It took four tries, but an Aussie finally won a World Series of Poker bracelet on home turf.
Poker pro Aaron Lim won the WSOP Asia-Pacific Event #4, a $5,000 No-Limit Hold'em Six Max tournament, besting a tough field of 167 at Crown Casino in Melbourne. Lim collected the top prize of AUD$233,800 and his first WSOP bracelet. The victory follows Lim's win at last month's 2013 PokerStars.net APPT Seoul Main Event where he won $111,000.
Although Australian players were present at each of the first three WSOP APAC final tables, all were won by Americans (Bryan Piccioli, Jim Collopy and Phil Ivey). Lim represented his home country well on Thursday and became the sixth Aussie to win a WSOP bracelet, joining Joe Hachem, Andrew Hinrichson, Mark Vos, Gary Benson and Mel Judah, who owns two.
WSOP APAC Event #4 Final Table Results
Day 3 began with seven players after the action was halted Wednesday, one spot away from the final table. It took more than an hour to lose the first player at the unofficial final table, but well-known Australian pro Brendon Rubie eventually handled the job by eliminating Jason Gray. With the blinds at 5,000/10,000/1,000, Rubie min-raised to 20,000 from early position and Gray called from the big blind, leaving around 16,000 behind in his stack. On the flop, Gray completed the stop-and-go move by shoving all in, and Rubie called. Gray tabled for bottom pair, but he was trumped by Rubie's . The turn and river provided no help to Gray, setting up the official six-handed final table.
Once Gray was gone, action picked up. On the fifth hand of the final table, Billy Seri moved all in from the hijack for 46,000, and Andy Lee and Lim called out of the blinds. The flop came , and Lee and Lim checked to see the hit the turn. Lee check-folded to a bet from Lim, and the cards were revealed:
The river failed to produce another seven to bring Seri back to life, and he was eliminated in sixth place.
Three hands later, Sam Higgs took a cruel beat at the hands of Jan Suchanek to exit in fifth place. Lim opened with a raise to 24,000, and Suchanek three-bet to 55,000 from the button. Action folded over to Higgs, and he moved all in for 204,000 from the big blind. Lim folded, but Suchanek decided to call, creating a huge pot with five cards to come.
Higgs was in excellent shape to double, but the flop shifted Suchanek into the lead and Higgs was unable to come from behind on the turn and river. The Aussie earned AUD$53,615 for his three days of work, and the four remaining players were one step closer to the bracelet.
Rubie was arguably the favorite coming into the final table, but was unable to gain momentum after eliminating Gray. With 220,000 left in his stack, Rubie squeezed all in preflop with the , and Lim, the original preflop raiser, re-shoved with the . Suchanek quickly folded and Rubie's tournament life was at risk. The board gave Lim a flush, leaving Rubie just short of a WSOP bracelet for the second time in his young career. His other WSOP final table came at last summer's Series in Vegas where he finished runner-up to Timothy Adams in the $2,500 Four-Handed No-Limit Hold'em event for $242,458.
Suchanek was attempting to add a WSOP bracelet to the Aussie Millions ring he won at Crown Casino in 2012, but his run ended at the hands of Lee. Lee raised to 27,000 from the button, and Suchanek three-bet to 60,000 from the big blind. Lee called, and the two players saw a flop of . Suchanek led out for 85,000 and Lee tank-called, bringing the on the turn. Suchanek quickly moved all in and Lee almost beat him into the pot with a call.
Lee had successfully picked off Suchanek's bluff and the hand was over even before the completed the board. Suchanek received AU$103,766 for his third-place finish, and Lee and Lim were left battling heads up for a WSOP bracelet.
Lee began the match with a slight lead (1.5-to-1) over Lim, but that changed when Lim doubled up to snatch away the edge. Lee raised to 40,000 from the button, and Lim reraised to 105,000. Lee called, and the dealer rolled out a flop of . Lim fired 110,000 into the pot, and Lee called. The came on the turn, and Lim led again, this time for 208,000. Lee moved all in, and he was quickly called by Lim.
Lee revealed for a flush draw and had nine outs to win the tournament against Lim, who tabled the . The river was the , and Lim doubled up to just over 2.1 million.
The two battled for another hour, each spending time in the lead, before Lim finally put the tournament away. Lee raised to 40,000, and Lim moved all in, having Lee's stack covered. Lee called off his remaining 462,000 and discovered that he was in good shape to stay alive.
The flop kept Lee in front, and he remained there when the dealer rolled out the on the turn. However, the on the river gave Lim a winning pair and brought the tournament to a thrilling conclusion.
Event #4 of the WSOP Asia-Pacific is in the books, but the excitement is still building in Melbourne as the AUD$10,000 Main Event kicked off just minutes before Lim won his bracelet. We'll also be providing highlights from the $50,000 High Roller and the Caesars Cup this week, so stay tuned to PokerNews.com for more coverage of the first-ever WSOP in Australia.
Lead photo c/o Shannon Morris for Crown/WSOP