2009 Aussie Millions Main Event, Day 1c: Ben Charlton Tops Session
The third Day 1 flight of the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event drew the largest and most star-studded field of the three opening sessions. Among the "name" pros competing on Day 1c were Scotty Nguyen, Joe Hachem, Clonie Gowen, Phil Laak and Lee "Final Table" Nelson. Also in the field were several stars who made their name outside the poker realm, including cricket legend Shane Warne, actor Michael Vartan, jockey Shane Dye and World Champion boxer Shane Fenech. All told, a whopping 288 players took to the felt at the Crown Casino for Day 1c, bringing the total number of Main Event entrants to 681.
The Main Event lasted longer for some players than others, and David "Chino" Rheem was unfortunate enough to have one of the shortest Main Events in his recent history – two hands. Rheem got all his chips in with two pair after a king-high flop. His opponent called with pocket queens, hit a queen on the turn, and Rheem's Main Event was done. Other early eliminations included Lee "Final Table" Nelson, Shane Warne and Marlon Goonawardana.
Tom "durrrr" Dwan made an early appearance at the Main Event, but vanished after playing his first few hands. Dwan returned to the table four levels into the day after blinding off nearly half his stack. Two levels later, Dwan ran his A-10 into an opponent's A-K, and headed back to his high-stakes online games. Another late arrival was Gus Hansen, who joined the tournament in the fourth level of the day, winning the prize for the latest arrival. Hansen's day ended early as well, after he moved all in from the small blind with after a raise and a call preflop. One opponent folded, but the other called, showing for the coin flip. The flop came down to send Hansen back to the high-stakes cash games.
Day 1c was a rough one for celebrities turned poker players. Jennifer Tilly busted on a coin flip late in the day, but most of the athletes and actors in the field were long gone by then. Michael Vartan flopped a baby flush and got all his chips in the middle with on a board of . His lone opponent showed and hit a diamond on the river to send Vartan to the rail. Boxer Jeff Fenech was the sole survivor among the celebrity athletes, making it through Day 1c with a healthy stack. Fenech eliminated Tony Hachem late in the day with a flush-over-flush hand to move near the top of the leader board.
As the day wore on, more big names exited, including John Juanda, Nam Le, Yevgeniy Timoshenko and JC Tran. Tran called the all-in of Joe Hachem on a flop of with . Hachem showed and promptly took the lead when the hit the turn. Tran needed a queen on the river to chop, but the came instead as he packed up his things for the day.
Ben Charlton made a late surge to finish the day with the chip lead, ending up second over all three Day 1 flights behind Chris Chronis' Day 1a performance. Charlton's move up the ladder started at the expense of Dan Shak, who moved all in on a flop. Charlton snap-called with , and Shak's pocket nines were dead to running nines. Shak left the table before the turn and river bricked out, and his tournament was done. As time was winding down on Day 1c, Charlton made a huge call on a board of while holding . Charlton's straight was good as his opponent tabled for a flopped set, and Charlton finished the day with by far the biggest stack after fading his opponent's outs to the full house.
The survivors from all three flights of Day 1 will combine at 12:30 Melbourne time on Wednesday for Day 2 play. Join PokerNews as we bring you all the hand-for-hand action from the Crown Casino. The top ten chip counts from Day 1c play:
Ben Charlton -- 161,000
Luis Pampliega -- 143,600
Jani Mikkola -- 109,050
John Paul Kelly -- 104,500
Tom Rafferty -- 95,000
Mike Manttan -- 92,000
Michael Binger -- 86,000
Bodo Sbrezesny — 83,000
Richard Ashby -- 83,000
Mark Phillips -- 81,850