The biggest names in poker took their seats around three tables as the largest-buyin event of the 2008 Aussie Millions kicked off, the $100,000 No-Limit Hold'Em event. Last year's winner, Erick Lindgren, joined 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event champion Gus Hansen, multiple WSOP bracelet holders Phil Ivey and Erik Seidel, and a host of other poker superstars including Tony G, Howard Lederer, 2000 World Champion Chris 'Jesus' Ferguson and Masaaki Kagawa. The online superstars were thick in the field as well, with Michael 'Timex' McDonald, Tom 'durrr' Dwan and Jeff 'ActionJeff' Garza among those on hand.
The 25 entrants created a $2.5 million prize pool, to be divided among the top five finishers. First place took down $1.25 million, with fifth getting a $100,000 refund on their buy-in. The tournament was structured as pot-limit preflop and no-limit after the flop. Once the match went to heads-up, the play was all no-limit.
Action was steady and deliberate early, with only a few bustouts in the first few levels. One of the early eliminations was Gus Hansen, who got into a big hand with Erick Lindgren when he flopped top pair on a board, and fired out. Lindgren called, then bet out on the turn . Hansen moved all in over the top, and Lindgren called with for the flopped set. The on the river was no help to Hansen, and he was eliminated early. Lindgren later took out Tony G when Tony G called Lindgren's all-in raise with pocket queens on a flop. Lindgren tabled pocket aces, and when the rest of the board ran out , Tony G was eliminated.
McDonald busted in 22nd when he ran his into Eli Elezra's . The flop gave McDonald a flush draw, but he was eliminated when no more diamonds materialized. Elezra joined him on the rail moments later when his was no good against Michael Sampoerna's on a board of . The was no help for Elezra, and he was busted. Other notable eliminations leading up to the final table included Allen Cunningham, Andy Bloch, Seidel and Ferguson.
2007 champ Erick Lindgren went into the final table looking for a repeat victory, and he carried the chip lead into the final eight, with the seat assignments and chip stacks as follows:
Seat 1: Michael Sampoerna - 125,000
Seat 2: Nikolaus Jedlicka - 446,000
Seat 3: Howard Lederer - 202,000
Seat 4: Erick Lindgren - 574,000
Seat 5: Jeff Garza - 496,000
Seat 6: Mark Teltscher - 171,000
Seat 7: Jeff Lisandro - 192,000
Seat 8: Tom Dwan - 299,000
The Internet stars had a rough go of it to start off the final table, as Dwan and Garza were the first two eliminations. Dwan ran into Garza's pocket Kings and failed to improve, and then Garza lost a race with against Mark Teltscher's pocket jacks to finish up in seventh place.
Returning champ Erick Lindgren became the cash-spots bubble boy when he tangled with Michael Sampoerna. Lindgren raised preflop from the big blind, and Sampoerna called from the cutoff. The flop came down , and Lindgren bet out again. Sampoerna called again, and the turn brought the . Lindgren fired out another bet, and Sampoerna moved all in. Lindgren called with for the flopped set, and Sampoerna tabled for the turned flush. The on the river failed to pair the board, and Lindgren was eliminated in sixth place.
Niki Jedlicka was the next to lose a big pot to Sampoerna on the turn, after he flopped a set of fives on a board of and both players checked. The turn brought the , and Jedlicka bet out. Sampoerna check-raised, and Jedlicka moved all in. Sampoerna called with for another turned straight, and Jedlicka picked up $100,000 for fifth.
Play slowed considerably after Jedlicka's exit, until Mark Teltscher moved all in over the top of a Jeff Lisandro preflop raise. Lisandro made the call with and was ahead of Teltscher's , until the flop came down , giving Teltscher a pair of kings and the lead. The turn and river were and , and Lisandro exited in fourth ($150,000). Teltscher next took out Sampoerna in when his pocket eights held up against Sampoerna's pocket sevens, Sampoerna departing with $350,000.
Howard Lederer had slowly but surely built up a chip lead over the course of the final table, and it took him less than an hour of heads-up play the 'Professor' to take the victory against Teltscher. In the final hand, Lederer limped in from the button, and Teltscher checked his option. Teltscher bet out on a flop, and Lederer called. The turn brought the , and Teltscher bet out again; Lederer called once more to see the on the river. Teltscher thought for a moment before moving all in with for two pair, and Lederer called with for a better two pair to bust Teltscher as the runner-up for $650,000. The pot gave Lederer the trophy for Event #9 and the $1.25 million first prize, the second largest winner's check in Aussie Millions history.