The 2014 Aussie Millions has been full of big stories. First there was the five-way chop in the $25,000 Challenge that ultimately saw Max Altergott emerge victorious, and then Yevgeniy Timoshenko overcame a huge chip disadvantage to win the $100,000 Challenge.
On Sunday, the final seven players of the 668-player Main Event returned to play down to a winner, and after nearly 12 hours Ami Barer emerged victorious to capture the AU$1.6-million first-place prize.
2014 Aussie Millions Final Table Results
The players were deep when play resumed, so it was no surprise that it took three hours for the first elimination to occur. It happened in Level 28 (40,000/80,000/10,000) when Darren Rabinowitz opened for 160,000 and was met by three-bet all in of just over a million by Scott Seiver from the button. Both blinds folded, Rabinowitz called, and it was off to the races.
According to the PokerNews Odds Calculator, Seiver was a 55.24% favourite while Rabinowitz would win 44.40% of the time. Unfortunately for Seiver, the flop came down to pair Rabinowitz's ace and make him an 86.36% favorite.
The turn was a good card for Seiver as it gave him a 25% chance of hitting his flush, but it was not meant to be as the blanked on the river. Seiver was eliminated in seventh place for AU$170,000.
After the last Australian in the field, Andrew Phaedonos, ran into Sorel Mizzi's kings and fell in sixth place — thus ensuring an Aussie Millions champ from North America for the first time ever — Vincent Rubianes followed him out the door in fifth after running into the pocket rockets of Rabinowitz.
Despite scoring that knockout, Rabinowitz was the next to go. It happened in Level 30 (60,000/120,000/10,000) when Rabinowitz opened for 240,000 under the gun and Barer responded by three-betting from the button. The blinds both folded, Rabinowitz moved all in, and Barer snap-called.
Rabinowitz's rail, which included Joe Kuether, Ryan Riess, and Bryan Campanello, were on their feet and calling for a five. The flop didn't do it, but it opened up some runner-runner possibilities.
"Any two across is good," Campanello bellowed. Indeed it would have been, but it was the three-across that opened up the gutshot straight draw possibility. Unfortunately for Rabinowitz and his supporters, the blanked on the river to send him home in fourth place for AU$450,000.
Minutes later, 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event third-place finisher Jake Balsiger was eliminated from the tournament via a bad beat. It happened when Balsiger min-raised to 240,000 on the button, Barer three-bet to what looked like 575,000 from the small blind, and the American four-bet to 1.175 million. Barer five-bet all in for effectively five million or so, and Balsiger snap-called.
Balsiger was in great shape to double up and take the chip lead, but his odds of winning the hand dipped when the dealer fanned , giving Barer eight extra outs to make a straight.
"Always a sweat!" someone yelled from the rail.
The turn was the , bringing a third club, and it reduced Barer's outs to eight because Balsiger held the only club. The completed the board, giving both players a straight, but Barer's ten gave him the winning hand and eliminated Balsiger in third place.
With that massive hand, Barer began heads-up play with a three-to-one chip lead against Mizzi, and it didn’t take too long for him to seal the deal. It happened when Mizzi shoved into Barer's aces, and the rest as they say is history.
Here is Barer's interview with PokerNews' Kristy Arnett following his win:
Photo courtesy of Shannon Morris, the official photographer of Crown Casino