Aussie Millions Day 4: Chip lead hyperbole

I'm guilty.

As a writer in the poker media industry I am guilty of putting too much emphasis on the start-of-day chip leader. One sentence I am guilty of writing is something along the lines of "Mr. Smith has the chip lead heading into the penultimate day of play and therefore is in the best shape to make a run at the $1 million top prize."

But time and time again I have seen chip leaders from Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 all hit the rail without making it as deep as some of the hyperbole in the end-of-day articles would make it seem.

It's lazy writing really. The two things I am trying to communicate aren't connected.

I am trying to say "Mr. Smith is the chip leader" and "The top prize is $1 million" in one sentence and I'm linking them by suggesting that being the chip leader somehow means a player has a better chance than any other players in the tournament. But I can't make that claim. There are just far too many other factors to consider that I couldn't possibly fully understand as a non-elite poker player.

I bring this up because after play on Day 3 I wrote something along the lines of today's chip leader Sal Fazzino being the best pressed to make the final table. Sure, he had lots of chips and had a better chance than, say, the short stack. But there were 36 players remaining and poker is a one of those games where anything can happen.


Sal Fazzino had all the spotlight at the end of Day 3

Fazzino would have been wishing I was correct, but unfortunately I was not.

He's been eliminated in 14th place.

Fazzino started the day with a tough table. He had two of the three big stacks, one of them being prominent pro and general all-round crusher Sorel Mizzi. Fazzino bled chips for much of the day and eventually lost his stack to Mizzi. He was all in preflop holding A♠J♠ against Mizzi's J♥J♦ and wasn't excited to see the dealer flip over a J♣6♣3♥ flop. Mizzi had hit a set and with a 5♥ on the turn and a 7♥ on the river, it was all over.


Sorel Mizzi enjoying a massage as two tables remain

Meanwhile, Mizzi is up to around 3 million in chips and is looking poised to make the second Aussie Millions final table of his career.

Though considering there are still 12 players remaing, I best be careful of the hyperbole. So maybe I will be more literal and say: Mizzi has recorded enough results to suggest he is above average at poker and with so many chips, probably has a better chance than some of the other players in the field to make the final table.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Asia Pacific Poker Tour