With splendor and showmanship, the Main Event of the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championship kicked off on Sunday with music, dancing girls, video and words of encouragement from Joe Hachem, who issued the challenge, "I think it's about time an Aussie took home the title. Get your acts together!" 191 players took to the felt for Day 1a of the Main Event, with top pros James Potter, Tony G, Sorel Mizzi, Patrik Antonius, John Hennigan and Sam Khouiss among those in the field. At the end of the day, local fashion designer and poker player Christopher Chronis took Hachem's words to heart, leading the session's play, with Patrik Antonius close behind.
Wesley "tEh_R3aLde4L" Whybrew was one of the early casualties on Day 1a when his pocket aces were cracked. Three players saw a flop of , and Whybrew called a bet from the small blind. The came on the turn, and the small blind led out for enough to put Whybrew all in. Whybrew called with his aces, only to see the small blind table . No ace on the river, and Whybrew's day was done early. He was joined on the rail by Julian Powell, Michael Pedley, Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt and James Potter, who cashed twice in preliminary events but was unable to get anything going in the Main Event.
Action throughout Day 1a was steady, with the final tally standing at 76 survivors out of 191 entrants. Other notable players who busted on Day 1a included John "The World" Hennigan and Jim Sachinidis. Aces were no good to Craig Bergeron, who busted late in the day when Elliot Smith's aces held up against Bergeron's kings on a board of to send Bergeron packing.
Even with Patrik Antonius at his table, Chris Chronis ran roughshod over his opponents for much of the day. Chronis surged to near the top of leader board early when he tangled with Haki "Rocky" Sejnovski. The pot was raised several times before the flop came down . Sejnovski led out, Chronis raised, and Sejnovski quickly moved all in. Chronis called with for the flopped set, and Sejnovski's needed help. No queen came on the turn or river, and Sejnovski headed home as Chronis moved up the ladder.
Chronis, a Melbourne fashion designer with several big cashes to his credit, including a win in a <a href=https://www.pokernews.com/live-reporting/aussie-millions-2008/>2008 Aussie Millions</a> preliminary event, rolled through Day 1a and cemented his chip lead in the final few hands as he sent another opponent packing. All the chips went in preflop as Chronis tabled . His opponent showed , and the board ran out to give Chronis the pot and the Day 1a chip lead. He was joined atop the leader board by Patrik Antonius, James Obst, Sorel Mizzi and Noah Schwartz. Other notable survivors from Day 1a included Tony G, Karib Karib, Joel Dodds, Barny Boatman and Brian McFadden, who made it well past his stated goal of surviving the first four levels.
Preliminary chip counts showed these players among the session's leaders:
Christopher Chronis -- 175,375
Patrik Antonius -- 139,750
Noah Schwartz -- 138,275
Derek Cheung -- 132,800
James Obst -- 122,075
Elliot Smith -- 107,650
Warwick Mirzikinian -- 103,575
Jarred Solomon -- 101,775
Danny Andrews -- 98,825
Sorel Mizzi -- 95,575
Join PokerNews on Monday, Melbourne time, for all the live updates from Day 1b play in the <a href=https://www.pokernews.com/live-reporting/2009-aussie-millions/>Aussie Millions</a> Main Event.