When Shurane Vijayaram entered the Ausse Millions Poker Championship on January 22 he could never have predicted that, eight days later he would be taking home a jackpot of $1.6 million in the most extraordinary of circumstances.
The 33-year-old Melbourne man had originally forked out just $130 (£78) to enter a poker tournament at the city’s famous Crown Casino.
However, after winning that event, Vijayaram found himself with a $10,6000 (£6,400) ticket to the Ausssie Millions main event and a shot at the $1.6 million prize.
A ranker outsider and amateur star, the Aussie came through a field of some 724 players, including top professionals from around the globe.
Throughout it all, however, Vijayaram remained calm.
“I just try to play my best game and not think about people that are really good players,” he told The Age.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, you just have to get the cards.”
An understated player, who became known for his habit of quietly sipping orange juice throughout the tournament, the 33-year-old came through over a week of poker to set up a tense finale against established pro Ben Heath, from the United Kingdom.
Yet the best was yet to come in an extraordinary final hand that saw the rank outsider display nerves of steel to cap off the most unlikely of victories.
Under pressure after Heath went all in holding a king and an eight, and with a nice looking river already on the table, Vijayaram had to stay calm and think fast.
At the time he was holding a weak pair of fives and, to most commentators and watchers, he looked likely to fold.
But the Melbourne underdog was having none of it and swiftly took Heath to the cleaners after making the call to land the jackpot, which equates to around £968,993 in winnings.
Vijayaram was also presented with a custom made diamond-encrusted gold bracelet by ANTON Jewellery valued at $30,000 in Australia. Despite this, he remained as humble as ever.
“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.”
Remember the name Shurane Vijayaram – this could be the start of big things to come.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.