Aussie Millions: Final table player profiles
The 2014 Aussie Millions began with 668 players and now only seven remain. The final table begins at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, February 9th at 12:30pm. The players are guaranteed $170,000 and are fighting it out for the $1.6 million top prize.
Seat 1: Jake Balsiger, 23 - Tempe, USA - 2,385,000 chips
"I didn't want to get a job," 23-year old Jake Balsiger tells us when asked how he got his start in poker. Well he seems to have a made a good living out of poker so far, amassing almost US$4 million in tournament results. Most of that came when he finished 3rd in the 2012 WSOP Main Event. He's guaranteed another $170,000 for making this latest final table.
Balsiger says that Phil Galfond is the biggest influence on his poker game and the thing he has enjoyed most about his visit to Melbourne this January is making the Aussie Millions Main Event final table. Outside of poker Balsiger enjoys hiking and playing tennis.
Seat 2: Darren Rabinowitz, 25 - Mercer Island, USA- 2,365,000 chips
Darren Rabinowitz has been playing poker professionally for two years. The 25-year old says that making a few WSOP final tables have been a highlight of his career, but making the Aussie Millions final table is "pretty epic". Rabinowitz claims that winning a flip with ten players remaining was "good".
His biggest influences in poker are fellow poker players Joe Kuether, Carter Newhof and Mike Corson, along with the late TuPac. Outside of poker Rabinowitz loves food and the highlight of his Aussie Millions trips has been going to the beach and watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open.
Seat 3: Scott Seiver, 28 - Colombus, USA - 855,000 chips
Scott Seiver is the short stack heading into the final table, but also happens to be one of the most successful poker players of the last decade. The 28-year old has been playing poker for eight years and claims that this Aussie Millions has been the highlight of his poker career - topped only by meeting Fabian Quoss.
Seiver tells us he got started in poker "by playing" and he has certainly done well at it. Before his recent $25K Challenge result at the Aussie Millions, Seiver had never posted a result in Australia. Now he is guaranteed another $170,000 to be added to his more than US$9 million in career tournament results.
Seat 4: Vincent Rubianes, 25 - Stockton, USA - 3,865,000 chips
Vincent Rubianes claims to be "unemployed", but considering he's posted almost US$200,000 in tournament results over the last couple of years, and will be adding at least another $170,000 by making the Aussie Millions final table, we are going to go right ahead and call him a poker player.
Like Jake Balsiger, Rubianes claims Phil Galfond to be the biggest influence on his poker game. The biggest highlight of his poker career was finishing 5th in the NAPT Mohegan Sun Main Event in 2011. Rubianes is the only player at the final table who has been at an APPT final table before. He finished 2nd in the 2012 APPT Seoul Main Event.
Seat 5: Ami Barer, 22 - Vancouver, Canada - 6,570,000 chips
Ami Barer may be from Canada but he clearly has strong ties to Australia considering he cites Aussie Daniel Neilson as both the biggest influence on his poker game and meeting him as the highlight of his poker career.
The 22-year old has been playing poker for a "couple of years", which was long enough to post almost US$6 million in online tournament results under the screen name "UhhMee". The largest live tournament result on Barer's resume is US$180,064 for finishing 2nd in the EPT Prague Eureka Main Event in 2013. Anything better than 7th at the Aussie Millions final table will top that.
Seat 6: Andrew Phaedonas, 45 - Melbourne, Australia - 1,105,000 chips
When compared to the rest of the 2014 Aussie Millions final table, Andrew Phaedonas isn't very experienced. His largest live tournament result was $12,701 for finishing 3rd in a $50 rebuy event here in the Crown Poker Room. However, Phaedonas has made it this far and will looking to rumble with the pros and keep the Aussie Millions title on home soil.
Phaedonas works in sales and enjoys Football (the Australian kind) and going to the gym. His friends got him started in poker and he cites his family as his biggest influence.
Seat 7: Sorel Mizzi, 27 - Toronto, Canada - 2,830,000 chips
The fact that Canada's Sorel Mizzi is part of the final seven is historic in that no other player has made the final table of the modern Aussie Millions on two separate occasions. Mizzi finished 3rd in 2010 which earned him $715,000. Amazingly this is also Mizzi's fourth deep run in the Aussie Millions Main Event after finishing 16th, 3rd and 9th in three consecutive years from 2009 through 2011.
Mizzi has made a final table at almost every series imaginable including the WPT, EPT and the WSOP. Mizzi has also had plenty of success online, winning two FTOPs titles and a SCOOP bracelet on PokerStars. Earlier in the tournament Mizzi said that the portraits of the past Aussie Millions winners on the walls of the Crown Poker Room were taunting him and he hoped to get his picture on the wall and do some taunting himself.