Ami Barer entered the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event final table as the chip leader, but it was far from an easy road for the Canadian as he battled fierce competition to win the event.
Predominantly an online player, Barer also asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with in live tournament poker and took home AUD$1.6 million for his stellar play at the Melbourne event.
The start of the final day of play was a hard fought war of attrition by all the remaining players as each of them found their own ways of staying alive in the event.
Eventually though, the floodgates opened after Scott Seiver became the first player to be knocked out of this year’s final table. It came at the hands of Darren Rabinowitz after he called Seiver’s pre-flop all-in reraise with Ace-Ten offsuit.
The Ace-Ten was just behind Seiver’s pocket Eights before the board, but an Ace on the flop put Rabinowitz in front and kept him there when Seiver found no help on the turn or river.
Hometown player Andrew Phaedonos was eliminated in sixth place soon after Seiver hit the rail. The only Australian player at the final table, Phaedonos went all-in pre-flop with Queen-Jack of Clubs and was called by Sorel Mizzi, who had a dominant pair of Kings in the hole.
Mizzi hit a set on the flop and Phaedonos was sent packing as the tourney went down to its last five players.
Fifth place in the Aussie Millions Main Event went to Vincent Rubianes, who became Rabinowitz’s second scalp at the final table. Rubianes went all-in with King-Jack suited, but was in big trouble when Rabinowitz called with pocket Aces.
Rubianes had a glimmer of hope when he hit a pair of Jacks on the flop, but the bullets of Rabinowitz held when neither fourth nor fifth street were kind to Rubianes.
The elimination was not a huge help to Rabinowitz, however, as he was the next player to be knocked out of the event. It took a while, with all of the remaining players fighting hard to stay in the game.
Despite his best efforts, Rabinowitz was eventually eliminated in fourth place by Ami Barer. It came when Rabinowitz went all-in pre-flop with pocket Fives and was called by Barer, who had pocket Nines.
Jake Balsiger exited the event in third place after he was eliminated by the eventual winner in an almost epic turn of events. After a series of raises and reraises, Barer went all-in pre-flop with Ace-Ten offsuit and was called by the smaller-stacked Balsiger, who was in front with pocket Kings.
The 9-8-7 flop gave Barer an open-ended straight draw, however, and Balsiger was no longer sitting comfortably. The Five of the Clubs on the turn changed this a bit, though, as it gave him a flush draw.
The Six of Hearts on the river was one of the worst possible cards for Balsiger as it gave Barer the straight, which won him the hand and knocked Balsiger out of the final table.
Balsiger’s elimination put Barer and Mizzi in heads-up play. Both players had the chip lead on various occasions throughout the last day of play before HU action began, which helped to make the final phase of the event one to watch closely.
It was all Barer in heads-up play, though, as he quickly chipped away at Mizzi’s stack to give himself a huge chip lead.
In the last hand of the event, Mizzi moved all-in with Queen-Eight suited before the flop. Unfortunately for him, Barer had pocket Aces, and he certainly did not hesitate to call with them.
Mizzi’s hand did not improve on the flop or on the turn, which made it impossible for him to stay in the event. The Ace of Diamonds on the river was like salt in the wound for the Canadian, as Barer hit a set to confirm him as the winner of the hand and the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event.