Aussie Millions 2016: James Obst jumps in front on Day 1a

The poker room at Crown Melbourne was absolutely bustling today. Four Aussie Millions events and a flurry of cash games were all running simultaneously here. The Accumulator event was winding down with its final table, the Terminator and the $100,000 Challenge were just kicking off, and of course it was the opening flight of Main Event Day 1a.

Despite some of the poker world's finest players busy in the $100k, the Main Event field was still stacked with an impressive line-up and notable names. Three of last year's final tablists were in attendance, including James Rann, Joel Douaglin and the reigning champion and hometown hero Manny Stavropoulos. Of the three, only Douaglin fell by the wayside today. Rann and Stavropoulos will start Day 2 with 47,100 and 17,500 respectively.

2016 Aussie Millions Day 1a Manny Stavropoulos.jpg

Reigning champion Manny Stavropoulos

Joining Douaglin on the rail were Jack Salter, Tom Grigg, Kevin MacPhee, Oliver Gill, Kahle Burns and Australian Hall of Famer Leo Boxell. They all failed to find momentum this afternoon, instead ending up among the 100 eliminations.

Team PokerStars pro Eugene Katchalov was also a Day 1a casualty. He got his last 15,000 in preflop with ace-king but couldn't improve against the pocket nines of Greg Goldberg. Katchalov was the only Team Pro at the tables today, but plenty more will be pulling up seats throughout the week.

For our 80 survivors however it was a different, happier story tonight. Those still in the running include Phillip Gruissem (97,900), Max Silver (84,300) and Aussies Michael Egan (133,600), Jonathan Karamalikis (70,000) and Andrew Hinrichsen (67,800). Over 10 hours of action failed to wear these players down. They'll get a well-deserved two days respite before returning on Wednesday for the official Day 2.

And leading the charge at this point is fellow notable Australian James Obst. He snagged the lead in the dying stages after an opponent six-bet jammed into Obst's pocket aces with jack-ten suited. The aces would hold and when all was said and done Obst bagged up 212,100 in chips.

Obst had a stellar 2015 online with a PokerStars SCOOP title as well as some impressive live WSOP cashes. He's off to a good start for another deep run in a big tournament here this week.

2016 Aussie Millions Day 1a James Obst .jpg

Day 1a chip boss - James Obst

That's a wrap for tonight. We'll return tomorrow from 12:30pm for all your coverage needs throughout Main Event Day 1b. As is usually the case we're expecting even more players to join the hunt tomorrow and time will tell if we can eclipse last year's field of 648 runners.

If you missed any of today's excitement be sure to check out the live reporting page for all the fireworks on the felt. That's all from us now, we hope you can join us tomorrow!


Brad Kain
@PokerStars in Aussie Millions