$25,000 Challenge
$25,000 Challenge
Day 1 Completed

James Chen Leads $25,000 Challenge at 2017 Aussie Millions

Webjoker • Level 12: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante
James Chen
James Chen

The 2017 Aussie Millions saw its first High Roller start today with the $25,000 Challenge commencing at 2:10. Again, like in recent years, high rollers came from all over the world to play the elite event in Crown Casino Melbourne and once again records were broken. With 122 entries last year, the bar had been set pretty high, but this year's edition easily surpassed that with 133 paying entries.

After 12 levels of play, James Chen leads the final 25 players having catapulted his 50,000 starting bank to a chip castle worth 621,000. He's closely followed by former November Niner Antoine Saout (601,000) and local poker hero Jeff Rossiter (582,500). The multi cultural Top 5 is rounded out by Mustapha Kanit (485,000) and Brandon Adams (455,500).

#PlayerCountryChip Count
1James ChenTaiwan621,000
2Antoine SaoutFrance601,000
3Jeff RossiterAustralia582,500
4Mustapha KanitItaly485,000
5Brandon AdamsUnited States455,500

Play got underway at exactly 2:10 p.m. and the tables filled up rather quickly. No hesitating whether to enter or not, most players sat down immediately to get action underway. Grayson Ramage was the early chipleader, doubling his stack busting Jason Mo in a set over set situation. Mo would bust his second bullet not much later, making him one of the first players to bust indefinitely as the event was organized as a single reentry. Despite being off to a good start, Ramage wouldn't bag as he too got eliminated in the end.

Mo, having busted two bullets, and Ramage, on a single bullet, wouldn't be the only ones to bust. Every table was filled with recognizable players and they hit the rail one by one. Erik Seidel, who may consider Melbourne one of his favorite cities to play poker after cashing here big year after year, would not have to write down his chip count at the end of the day and neither would WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem to name just two.

While it was Antoine Saout with the lead for most of the day, the title of chipleader was snagged right from under his nose as James Chen won some huge pots in the last level to finish up top. The biggest pot Chen played was a hand against high stakes cash game player Ben Tollerene. After some hefty action before the flop, Chen bet-called a shove with nothing but queen-nine for a gutshot and an over card. That was good, it turned out, as Tollerene tabled the bottom end of an open-ended straight draw with nine-seven. The jack on the turn gave Chen the straight he was looking for and Tollerene hit the rail well before the money after a blank on the river.

Play resumes at 2:30 local time as the tournament will play down to a winner. With 25 players remaining and 14 players in the money, 11 players will leave empty-handed. Min cashing is worth A$63,840, making the six-handed final tables guarantees the players A$143,640 and winning nets one player A$861,840.

PokerNews.com will be on the floor for live updates once again on Day 2, so check back at 2:30 p.m. local time to see how this record-breaking tournament concludes.

YearEntriesPrize PoolWinnerCountryPrize in A$Prize in $
201220A$500,000Dominykas KarmazinasLithuaniaA$200,000$205,895
201330A$723,000Igor KurganovRussiaA$275,000$290,317
201465A$1,560,000Max AltergottGermanyA$241,785*$211,522*
2015104A$2,496,000Alexander TrevallionAustraliaA$645,150**$521,835**
2016122A$2,928,000Chance KornuthUnited StatesA$790,560$547,874
2017133A$3,192,000  A$861,840$650,481
* denotes a 5-way deal with Dan Smith (2nd, A$278,414), Jason Mercier (3rd, A$265,538), Martin Jacobson (4th, A$285,921) and Scott Seiver (5th, A$265,538)
** denotes a deal with Tobias Reinkemeier (2nd, A$614,850)

PositionPrize in A$Prize in $
7 - 8A$119,700$90,010
9 - 10A$95,760$72,018
11 - 12A$79,800$60,015
13 - 14A$63,840$48,012

End of Day Chip Counts (full)

Webjoker • Level 12: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante

An extensive recap on today's action to follow.

James Chen tw
James Chen
tw 621,000 401,000
Antoine Saout fr
Antoine Saout
fr 601,000 101,000
Jeff Rossiter au
Jeff Rossiter
au 582,500 132,500
Mustapha Kanit it
Mustapha Kanit
Winamax Team Pro
it 485,000 90,000
Brandon Adams us
Brandon Adams
us 455,500 455,500
Cate Hall us
Cate Hall
us 353,000
Pratyush Buddiga us
Pratyush Buddiga
us 349,000 69,000
Manig Loeser de
Manig Loeser
de 332,500 38,500
John Juanda id
John Juanda
id 307,000 227,000
Claas Segebrecht de
Claas Segebrecht
de 287,000
Ryan D'Angelo us
Ryan D'Angelo
us 245,000 92,000
[Removed:17] NZ
NZ 243,000 -77,000
Stephen Chidwick gb
Stephen Chidwick
gb 218,500 77,500
Nick Petrangelo us
Nick Petrangelo
us 212,000 112,000
Sam Greenwood ca
Sam Greenwood
ca 197,500 17,500
Oliver Weis de
Oliver Weis
de 188,500
Rajkumar Ramakrishnan AU
Rajkumar Ramakrishnan
AU 185,000
Barry Woods us
Barry Woods
us 163,000
Johannes Becker de
Johannes Becker
de 156,500
Martin Kozlov au
Martin Kozlov
au 129,000 -81,000
Jason Pritchard au
Jason Pritchard
au 100,000
Dan Shak us
Dan Shak
us 98,000 -107,000
Chance Kornuth us
Chance Kornuth
us 93,000 -87,000
Tomas Jozonis lt
Tomas Jozonis
lt 62,500 -2,000
Sam Higgs au
Sam Higgs
au 30,500

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Cate Hall Doubles in Last Hand of the Night

Webjoker • Level 12: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante

It was the last hand of the night and Tomas Jozonis on the button opened for 9,000. Chance Kornuth folded his small blind and started counting his chips to know what to write on the bag in just a bit, but big blind Cate Hall had bigger plans. She three-bet to 28,500 and action was back on Jozonis. The Lithuanian player four-bet to 54,000 and called Hall's 164,500-shove.

Tomas Jozonis: {A-Hearts}{K-Spades}
Cate Hall: {A-Spades}{A-Clubs}

The {2-Clubs}{3-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} flop gave Jozonis four outs to a chop but those wouldn't come in with the {8-Clubs} hitting the turn and {7-Hearts} completing the board.

Cate Hall us
Cate Hall
us 353,000 173,000
Tomas Jozonis lt
Tomas Jozonis
lt 64,500 -165,500

Tags: Cate HallTomas Jozonis

The Rich Get Richer

Webjoker • Level 12: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante

In a battle of the blinds, Antoine Saout checked from the small on a flop of {6-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{5-Spades}. Big blind Alexander Lynskey bet 12,000 and Saout shoved all in. Lynskey called (for what looked like 90,000 to us, but we're not hundred percent sure) with {4-Spades}{2-Clubs} for the flopped straight. Saout tabled {7-Clubs}{8-Diamonds} and saw his straight draw complete on the {9-Clubs} river after the {K-Hearts} on the turn had been a blank.

Antoine Saout fr
Antoine Saout
fr 500,000 100,000
Alexander Lynskey au
Alexander Lynskey
au Busted

Tags: Antoine SaoutAlexander Lynskey

Sammartino Doubles Through Salter

Webjoker • Level 12: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante

Jack Salter open shoved his last 80,000 or so from the cutoff. Dario Sammartino, on the button with 30,600, called all in and both blinds folded.

Jack Salter: {5-Diamonds}{5-Spades}
Dario Sammartino: {K-Spades}{Q-Diamonds}

The {J-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{4-Spades} flop already brought some help for Sammartino, and he locked in the double up with the {K-Clubs} on the turn and {9-Diamonds} on the river.

Jack Salter gb
Jack Salter
gb 70,200 4,200
Dario Sammartino it
Dario Sammartino
it 47,000 16,400

Tags: Jack SalterDario Sammartino

37 Remain

Webjoker • Level 12: 2,000-4,000, 500 ante

The last level of the day has just started. 37 players from 133 entries remain.