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Reinkemeier, Mizzi, Antonius Dominate Australia Day at the Aussie Millions
The 2011 Aussie Millions main event played to the edge of the money bubble on Australia Day in Melbourne Wednesday.
The National Holiday Down Under began at the Crown Casino with 265 players left from a field of 721 and was marked by big moves from some rather big names as they played down near the 72-player bubble.
Names like Phil Ivey, Roland de Wolfe, Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and 2006 Aussie Millions winner Lee Nelson all hit the rail today.
But following up on a huge 2010 that saw him earn more than $1.6 million in live tournaments, German Tobias Reinkemeier found himself among the leaders as play closed.
The group with him also includes Team PokerStars Online Pro Randy Lew, WPT and WSOP title holder Erick Lindgren, EPT and WSOP title holder Carter Phillips and online high-stakes killer Patrik Antonius, who crippled a once-stacked Ivey to double up in a massive hand late.
After a deep run in the 2009 Aussie Millions that ended in 16th and a final-table appearance last year where he finished third, 2010 Bluff Magazine Player of the Year Sorel Mizzi finds himself in a rather familiar position - also among the leaders heading into Day 3 Thursday.
"It is a little bit of déjà vu," he said. "I always seem to do well in Australia."
But although he's stacked and primed for another deep run, things have not progressed exactly the way they did in 2010.
"The unique thing about this one is that last year it was pretty much smooth sailing," he said. "I lost only one big pot until the final table and everything was consistently going up.
"This time started out pretty rough. It has certainly been a little bit rockier this year than it was last."
According to Mizzi, the food at the Crown may be the key to Aussie Millions success.
"Yeah, I feel comfortable here," he laughed. "But it must be something in the lamb kabobs. That's the one thing that's been consistent. I have lamb kabobs every day and it must be giving me some kind of supernatural energy."
Winning POY honors in 2010 required a fairly rugged travel schedule chasing points across the globe and Mizzi says outside of the upcoming NBC Heads-Up event, he's planning to take some time off from poker until the World Series to study martial arts in Thailand.
"I think I want a little break and to start doing some things that are plus EV life wise instead of just poker wise," he said. "Poker is always going to be a big part of my life, but I'm only 24 and I definitely don't want to get burned out."
For now though, he's got another deep run here at the Aussie Millions to work on.
"I'm just going to keep adjusting according to the table dynamic," he said. "That's my game and I'm just going to keep on playing it."
The chase for an AUD$2 million first place prize will continue with Day 3 of the Aussie Millions main event Thursday at 12:30 p.m. local time.
The event runs through a Jan. 29 final table.
For comprehensive coverage, tune in to PokerListings' Aussie Millions Live Updates.