The $100k Challenge began at the Crown Casino today and, as expected, it brought a handful of the best poker players in the world.
Although the 22 entrants fell well short of the 38 players who signed up last year it will still pay four places with $2 million for first, $616,000 for second, $330,000 for third and $242,000 for fourth (all in $AUD of course).
The 22 included Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu, Daniel Alaei, Jonathan Karamalikis, Dan Smith, Mikhail Smirnov, Phil Ivey, Tony Bloom, Masa Kagawa, Jason Mercier, Sorel Mizzi, Gus Hansen, Tony G, Sam Trickett, Erik Seidel, Nam Le, JC Tran, Dan Cates, Tobias Reinkemeier, Tom Dwan, Dan Shak and Mike Watson.
We’re currently mid-way through the third level and eight players have already been relieved of their $100k including Mike Watson, Dan Shak, Tom Dwan, Masa Kagawa, Tony Bloom, Daniel Alaei, Daniel Negreanu and local Jonathan Karamalikis.
Of course the biggest story of this two-day event might be the appearance of poker legend Phil Ivey.
Outside of a trip to Macau, Ivey has been absent from major tournaments since the events of Black Friday so it came as a minor shock when rumors began to swirl that he would make the trip to Australia.
Indeed the former Team Full Tilt Pro showed up an hour late, much to the delight of Daniel Negreanu and various railbirds.
Negreanu and Ivey reminisced at the poker table and swapped new phone numbers.
It appears that Ivey hasn’t lost his edge as he’s been giving his opponents fits all day and at the end of Level 3 he was third in chips with 236,000.
Here’s a collection of photos we’ve taken throughout the day of the massive event: