Toby Lewis Leads Final Seven in 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event
It took six days to bring the record-breaking field of 800 in the 2018 Aussie Millions Main Event down to its final table. The 36 hopefuls that started the day were whittled down to seven over the course of seven levels. Each of the seven has already secured a massive cash of A$235,000 but all eyes will be on the first-place prize of A$1,800,000, which will be awarded to the victor at Crown Casino on Sunday, February 4.
The biggest story coming into the day was another deep run by former champions Ari Engel (2016) and Ami Barer (2014). No player has ever won the Aussie Millions Main Event twice, and it won't happen in 2018 as Barer (36th) and Engel (10th) both missed out on the final table.
England's Toby Lewis will start the final table as the chipleader with 5,835,000 in chips. The 28-year-old from Southampton is easily the most recognizable name left in the field, and with $3.2 million in lifetime winnings already amassed, including an EPT title, is the odds-on favorite to claim the prestigious title and ANTON Jewellery bracelet that's up for grabs.
Lewis' biggest hand of the day was a massive coin flip against the man who will come back second in chips: Espen Solaas (5,680,000). While Solaas may not have Lewis' pedigree coming into the final table, the Norwegian showed relentless aggression during Day 4 and is a dangerous contender. Solaas sat on top of the chip counts for most of the day and will have more than 100 big blinds to work with on the final day.
The Brit and Norwegian headline an international final table, as no less than six nationalities are represented among the final seven. Joining Lewis and Solaas are Ben Richardson (4,870,000), Mike del Vecchio (3,065,000), Stefan Huber (1,975,000), Chul-Hyon Park (1,670,000) and short stack Johan Schumacher (955,000).
Boisterous rails were aplenty in the packed poker room of Crown Casino, with the rowdiest supporters cheering for Huber (the Germans) and Richardson (the local Aussies). All players and their supporters will return on Sunday, February 4, in what will no doubt be one of the loudest-cheered final tables in recent memory.
Final table seating and chip counts
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|3||Mike Del Vecchio||United States||3,065,000||61|
|4||Toby Lewis||United Kingdom||5,835,000||116|
Day 4 Action
While the aforementioned seven can take a day’s rest before returning for the final on Sunday, for 31 others, their shot at Aussie Millions glory ended on Day 4. Coming into the day, the biggest story was the unlikely deep run of not one, but two former champions: both Ari Engel (2016) and Ami Barer (2014) had a chance to win the prestigious Main Event for the second time.
It wasn't meant to be, though, as each of them failed to make it through to the final table. Barer was the first of them to go and finished in 36th place. After losing all-ins with fours against queens, then with queens himself against ace-jack, Barer was left short. Nine big blinds went in with queen-jack but he couldn't catch up against Schumacher's ace-trey, ending his bid.
Engel made it through to the final ten, where he met his demise at the hands of Solaas. Holding pocket jacks, Engel was all in and ahead against Solaas' king-ten, but a king on the turn ended his attempt at repeat Aussie Millions glory. Engel finished in 10th place and received A$120,000.
Other notables that busted out during the penultimate day were Daniel Nelson, Anthony Hachem, Tobias Hausen, who finished 3rd last year, and Day 2 chipleader Najeem Ajez. Two of the most accomplished pro's in the field bowed out in 15th and 14th place, respectively. After a raise from Lewis, Artur Koren shoved 27 big blinds in the middle with pocket deuces. Unfortunately for Koren, Lewis held kings and knocked the Austrian out. Aaron Lim, a two-time APPT champion, shoved king-jack into the pocket jacks of Richardson in a blind-on-blind confrontation and couldn't catch up to bust shortly after Koren.
Tu Lan, Kim Au and Ross Grammer busted next and had to settle for A$120,000 in prize money. Next to go was up-and-coming star Kahle Burns. The Australian Poker Young Achiever Award winner was short stacked with the final nine players. With ten-seven suited, he found himself at risk against ace-eight and bowed out after an ace hit the flop.
With eight players left, one more player had to bust out before the official final table was set. It took three hours before Chen An Lin finally became the one to succumb. It was a classic setup — ace-king against the aces of Richardson — to deny Lin the final table.
The final table will commence on Sunday, February 4 at 12:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. CET / 20:30 p.m. EST on Saturday 3) and will be livestreamed on Twitch.tv, powered by runitup. The broadcast with hole cards up will shown on a 30-minute security delay. There will be 23 minutes left in Level 26 with blinds at 25,000/50,000 and a running ante of 5,000 to start. Besides the final table, the $100,000 Challenge will also kick off on Sunday in the biggest casino of the Southern hemisphere. Follow the PokerNews live updates and don't miss any of the action from these two tournaments as the 2018 Aussie Millions comes to a close!
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