The name of the series may be World Series of Poker Asia Pacific, but the first three bracelet events here at the Crown Casino in Melbourne were an all-American affair. That changed today though, as Aaron Lim took down the first victory for the Pacific Rim today in Melbourne, winning the $5,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event. It is a feat that is important both to the host country and our new champion.
“It’s huge," Lim said following the win. It’s at my second home, Melbourne’s my second home. I’m incredibly honored to be the first Australian to take down a bracelet. I was a bit concerned when Americans took the first two, then Ivey took the third, so it is lucky number four for me I guess.
It was a strong showing not just for Lim, but for all of the regional players today, as the entire final table of the AU$5,000 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event consisted of Pacific Rim players, an impressive feat considering the diverse and talented field of international pros in the event. Young Australian pro Brendon Rubie made his second career WSOP final table appearance, while Australian Poker Hall of Famer Jason Gray came up just short of the final table in 7th place. The tournament drew 167 players, generating a prize pool of AU$835,000.After a long stint of unofficial final table play, the play down from six to heads-up went lightning fast, taking just 31 hands and a little over two hours. Once it got to heads-up action though, Lim and Malaysia's Andy Lee battled back and forth for a couple of hours.
Lim might be Australia’s new breakout poker star after banking a bracelet for the host country. After three events where an Aussie got to heads-up action, the 26 year old poker pro managed to close the deal and pass the sugar. The victory earns him $233,800 and his first gold bracelet in what is his first WSOP cash.
The first cash is a feat in and of itself for Lim, who transitioned to tournaments from cash games a couple of years ago and found success in just about every tour but the WSOP. His WSOP Main Event track record includes three consecutive Day 4 appearances, but no in the money results.
Lim is on quite the hot streak. The win marks his second tournament victory this month and comes hot on the heels of a win at APPT Seoul just three weeks ago. “When you run hot, you run hot," Lim said. "[APPT] was a breakthrough for me, winning a big major tournament, and this just tops it all off. It’s been an incredible month."
“Andy’s a terrific player and I thought he played extremely well. It’s hard to tell who had the better of each other because we can’t see the cards, but I thought he played extremely well. I just run like God in all-in pots," Lim said of his formidable opponent.
Lim admitted that heads-up wasn't even the toughest part of this pro-heavy tournament for him. "This is probably one of the toughest tournaments I’ve ever played, actually. Just looking at the field on Day 1...Even to get through the first day was the toughest part for me. I knew if I could get past the first day I would be okay." Several non-Australian players did make the money, but missed out on the final table including bracelet winner Oleksii Kovalchuk (15th), Canadian pro Ben Wilinofsky (14th), Jonathan Karamalikis (13th), and bracelet winner Dominik Nitsche (10th).This is the final bracelet event before today’s first-ever WSOP Asia Pacific AU$10,000 Main Event, which begins at 6pm local time this afternoon. Lim took a few minutes to take in his accomplishment, but did say he would be joining the growing Main Event crowd shortly to try to keep the hot streak going in the marquee event of the series.Final table payouts for the $5,000 Six-Handed event:1st: Aaron Lim - Australia - $233,8002nd: Andy Lee - Malaysia - $144,5303rd: Jan Suchanek – New Zealand - $103,7664th: Brendon Rubie – Australia - $74,5905th: Sam Higgs – Australia - $53,6156th: Billy Seri - Australia - $38,545