Thu, Jan 19, 9:17am by Staff Writer
The pinnacle of poker for Australian players like Robert Raymond is undoubtedly the Aussie Millions tournament series, and winning an event there is akin to capturing a World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in the States.
Raymond, a native of Melbourne, has been visiting the Crown Casino to compete in Aussie Millions events for nearly a decade now. Of the 10 previous cashes on his tournament résumé dating back to 2008, five took place in Aussie Millions play. That record included a close sixth-placed finish in the 2015 series’ opening event, a AUD$1,125 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament that paid Raymond AUD$57,000 for his deep run.
That near miss has stood as the highlight of Raymond’s poker career thus far – both in terms of final placement and prize money earned – but during the latter stages of this year’s Aussie Millions opening event, Raymond found himself back at the final table with a golden opportunity at redemption.
And sure enough, with a second chance to claim his first Aussie Millions winner’s ring, Raymond finished things off in fine style. The Melbourne local won every last chip in play to overcome a field of 1,565 players, earning first-place honors and the top prize of AUD$320,830.
Event #1 kicked off on January 11 – boasting an advertised AUD$1 million guaranteed prize pool – and after four ‘Day 1’ starting flights and a second full day of competition, the massive field was carved down to just 16 contenders.
Play continued until a final table of seven was set, which included three Aussie professionals (Michael Addamo, Alexander Lynskey, and Samir Khoueis) in addition to Raymond, along with two representatives of New Zealand (Qiang Fu and Jack Efaraimo) The lone outlander was Manis Loeser of Germany, a successful pro in his own right.
Facing a stacked lineup of veteran opponents, Raymond was certainly the odd man out in terms of experience. While Sydney native Khoueis had accumulated 24 live cashes in 2016, Raymond’s lone in the money finish all year came in this very same event, the Aussie Millions opener last January.
By the time four players remained, it certainly appeared as though Raymond’s relative inexperience would see him to the door. According to a Crown Casino press release recapping the tournament, when four-handed play began Raymond held the shortest chip stack on the table at 1.64 million. He trailed Fu (3.7 million), Lynskey (4.95 million), and Michael Addamo (5.4 million) at that point, but what poker players call a well-timed “heater” had Raymond squaring off with his fellow former short-stack Fu for the title.
Raymond managed to prevail in the unpredictable heads-up poker format, defeating Fu to earn his first live poker tournament victory – an accomplishment made all the sweeter coming in the comfortable confines of his home casino.
The event generated a total prize pool of AUD$1,604,125 – more than meeting the advertised guarantee – and 153 players managed to make the money and earn at least the AUD$2,885 minimum cash.
Take a look below to see how the seven-handed final table sorted out, including place, player, nationality, and prize:
Official Final Table Results for Aussie Millions Event #1
Finish Player Nation Prize
1 Robert Raymond Australia AUD$320,830
2 Qiang Fu New Zealand AUD$198,115
3 Michael Addamo Australia AUD$117,910
4 Alexander Lynskey Australia AUD$85,180
5 Manis Loeser England AUD$57,750
6 Jack Efaraimo New Zealand AUD$41,705
7 Samir Khoueis Australia AUD$35,290
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