The 2013 Aussie Millions kicked off on Thursday, Jan. 17 with the first of three starting flights in the AU$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Opening Event. With each day allowing repechage, the overall field grew to a massive 1,338 entries. Of that field, 708 were unique players. The prize pool generated was AU$1.338 million with first place coming in at a hefty AU$250,000.
Commencing on Monday afternoon, the final table boasted a solid field of competitors including Rupert Elder, Ashley Warner, Brendon Rubie and Martin Finger. Elder held the overwhelming chip lead heading into the final table with 3.412 million, but Rubie was gunning for back-to-back titles in this event. Only a year ago, Rubie topped a field of 946 entries in the Opening Event to win the AU$200,000 first-place prize.
Final Table Seating Assignments
First to go in 10th place was Nali Kaselias, winner of the 2008 PokerNews Cup Main Event. As reported on the Aussie Millions live reporting page, Kaselias raised all in for 400,000 with the blinds at 25,000/50,000/5,000 holding the , but Ted Nguyen woke up to the and reraised all in to knock out the rest of the field. After a grim flop of really looked to close the door on Kaselias, the gave him outs to Broadway on the turn. The wasn't the ten he needed on the river, and Kaselias was eliminated. For his finish, Kaselias earned AU$13,500 plus tickets to the night's Australian Open match.
Second to the payout desk was Warner, finishing with a prize of AU$25,000 for his ninth-place run. Elder had opened with a raise to 100,000 from middle position, and Warner reraised all in for 1.25 million from the small blind. Elder stood strong and made the call with the to have Warner on the ropes holding the . A quick run out of the board was all Elder needed to secure the win and send Warner packing.
In eighth place came Phillip Libeau during the 30,000/60,000/5,000 level. He moved all in for 685,000 from under the gun with the , but once again, someone picked up pocket queens at the table — Fabian Craib with the . Although Libeau paired his eight on the flop, that's all he ended up with as the board came . For his run, Libeau pocketed AU$38,000.
Seventh place belonged to Marwan Nassif after the blinds jumped up to 40,000/80,000/10,000. Nassif found himself all in on his final hand with the better of it, holding he to Craib's . On the flop, Craib took the lead with a pair of sevens. The turn and river failed to put Nassif back in front, and he was out the door with a AU$52,000 consolation prize.
Nguyen was then bounced in sixth place shortly after Nassif hit the rail. He moved all in for 675,000, and Elder reraised all in for 2.7 million out of the small blind. Everyone else folded, and it was Nguyen's flipping against Elder's . The flop gave Nguyen some counterfeit outs, but the on the turn filled Elder up before the completed the board on the river. Nguyen earned AU$66,000 for his finish, and the field was cut to five.
Five-handed play was as far as the defending champion Rubie would get. He raised all in for 965,000 from the cutoff seat, and Elder reshoved to knock the other players out of the hand. Rubie held the for two suited Broadway overs to Elder's . The flop came down and gave Elder a set of sixes, but Rubie could still hit a ten on the turn to make a straight. The landed on fourth street, though, and Elder made an unbeatable quads. The river was the , and Rubie was off to the cage to collect his AU$81,000 in prize money.
Dusan Stoevski finished in fourth place right before the next break. Elder opened with a raise to 160,000 from the cutoff seat, and Stoevski reraised to 410,000 from the button. Play moved back to Elder, and he reraised to 685,000. Stoevski called and the two took a flop of . On the flop, Elder led for 385,000, and Stoevski raised all in for 1.7 million. Elder snapped it off holding the for top pair, top kicker. Stoevski had the for a weaker top pair. After the landed on the turn and the finished off the board on the river, Stoevski was eliminated. He took home AU$96,000.
Elder took a nice lead into three-handed play after busting Stoevski, and he made quick work of Craib in the 50,000/100,000/10,000 level. Craib had raised to 200,000, and Elder set him all in. Craib called with the , but was behind Elder's . The flop, turn and river ran out to give Elder the win and eliminate Craib. Craib walked away with AU$120,000, and it was Elder versus Finger for the title.
When heads-up play began, Elder had the big lead with 10.4 million in chips to Finger's 2.95 million. From there, things didn't last long at all.
Elder had the button and opened to 200,000. Finger called, and the flop came down . After a check from Finger, Elder bet 175,000. The German check-raised to 450,000, but Elder fought right back with a reraise all in to put Finger to the test. Finger wound up making the call holding the for top pair. Although Finger was ahead with his pair of queens, Elder had plenty of outs with the for one over-card and an open-ended straight draw.
The turn brought the , taking away Elder's pair outs with one card to come, but the on the river was just what Finger didn't want to see. That card gave Elder a straight and the winning hand, sending the former European Poker Tour champion home in second place for AU$160,000.
Elder, who is a former EPT champion in his own right, earned the victory and the AU$250,000 first-place prize. That prize proved to be the second largest of Elder's young career and vaulted the Brit up over US$1.8 million in lifetime tournament earnings.
Final Table Results
Starting on Sunday, Jan. 27, the PokerNews Live Reporting team will be on hand from the Aussie Millions with live coverage. The first events on the slate for us are the AU$100,000 Challenge and the Main Event, so be sure to stay tuned in as the action Down Under promises to deliver.
In case you missed it, our very own Lynn Gilmartin was on hand for the Joe Hachem & Shane Warne Celebrity Poker Tournament, and you can check out the video velow.