Ami Barer has over $6.5 million in lifetime online tournament earnings, but until the early hours of Monday morning in Melbourne his live results paled in comparison. No more.
Barer won the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event and its AU$1.6 million ($1,432,545) first place prize, outlasting the likes of Scott Seiver, Jake Balsiger and Darren Rabinowitz before defeating fellow Canadian Sorel Mizzi to seal the deal.
Mizzi fell just short of victory for the second time in this event, making him the first player to ever make the Aussie Millions Main Event final table twice. Mizzi’s record in this field over the last six years is unmatched – he now has a second, a third, a ninth and a 16th place finish in that period.
After Barer opened a lead of over five-to-one against Mizzi, Barer opened for a minraise on the button as he had several times previously. Mizzi three-bet all in and Barer tabled his A A, calling the all in with a prohibitive chance of winning the title. Mizzi needed to make some magic with Q 8, but he was drawing dead by the turn of a K 2 2 3 A runout.
Barer started the final table with a sizable chiplead and a head start towards the title, but Mizzi quickly chipped his way up in his own right to put the Canadians in the top two spots early on. Balsiger made a move of his own to the top, but his upward motion was briefly thwarted as short stack Seiver started an unlikely stretch of three hands with a double through him. Seiver’s A J spiked a J to give himself a much needed double, but he’d hold onto those chips for exactly one hand.
Seiver moved all in from the cutoff and Andrew Phaedonos, the lone Australian at the final table, called off his own short stack in the small blind with J J. Seiver had overcards again with K Q, and even got a good looking board by the turn as it ran out A 4 2 T, only for the river to brick.
After those back-to-back all ins Seiver was right back where he started. He decided to make it three straight all ins by shoving with A 5 and Mizzi called with A 3. It looked like a chop with the Q 7 6 flop and J turn, but the 5 on the river earned Seiver his second double in three hands.
Seiver doubled twice more before the dinner break, leaking chips in between, and Phaedonos got another for his troubles, too. Rabinowitz would also be at risk in the early going, and he pulled a rabbit out of his hat by cracking Barer’s K K with A K – with at least one other ace already dead. All seven players made it into the dinner break with their hopes of a title intact, but the field would start to shrink soon after they returned.
After almost three hours of poker and quite a rollercoaster ride chip-wise, it would be Seiver, the original short stack, going out first. Rabinowitz minraised, Seiver three-bet all in and Rabinowitz called with A T. Seiver had 8 8 and a slight lead, but the A K J hit Rabinowitz’s hand hard. The 3 on the turn gave Seiver a flush draw, but the J would be the death knell as Seiver exited in seventh.
Phaedonos stayed out of the fray for the most part, picking his spots well early, but he’d eventually get himself in too deep. After Rabinowitz minraised and Phaedonos flat-called for about 15 percent of his stack, Mizzi three-bet to 450,000. Rabinowitz folded, Phaedonos four-bet all in and Mizzi quickly called with K K. Phaedonos and his Q J were in big trouble, and it only got worse on the K 5 3 flop. The A turn gave Phaedonos four cards to hit, but the 5 sent the last Australian in the field to the rail in sixth.
Mizzi found himself in the drivers seat after elimination Phaedonos, while Barer briefly found himself as the shortest stack. Vincent Rubianes started the day in second place behind Barer, but he too would slip from the top of the chip counts. During an extended period of five-handed play Rubianes fell further behind, and he’d eventually be the second consecutive player to run head first into a monster hand.
Rabinowitz opened for a minraise on the button, Rubianes three-bet all in from the small blind, and after Barer got out of the way Rabinowitz couldn’t get his chips in fast enough with A A. Rubianes needed a lot of help from the board with his K J, but picked up two tangible outs on the J 6 6 flop. The 8 and 3 were bricks, though, eliminating Rubianes in fifth.
The final four would play for over two hours without an elimination, but it was mostly downhill for Rabinowitz from there. He’d eventually minraise from under the gun, Barer three-bet and Rabinowitz four-bet all in. Barer didn’t hesitate long, calling and tabling 9 9, while Barer could only produce 5 5. The J 4 2 was clean for Barer, but the 6 gave Rabinowitz four additional outs. The A on the river spelled the end for Rabinowitz, who’d have to settle for fourth place.
Despite making up more than half the final table at the start, just one American remained among the final three. Balsiger was the only one who could break the 17 year drought in the Aussie Millions Main Event, and he’d quickly get a chance for a massive double and the chiplead.
Balsiger raised to 240,000 on the button, Barer three-bet to 575,000 and Balsiger turned it back on him, four-betting to 1,175,000. Barer elected to five-bet enough to put Balsiger all in and the October Niner quickly called, showing K K. Barer was caught with just an A T, but the 9 8 7 flop made the hand a much closer battle. The 5 on the turn gave Balsiger a little less to sweat, removing three of Barer’s outs. The 6 put a straight on the board, but Barer’s ten gave him a bigger straight and left Balsiger out in the cold with a second high-profile third place finish.
After an extended break to set up the cash and heads-up play for television, it didn’t take long to crown a champion. Barer’s lead started at almost three-to-one and only grew from there. After picking up pocket aces in a dream spot heads-up, one top Canadian online pro outlasted the other and Barer was the benefactor, capturing his first major live title and the biggest prize of his career.
2014 Aussie Millions Main Event – Final Results
- Ami Barer – AU$1,600,000 ($1,432,545)
- Sorel Mizzi – AU$1,000,000
- Jake Balsiger – AU$650,000
- Darren Rabinowitz – AU$450,000
- Vincent Rubianes – AU$335,000
- Andrew Phaedonos – AU$250,000
- Scott Seiver AU$170,000
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