Aussie Millions: Interview with Lee Nelson

The reigning Aussie Millions Champion, Lee "final table" Nelson, was knocked out in 37th place in Level 3, Day 3 of the Main Event.
Applause rang out around the room as the 2006 Champion made his way to the rail and his bride of 12 days, Pen.
He was knocked out by Gus Hansen, who made trip Queens on the flop with Lee holding a busted flush draw. He takes home $25 000.
Our reporter Heath Cram was following Lee during his battle yesterday in which he asserted his authority over table bully (and tournament comeback sensation) Patrik Antonius. He filed this report.

By Heath Cram
Reigning Aussie Millions champion Lee Nelson was seated against the tournament chip leader on Day 2, the ultra aggressive Fin Patrik Antonius. Those who know Lee best realised that this would not be a disadvantage, but more so give Lee Nelson access to a huge stack of chips. Early in the day Lee made the most of that opportunity, taking down a huge pot against Antonius and putting the Fin in his place on several occasions.

The tension in the air at table 2 (and later at the feature table 10), could have been sliced with a knife. Lee had arrived at Crown with his game face on and was at his vintage best, providing the early chip leader Patrick Antonius with several lessons in poker. The 2005 World Poker Open & 2006 Aussie Millions winner looked set to maintain his fitting tag of Lee “Final Table” Nelson, as he ended the day with nearly 200k in chips.

"I didn’t have so much as a plan going into the second day, knowing Patrik (Antonius) was at my table, but I probably did as well as I could, going from 75k to 350k at one stage", said a modest Lee Nelson.

Lee’s big early double up came after several pre-flop re-raises over the top of Antonius in earlier hands, as Lee was in total control of the table with his 100k+ stack.

With an 8-high flop and 2 spades, Lee Nelson went all-in post-flop for 131.7k against Antonius, with Lee holding a 9-10 of spades giving him 2 overcards to the board and a flush draw. Antonius revealed pocket Jacks and Lee's outs diminished a little.

"No doubt, I thought I had 15 outs. The flush cards and the two over cards", said Nelson.

"Patrick is one of those players who could have any two cards, but I was thinking maybe a pair of 6's or 7's, or A8, K8, giving Patrick top pair. I didn't think he was as strong as Jacks", Lee said.

It was all irrelevant as the board turned up a spade giving Lee the ten-high flush he was chasing.
"Yes!" shouted Nelson, as the jam packed rail cheered and the cameras hustled for position.

"That was Kill Phil at its best", said an onlooker… and it was.

Lee had over 270k in chips, but didn't let up there, climbing as high as 350k during the night.

It was 1am in the morning, 1 away from the bubble and the pre and post-flop betting duel between the players never let up. Patrik would re-raise and force Lee out of a hand, then Lee would play back at him in the next couple of hands and Patrik would be forced to fold a big pot.

Lee lost a portion of his stack on the bubble with Patrik Antonius, relentless in his pursuit to rebuild his stack after falling as low as 3-6k at one stage.

"I couldn’t do too much with Patrik still firing so loosely at the end of the night", said Nelson.

"It hurt when he (Antonius) caught that 6 on the river on a crippled short stack… he should have been packing his bags", said Nelson.

"I had done all the hard work against him. If he goes out there, as he probably should have, then I would have gone on to totally control the table and have a million chips", said Nelson.

Lee folded A-10 when desperately wanting to call, but opted against the Antonius tirade at a critical point in the tournament. Lee still hadsd a healthy stack of almost 200k, and one felt that would be more than sufficient to push Patrick and everyone else in his way aside, in his quest for back-to-back Aussie Millions victory.

"The competition is tougher this year", said Nelson.

"With the exception of Barry Greenstein, who was here last year, you can safely say the top 30 players in the world are here", said Nelson.

Don't misread Lee's reference to the opposition. He only made mention of the other players, because he was asked about the quality of the field.

This fearless superstar of tournament poker need not worry about who is seated at his table, or any other table for that matter. While it didn't turn out as he planned, senses suggest that it won't be long before he takes all before him… again.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in