APPT9 Aussie Millions Day 1b: Wassell on top, Cates and Huang lurking
Another long day at the 2015 Aussie Millions Poker Championship has come to a close.
Unlike the twelve days before it, today had a different feel to it. It was Australia Day after all (did I mention that already?) so that meant the Aussies were in full voice as they set out on Day 1b of the Main Event as their first steps to win back their home town poker championship.
The day was kicked off with a rather unique presentation as Australian poker philanthropist Julius Colman was awarded an Order of Australia for his contributions to charity. Back in 2007, Colman finished fourth in the Aussie Millions Main Event and donated his entire $500,000 prize to a school for significantly underprivileged children. It was a wonderful start to Australia Day to see a member of the Australian poker community recognized for the act of giving - something rarely seen in the poker world.
Colman then gave the order to shuffle up and deal to launch the cards in the air on Day 1b of the Main Event. The field of 173 runners included plenty of locals, despite the fact that Slovenian Casey Kastle was perhaps the most ocker thing in the poker room.
Aaron Lim, David Steicke, Tom Grigg, Curly Seal, Rory Young, Dean Blatt, Edison Nguyen and Kahle Burns were a few of the locals to bust while Jesse McKenzie, Gary Benson, Isaac Lau, Michael Pedley and former APPT Sydney champion Grant Levy will be representing the host country on Day 2.
For the internationals, the most interesting clash of the way was between two-time Aussie Millions gold ring winner Mustapha Kanit and online phenom Dan Cates. The largest pot of the tournament to date saw Cates flop a set of kings to crack Kanit aces, which created a stir not only for the size of the pot, but because Cates had busted the $100,000 Challenge twice the previous day in inglorious fashion with the very same hands.
In the end, Kanit would recover as both players amassed top ten stacks.
Team PokerStars had two pros in the field on Day 1b and both endured varying fortunes.
Celina Lin struggled to recover from her aces being cracked early as she was eliminated during the day, but things went a little better for Bryan Huang.
First he had the good fortune of his opponent "misclicking" to hand Huang a double up, and if that wasn't enough, at the dinner break, he was seated in the restaurant at the table next to tennis megastar Maria Sharapova. You simply can't run better than that.
In the evening session Huang raked in a substantial pot when an opponent moved all in on a board of 7♥6♠K♣K♠2♥. Huang wasn't going anywhere with his K♦Q♦ as he made the call to end the tournament for his opponent who had got a little excited with 5♣6♦, to see Huang climb into the top ten chip counts when the chips were bagged.
However leading the way is Ian Wassell who was tucked away in the top back corner of the room. Quietly minding his own business, Wassell amassed enough chips during the day to claim the overall chip lead.
Top Ten Chip Counts
Ian Wassell - 229,500
Daniel Cates - 168,100
Naween Fernando - 142,600
Calvin Ho - 135,200
Corey Kempson - 131,900
Mustapha Kanit - 130,900
Paul Abela - 124,300
Bryan Huang - 120,700
Konstantin Fetzer - 114,400
Isaac Lau - 108,000
In the end 91 players survived the day and will return for Day 2 of play on Wednesday. In the meantime, there's one more opening day flight to be played out on Tuesday where a huge field is expected to swell the total numbers for the Main Event to a total of 650 entrants and beyond.
Head to the live reporting section for the full end-of-day counts and join us again from 12:30pm local time on Tuesday for our continued coverage of the 2015 Aussie Millions Poker Championship.
If you want to find out what Sarah Herring got up to on Australia Day, check out this video below:
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.