The Aussie Millions poker tournament series is one of the most popular offered each year. Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, hosts the festivities, and this year offered numerous tournaments throughout January that culminated in the AU $10,600 NLHE Main Event that began on February 2. And for the first time, the PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) partnered with the Aussie Millions for that tournament.
Starting Stages Bring Substantial Stats
The three starting flights for the Main Event brought hundreds of players to the tables at Crown – 176 on the first day, 153 on the second, and another 328 on the third. Only 355 of them survived to return for Day 2, and Martin Rowe was the overall chip leader with 228,100 in his stack.
Day 2 added a few more players to the action before it began, and the field was then set at 668 players for the event, which created a $6.8 million prize pool. That money would pay the top 72 players and reserve $1.6 million for the last player standing.
Only 109 players made it through that day, and Phillip Willcocks was the chip leader with 510,600, followed by Sorel Mizzi with 507,100 chips. Meanwhile, player Amichai Barer held only 71,300 chips, less than average, but plenty to keep going.
Ami Emerges Alongside Big Poker Names
The third full day of poker in the Main Event saw some early eliminations before the money bubble burst. That happened when Luke Downs went into battle with K-J but couldn’t beat the A-Q of Patrick Healy. Downs left in 73rd place, followed by Julian Track, who took home AU $15K for his 72nd place finish. Others who busted that day included Angel Guillen, Marco Johnson, and Antonio Esfandiari. Play stopped with 36 players, Salvatore Fazzino in the lead with 1.54 million chips, and Ami Barer was in ninth on the leaderboard with 917K.
Day 4 lost well-known names like Liv Boeree, Jonathan Duhamel, John Juanda, Jason Mercier, and Erik Seidel. Ultimately, play continued until Eoghan O’Dea was eliminated in eighth place for AU $130K. The final table was then set for February 9 as follows, with Barer holding a very solid chip lead:
Ami Barer (6,570,000)
Vincent Rubianes (3,865,000)
Sorel Mizzi (2,830,000)
Jake Balsiger (2,385,000)
Darren Rabinowitz (2,365,000)
Andrew Phaedonos (1,015,000)
Scott Seiver (855,000)
Barer Barrels into Winner’s Circle
It was no easy start for Barer. The final table began with Barer taking the first hand and chips from Balsiger. However, the two battled again shortly after, and Balsiger took a sizeable pot from Barer. Mizzi also took some chips from Barer and climbed into the chip lead, while Barer was down to 4.1 million. Quite a few double-ups ensued at that point, and that process included Rabinowitz and Seiver each doubling through Barer.
By the time of the dinner break, Mizzi was on top, Barer in second, and Seiver and Phaedonos on the shortest stacks. And Seiver was the first to go upon the return from dinner, at the hands of Rabinowitz. Mizzi then sent Phaedonos out in sixth, and Rabinowitz stepped back in to send Rubianes out in fifth. Barer was back in action to send Rabinowitz home in fourth, though, and he eliminated Balsiger in third as well.
The final match-up began with Mizzi holding 6.15 million to the substantial stack of 13.85 million that belonged to Barer. The Canadians battled for a few rounds, but Barer kept the upper hand and increased his lead. Finally, Mizzi risked his short stack with Qd-8d against the pocket aces of Barer, and the board only made a full house for Barer to eliminate Mizzi in second place.
Ami Barer claimed the coveted Aussie Millions title and AU $1.6 million.
1st place: Ami Barer (AU $1,600,000)
2nd place: Sorel Mizzi (AU $1,000,000)
3rd place: Jake Balsiger (AU $650,000)
4th place: Darren Rabinowitz (AU $450,000)
5th place: Vincent Rubianes (AU $335,000)
6th place: Andrew Phaedonos (AU $250,000)
7th place: Scott Seiver (AU $170,000)