On Thursday, the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event recommenced for Day 3 with just 68 of the original 629 players remaining. Not only were they all looking to survive through the money bubble 64 players, but each hoped to make the final 36 and punch their ticket to Day 4—which will mark the start of six-handed play in the tournament. It only took three levels for 33 players to hit the rail, and during that time Ray Ellis emerged as the chip leader with 1,044,000, though the fearsome Finn Patrik Antonius is hot on his heels with 957,000.
Ellis got a good portion of his chips in Level 16 (3,000/6,000/1,000) against Jan Collado. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team caught the action with around 130,000 already in the pot and a board reading when Collado bet 62,000 from the big blind and received a call from Ellis on the button. When the completed the board on the river, Collado slowly bet 77,000 and Ellis made a quick call by arching his chips into the pot. Collado rolled over for ace high, and then Ellis showed down the winning .
Antonius, meanwhile, won a big hand in Level 17 (4,000/8,000/1,000) in a blind-versus-blind pot. There was around 30,000 in the pot with the flop reading when Antonius checked from the small blind and Wei Low bet 18,000 from the big. Antonius responded with a check-raise to 60,000 and Low hit the tank for a couple minutes before moving all in for approximately 325,000. Antonius snap-called and Low discovered the bad news.
Even though he got it in bad, Low was still drawing live as a five would complete his gut-shot straight draw and either a six or eight would put him in the lead. The was not what he needed, and neither was the . Low was eliminated while Antonius chipped up to 1.2 million.
Obviously not everyone was as fortunate as Ellis and Antonius. On the very first hand of the day, which happened in Level 15 with the blinds at 2,500/5,000/500, Phil Ivey opened for 11,000 from the hijack and action folded to Michael Kane in the big blind. He opted for a three-bet to 24,000, Ivey four-bet to 55,000 and Kane moved all in for 159,000. Ivey snap-called and the cards were turned up:
Kane looked on helplessly as the board ran out . With that, Kane became the day's first casualty while Ivey got an immediate boost to his stack. Not long after that, PartyPoker Qualifier Zoltan Szabo took an incredibly bad beat when he got his stack all in preflop holding against the of Collado. The flop seemed innocent enough, but the running turn and river was disaster as Collado went runner-runner to make a straight and send Szabo home empty-handed.
While those were both heartbreakers, no one experience more pain that Australian Poker Hall of Famer Gary Benson, who finished as the 2013 Aussie Millions bubble boy. It happened when Benson got his last 50,000 all in preflop and was at risk against Ivey. The hand was halted until action finished at all the other tables, which gave the railbirds plenty of time to circle Table 10 in preparation for the action. When it was time for the cards to be flipped up, Benson rolled over while Ivey had him dominated with the .
Benson was out of his chair and packing his things when the dealer put out the flop — . The crowd "awed" in disbelief as Benson hit a set to take the lead. Even so, Ivey was drawing very much alive as he flopped an open-ended straight draw. The TV cameras zoomed in while the railbirds' eyes were fixed on the table and overhanging TV screen. The dealer burned and turned the .
That meant Benson needed to avoid an ace, nine and jack on the river to stay alive. Unfortunately for him, and much to the astonishment of the rail, the spiked on the river to give Ivey the straight. Benson turned away from the table to mask his disappointment, but the veteran soon turned back around, wished the table good luck, and made a gracious exit from the tournament.
As usual, the in-the-money eliminations came fast and steady after the bubble had burst. Elliot Smith (64th-AU$15,000), Didier Guerin (62nd-AU$15,000), Craig McCorkell (58th-AU$15,000), Adam Schmidt (55th-AU$15,000), David Boyaciyan (53rd-AU$15,000), Michael Harrison-Ford (44th-AU$20,000) and Adam Carlton (42nd-AU20,000).
In Level 17 (4,000/8,000/1,000), 2010 Aussie Millions Main Event champ Tyron Krost, who earned a lifetime of free Main Event buy-ins after winning last year’s Tournament of Champions, moved all in for roughly 100,000 after Shoshiro Karita had opened for a raise in late position. Karita called and the cards were turned up.
Krost, who had been working with a short stack for the better part of two days, was in desperate need of some help but found none as the board ran out . Krost was eliminated in 41st place for AU$20,000.
After Low (39th), Frank Rusnak (40th) and Jan Suchanek (38th) all hit the rail, each taking home AU$25,000, the bubble was on for the final 36. It only took a couple of minutes to burst when a short-stacked Daniel Neilson moved all in for just 20,000 from the button and Ellis and Collado called from the small and big blinds, respectively. Collado then checked the flop, Collado bet, and Ellis got out of the way.
Collado had paired his four on the flop, but he was still behind the pocket tens of Neilson. The turn was of no consequence, but the river gave Collado two pair to eliminate Neilson, who seemed none too pleased and made a beeline for the payout desk.
Other notables still in contention include Dan Shak (596,000), Sam Cohen (559,000), Lee Markholt (558,000), Kitty Kuo (507,000), Jay Tan (494,000), Kevin Rabichow (478,000), Minh Nguyen (418,000), Ivey (399,000), Daniel Laidlaw (312,000) and Celina Lin (188,000).
The remaining 36 players will return on Friday at 12:30 p.m. local time for Day 4 action, which will be played six-handed. It’ll likely be a long one as they’ll play down to a final table of six, but the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there every step of the way to bring you all the action.
In addition, you can follow our updates for the $250,000 Challenge by clicking here.