poker community with his deft calls and calm demeanour throughout the tournament.
As an added bonus, he also took home a custom made diamond-encrusted Anton Jewellery gold bracelet, worth $30,000.
1. Shurane Vijayaram (Australia)
2. Ben Heath (United Kingdom)
3. Tobias Hausen (Germany)
4. Jeff Rossiter (Australia)
5. Fedor Holz (Germany)
6. David Olson (United States)
7. Luke Roberts (Australia)