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
|Place||Winner||Country||Payout (in AUD)||Payout (in USD)|
|6||Kristy Arnett||United States||A$18,485||$12,756|
*denotes deal of the last two players
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 versus 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 of Michael Tran. On a board of , Tran spiked one of his two overcards.
Hachem would eventually have to settle for seventh place after his jam with out of the small blind was called by Tran with in the big blind. The flop left Hachem in dire shape and even an open-ender after the turn was only a short-lived hope as the river bricked off.
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 resulted in the reshove of Philipp Kaempf with 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 versus but a cruel 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 versus . A board of left Ajez drawing dead on the turn and the pot was shipped to his nemesis from Italy.
Only a few more hands were played as Braco then knocked out Kaempf when his held up against , 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.