Aussie Millions Main Event, Day 3: Antonio Casale Tops Final 22
98 players returned to the Crown Casino in Melbourne on Friday for Day 3 of the 2008 Aussie Millions Main Event, all striving for a spot in the top 80 paid slots and a shot at the $1.65 million first prize. Matthew LaGarde started the day atop the leaderboard, with some of poker's biggest stars on the chase, including Mike Matusow, Jeff Lisandro, Erik Seidel, Kenna James, Erick Lindgren and Andy Black, who finished in third place at this event last year.
Mike 'The Mouth' Matusow was card dead through most of Day 2, and found himself all in with early on Day 3. Con Angelakis called with , and Matusow kept the lead when the flop came down . The on the turn gave Angelakis more outs, and the on the river gave him two pair and sent Matusow to the rail. Jeff Lisandro got the last of his chips in with against Robert Akery's , and the on the flop put Lisandro even further behind. His hand did not improve, and he was busted before the money bubble.
The bubble burst in grand fashion, with two players going out on the same hand to share the bubble and the 80th-place money. Charles Cuschieri moved the last of his chips in with and found a caller in Jean Gianotti with . No ace came on the board, and Cuschieri departed. At the same time, Lucio Baroni busted when Mark Kassis hit a king while holding A-K, cracking Baroni's pocket tens. Baroni and Cuschieri split the $15,000 prize money for 80th place, taking away some of the sting of going out on the bubble.
Once the bubble burst, the pace of eliminations picked up, with several big names busting out in short order. Perry Friedman made two pair on a flop of , and Matt Kirk called his all-in move with for the nut flush draw. Friedman's was ahead, but the on the river gave Kirk the flush and sent Friedman home with $15,000 for 77th place. Other notable eliminations in the post-bubble period included Erick Lindgren, Matt Matros and Tom 'durrr' Dwan. Internet superstar Kevin 'BeLOWaBOVe' Saul got caught bluffing by Steven Miller in a big pot when Miller called Saul's all-in move with . Saul's did not improve, and he was out on the next hand in 45th ($25,000).
When play reached 36 competitors, the tournament redrew for seats on six-handed tables, with Tiffany Williamson barely getting her seat warm before busting out in 36th place. Williamson moved all in over the top of Michael Chrisanthopoulos' preflop re-raise with , and Chrisanthopoulos quickly called with . Williamson flopped a set when the landed, but Chrisanthopoulos also flopped a set with the . The case six did not appear for Williamson, and she was eliminated in 36th ($30,000).
As the night drew on, the last few eliminations included a pair of former chip leaders. Andy Black ran into Erik Seidel's pocket tens to go out in 34th ($30,000). Then Matthew LaGarde ran pocket kings into Peter Ling's pocket aces to bust in 26th ($40,000). Matthew Stout was one of the final eliminations of Day 3 when Robert Akery's jacks held up against Stout's to send him to the rail in 24th ($65,000).
22 players remained at the end of Day 3, with Antonio Casale leading the charge for the final table. The Crown Casino regular drew quite a following as the day moved along, with one local remarking "He's been playing poker at the Crown since it opened."
The top ten chip stacks looked like this as play closed on Day 3:
Antonio Casale - 1,513,000
Nico Behling - 1,306,000
Dane Lomas - 1,158,000
Max Pescatori - 1,082,000
Robert Akery - 940,000
Peter Mobbs - 908,000
Maximilian Bracht - 837,000
Michael Chrisanthopoulos - 803,000
Robert Holster - 770,000
Erik Seidel - 752,000