Tournament coverage Poker

Canada wins gold as Aussie Millions comes to an end

Written by Ben Blaschke

The biggest annual poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, the Aussie Millions, has come to an end for another year but it’s unlikely we’ll forget this event anytime soon as a new era dawned, new records were set and some of the biggest names in world poker added an Aussie Millions ring to their collection.

Ami Barer won the 2014 Aussie Millions on Monday

Ami Barer won the 2014 Aussie Millions on Monday

Of course, front and centre was the AU$10,600 Main Event which for the first time doubled as the opening stop of this year’s Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT). Not surprisingly, the result was a swelling of the numbers with 668 taking part this year compared with 629 in 2013.

Alas, the coveted trophy is no longer in Asian hands with Canada’s Ami Barer going all the way to pocket the AU$1.6 million first prize ahead of countryman Sorel Mizzi. Nevertheless, the 2014 Aussie Millions was a memorable one with the two big buy-in events attracting surprisingly big fields.

The madness began late last week with the $100,000 Challenge, which saw the likes of Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Tom Dwan, Antonio Esfandiari and Patrik Antonius fight it out for the AU$2 million top prize. This event attracted just 22 entries last year but with the 2014 field more than willing to rebuy multiple times, we saw a whopping 76 entries this year – creating a prize pool of just under AU$7.5 million.

One man who had a lot to do with that number was Isaac Haxton, who bought in six times only to bust on each and every occasion. Running slightly better was Negreanu, who also bought in multiple times but at least managed a small profit with his sixth-place finish. Seidel, Antonius and the great David Steicke also made it to the final table but it was Yevgeniy Timoshenko who would go on to be crowned champion.

As for Haxton, he too managed to walk away with a tidy sum after making amends for his tough run in the $100,000 Challenge by going deep in the last event on the schedule – the LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge. This remarkable event attracted 31 unique players and a combined 46 entries this year including nine players who didn’t enter until Day 2 and as a result started with less than 13 big blinds for their AU$250,000 entry fee! Two of those players were Negreanu and Mike McDonald, who made it two out of two final tables in the High Roller events, while Haxton’s runner-up finish saw him rewarded for his persistence – and deep pockets – to the tune of AU$2.82 million.

Phil Ivey took home AU$4 million for his win the $250,000 Challenge

Phil Ivey took home AU$4 million for his win the $250,000 Challenge

However, it is Ivey who can now lay claim to having won the richest tournament in Aussie Millions history as he stormed his way through the tough field to add another AU$4 million to his kitty. Ivey’s win in the LK Boutique $250,000 Challenge was the single biggest cash of his career and sees him move into second spot on the all-time money winners’ list with more than US$20 million!

The Aussie Millions saw a record 20 events on the schedule this year and aside from Barer, Timoshenko and Ivey there were plenty more notable winners along the way. Five-time WSOP Bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro won his first Aussie Millions ring in the $2,500 H.O.R.S.E, online gun James Obst won the 8-Game Mixed Event while Italian Mustapha Kanit became the first player to win two Aussie Millions rings in the same year after prevailing in both the Opening Event and the Six-Max.