2009 Aussie Millions Main Event, Day 1b: Daphne Tops Second Starting Session
Day 1b of the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event drew more poker players than Day 1a's opening session. Along with 2008 champion Alexander Kostritsyn, the Day 1b field included Erik Seidel, Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson, Grant Levy, Ivan Demidov (at right), Jeff Madsen and many others. Even with so many big names in the field, local player Brett Daphne finished Day 1b with the chip lead after winning his way into the event in a Crown Casino satellite in early January. Demidov made his way into the top ten, leading a bevy of big names who also survived the day's play.
Jim Ververis started off his 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event with the best possible starting hand: . He and Marty Smyth saw the flop in a raised pot, and by the end of the hand all the chips were in the middle. It was then that Ververis saw why they call it a favorite and not a lock; on a board of , Smyth tabled for two pair. Smyth doubled up on the very first hand and never looked back as he finished Day 1b in the middle of the pack of survivors. Ververis headed for the exit with the unfortunate title of the day's first departing player.
Other early casualties included Jeff Lisandro, Chris Ferguson and 2008 champ Alexander Kostritsyn. Kostritsyn raised from the button with , and Josh Malone joined him for the flop. Malone led out at the pot and Kostritsyn immediately re-raised. Malone called, and the turn brought the . Malone checked, Kostritsyn bet, and Malone check-raised all in. Kostritsyn was the player at risk when he made the call, but he was ahead of Malone's . The on the river gave Malone the flush and guaranteed a new Aussie Millions champion for 2009.
Play was slower on the second Day 1 of the Main Event, with less than half the field eliminated. Among the notable departures were Harry Demetriou, Tony "Bond18" Dunst and Erik Seidel. Seidel's exit came when he re-raised from the small blind with , then moved all in over the top when the player in the cutoff re-raised again. His opponent called with , and Seidel held a slight edge going to the flop. Unfortunately for the 2008 runner-up, the board ran out and he was done.
As the clock drew near the end of Day 1b, several players made late surges. Sam Vakili was among them, doubling through Jason Chahine to move into contention. Vakili raised preflop with , and Chahine re-raised from the big blind. Vakili called and the flop came down . Chahine checked, and Vakili checked behind to see the turn bring the . Chahine led out, and Vakili instantly re-raised. Chahine moved all in over the top and Vakili called with top set. Chahine tabled for the nut flush, but the on the river made quads for Vakili as he moved to the top of the leader board. Brett Daphne later passed Vakili for the lead as the ten biggest stacks looked like this at the end of Day 1b:
Brett Daphne -- 120,250
Josh Malone -- 112,400
Sam Vakili -- 106,300
Michael Toreniec -- 101,525
Ali Ghezelbash -- 92,575
Erol Aygon -- 92,100
Josh Onas -- 89,700
Ivan Demidov -- 81,925
Annica Zvert -- 81,575
Michael 'Timex' McDonald -- 80,675
Join PokerNews at 12:30 Melbourne time on Monday as the final flight of Day 1 kicks off with what is expected to be the largest field yet.