APPT9 Aussie Millions Day 4: Ebbs and flows
Day 4 of the Aussie Millions Main Event has been a dramatic ride so far.
The first three hours of play saw us lose 18 players. The next three hours saw us lose just one.
Some people may look at that and struggle to comprehend how on Earth that can even happen in a poker tournament? It's certainly an extreme example of the ebbs and flows of a poker tournament, but let's take a look at why these sorts of situations can sometimes occur.
With so many good players returning for Day 4 of the Aussie Millions Main Event we saw two things.
Firstly, no one was playing scared. Often at this stage of a Main Event you might have a few amateur players doing nothing but fold to try to ladder up the pay jumps. When you're talking about pay jumps worth five figures, that's perfectly understandable. But when there are experienced players of the quality we've seen today, they are not worried about pay jumps. They are playing to win.
The other factor was that the dynamics of good, aggressive players naturally creates action. These guys have been playing with each other for four straight days so there's already history there and a metagame between two players that only they can possibly understand. Sometimes that means players are more prepared to trust their reads, make moves and apply pressure.
Those factors led to some dramatic action in the early stages of play as the cashier was kept busy throughout the afternoon.
But that rate of attrition simply can't be sustained. With play quickly reaching the final 12, the brakes were always going to be applied because the players' stacks were so deep compared to the blinds and antes.
When Sarkiss Osalian was eliminated in 13th place, the blinds were just 8,000-16,000 with a 2,000-chip ante. With an average stack of over 1.6 million that meant the players had an average stack of over 100 big blinds. That's incredibly deep in any tournament, which meant the action was bound to dry up.
It meant the railbirds, supporters and even the media had to endure some slow levels before the blinds caught up a little to once again pressure the short stacks and create action. Recently that pressure brought the end for Calvin Ho (12th), defending champion Ami Barer (11th), while the slow pace of play appeared to crack the patience of Raiden Kan.
The overnight chip leader decided to pull a move on a board of A♥3♥T♣2♦K♥. Kan check-raised all in with a massive overbet of 1.2 million with just queen-high, but unfortunately for him, Lennart Uphoff called with a flush for a rather ugly fatality. Oops.
With that, we're down to the final nine players and just two more eliminations from the televised final table of seven.
The ride is not over quite yet, and maybe we'll see another wave crash before this day is through.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.