2020 Aussie Millions

Aussie Millions Highlights

Aussie Millions Highlights

Day 8 Completed

Pasquale Braco Wins Event #5 Six-Max (A$115,130)

Pasquale Braco
Pasquale Braco

Only 12 players had returned to their seats at the Crown Casino in Melbourne to play down to a champion in the 2020 Aussie Millions A$1,150 Six-Max Event, and the field was whittled down to the final seven in a matter of just over two hours.

Najeem Ajez, who was the biggest stack heading into the day, remained at the top of the leaderboard but the Aussie cash game specialist was unable to keep up the momentum and he finished in 4th place.

Italy's Pasquale Braco ended up as the winner on his first visit to the Aussie Millions after cutting a deal with Michael Tran, they only played one hand of heads-up and shook hands after. The deal ensured Braco a payday of A$115,130 while Tran takes home A$98,000 for his efforts.

"This is my first time here. I already played some other events but this victory brings a lot of joy," Braco said after it was all over.

It was not an easy ride for the Italian by any means, who came to the final table as a shorter stack. He slowly moved back up right into the middle of the pack but lost a big pot with trips against a flush draw that got there.

"After that, I doubled once with ace-seven against queen-seven. It was all smooth from then on, I won with tens against six-four and with kings versus ace-king."

Final Result Event #5 A$1,150 Six-Max

PlaceWinnerCountryPayout (in AUD)Payout (in USD)
1Pasquale BracoItalyA$115,130*$79,447*
2Michael TranAustraliaA$98,000*$67,626*
3Philipp KaempfGermanyA$50,345$34,741
4Najeem AjezAustraliaA$37,140$25,629
5Jiayuan LiuAustraliaA$25,660$17,707
6Kristy ArnettUnited StatesA$18,485$12,756
7Daniel HachemAustraliaA$12,750$8,798

*denotes deal of the last two players

Pasquale Braco Wins Event #5 Six-Max
Pasquale Braco Wins Event #5 Six-Max

Braco confirmed that he will stick around to play in the Main Event and also take part in some lower stakes buy-ins until then, and the first impressions of the venue have already ensured that he will be back in the future.

"I found it a little bit difficult in the first few days as there are different rules. I will come back for sure but not alone, I will certainly come back in the company of my friend Mattia who has some humanitarian commitments in Africa and could not make it this time. This victory goes to him too."

As usual, it didn't take long for a rail for the final table and a quick end seemed unlikely with an average of more than 33 big blinds in play. The seemingly endless hot-run of Najeem Ajez came to a halt when he got it in against eventual champion Braco. Ajez had the best of it before the flop with {q-Spades}{q-Diamonds} versus {a-Hearts}{j-Hearts} but an ace appeared on the flop to ensure the double up of Braco and cut down Ajez's lead at the top of the leaderboard.

The second big stack hit the same path after as Daniel Hachem dropped to the average, by then railed by his brother Anthony and father Joe. A frustrating two hours followed for Hachem as he lost two all-ins to drop to a mere 11 big blinds. First, he doubled Jiayuan Liu with sevens versus nines and then came up short with pocket tens against the {k-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} of Michael Tran. On a board of {k-Spades}{9-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{9-Spades}{2-Spades}, Tran spiked one of his two overcards.

Hachem would eventually have to settle for seventh place after his jam with {6-Hearts}{5-Hearts} out of the small blind was called by Tran with {a-Hearts}{q-Clubs} in the big blind. The {q-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}{7-Spades} flop left Hachem in dire shape and even an open-ender after the {4-Hearts} turn was only a short-lived hope as the {k-Spades} river bricked off.

Daniel Hachem
Daniel Hachem

Pasquale Braco won two substantial pots to join the chip millionaires while a trio of short stacks was fighting for the pay jumps. Kristy Arnett would be the first one to succumb when her button jam with {k-Hearts}{3-Spades} resulted in the reshove of Philipp Kaempf with {a-Diamonds}{k-Clubs} in the small blind. No trey showed up, instead, an ace on the river gave Kaempf top pair.

Just one hand later, the field was already down to the four as Liu's run of a cat with nine lives in the late stages of the tournament came to an end. He got it in ahead with {a-Spades}{k-Hearts} versus {a-Clubs}{3-Clubs} but a cruel {3-Diamonds} on the river shipped the pot over to chip leader Tran.

Somewhat of a dull followed and Tran lost the majority of his stack to Ajez, who pulled back into a comfortable lead. However, he was the next to fall in fourth place after a series of hands went wrong. Philipp Kaempf doubled through Pasquale Braco, Tran held up with ace-king against the ace-eight of Ajez and Braco also doubled through the former chip leader.

Braco then doubled through a tumbling Ajez who pushed queen-seven into ace-seven and it was all over soon after when Ajez got it in with {6-Clubs}{4-Clubs} versus {10-Diamonds}{10-Spades}. A board of {j-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}{k-Spades} left Ajez drawing dead on the turn and the pot was shipped to his nemesis from Italy.

Najeem Ajez
Roller coaster day for Najeem Ajez, who finishes in 4th place

Only a few more hands were played as Braco then knocked out Kaempf when his {k-Clubs}{k-Diamonds} held up against {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}, no hearts or ace appeared for the German who had to settle for third place. Heads-up play lasted a mere two minutes and Braco boosted his stack by a small margin. In the following break, Braco and Tran agreed to a deal and the Italian took home the biggest portion of the prize pool and ANTON Jewellery championship ring.

Decent Field Sizes in PLO Event #6 and Deep Freeze Event #7

While the Six-Max Event played down to a winner, another two events kicked off in the poker room and the Exhitibition Hall. The $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha Event #6 beat last year's field of 145 entries by a decent margin as 170 entries ensured a prize pool of A$382,500, which will be split among the top 18 spots.

The A$1,150 Deep Freeze Event #7 had already surpassed the 415 entries of the previous year early on, and both locations were used to accommodate the growing field. More than 200 late entries took a seat and by the time the dinner break started at the end of level eight, the screens showed 624 entries, a very substantial increase in the participation.

Tags: Aussie MillionsDaniel HachemJiayuan LiuKristy ArnettMichael TranNajeem AjezPasquale BracoPhilipp Kaempf

Ari Engel Seeks Further Success During the Aussie Millions

Ari Engel
Ari Engel

With more than $6.8 million in cashes on the live poker circuit, Ari Engel is not far away from the top 10 of Canada's all-time money list and a big portion of his earnings come from his victory in the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event. It still is his far biggest cash prize to date even though he added a maiden WSOP bracelet to his collection in the summer of 2019.

What many may not know is that Melbourne has already played a role in Engel's life prior to his pivotal success in 2016.

"I lived here as a kid so I have been here a lot. Poker wise, I came in 2008 when Full Tilt bought way too many plane tickets. They just went on the forums and gave anyone who wanted a free plane ticket if they would buy into the Main Event. And then I didn't come until 2016, the year I won it, then I have been here every year since."

The long flight all the way to Down Under tends to keep a lot of regular poker pros from all over the world away, a fact that Engel pointed out, along with online poker not being an option due to the current legislation in Australia. However, year after year, many new faces show up in the Crown Casino poker room and they all seem to enjoy the experience as much as Engel does.

"I do enjoy Australia, I love the people, the tournaments and all that. But that doesn't have to do with the winning and all the good memories from here. Especially, this is an even year. I won it in 2016 and got 10th in 2018, so I am feeling I make another deep run in 2020 if I am being superstitious."

At least six previous final table appearances in all events combined and one seven-figure score thanks to his victory in the most prestigious poker event of the Southern hemisphere certainly represent a lot of reasons why a return to Australia is near-mandatory for the frequent traveler from Canada, who has made a name for himself on the mid-stakes circuit. Below are Engel's cashes during the Aussie Millions festivals so far.

Aussie Millions Results of Ari Engel at a Glance

YearEventBuy-InEntriesPlacePrize (in AUD)Prize (in USD)
2019AccumulatorA$1,15085767A$ 2,985$2,129
2019Mix MaxA$1,1502841A$71,900$51,538
2018Hyper Turbo NLHEA$1,15026327A$2,155$1,747
2018Main EventA$10,60080010A$120,000$96,983
20178 Game MixedA$2,500753A$23,625$17,762
2017Shot Clock ShootoutA$1,1501537A$7,565$5,671
2016Main EventA$10,6007321A$1,600,000$1,120,110
2016Mix MaxA$1,1501962A$34,155$23,427
2016Shot Clock ShootoutA$1,1501269A$3,875$2,658
2008NLHE TurboA$1,1002537A$10,120$8,896

"Winning the bracelet in Vegas was awesome. Going into last summer I felt as unprepared as possible for the World Series and things worked out well. In the last few months, I have been taking some shots in some private games and high stakes games. I haven't done anything in live tournaments in the last few months and my confidence is actually pretty low. But then coming to Australia, the second I set a foot here, I feel way more confident and do well. Coming to Melbourne always has a good vibe and a good feeling for me."

Friends and family further add to the overall balance for Engel while in Melbourne, and they got to witness his big score in person and celebrate right on the feature stage. While the confidence level may not be as high coming into the 2020 Aussie Millions, that can all change in quick succession given his previous success.

Ari Engel Wins the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event
Ari Engel Wins the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event

On top of that, Engel has one particular advice for poker players that visit the city for the first time.

"So one thing I did really well in 2016 when there was two tables left, I had aces and my opponent had kings, and he lost a lot of chips. Those kinds of things are really important. People talk so highly about Melbourne and I am not the person to say this, to do things outside of poker as I don't them myself. But it is a great city for sure.

Tags: Ari EngelAussie Millions

Seven-Handed Final Table Set: Ajez and Hachem in the Lead

Najeem Ajez
Najeem Ajez

The 2020 Aussie Millions $1,150 Six-Max Event is down to the final seven players out of a field of 560 entries, all aiming for the biggest slice of the A$574,000 prize pool and the ANTON Jewellery championship ring. Najeem Ajez, who already led the final 12 players when the action kicked off at 1 p.m. local time, remains at the top of the leader board and has pulled further ahead of the other six contenders.

After the first three levels of play on the final day, there were only eight players remaining. Jiayuan Liu, who came into the day as the shortest stack, tripled up once and doubled up twice against Pasquale Braco to keep his hopes of victory alive. Jordan Tentori was less fortunate and became the first casualty while Paul-Francois Tedeschi fell victim of the hot run of Ajez. Tedeschi flopped a set of aces and the stack went in against Ajez, who held {k-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} for the nut straight. Two blanks later, an enormous pot was pushed to Ajez and the field was down to 10.

Within one minute, Thomas Scholze and Shane Stark departed in 10th and 9th place respectively after they ran out of chips on different tables. Scholze was the first to go when his {a-Clubs}{8-Clubs} for top pair on the {8-Spades}{7-Hearts}{5-Spades} flop was no good, as once again Ajez had the best of it with the {k-Clubs}{k-Hearts}. The {7-Clubs}{7-Spades} turn and river run out changed nothing whatsoever.

At nearly the same time, Shane Stark was all-in with {a-Diamonds}{a-Spades} against the {k-Diamonds}{q-Clubs} of Daniel Hachem and the {q-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{3-Hearts} turn left Hachem with some outs. One of them was the {q-Spades} and that brought the end to Stark's run.

Once the break with eight was reached, the chip counts were as follows:

TableSeatPlayerCountryChip Count
82Kristy ArnettUnited States465,000
84Najeem AjezAustralia2,020,000
85Philipp KaempfGermany290,000
86Kian WeeSingapore64,000
101Michael TranAustralia640,000
102Daniel HachemAustralia1,237,000
105Pasquale BracoItaly417,000
106Jiayuan LiuAustralia465,000

Kian Wee was left short after he lost a race with {a-Spades}{k-Hearts} against the {2-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} of Kristy Arnett, as the mighty ducks held up on a board of {q-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} to give Arnett a flush. It would only take one hand after the break to set up the seven-handed final table as Wee lost the remaining three big blinds with {3-Clubs}{2-Hearts} against the {8-Hearts}{8-Spades} of Ajez as he stood no chance on a {k-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{10-Spades}{9-Clubs}{5-Clubs} board.

Final Table Seat Assignments

1Najeem AjezAustralia
2Pasquale BracoItaly
3Daniel HachemAustralia
4Michael TranAustralia
5Kristy ArnettUnited States
6Philipp KaempfGermany
6Kian WeeSingapore
7Jiayuan LiuAustralia

The level duration increased from 40 to 60 minutes for the final table and the current blinds are now 12,000-24,000 with a big blind ante of 12,000.

Tags: Aussie MillionsDaniel HachemJiayuan LiuJordan TentoriKristy ArnettNajeem AjezPasquale BracoPaul-Francois TedeschiShane StarkThomas Scholze

Ajez Leads Final 12 in Six-Max Event; Hachem, Tedeschi and Arnett in Contention

2020 Aussie Millions
2020 Aussie Millions

Nearly all live poker cashes of Brisbane's Najeem Ajez were right here at the Crown Casino in Melbourne where he is a well-known reg and he may score a career-best payday of A$128,000 if he were to take down the A$1,150 Six-Max Event at the 2020 Aussie Millions.

The circumstances after Day 1 are in his favor as he enters the final day as the chip leader with 830,000. Michael Tran is second in chips with 750,000 and Pasquale Braco from Italy, a first-time visitor to Melbourne, returns to the third-biggest stack of 666,000.

Frenchman Paul-Francois Tedeschi is seeking for a special birthday present the following day as he enters the final day of the event with an above-average stack of 591,000. Another name that will certainly ring a bell in Australia is the one of Daniel Hachem, son of legendary Joe Hachem and a poker aficionado just like his father. With more than $160,000 in live cashes, he is looking for the first major title of his young poker career.

Also in contention are Kristy Arnett, Thomas Scholze and Philipp Kampf, the latter is one of the short stacks when the cards go back in the air with blinds of 6,000-12,000 and a big blind ante of 6,000.

A$1,150 Pot Limit Omaha Final Day Seating Draw

TableSeatPlayerCountryChip Count
81Paul-Francois TedeschiFrance591,000
82Kristy ArnettUnited States257,000
83Thomas ScholzeGermany544,000
84Najeem AjezAustralia830,000
85Philipp KampfGermany180,000
86Kian WeeSingapore469,000
101Michael TranAustralia750,000
102Daniel HachemAustralia510,000
103Shane StarkAustralia440,000
104Jordan TentoriAustralia278,000
105Pasquale BracoItaly666,000
106Jiayuan LiuAustralia115,000

Remaining Payouts

PlacePayout (in AUD)Payout (in USD)

Tags: Aussie MillionsDaniel HachemJoe HachemKristy ArnettMichael TranNajeem AjezPasquale BracoPaul-Francois TedeschiThomas Scholze

Today at the Aussie Millions

2020 Aussie Millions
2020 Aussie Millions

The busiest place of the day will be the Exhibition Hall with several Main Event satellites taking place on January 11th, while a new champion will be crowned at the 2020 Aussie Millions. An ANTON Jewellery Championship ring along with a top prize of A$128,000 will be up for grabs in the A$1,150 Six-Max Event and a dozen players remain in the hunt.

Besides that, the A$2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event will get underway at 10 past noon local time while the A$1,500 Deep Freeze follows two hours later as of 2.10 p.m. local time.

Here is the schedule for the day:

11th JanuaryPot Limit Omaha12:10pmA$2,500
 Six Max1:00pmA$1,150, Final Day
 Deep Freeze2:10pmA$1,500

Deep Freeze

Swiss poker pro and Raising for Effective Giving (REG) co-founder Stefan Huber came out on top of a field of 415 players to win his first Aussie Millions ANTON Jewellery Championship ring. The final table also featured such big names as Nick Pupillo, Randy Lew, Marvin Rettenmaier and Connie Graham, and it was Huber that walked away with a top prize of A$122,760.

Stefan Huber
Stefan Huber at thr 2019 Aussie Millions
PlaceNameCountryPayout (AUD)Payout (USD)
1Stefan HuberSwitzerlandA$122,760$89,051
2Julian DightAustraliaA$76,895$55,780
3Damir AlidzanovicSlovenia$48,905$34,446
4Nick PupilloTaiwan$36,080$26,419
5Andrew TheakstoneAustraliaA$26,975$19,567
6Randy LewUnited StatesA$21,580$15,654
7Arthur MaggsAustraliaA$17,535$12,720
7Arthur MaggsAustraliaA$14,840$10,765
9Connie GrahamAustraliaA$12,140$8,806

Another new event to kick off is the A$2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event, which drew a total of 145 entries one year ago. Former WSOP Main Event champion and Aussie Poker Hall of Fame member Joe Hachem made it all the way to the final table but came up short of the victory as he had to settle for 4th place.

Jonathan Abdellatif was aiming for another Belgian victory and follow into the footsteps of Bart Lybaert, however, it was Steve Moreschi that ended up victoriously. Among those to cash in the top 15 spots were several notables such as Aussie mixed game specialist Jarryd Godena, Graeme Putt, Yake Wu, Justin Liberto, Ankush Mandavia, Yake Wu, and Michael Seymour.

Tags: Ankush MandaviaAussie MillionsBart LybaertConnie GrahamGraeme PuttJarryd GodenaJoe HachemJonathan AbdellatifJustin LibertoMarvin RettenmaierMichael SeymourNick PupilloRandy LewStefan HuberSteve MorschiYake Wu

Aussie Millions Highlights

Day 8 Started