The big-time action junkies and online whiz kids were out in force for the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Event #12, $3,250 Pot-Limit Omaha w/ Rebuys. A small but impressive field of 42 players contributed a whopping 87 rebuys as top pros such as Chris Ferguson, David "Chino" Rheem, Tony G and James Obst lined up with their rebuy chips at the ready. After an amazing 18-hour day, Michael Binger busted Josh "JJProdigy" Field to claim the event's championship ring and the accompanying AUD $123,840 top prize.
Take the draw-heavy nature of pot-limit Omaha, add in some of the world's toughest poker players, sprinkle in a rebuy format, and the recipe for action is complete. The 42 entrants in Event #12 created plenty of action, with Jeff Lisandro promising that if his amount spent on rebuys got to "$25,000, I'll announce it so everyone can laugh!"
Some of the big names in the field busted early, without even sniffing the money. Among the early eliminations were Van Marcus, James Obst, Billy "The Croc" Argyros and Tony Bloom. Chris Ferguson became one of many victims of Josh "JJProdigy" Field when he busted just off the final table. All the chips went in on a flop of as Field showed to Ferguson's , and when Ferguson missed his draw Field collected more chips as the final table was set.
The final-table seating assignments and chip counts looked like this as the money bubble neared:
Seat 1: Sam Youssef - 3,700
Seat 2: Michael Zowie - 47,000
Seat 3: Michael Pesek - 35,000
Seat 4: Josh Field - 121,500
Seat 5: Tony G - 46,000
Seat 6: Jason Gray - 53,000
Seat 7: David Ewing - 23,000
Seat 8: Chino Rheem - 36,000
Seat 9: Michael Binger - 22,000
Sam Youssef busted just short of the money, and then Tony G was the bubble boy as he fell in eighth place to eventual champ Michael Binger. Guoga hit two pair on the flop of and shipped it in with . Binger called with , and caught the on the turn to make his straight. The on the river sent Tony G to the rail as the remaining seven players made the money.
David "Chino" Rheem picked up $15,480 for his seventh-place finish as the first post-bubble casualty. Rheem bet pot on the flop and then moved all in over the top of Michael Binger's re-raise. Rheem showed for two pair and a flush draw as Binger made the call. Binger tabled for the nut straight, and the turn and river ran out to send Rheem to the rail.
Michael Pesek was the next to fall when he saw a four-way flop with Jason Gray, Binger and Josh Field. Binger led out on the flop, and Pesek called before Field check-raised. Binger and Gray both got out of the way and Pesek moved all in over the top. Field called quickly with for the nut straight, as Pesek showed for a smaller straight. The on the turn was no help for either player, and the on the river was the end of Pesek, who earned $23,220 for sixth place.
On a flop of , Michael Zowie bet out, holding , and Daniel Ewing called. The on the turn ignited the powder keg, as Ewing led out, Zowie moved all in over the top and Ewing beat his chips into the pot with his call. Ewing's made the second-best straight behind Zowie's king-high straight, and the on the river was no help. Ewing's fifth-place finish was worth $30,960.
Jason Gray's set was no good against Michael Binger's second-nut straight when Gray check-raised all in on a flop of . Binger showed to Gray's . The turn brought the , and when the on the river didn't pair the board, Gray was done in fourth place ($42,570). With Gray's elimination, the three remaining players took a break to discuss a deal, but eventually returned to the table to play it out.
Three-handed play was a 'round-and-'round affair, with players trading chips for over an hour before Michael Zowie exited in third ($61,290). All his chips went in preflop, and Josh Field and Michael Binger both called. The live players checked it down to the river when the board read . Binger bet out, Field folded, and Binger tabled for trips. Trips was good enough as Zowie mucked and headed off to collect his winnings.
Michael Binger took the lead into heads-up play, and it didn't take him long to bust Field as the runner-up ($89,010) and capture the title. As alarm clocks chimed 6:00 AM all over Melbourne, the final hand of Event #12 unfolded. Field led out at a flop, and Binger raised the pot. Field moved all in with and Binger made the call. Binger showed for two pair and a better flush draw to Field's overpair and medium flush draw. The on the turn had no effect, but the on the river gave Binger the pot, the gold championship ring and the $123,840 top prize.