On Friday, the final 36 players of a 668-player field returned to Crown Melbourne to play down to the final table of seven in the 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event. It took nearly 12 hours of play, but eventually the final table was set with Ami Barer and his stack of 6.57 million leading the way.
Joining him there are some big names in Sorel Mizzi (2,830,000), Jake Balsiger (2,385,000), Darren Rabinowitz (2,365,000), and Scott Seiver (855,000). Here's a full look at the final table lineup:
The day was full of crushed dreams as players like Rhys Jones (36th – AU$30,000), Martin Rowe (35th – AU$30,000), Jae Kyung Sim (34th – AU$30,000), Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu (33rd – AU$30,000), Uros Brkic (32nd – AU$30,000), Florian Bussmann (31st – AU$30,000), Rahul Rastogi (30th – AU$35,000), Heinz Kamutzki (29th – AU$35,000), and Liv Boeree (28th – AU$35,000) all hit the rail in the early goings.
Team PokerStars’ Boeree fell in Level 21 (8,000/16,000/2,000) in a button-vs-small blind battle. Boeree was all in and at risk for roughly 400,000 or so with the and dominated by Patrick Crivell's . The jacks held as the board came , and Boeree hit the rail.
The eliminations continued to mount when Team PokerStars pro Jonathan Duhamel fell in 25th place to Jeff Rossiter, and he was followed out the door by John Juanda in 23rd after Juanda's pocket aces failed to hold. From there, Craig McCorkell would lose a race against Barer to bust in 21st, and then Barer turned right around and eliminated Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier in 18th.
The start-of-the-day chip leader, Salvatore Fazzino, no doubt had high hopes to begin with, but those were dashed in Level 23 (12,000/24,000/4,000) courtesy of Mizzi.
In what would be Fazzino's final hand, Mizzi opened for 48,000 under the gun and received a call from Rabinowitz in the cutoff. Denny Lewis then came along from the button and Fazzino, who had dwindled to a short stack, moved all in for 344,000 from the small blind. Mizzi made the call, the other two players folded, and the cards were turned up.
Mizzi was ahead with the big pocket pair, and that meant Fazzino's best shot at survival was to catch either an ace or spades. Unfortunately for the Perth contingent on the rail, their man was left drawing to running aces when the flop gave Mizzi a set. The turn was the final nail in the coffin, and after the was run out on the river for good measure, and Fazzino took his leave in 14th place for AU$70,000.
From there, Jeff Rossiter (13th – AU$70,000), Patrick Crivell (12th - AU$100,000), Tam Truong (11th - AU$100,000), Erik Seidel (10th - AU$100,000), Denny Lewis (9th - AU$130,000), and Eoghan O'Dea (8th - AU$130,000) all hit the rail before the night came to an end.
The final seven will have the day off on Saturday and then return on Sunday to play down to a champion. Who will capture the Southern Hemisphere’s most prestigious title and the AU$1.6 million first-place prize? You’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, check out this video on how to eat a Tim Tam: