The 28 players that returned to the Crown Casino in Melbourne for Day 4 of the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event all had the same goal in mind – a final-table berth. After a grueling day of poker, eight of those players had achieved that goal, while 20 others fell short. Australia's Stewart Scott took to heart Joe Hachem's challenge to bring the title home, finishing the day with a two-million chip advantage over his nearest competitor, Rajkumar Ramakrishnan.
The field was stacked as Day 4 kicked off, with several top pros on hand. Natan Meylak became the day's first elimination when he fell to Rajkumar Ramakrishnan. Meylak rivered a set, but Ramakrishnan turned a straight to bust him in 28th place (AUD $40,000). Antonio Casale final-tabled this main event in 2008, but busted in 25th place this year to add AU $40,000 to his lifetime earnings at the Crown. Kelly Kim carried the torch for the WSOP's November Nine, but busted in 22nd place ($50,000) in a brutal set-over-set hand with Dixon Ruecker. Kim put his short stack in the middle preflop with pocket fours, and Ruecker called from the big blind with . Kim made a set when the window card was the , but the was the next card off to give Ruecker a bigger set. Kim did not catch the case four, and he was done.
Annette Obrestad was one of the big stacks early in the tournament, but Day 4 found her crippled, then eliminated in 21st place ($50,000). She moved all in over the top of Rajkumar Ramakrishnan's preflop raise with , and Ramakrishnan tabled to dominate the young WSOPE world champ. The flop brought no help for either player when it came down , and the on the turn left Obrestad drawing dead.
Another chip leader to fall was Michael Tureniec, who started Day 4 as the big stack but busted in 19th place ($50,000). Tureniec couldn't get anything going on Day 4 and moved all in over the top of Zach Gruneberg with . Gruneberg thought for a long moment before making the call for half his stack with . Gruneberg picked up a straight draw on the flop, then paired his jack on the turn. Tureniec paired his ace on the river, but the made Broadway for Gruneberg and sent Tureniec packing. With Tureniec eliminated, six-handed play commenced on three tables.
Sorel Mizzi moved all in several times throughout the day and doubled up to stay alive, but his luck ran out when he got it all in against Zach Fellows. Peter Rho raised preflop, Fellows called from the button, and Mizzi re-raised from the big blind. Rho got out of the way as Fellows moved all in over the top. Mizzi decided he was committed, and made the call with . Fellows showed him that he was drawing to three outs as he tabled , but Mizzi promptly picked up a flush draw on the flop. The on the turn was no help, and when the hit the river Mizzi picked up $65,000 for 16th place.
Chris Chronis finished Day 1 with the overall chip lead, but was unable to parlay that strong start into a final-table berth, finishing in 15th place ($65,000). He was followed to the rail by fellow Aussie Grant Levy, who busted in 13th place ($65,000) at the hands of Andrew Scott. Levy moved all in over the top of Scott with pocket nines, and was in a race against Scott's . The flop improved Scott's draw as it came down , then the on the turn gave Scott a better kicker. Only a nine would save Levy, but the landed instead as Levy headed to the cashier's cage. Scott parlayed those chips and other big hands into a massive lead by the end of the night's play.
Annica Ivert joined the list of former chip leaders that just missed the final table when she busted in 11th place ($80,000). Ivert got all her money in good against Barny Boatman when she called Boatman's re-raise with . Boatman tabled , but the flop of brought Boatman a straight draw. The on the turn gave Boatman a pair, and Ivert was drawing slim on the river. The was no help, and the last woman standing exited the field in 11th place.
Play tightened up as the field grew short-handed, but finally Tino Lechich busted in tenth place ($80,000). Rajkumar Ramakrishnan, who had been on a tear all day, moved his big stack into the middle with . Lechich called with , but saw the flop bring a huge draw for Ramakrishnan as it came down . The on the turn left Lechich drawing dead as Ramakrishnan moved to near the top of the leader board once again. When Zach Fellows was eliminated in ninth place ($100,000), the decision was made to change the final table to eight-handed, rather than the original seven-handed format, allowing players to get a good night's sleep before the televised final table.
With that adjustment, the final table seating assignments and chip stacks looked like this as the eight survivors broke for the night:
Seat 1: Zach Gruneberg - 1,355,000
Seat 2: Barny Boatman - 349,000
Seat 3: Elliot Smith - 1,120,000
Seat 4: Richard Ashby - 658,000
Seat 5: Stewart Scott - 4,520,000
Seat 6: Peter Rho - 2,420,000
Seat 7: Rajkumar Ramakrishnan - 2,050,000
Seat 8: Sam Capra - 1,161,000
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