No-limit hold'em action returned to the Crown Casino on Thursday in the form of the 2009 Aussie Millions' Event #6 — $1,150 No Limit Hold'em with Rebuys. Players gambled it up in the first two levels to build or break massive stacks as the 126 entrants rebought a staggering 457 times to create the largest prize pool so far in the 2009 Aussie Millions series. Top players from around the world joined the fray including Kelly Kim, Alexander Kostritsyn, Ivan Demidov, Sorel Mizzi, Jeff Lisandro and 2008 champ Michael Pedley. Day 1 saw the field thin to a final table of nine, with Jonathan Karamilikis taking the chip lead into Day 2.
The first two levels saw lots of all-ins, but very few eliminations, as players rebought with abandon. At the end of Level 2, players had the option of a single or double rebuy, which gave them 1,500 chips for AU $1,000 or 3,000 chips for $2,000, regardless of stack size. After a short break, players returned to a more traditional freeze-out format. Jeff Lisandro was one of the early post-rebuy casualties, as he moved all in on a flop of with . Lisandro found two callers, one with , and one with . No help came on the turn or river for Lisandro, and his tournament was over. Other early eliminations included Dennis Huntly, Mike "Timex" McDonald, Kelly Kim and Craig "HU4ROLLZ" Bergeron.
Annette Obrestad's dry spell at the 2009 Aussie Millions continued as she busted well short of the money on Day 1. Obrestad raised preflop with and called an opponent's all in preflop, only to find herself up against pocket jacks. The flop was devastating for Obrestad, as the board gave her opponent a set and left her drawing to runner-runner. The on the turn was one of the runners she needed, but the on the river was no help as Obrestad headed to the rail. Online star James "Andy McLEOD" Obst joined Obrestad on the rail as the day wore on.
Jonathan Karamlikis got his great Day 1 started early. Karamilikis eliminated Jamie Pickering to start his rise to the top, then later sent Dan Shak to the rail as he continued to dominate the session's play. Shak called a raise from Karamilikis to see a flop. The came on the turn, and Shak checked the action to Karamilikis. Karamilikis led out, and Shak snap-called. Shak fired first when the hit the river, and Karamilikis raised. Shak moved all in over the top, and Karamilikis quickly called with for the rivered full house. Shak headed to the rail as Karamilikis continued his monstrous rise to the top of the leader board.
All the rebuys created a nice prize pool, with the top 18 players guaranteed at least AU $5,247. As play wound down toward two tables, Zhi Hong Ma was the bubble boy after being busted by Jonathan Karamilikis. Karamilikis raised preflop with on a steal attempt, and Ma moved all in over the top for not much more with . A pot-committed Karamilikis made the call, and the board ran out to give Karamilikis two pair and send Ma home empty-handed.
Play was quick once the money bubble burst, with a flurry of eliminations on the way to the final table. In the span of just a few hands, Grant Levy (16th), Nik Lackovic (15th), Antonis Kambouris (14th), Stuart Taylor (13th) and Michael Guttman (12th) all headed to the rail after either a lost coin flip or a missed draw. Antonis Kambouris had a bad beat thrown into the fray for good measure as Mark Kassis cracked Kambouris' aces with kings to send Kambouris packing. Each of these players picked up $5,247 for their efforts.
Late in the evening, with the final weary players struggling for their spots at the final table, Steve Leonard moved the last of his chips in preflop with . Tony Dunst moved all in over the top to isolate with and ran everyone else out of his pot. Leonard could only watch the outcome of the race as the board came down to give Dunst a better two pair and send Leonard home in 10th place ($5,247).
With Leonard's elimination, Dunst moved over the 100,000-chip mark and the final table was set. The chip counts and seating assignments looked like this as the nine survivors bagged their chips for the night, to return for Friday's finale:
Seat 1: Sorel Mizzi — 131,200
Seat 2: Clark Hamagami — 95,700
Seat 3: Tony Dunst — 120,900
Seat 4: Mark Kassis — 124,200
Seat 5: Rayan Nathan — 38,700
Seat 6: Larry Karambis — 79,900
Seat 7: Jonathan Karamalikis — 153,000
Seat 8: Richard Ashby — 83,400
Seat 9: Peter Rho — 49.400