Of the 81 competitors returning to the Crown Casino for Day 3 of the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event, several names stood out. Among them were Joe Hachem, who challenged his countrymen to bring home the title to Australia this year. Also in the field were Scotty Nguyen, Patrik Antonius, Annette Obrestad and Raymond Rahme, but all eyes were on Annica Ivert, who began the day with the chip lead. That lead moved around like a baton in a relay race before finally coming to rest in the hands of Michael Tureniec, who finished Day 3 atop the leader board and alone above the million-chip mark.
Action moved swiftly to begin the day, with only 17 spots between the beginning of the day and the money bubble. The most notable player to bust before the bubble was none other than Joe Hachem, who got his chips in good against Leonid Cai with . Cai's hit the flop hard as it came down . Hachem picked up a flush draw when the came on the turn, but the on the river sent the world champion to the rail a few spots out of the money. Team PokerNews player Will Zemljaric was the unfortunate bubble boy, eliminated in 65th place by Richard Ashby. Zemljaric made a move at the pot on the river, with a board of . Ashby thought for a moment before making the call with for a set, and when Zemljaric showed , he was the bubble boy.
Jarred Solomon had the unique honor of cashing in two events on the same day, busting in 63rd place (AUD $15,000) in the Main Event, then heading over to the $5,300 Heads Up Championship, where he picked up another $40,000 for his third-place finish. Other notable eliminations in the post-bubble flood included Antonis "Toothpick Tony" Kambouris (62nd), Joel Dodds (59th) and Nali "Iraqi Nick" Kaselias (58th).
With Joe Hachem's elimination before the bubble, Scotty Nguyen was the only male world champion left standing. Nguyen smooth-called Sam Capra preflop with , and called again when Capra bet out at the flop. Capra checked the turn, then called as Nguyen moved all in. Capra tabled for a pair and a flush draw, and improved to trips when the hit the river. Nguyen picked up $15,000 for his 50th-place finish, while Capra ran that hand into a top-ten chip stack by the end of Day 3.
After Nguyen headed to the rail, Patrik Antonius briefly held the title of biggest superstar remaining in the tournament. He relinquished that label when he busted in 41st place ($20,000). Antonius saw a flop of with Elliot Smith and Richard Ashby, and all three players checked. Antonius bet out when the came on the turn, and both opponents called. Antonius bet out again when the came on the river, and Smith folded. Ashby moved all in over the top, and Antonius went deep into the tank. After several minutes of thought, Antonius called the clock on himself. As his time ticked down, he finally made the call with for flopped trips. Ashby tabled for trips that improved to a full house, and Antonius was done.
Once Nhan Le was eliminated in 37th place ($25,000) the format of the tournament shifted to six six-handed tables. Christopher Chronis claimed the first victim of six-handed play when he sent Raymond Rahme to the rail in 36th place ($30,000). Rahme check-raised Chronis all in on the turn with the board reading , and tabled for second pair. Chronis was behind but had a huge draw with his , and hit the on the river to make his flush and eliminate Rahme. Chronis took the chip lead with that hand, and finished the day near the top of the leader board.
Clonie Gowen was one of the last eliminations of the day, busting in 32nd place ($30,000) to Sam Capra. Gowen moved all in preflop with from the small blind. Capra defended his big blind with , and caught an ace on the river to bust Gowen. Michael Tureniec took over the chip lead when he eliminated Leonid Cai in 29th place to close out play on Day 3. After a raise from Tureniec preflop, both players checked the flop. Tureniec bet out when the turn brought the , and Cai called. Tureniec bet out again on the river, and Cai called all in. Tureniec showed for the flopped nut straight, and Cai headed to the cashier's cage to collect his $40,000 reward for 29th place.
Tureniec finished the day leading the 28-player pack, with the top ten chip stacks as follows:
Michael Tureniec -- 1,072,000
Christian Heich -- 880,000
Christopher Chronis -- 862,000
Rajkumar Ramakrishnan -- 840,000
Annette Obrestad -- 807,000
Sam Capra -- 768,000
Annica Ivert -- 709,000
Stewart Scott -- 628,000
Richard Ashby -- 606,000
Antonio Casale -- 566,000
Join PokerNews at 12:30 PM Melbourne time on Friday as the 28 survivors play their way down to the final table.