Event #5 of the 2008 Aussie Millions, $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em with Rebuys, drew a stacked field of young guns and tough live players to the Crown Casino in Melbourne on Wednesday. Internet superstars such as Kevin 'BeLOWaBOVe' Saul, Jimmy 'gobboboy' Fricke and Shaun Deeb joined the event, along with Josh 'JJProdigy' Field, playing in his first major live tournament since his recent 18th birthday.
Field became famous (if not infamous) at 16 for not only winning several major tournaments and achieving success in a major online site's monthly tournament points challenge, but also for playing multiple accounts in one incident where he won, under one of the extra accounts, a $500,000 guaranteed tournament on another major site. That incident led to Field's banning from several online sites. Field made a decent showing in his first live event, but was eliminated on Day 1 before the money bubble burst.
Plenty of Australian poker stars were in the field, including 'Aussie' Sarah Bilney, Lee 'Final Table' Nelson, Billy 'The Croc' Argyros, and Graeme 'Kiwi G' Putt, who made the final table of Event #3, the mixed Stud tournament. Grant Levy, the winner of the APPT Grand Final Event in Sydney, made his first appearance of the 2008 Aussie Millions, as did PokerNews' own Tony 'G' Guoga.
The rebuy period was typically fast and wild with Fricke taking advantage of the loose action with an early double-up. Anna Wroblewski needed all the rebuys she could find when she ran into several rough hands early. "I've lost with A-Q four times, and A-K twice!" exclaimed Anna. By the end of the rebuy period, the prize pool for the $1,000 buy-in tournament had swelled to $526,000, with a first-place prize of $168,320.
After the rebuy period ended, play returned to a more normal pace, and players began heading to the rail in fairly short order. Among the early eliminations were Kenna James, Nelson, Gary Benson and Karib Karib. 52 players remained at the dinner break, with Brandon Schaefer, Bilney and Sol Bergren busting soon after dinner.
Field's exit came in the early evening, just short of the money bubble. Wroblewski raised from early position and found callers in Michael Russell and David Steicke. Field re-raised, and Wroblewski and Russell got out of the way as Steicke called for the rest of his chips with . Field tabled , and lost the race when the board came down .
APPT Macau High Rollers tournament winner Eric Assadourian was the bubble boy when he got his last few chips in with against Emmanuel Seal's pocket fours. Assadourian became an extreme short stack in the tournament after running into Michael Russell's pocket aces, and went to the rail when Seal's fours held up to burst the bubble, leaving the final 18 players in the money. 14 of those players made it to the end of day, including Wroblewski and Kevin Saul, but the chip lead belonged to Tony Dunst when the action concluded. Dunst picked up a big pot on the last hand of the day to send Daniel Zink to the rail and take the chip lead. The final chip counts looked like this as players bagged up their stacks for the night, with these 14 players fighting for the winner's share of the purse when action resumes on Wednesday:
Tony Dunst – 138,200
Dane Lomas – 110,700
Kevin Saul – 83,300
Julian Powell – 75,000
David Bach – 63,800
Emmanuel Seal – 48,700
Robert Wang – 48,200
David Steicke – 47,300
Michael Pedley – 44,200
Anna Wroblewski – 39,700
Erich Kollmann – 30,600
Larry Karambis – 27,200
Rayan Nathan – 17,500
Christine Klecz – 13,100