Aussie Millions Draws High-Stakes Whales and Day 1 Hopefuls

Patrik Antonius
Patrik Antonius was the big winner in the $1 Million Cash Game at the Aussie Millions featuring a group of wealthy Malaysian businessman Monday.

The second of three starting days at the 2011 Aussie Millions main event and a rather high stakes cash game went off at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia Monday.

Another 209 players got in on the action with some of the biggest names in the game dropping the AUD$10,000 buy-in for a chance at Aussie Millions glory, including WSOP Main Event champs Joe Hachem and Chris Ferguson, 2010 Aussie Millions finalist Annette Obrestad, and former Aussie Millions champions Gus Hansen and Tony Bloom.

But while many of the stars burned out early and often, emerging young players like Randy Lew, Jay Kinkade, Eric Assadourian, and 2010 Bluff Magazine Player of the Year and Aussie Millions finalist Sorel Mizzi climbed their way up the leaderboard.

After seven levels of play on the day, Hungarian Andras Kovacs appeared to grab the overnight lead with names like Jeffrey Lisandro, Lee Nelson, Gavin Griffin and former child chess prodigy Jeff Sarwer also building stacks.

For Sarwer, who has been regularly booking big scores on the European Poker Tour the past two years, it's his first trip to the Aussie Millions and he seems to be enjoying it, both on and off the felt.

"Melbourne is one of the nicest cities I've been to," he said. "I've been watching (Australian Open) tennis, I went to the Great Barrier Reef to do some snorkeling and the main event is nice.

"Eight handed is also very nice right from the get go and with all the local players, it's good to see some new faces."

Sarwer sat among the leaders as play closed and was certainly happy with his fast start.

"I got caught with some small bluffs, but got paid off in a 100-big-blind pot with ace-eight against ace-king on an ace-eight-five flop that all happened because he saw the bluffs before.

"So far, so good. I've been up and down a little and I've been doing a little bit of jousting, but it s early days yet, we're really deep and I'm just looking for some good spots."

While the main event went off in the poker room, the Aussie Millions also played host to a $1 Million Cash Game in the TV studio upstairs at Crown that drew a rather interesting line-up.

The same three wealthy Malaysian businessmen who were reported to have been playing nosebleed stakes cash games with likes of Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, John Juanda and Chau Giang in Macau over the past few months were flown in by Crown to play in front of the cameras in a $500/$1,000 No-Limit Hold'em game with a $100 ante and a minimum $100,000 buy in.

Ivey, Dwan, Juanda, Eli Elezra and Patrick Antonius joined Wang Qiang, Paul Phua, and Richard Yong in the high-stakes game.

Several pots in the $200,000-$400,000 range were played with Antonius walking away the biggest winner and Ivey and the Malaysians sustaining most of the losses.

Once Ivey busted his initial $100,000 buy-in, the game broke for a short time before returning with Sam Trickett, David Benyamine, Justin Smith, Andrew Feldman and Dan Cates replacing Ivey, Juanda, and the Malaysians.

Meanwhile, back in the main event, less than 90 survived the day and will join the 82 remaining from the first starting flight when Day 2 begins Wednesday.

The 2011 Aussie Millions runs through Jan. 29 with the third and final starting flight going off Tuesday at Crown beginning at 12:30 p.m. local time.

For comprehensive coverage tune in to PokerListings' Aussie Millions Live Updates.

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