Officially the tournament's third day, this one looked like it was shot out of a cannon as the short stacks shoved early and often, taking home their tiny pieces of the prize pool to get out of the way and let the big boys play for something a little more significant.
The biggest shock of the early going was the rather largely stacked Stewart Davidson's willingness to put it all at risk against the even bigger Daniel Kowalski. In the end, for Stewart at least, Kowalski's aces held against Stewart's big slick and he was at taught a valuable lesson not to put it all on the line against another big stack that early with anything less.
Marlon Goonawardana then shot up the leaderboard, but the 2008 Aussie Millions Bounty champ failed to capitalize, bowing out before the final nine was reality.
As the day wore on and the shorter stacks wore themselves out, two of the three 2008 WSOP final tablists left in the field found themselves squaring off in a huge pot. Jason Gray figured big slick was big enough to throw it all-in against a Jamie Pickering raise and after a time in the tank, Pickering made the call with kings.
An ace on the river ruined his day as he shipped the rest of his short stack to Gray within the next couple of orbits and was out, taking his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat with him.
Day 1c chip leader Phillip "Sheepshagger" Willcocks found himself on the baaaad side of a queens-over-jacks scenario, leaving the PokerStars qualifier broke soon after. And although 2007 APPT Macau High Roller champ Eric Assadourian kept telling everyone who would listen that he wasn't out until he was out, eventually he was out after running A♥ J♠ into A♦ Q♦.
Aussie Brendan Edmonds had worked his way into the chip lead as the final two tables came together, but in the span of a few minutes, he went from $1.5 million in chips to under $500k, getting pushed off a board full of broadway cards in an $800,000 pot with Daniel Kowalski, then doubling up Tony Basile's pocket tens by missing with big slick.
Edmonds didn't last too long after that, shipping it with an ace and failing to find help from the board again.
With 11 players left, Aussie Tom Rafferty found himself with the chip lead, but a series of ultra-aggressive plays by Antonio Fazzolari changed all that. Fazzolari got Rafferty to pay him off once with a pair, then pushed him off two other huge pots to grab the lead on close to $2 million in chips.
The last woman standing here in Sydney, Lisa Delellis, doubled her short stack a couple times, but couldn't do it a third.
When Michael Guzzardi, the other 2008 WSOP final tablist in the mix today, lost a huge race with A-Q against sevens, he soon found himself all-in on the big blind and all out of chips.
Guzzardi's exit left just nine Grand Finalists, and when they start the final table tomorrow sometime around 1:30 p.m. local time, the relatively unknown-until-now Fazzolari will have the lead on $1.7 million.
2008 WSOP Omaha Hi-Lo World Championship third-place finisher Jason Gray is second in chips with $1.1 million, and Tom Rafferty will be trying to build on a couple of small Australian cashes, including the Aussie Millions Six-Handed event this year, as the only other player over $1 million.
Aussie Martin Rowe, who has a couple of even smaller cashes on his resume, is right behind them, just $5k short of $1 million in chips.
Giving you all the more reason to click right here and start your own journey toward poker superstardom, two PokerStars qualifiers are next on the list.
The U.K.'s Daniel Kowalski and Aussie Timothy English both have around $950,000 after getting into the event for next to nothing online. Canadian Tony Basile cashed in the 2008 WSOP Main Event and narrowly missed a final table at the 2007 WSOP. He's next in chips with $860k and far from out of it yet.
Meanwhile, Day 2 chip leader Frank Saffioti is next to the bottom with $790,000 and Hai Bo Chu, who won the 2007 Melbourne Cup here in Oz, sits right behind him with $781,000.
The lineup admittedly lacks the big names you PL.com junkies are used to, but have no doubt, these rounders can play.
When they kick things off from Sydney's Star City tomorrow in search of a $1 million AUD first-place prize, you can bet there's no place we'd rather be.
And it's not just because PokerStars is planning a massive open-bar after-party - we swear.