Leo “The Mechanic” Boxell gave the young internet “whizz kids” a lesson in poker at the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, as he used his years of experience to claim the PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour title and $330,000 prize money.
Leo, whose “handle” originates from the job he used to do before he retired to his farm outside the city, celebrated his biggest ever success in front of three generations of family members and his lucky mascot – Wally the Wombat.
Setting the Final Day Scene
Leo has a true love affair with the Crown Poker Rooms, having won his first Australian Poker Championships at the venue as far back as August 2000, but would not have found any of his previous achievements as difficult – and as rewarding – as this one. When play started for the day, Leo was second behind New Zealander Phil Wilcocks – but with only half as many chips. However, Leo was soon to slip down the rankings as Will Jones and Steve Bouya turned aggressors in the first couple of hours play.
Boxell Takes a Lead
Just before lunch Bouya took the lead from Wilcocks, when his pair of Kings held a ¼million chip pot, but whatever Leo had to eat worked wonders for his fortunes. His K♣ 9♦ found two pairs on the flop to take 170,000 chips from Bouya and then his A♠ 8♣ was good enough to take Bouya for another 170,000 chips with top pair top kicker. With just five players remaining, things started looking tasty for the local family man, but it was just about to get brutal.
Bouya Bleeds and Heals as Boxell Leaks and Brakes
Steve Bouya continued to be involved in most of the action – first going down to 283,000 chips before doubling up twice to 1.25 million. Leo however, first lost 465,000 chips to Phil Wilcocks´ full house and then gave an uncontested 340,000 chips to Steve Jones. The fifth player in the mix, Australian Van Marcus, tried to get involved but found the action too heavy for him to risk his tournament life against the other four big hitters.
Marcus Breaks and Jones Crashes
After hours of unforgiving aggression, Van Marcus eventually had to get involved. With blinds of 20K/40K and a stack of 600,000 he could not wait any longer for the others to crash and burn. Sadly, he called the wrong hand and found himself with K♣ J♦ on a flop of K♥ Q♥ 5♥ against Willcocks´ A♥ A♦. The 3♥ on the turn gave Marcus nothing to aim for and he departed with $73,300, but probably kicking himself for his hand selection. Phil Willcocks was also instrumental in sending Tasmanian Steve Jones to the rail, being way behind when calling Jones´ set of nines, but spiking an 8♥ on the turn to give him a straight and cement his chip lead.
Three Becomes Two
The final three of Willcocks, Boxell and Bouya became two within 30 minutes, when Boxell (A♠ A♣) checked raised Bouya (9♠ 9♦) on a board of J♦ 5♦ 2♣ and teased the shove out of Bouya. Neither player got any help from the turn or river and Bouya left the game with $116,000 and the two remaining combatants closely matched as they entered the Heads-Up.
Flip-Flop Fortunes in the Heads-Up Play
With a difference of $123,000 between first and second place, it would have been understandable if the pace of the game slowed – but it was not to be. Leo took an early advantage in the climax, but was sent reeling when his 2♥ 2♦ was battered by Willcocks´ flopped set of Queens, leaving him staring at a 4:1 chip deficit. Leo pulled some back with a runner, runner flush, but was knocked back again when his A♥ K♦ remained friendless against Willcocks´ J♠ J♣.
Small Cards Give Big Hands to Boxell
It was eventually two hands of small cards which lead to Leo´s victory. In the first, the Melbourne man limped in from the button with 6♥ 4♦, caught 3♦ A♠ 5♥ on the flop and 7♥ on the river to give him a valuable straight. The final hand was won with the even more unlikely 4♣ 2♠.
The board read 2♥ Q♠ 6♠ / 4♠ / J♥ and the New Zealander felt obliged to shove with J♠ 10♥. Leo tanked for a few minutes before announcing his call, and it turned out to be the most valuable decision of his life. His two small pair topped Willcocks´ Jacks, and Leo had become the new APPT Melbourne Champion in front of his home fans and his family.
Final Table Positions and Payouts APPT Melbourne
Leo confessed in a post-match interview that his wife would probably have the final say on how the $330,000 first place prize money was spent, but the other eight final table players should be able to get away without the intervention of a very happy Mrs Boxell.
1st Leo Boxell (Australia) – $330,000
2nd Phil Willcocks (New Zealand) – $207,600
3rd Steve Bouya (Australia) – $116,000
4th Will Jones (Australia) – $88,600
5th Van Marcus (Australia) – $73,300
6th Michael Frydman (Australia) – $58,000
7th Eddie Mascardi (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) – $45,800
8th Jackson Zheng (New Zealand) (PokerStars Qualifier) – $36,700
9th Julius Colman (Australia) – $27,500