Day 3 of the Aussie Millions Main Event came and went far more quickly than most everyone anticipated. From the starting field of 659 runners, the final 75 returned to the Crown Casino today for a scheduled five levels of action. Instead, play was cut short after just three levels as the field was dashed all the way down to just 26 players. When the bags game out, Matthew Turk had worked his stack up to the top of the leader board with nearly double the chips of his nearest challenger. But more on him in a bit.
With 75 players returning and only room for 72 of them on the payout sheet, three unlucky souls were sent off empty handed this afternoon. As anticipated, the bubble arrived very early in the day, but it took nearly two hours to find the next knockout and lock up a payday for the remaining 72. Frank Paul was all the way down to just 11,000 chips — barely 2bb — when he pushed the last of it in with . Kenna James didn't have much of a decision in the big blind, and his was drawing live for the knockout. Sure enough, the board ran out , and Paul was sent away with only a wooden spoon to show for his AU$10,000 investment.
Once the soft-stepping on the bubble was out of the way, the doors were thrown open and the march to the payout desk began in full force. Tom Grigg was one of the first to bow out with a small cash, and he was quickly followed out the door by the likes of Daniel Botta, James, Billy "The Croc" Argyros, Alexander Roumeliotis, Michael Tureniec, Dominykas Karmazinas, and Michael Pedley. Towards the end of the evening, Australia's newest bracelet winner, Andrew Hinrichsen was done in as well after running his pocket queens into Matthew Turk's two kings to mark an unfortunate end to his day.
It was a game of leapfrog at the top of the chip counts today, and a handful of players traded the top spot around for a few hours. Most notable among them was Phil Ivey who plugged along steadily to bag up 1.107 million at night's end. That would be in contention for the overall lead if not for a monster pot that unfolded on the final hand of the night. We'll let you read about it below, but the long and short of it is that Matthew Turk won a monster flip to pile 2.675 million chips into his thin plastic bag.
The remaining field is a pretty talented one with a couple bracelet winners and a former champion of this event still in the mix. Lee Nelson won this thing in 2006, and he'll be returning tomorrow with an above average stack of 878,000. Daniel Idema managed a shade more with 1.033 million to end the night, and the eight-time bracelet winner, Ivey is just out of the overnight top five with 1.107 million. Other notables still in the mix include Yann Dion, Oliver Speidel, Danny Chevalier, Grant Levy, and David Steicke.
Day 4 kicks off at 12:30pm in Melbourne, and we'll be back then to pick up the story.
Until then, all that's left is g'day.