Aussie Millions 2016: The Final Table is set!
After four days of blood, sweat and tears inside the Crown Poker Room, the Aussie Millions Main Event field has been reduced from 732 to just seven.
Tony Dunst. Ari Engel. Samantha Abernathy. Kitty Kuo. Alex Lynskey. Dylan Honeyman. John Apostolidis.
One of those players will be crowned the 2016 Aussie Millions champion!
The start of Day 4 would see 40 players return to the battle on the Aussie Millions felt. They had already locked up a nice pay day for their efforts in Melbourne, and some were more than satisfied with that. However for others, the goal was simple - survive the day and reach the Aussie Millions final table.
The action was fierce throughout the day with eliminations coming at a steady clip. Stephen Chidwick (34th), Jessica Dawley (31st), Alex Lee (28th), Laurence Hall (27th), Andrew Bassat (25th) and Jack O'Neill (19th) were among those to fall short of the final three tables.
As the final table approached, play did slow somewhat as the big stacks started to emerge and the shorties hung on to every pay jump.
Former APPT Sydney champion Martin Rowe was unable to make it a double as he bowed out in 18th place before Australian poker veteran Tino Lechich was derailed in 16th in a big three-way all-in pot on the feature table. It was Lechich with ace-queen up against the pocket kings of Alex Lynskey, but it would be Kitty Kuo's ace-king which scooped the pot when a two-outer ace appeared on the river.
Mikel Habb entertained the railbirds with his antics, both in the poker room and on the live stream, but in the end, it was a cruel river that also brought his tournament undone. Habb wasn't sure whether to commit with his pocket kings, but when Samantha Abernathy spiked a set with her pocket sixes, the pot was shipped to her and Habb was sent on his way in 15th place.
Artur Koren (14th), Adam Monaghan (13th) and Cankai Zhang (12th) were next to go, before James Obst's run would end in 11th place. Obst attempted a resteal with a suited jack-ten but couldn't shake Bobby Zhang from his pocket jacks. Obst was crippled and eliminated a short time later.
Zhang was unable to make the most of those chips as he fell in 10th place and when Japan's Yuki Ko (9th) was coolered with kings against Ari Engel's aces, we were one elimination away from the official final table.
However it would take another three and a half hours for that final table bubble to eventually burst. John Apostolidis fought gamely as the short stack to survive, while on the feature table Dylan Honeyman was also getting short.
In the end it would be 2015 Asia Player of the Year runner-up KC Wong who would fall.
A lost race with ace-king against the queens of Apostolidis would do some damage before Wong committed what was left with pocket sevens against Engel's ace-eight. An ace on the flop brought relief around the room as the Aussie Millions final table line up was finally set.
2016 Aussie Millions Final Table
Seat 1: Dylan Honeyman (Australia) - 885,000
Seat 2: Alex Lynskey (Australia) - 2,390,000
Seat 3: Tony Dunst (United States) - 5,990,000
Seat 4: Samantha Abernathy (United States) - 2,485,000
Seat 5: Ari Engel (Canada) - 8,155,000
Seat 6: Kitty Kuo (Chinese Taipei) - 1,005,000
Seat 7: John Apostolidis (Australia) - 960,000
Tony Dunst and Ari Engel were the dominant forces of Day 4. Both were able to accumulate chips with little resistance, and avoid the landmines that struck a few other players during the day.
However it's testament to the resilience of the likes of Alex Lynskey, John Apostolidis and Samantha Abernathy who suffered crippling blows to their stack during the day but recovered to reach the final stage.
While it will be Canadian pro Ari Engel who carries the chip lead into the final day, the story lies with the two female players who have reached the final stage. Not only is it the first time in the history of the Aussie Millions that two females have ever made the final table, but it's only the fourth time a female has reached this point of the tournament in the modern era of the Aussie Millions (post 2003).
Both Kitty Kuo and Samantha Abernathy have proven themselves to be fierce competitors on the table and it would be fantastic for the growth of the game of poker if one of them can challenge for the title.
The seven players will return to the Crown Poker Room on Sunday at 12:30pm where one of them will be crowned champion and take home AU$1.6 million in prize money.
In the meantime, the final table of the $100k Challenge will take place from 2:10pm on Saturday. It's a cracking line up and should provide plenty of entertainment tomorrow.
We'll have live updates of all the action right here on the PokerStars Blog, while you can watch a live stream hosted by Jason Somerville over at RunItUp.TV.
We hope you'll join us then!