2013 Aussie Millions - $1,150 No Limit Holdem with Rebuys Event

Final Table Live Updates

Gary BensonGary Benson wins $1,150 No Limit Holdem w/ Rebuys Event ($109,000)

Australian Poker Hall of Famer Gary Benson (pictured) has emerged triumphant over an extremely well-credentialed final table line up to take down the Aussie Millions title and $109,000 in prize money.

Once Benson grabbed the lead early on the final table, he was rarely threatened, despite an intense and entertaining heads-up battle with young gun Jake Balsiger.  Benson’s experience allowed him to remain patient and pick his spots with well-timed aggression.  In the end, Balsiger was ground down before running into Benson’s pocket jacks.  We’re sure it won’t be the last we hear of Jake Balsiger, and if he can carve out a poker resume that’s half as long as Gary Benson then he’ll be going pretty well for himself.

With career earnings now pushing $1 million, this is Benson’s second Aussie Millions gold ring.  He must have a liking for Rebuy events after winning this very same event back in 2007 and also finishing runner-up in 2010.

Final Table Results

1st Gary Benson - $109,000
2nd Jake Balsiger - $71,000
3rd Patrick Healy - $44,500
4th Craig McCorkell - $30,000
5th Neil Channing - $24,000
6th Tino Lechich - $20,500
7th Alex Rich - $17,000
8th Valdemar Kwaysser - $13,500
9th Tony Sama - $10,500

Jake BalsigerJake Balsiger eliminated in 2nd place ($71,000); Gary Benson wins!

Jake Balsiger (pictured) was ground down by Australian Poker Hall of Famer Gary Benson to the point where Balsiger was forced to make a move. With the blinds up a level, he three-bet jammed for around 130,000 when Benson min-raised the button. Benson took another look at his cards and announced a call.

Balsiger: K hearts7 diams
Benson: J heartsJ clubs

Benson had a premium as Balsiger would need some help to stay alive. The 2 spades8 diams2 diams flop was rather bricky, and nothing changed on the 6 clubs turn.  Balsiger would need a king only, and while the Q hearts was close, it was no cigar.

Jake Balsiger’s impressive performance ends in 2nd place for $71,000 as the Aussie Millions title and $109,000 prize goes to Gary Benson.

Level up: Blinds 5,000-10,000, ante 1,000

Benson shows one

As we’ve seen so often in this heads-up battle, Gary Benson opened with a min-raise to 16,000 from the button and Jake Balsiger made the call.  They took a flop of 7 hearts8 spadesK diams and Balsiger check-called for 17,000 as the Q clubs appeared on the turn.  Balsiger checked again and Benson made it 28,000 to go.  Balsiger again matched the bet as the K clubs paired the board on the river.

Balsiger tapped the table for a third time and Benson paused before making it 62,000.  Balsiger cringed, thought and released as Benson offered him the opportunity to see one card. Balsiger chose and the 7 spades was revealed on the table.

Benson is now up to 600,000 with Balsiger needing to make something happen with a stack of around 170,000.

Benson moves further ahead

Gary Benson had the button when he tumbled out a limp. Jake Balsiger checked out of the big blind and the two players watched the dealer flip over a 2 diams10 spadesQ hearts flop. Balsiger then proceeded to check-call bets on the flop (10,000), the 8 hearts turn (16,000) and the 9 diams river (24,000).

“You got a jack, you win,” said Benson has he turned over 9 clubs9 hearts.

Balsiger evidently did not have a jack, sending his cards into the muck and the pot to Benson.

Benson now has 480,000 in chips, while Balsiger is sitting on 290,000.

A three-bet from Benson

It’s an intense battle here for the Aussie Millions gold with the pots going back and forth between Gary Benson and Jake Balsiger.

Most of the pots have been small, but we did just see something new – a rare three-bet by Benson. Balsiger opened to 16,000 on the button, and rather than call, Benson opted to re-raise to 33,000.  Balsiger called but gave it up when Benson fired 42,000 on the J heartsK spades9 diams flop.

Benson has 420,000 to Balsiger’s 350,000.

Balsiger lands a double

Jake Balsiger was starting to find himself in trouble, with Gary Benson having a 3-1 chip lead. A hand recently began with Balsiger opening the button to 16,000 and Benson calling to watch the dealer turn over a 4 diams6 diamsJ clubs flop. Benson checked here and Balsiger led for 16,000. Benson fired back, announcing that he was all in. Balsiger immediately called and the two players turned over their cards. Balsiger was all in for 156,000.

Benson: A diams3 diams
Balsiger: K clubsK spades

Balsiger was going to need to sweat his tournament life. The 6 spades was safe and so was the 8 hearts and with that, Balsiger is back in this tournament! Below is how the two players currently stack up.

Balsiger – 340,000
Benson – 430,000

Benson gets ahead

It’s been a tight heads-up contest so far, but Australian Gary Benson has started to move ahead in this battle with American young gun Jake Balsiger.

In a recent hand, Benson limped the button and then called three barrels of fury from Balsiger on a board of 10 clubs6 diams2 diams8 clubsQ clubs.  It was 10,000 on the flop, 25,000 on the turn and a sizable 75,000 on the river, but Benson called him down with Q spades6 clubs for two pair as Balsiger had missed his draw with 9 diams3 diams.

Benson is now up to 570,000 with Balsiger slipping back to 200,000.

Back to It

The two players are back from their break and the cards are back in the air. Jack Balsiger has a slight lead over his opponent Gary Benson, with the blinds now up to 4,000-8,000 with a 1,000-chip ante.

15-minute break

Time for a break!

Balsiger takes one

Gary Benson opened with a raise to 13,000 from the button and Jake Balsiger made the call in the big blind to see a flop of 5 hearts4 hearts8 spades.  Balsiger check-called for 15,000 on the flop and another 25,000 on the K diams turn before both players tapped the table on the K clubs river.

“Two pair,” announced Benson but Balsiger opened first, showing 8 clubs9 spades for a better two pair as Benson mucked. Benson has 350,000 with Balsiger holding 420,000 chips.

Heads-Up Begins

The Aussie Millions Gold Ring has been brought to the table and the cards are int he air for the first hands of heads-up play. It is Aussie poker veteran Gary Benson versus last year's WSOP Main Event third-place finisher Jake Balsiger. Below is how they stack up.

Gary Benson - 420,000
Jake Balsiger - 340,000

Patrick HealyPatrick Healy eliminated in 3rd place ($44,000)

Patrick Healy was the short stack for much of three-handed play and has now found the rail, courtesy of Gary Benson. Healy was in the small blind in his final moments, getting all his chips in against Benson in the big blind. Here is what the players held.

Healy: 3 diams3 clubs
Benson: A heartsQ diams

The 2 heartsJ diamsA spades flop was no good to Healy and despite cries for a three from the rail, the 9 spades turn and the 10 clubs river would see Benson scoop up the pot.

A great effort from Healy, he adds another great Aussie Millions result to his resume after finishing 5th in last year’s Main Event.

Then there were two!

River for Benson

Gary Benson opened the action from the small blind with a raise to 13,000 and Jake Balsiger defended his big blind with a call.

The flop landed 7 diamsJ hearts2 hearts and Benson led for 12,000.  Balsiger called and the turn produced the 3 spades.  Benson tossed out another 16,000 and the price was right for Balsiger to call once again as the A hearts found its way onto the river. Benson checked and Balsiger postured before checking behind.

Benson opened A diams6 clubs for a rivered pair which was good to take it down. Benson climbs back to 240,000 with Balsiger still on top with 330,000.

Balsiger in control

Jake Balsiger had the button when he threw in a raise. Gary Benson made the call from the big blind and the dealer flipped over a 7 diamsK diamsA spades flop. Benson check-called a bet of 15,000 here and then check-called a bet of 35,000 on the 3 spades turn.

The 8 spades completed the board on the river and this time when Benson checked, Balsiger checked right back. Balsiger tabled his A diams3 hearts, which was enough to send Benson’s cards into the muck and the chips into Balsiger’s stack.

Balsiger now has a handy little chip lead three-handed, with a stack of 375,000.

Chip count update

Jake Balsiger – 315,000
Gary Benson – 305,000
Patrick Healy – 155,000

Interestingly, Gary Benson just asked whether it was possible to skip the next blind level since the players are playing pretty deep.  The response from the floor was that was fine if Benson could get the others to agree.  But at the moment it seems that they’re sticking to this level for now!

Rebuy event final table

Craig McCorkell eliminated in 4th place ($30,000)

Craig McCorkell (pictured) opened with a raise to 13,000 and Gary Benson called in the small blind.  Action was then with Jake Balsiger who squeezed all in from the big blind for a total of 162,000.  McCorkell declared himself all in for a little less and the action was back with Benson.

Benson deliberated for a moment before folding as Balsiger’s 6 hearts6 spades was racing with McCorkell’s A spadesK hearts.

When the flop landed 3 diams2 hearts10 spades, Benson leapt from his chair and went to speak with his rail, perhaps indicating that he would’ve hit that flop.  It was too late though, and when the 9 hearts turn and 4 hearts river completed the board, Balsiger’s pair had held.  McCorkell headed to the cashier to collect $30,000 for 4th place

Level up: Blinds 3,000-6,000, ante 500

Chip counts

Gary Benson – 310,000
Craig McCorkell – 170,000
Patrick Healy – 160,000
Jake Balsiger – 130,000

Balsiger battles, Benson booms

Folded to Gary Benson in the small blind, he threw in the extra chips to limp. Jake Balsiger was in the big blind and raised it up to 12,000. Benson then confidently announced a raise, making it 32,000 to go. Balsiger, looking perhaps a little bemused, made the call.

The dealer turned over a 2 heartsQ diamsQ clubs flop and Benson quickly led with a bet of 30,000. Balsiger tumbled out a call and an 8 hearts landed on the turn. This time Benson tanked before announcing his bet of 45,000. Before Benson could slide out the stacks of 1,000-denomination chips, Balsiger had folded and sent the pot to Benson.

Balsiger is now one of the short stacks with around 115,000, while Benson remains as a handy chip leader.

Lady on the river saves Healy

After being crippled a short time ago, Patrick Healy is now back in contention after a huge double up through chip leader Gary Benson.

It was a battle of the blinds, with Healy moving all in from the small blind for an additional 63,000 and Benson deliberating for a moment before makin the call.

Benson: 3 diams3 hearts
Healy: Q clubs10 spades

The flop of 2 hearts9 spades4 clubs was bare for Healy and the 5 diams was another brick.  Healy’s entourage were desperately calling for some help on the river, and they gave a loud cheer for their man when the Q hearts appeared.

Healy spikes a double up to get back to around 130,000 and well in contention as Benson slips, but still leads, with a stack of 255,000.

Neil Channing eliminated in 5th place ($24,000)

Neil ChanningNeil Channing (pictured) was on the button when he and Craig McCorkell, from the big blind, got into a raising war. Eventually Channing was all in and the two players from the UK were turning their hands over.

Channing: A clubs10 diams
McCorkell: A spadesK hearts

Channing was out of his seat after the dealer flipped over a 7 spades2 spadesK diams flop, but hesitated to leave when he landed a straight draw on the J diams turn. Unfortunately for Channing a 2 diams would complete the board on the river and send Channing him home in 5th place.

Healy does Broadway

Jake Balsiger opened with a min-raise from the button to 8,000 before action folded to Patrick Healy in the big blind who declared himself all in for 31,500.  Balsiger was priced in to call with K spades8 diams and held live cards against Healy’s A hearts10 diams.

The dealer burned and revealed a flop of K heartsQ spadesJ clubs, which at first glance looked to be good for Balsiger who paired his king, but it was way behind the flopped Broadway straight of Healy.  The 7 hearts turn and 7 clubs river didn’t change anything as Healy breathes some life with a stack of 65,000.  Balsiger slips to 190,000.

Tino LechichTino Lechich eliminated in 6th place ($20,500)

Returning from the break and Aussie poker veteran Tino Lechich was one of the short stacks. In contrast, fellow veteran Gary Benson had a huge chip stack. It was these two players who would rumble preflop, with Lechich getting all his chips in the middle. Below is how their cards looked.

Benson: A clubsK clubs
Lechich: A diamsQ diams

Lechich was in trouble and the news didn’t get any better as a 10 spades9 clubsJ hearts7 diams3 diams board sent Lechich home with $20,500 for his time.

Level Up, Blinds 2,000-4,000, Ante 500

The players are back from their break and the cards are back in the air!

15-minute break

The six players have been sent on their first 15-minute break of the day.

Set for McCorkell

On the final hand of the level, Craig McCorkell has landed a big double up through West Australian Patrick Healy.

McCorkell jammed his last 50,000 chips with 5 hearts5 clubs and the race was on against Patrick Healy’s A heartsQ hearts.

Healy was happy to see a queen in the window but wasn’t so thrilled with what followed as the Q clubs5 spades2 hearts flop gave McCorkell a set of fives.  The 10 diams turn left Healy drawing dead as the J hearts completed the board.

McCorkell jumps to over 100,000 to leave Healy with just 25,000 in change.

Chip count update

Gary Benson - 258,000
Jake Balsiger - 205,000
Patrick Healy - 88,000
Tino Lechich - 68,000
Neil Channing - 60,000
Craig McCorkell - 55,000

Alex RichAlex Rich eliminated in 7th place ($17,000)

With action folded to Alex Rich (pictured) on the button, the short stack decided now was his time to get all the chips in. It was just over 20,000 to call, which Gary Benson opted to do from the big blind.

Rich: Q heartsJ diams
Benson: A spades2 diams

Rich wasn’t in too bad shape, but the 2 spades9 spadesA diams flop was bad news and the 3 clubs turn and Q clubs river changed nothing as Rich was sent home in 7th place.

Then there were six!

Benson grabbing a handy lead

Gary Benson has been on a bit of a rush lately. The most recent hand that Benson took down started with Alex Rich opening to 8,000 from under the gun. Patrick Healy was on Benson’s direct left and three-bet to 20,000. Benson, on Healy’s direct left, called, along with Rich who also put in the extra chips.

On the 2 spades2 clubs4 spades flop, Rich and Healy check to Benson, who moved his monster stack all in. Rich and Healy would both be at risk if they made the call, and so, they opted to let their cards go and to fight another day.

“You would have showed if you were bluffing,” said Healy as Benson slid his cards face down into the muck. 

Benson now has over 250,000 in chips and the chip lead.

Win an Aussie Millions Main Event seat for free on Twitter!


For your chance to win, simply tell Crown Poker what you love best about Crown's Aussie Millions and be sure to include @crownpoker and #aussiemillions in your tweets.

Competition runs daily from 8.59am Wednesday 23 – 8:59pm Monday 28 January 2013.

Three winners will be drawn at 9pm each night (based on the originality of their tweets) and go through to battle it out in a Freeroll Tournament at 10am Tuesday 29 January. 

The lucky winner of the Freeroll Tournament will receive an entry into the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event Day 1 Flight 3 at 12:30pm on Tuesday 29 January. 

Competition Terms and Conditions

Level up: Blinds 1,500-3,000, ante 400

Valdemar Kwaysser eliminated in 8th place ($13,500)

When Valdemar Kwaysser (pictured) was all-in preflop holding A spadesK clubs against the A clubsK spades of Gary Benson, it was looking like one of those inconsequential chopped pots.

Both Kwaysser and Benson were jolly as the dealer started turning over the cards, that was until the turn card when three clubs were present on the felt. The brutal river on the 5 hearts8 clubsQ clubs7 clubs2 clubs board meant that Benson had made his flush and Kwaysser was going home in 8th place.

Alex gets rich

Alex Rich was in the big blind when he three-bet shoved over an open from Valdemar Kwaysser. Eventually Kwaysser made the call and Rich slammed his A spadesA hearts on the table. Kwaysser was far behind with his A diamsQ hearts, with Rich looking good to double up.

The 8 spades7 spades8 diams2 clubs10 hearts board was safe for Rich as he moves his stack to around 90,000. Kwaysser is now one of the short stacks.

Tony Sama eliminated in 9th place ($10,500)

We have just lost our first player at the final table. Tony Sama began the day as the short stack and was always going to be needing a double up. It had been a couple of orbits before Sama moved all his chips in, shoving from early position. Folded around to Jake Balsiger in the small blind, he made the call, while the big blind got out of the way.

Balsiger: A diamsK hearts
Sama: A hearts3 diams

Sama was in big trouble and it stayed that way as a 6 clubs9 spadesQ clubs7 spadesJ clubs board ensured Sama was sent packing in 9th place.

Balsiger is now one of the chip leaders along with Patrick Healy.

Level Up, Blinds 1,200-2,400, Ante 300

Quick double for Channing

Neil Channing began the day as one of the shorter stacks, but now finds himself sitting behind a much healthier stack.

Channing was in the hijack when he opened it up to 4,000. Alex Rich called out of the big blind and the dealer flipped over a 7 spadesJ hearts10 spades flop. Rich led for 5,300 here and Channing took his time before double checking his cards.

“All in,” said Channing, prompting Rich to lean back in his chair. Channing’s all in was for 43,700.

Eventually Rich made the call, tabling his J diams8 diams. Channing was behind at this point, but had plenty of outs with his A spades9 spades. The K hearts on the turn was quite inconsequential, but a J spades on the river gave Channing what he needed and he raked in the double. 

Bags opened, cards in the air

Our star-studded final table has cracked open their bags and the cards are in the air!

There is eight minutes left in the current level, with blinds at 1,000-2,000 with a 300-chip ante.

Let's go!


After plenty of rebuy madness on Day 1 of play, where 83 players forked out for  a total of 257 rebuys/addons, the final table of nine has been reached in Event #6: $1,150 No Limit Holdem w/ Rebuys

After a tough Day 1, 2012 Aussie Millions final tablist Patrick Healy holds the chip lead over a stacked final table.

Joining Healy are some veteran Aussies like Tino Lechich and Gary Benson,  but they are facing some stiff competition from some international champions.

Firstly we have the UK's Craig McCorkell, who won a WSOP Gold Bracelet just last year; WSOP Gold Bracelet, LAPT and EPT champion Valdemar Kwaysser; Prominent UK pro and a player who has already made a top ten at this year's Aussie Millions, Neil Channing;  and of course, last year's WSOP Main Event third-place finisher, Jacob Balsiger.

Below is how the final table stacks up!

Seat 1: Alex Rich - 81,200
Seat 2: Tony Sama - 37,000
Seat 3: Patrick Healy - 153,600
Seat 4: Gary Benson - 70,500
Seat 5: Valdemar Kwaysser - 81,700
Seat 6: Neil Channing - 54,000
Seat 7: Jacob Balsiger - 129,900
Seat 8: Craig McCorkell - 128,700
Seat 9: Tino Lechich - 43,700

The eventual champion will be taking home $109,000, while the minimum payout at the final table is $10,500. Below is how the cash looks.

1st - $109,000
2nd - $71,000
3rd - $44,500
4th - $30,000
5th - $24,000
6th - $20,500
7th - $17,000
8th - $13,500
9th - $10,500

The final table redraw will take place before play kicks off at 2pm on Saturday.  Once again the Poker Asia Pacific team will be live on the floor of the Crown Poker Room to bring you Aussie Millions live reporting of all the action.