The impact of Black Friday on the high stakes poker economy was always going to mean fewer players in this year’s edition of the Aussie Millions $100,000 Hold’em Challenge. But an excellent turnout of 22 players exceeded most expectations with another world class line-up chasing an AUD $1 million first prize.
This year’s field comprised many of the regulars who’ve supported this event in recent years including Dan Shak (2010 winner), Phil Ivey (2010 runner-up), Tony Bloom (2009 and 2011 runner-up), Sam Trickett (2011 winner), Erik Seidel, Masa Kagawa and Gus Hansen.
The line-up also featured Dan Smith, Daniel Alaei, Daniel Negreanu, Daniel Cates, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Tom Dwan, JC Tran, Nam Le, Mikhail Smirnov, Tobias Reinkemeier, Mike Watson and a trio of Aussies – Tony G, Joe Hachem and Jonathan Karamalikis.
Eight players will return to decide the champion today, with the 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event winner Gus Hansen holding a narrow lead over Joe Hachem who, incredibly, is still shooting for his maiden Aussie Millions title. Smith, Smirnov, Mizzi, Tony G, Nam Le and Trickett are also still in contention for one of the four spots in the money. Action kicks-off at 2.30pm in Studio 3.
2012 Aussie Millions $100,000 Hold’em Challenge day 1 chip count (22 players; 8 players remain)
Gus Hansen 567,000
Joe Hachem 538,500
Dan Smith 346,500
Mikhail Smirnov 265,000
Sorel Mizzi 228,500
Tony G 102,000
Nam Le 79,500
Sam Trickett 73,000