Fully 320 survivors from the tournament's three Day 1's returned to the basement of the Crown Casino on the banks of the Yarra River in downtown Melbourne for Wednesday's Day 2, with action kicking off at 12:30 p.m. local time.
Thanks to the magic of some newfangled two-hour levels, it was due to last until roughly 12 hours later.
Those aforementioned two-hour levels, a new innovation for Day 2 of the Main Event, should by all rights have turned the day into a marathon with all of the excitement of an endurance race for snails. Instead, those lucky enough to be spending Wednesday indoors Michael Binger and Scotty Nguyen, with Annette Obrestad, Clonie Gowen and Ivan Demidov also lurking around the chip leaderboard.
All of the above save Binger and Demidov would survive their five levels, but the day belonged to Annette15 and Antonius, as well as a lesser-known Betfair Poker player by the name of Annica Ivert.
Obrestad would start the day off right, cracking aces with pocket kings before taking down a massive pot with A-Q against Warwick Mirzikinian's K-Q all-in on a Q-5-2-Q-8 board. The Norwegian sensation would amass a chip stack worth more than $400,000 by the day's penultimate level and use her big stack to bully her table, winding up with about $450,000 to her name at day's end.
Meanwhile, Antonius played a roller-coaster game throughout the day, the ebb and flow of his chip stack belied by the Finn's placid outward demeanor.
He'd lose a few big pots in the early going, but just as Obrestad was making trip queens against Mirzikinian, the Full Tilt Poker pro was winning his own monsterpotten, turning the stone nuts with J♦ T♠ on a K♠ Q♣ 8♦ A♣ 7♠ board and getting paid off by a hapless opponent to build his own stack up over the $400k mark.
Mantonius would finish with approximately $350,000, an enviable total, but his accomplishments would be far overshadowed by those of tablemate Ivert, a rather unassuming young Eurodonk in a Betfair Poker patch who'd exploit her seating assignment directly to Antonius' left by amassing a tournament-best $620,000 stack.
Ivert would take a number of substantial pots throughout the day, but the best example of her fearlessness in the face of hyperaggression and really, really good looks saw her take a large pot from Antonius in a battle of the blinds, flopping second pair with J-T offsuit and refusing to back down as the Finn tried repeatedly to push her off the pot.
Annica, Antonius and Annette15 finished the day at the top of a card-tossing contingent that included survivors of note Gowen, Mizzi, Nguyen, Tommy Le, Steve Sung, Michael "Timex" McDonald, Schwartz, Joe Cassidy and fan favorite Joe Hachem, who survived a midday triple-up with pocket aces to finish the day with $45,000.
Action will continue on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. local time (that's 5:30 p.m. Wednesday if you live in, say, Vancouver) and continue down throughout the money bubble and either down to 36 survivors or until another five levels have concluded.
PokerListings.com has thus far managed to resist the temptations of the hordes of scantily clad Aussie girls who roam the city unchecked, and tomorrow we'll once again attempt to remain professional; tune in all day/night and see if we're successful!
Speaking of professional, check out the PokerListings.com TV spots from Melbourne. Our guys on the ground pulled off a sick interview with Antonius, as well as features with Scotty Nguyen and Chino Rheem. Get all the goods here.