The third of three flights played six levels of poker on Wednesday, completing a trifecta of Day 1's that saw nearly all of the world's top poker players log felt time in the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. On Day 1c, however, the pro-to-Joe quotient was substantially lower than on previous days, with the number of recognizable names especially paling in comparison to Day 1b's shark fest.
That said, there were still plenty of top-flight players in the field for Day 1c, including online phenom Chip Jett, Lee Nelson, The Poker Road's Bart Hanson and Courtney Harrington, Mike Matusow, Mats Rahmn, Eric Assadourian, Michaela Johansson, Jon Turner, Brad Booth, Tim West, Emad Tahtouh, Kenna James, Jeff Garza, Tiffany Williamson, Rayan Nathan, Kevin O'Donnell, Peter Jepsen, John Tabatabai and Howard Lederer.
All told, 270 players showed up for Day 1c. That number combined with Day 1a's and 1b's entrants meant a total of 780 players bought-in to the main event, creating a prize pool worth $7.8 million (all figures AUD). At the end of the first level of play organizers released the event's payout structure, which will see 80 finalists paid at least $15,000. The top 18 finishers will get at least $100,000, with the top two spots earning seven figures and first place paying $1.65 million, an increase of $150,000 over last year's $1.5 million first prize. Good stuff.
Early in the day, FullTiltPoker pro and proud Canadian Brad Booth seemed to be making an early run at that cool million-plus, fairly running over his table and building up a substantial chip stack by seemingly playing every hand that was dealt to him. In one memorable encounter, a player in early position limped with pocket aces and Booth checked his option with Q-10 in the big blind. The flop came K-J-9 and Player 2 was bound and determined to get the entirety of his $15,000 stack into the middle, with Yukon Brad more than happy to oblige, sending his opponent to the rail after turn and river bricked out and further augmenting his impressive stack.
Booth would build his stack to a high-water mark of about $90,000 before the wheels came off. By the end of the day Yukon Brad would have met his demise after losing a race for his last $2,000 late in the final level, all-in with A-K against an opponent's pocket queens.
Most of the rest of the day's action was centered around two proverbial Tables of Doom, the first being the feature table, which sported a pairing of egos and icons in Mike Matusow and APPT-Macau High-Rollers champ Eric Assadourian, as well as Tiffany Williamson and Kofi "Redsoxsox" Farkye. Matusow and Assadourian would trade one-liners throughout the early stages of the day before Assadourian fell to Farkye's rivered set of deuces after open-shoving with pocket fives.
Meanwhile, in a quieter corner of the room, an even more formidable table was playing out its own battles, with Alex Kravchenko and EPT3 Baden runner-up Ben Johnson joining Anna Wroblewski and professional cricket player Shane Warne on the baize. Later in the day, Kevin O'Donnell would join the proceedings, while Wroblewski's seat would be taken first by Annette Obrestad and then Jon "PearlJammer" Turner.
Wroblewski was eliminated during the third level after she got all-in with pocket kings on a 7♠ 5♥ 2♦ 3♣ flop and was called by an opponent wielding the Hammer (7♥ 2♠) for two pair. Later, Obrestad would see her pocket aces cracked by an opponent's pocket eights, crippling the young Norwegian and sealing her fate. Turner, for his part, was able to make his seating assignment stick and he, like the rest of his notable tablemates, survived to Day 2 intact.
Other players to hit the bricks on the third Day 1 of the tournament would include "Action" Jeff Garza, David Bach and Lee Nelson, the latter of whom busted just before the dinner break when he got all-in with pocket kings for his last $5,000 and was called by an opponent with A♥ 8♥. The board brought an ace on the flop and another on the turn and the apparent homicidal maniac (Kill Everyone, for serious?) could suddenly afford to spend a little longer in the buffet line.
After dinner, Chip Jett hit the bricks when his A-Q failed to improve against an opponent's pocket tens, and young Canadian pro Terris Preston was eliminated when his A-Q failed to improve against an opponent's pocket sixes.
For the most part, however, it was a day marked less by high-profile eliminations and more by some simple grindage as the day's top pros worked hard to stay alive and see tomorrow. The day closed with about 120 players still left in the hunt, meaning Day 2's action will see about 330 survivors take to the tables for another six levels of play. Chip leader of the day appeared to be Soren Erickson, with $150,000, with Mike Matusow, Kenna James, Peter Jepsen, Kofi Farkye, Howard Lederer and Mats Rahmn among those still in the hunt for glory Down Under.
Action will resume at 12:30 p.m. Melbourne time on Thursday and PokerListings.com will be there to provide continuing comprehensive coverage of the whole sordid affair. Tune in early and tune in often or the koala gets it. Peace!
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