APPT9 Aussie Millions Day 4: The final table awaits
For some of the 30 players returning for Day 4 of the Aussie Millions Main Event, this may very well be the most important day in their lives.
Not just their poker careers - their entire life.
Sure, there's your wedding day. Or the birth of your child. But today is the chance, to earn a chance at winning $1.6 million. Most people never get the opportunity to even get this close to that sort of money. Life-changing money. Yet here we are on Day 4 of the Aussie Millions Main Event and one of these 30 players is going leave the Crown Poker Room with the biggest poker prize in the Southern Hemisphere.
However this is not a field of 30 rookies. Far from it. This field is loaded with players who have been in this position before, some many times before.
Looking at the local hopes and guys like Manny Stavropoulos, Michael Pedley, Stevan Chew, Alex Lynskey, Anthony Legg, Michael Addamo and Dominic Coombe may have had a restless night's sleep. They are players we've seen regularly around the Australian poker circuit but none of them have achieved anything as significant as an Aussie Millions final table.
Then there's a couple of very well-credentialed Aussies in Tony Hachem and Grant Levy.
Hachem is a two-time ANZ Player of the Year, and ANZPT champion and was there when his brother Joe won the biggest tournament in the world in 2005. Quite possibly there is no one in the field with a steelier focus or who values each chip more than Tony Hachem.
Levy is also an ANZPT champion as well as an APPT champion. He's the only Aussie to hold both titles, and he would set another record if he wins this event as he would become the only two-time APPT in history. He's also reached this point twice before in this very event, with a 13th place in 2009 and a 15th place in 2012. Perhaps the nerves for Levy today will be more about avoiding that same "so close yet so far" feeling of those two results.
Looking at the internationals and we have some of the best players in the world still in contention in this event.
Brian Rast is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner. Andrew Chen is a former EPT champion. Mike McDonald is also an EPT champion among an incredible career that has already netted him over $10 million in earnings in just a few years in the game. And our chip leader, Macau's Raiden Kan, is a Macau Poker Cup Championships winner and cashed in the $25k Challenge just a few days ago.
There are however, two names which stand out above the other 28.
After winning this very title in 2014, Canada's Ami Barer is putting in a remarkable defence of his title. Winning back-to-back major championships, in the modern poker era of big fields and tough opposition, has to be considered mission impossible, and if Barer can achieve this rare feat it will be one of the most remarkable poker achievements in history.
Finally we have to mention the man that all the fans have come to see. The ten-time WSOP bracelet winner and arguably the best player in the world, the legendary Phil Ivey.
Ivey clearly loves coming to Australia. He has been deep in the Main Event twice before. He finished runner-up in the $100k Challenge in 2010 and has won the $250k Challenge two of the three years that it has been run. It almost seems like Ivey's destiny that he will one day be an Aussie Millions Main Event champion. Will this be the year?
Ivey is lurking in the middle of the pack, dangerously threatening anyone who dares play a pot with him today, and will no doubt be using his experience and fearlessness to attempt to surge up the chip count leaderboard and earn a spot on the televised final table.
It should provide a thrilling day of poker. If you're in Melbourne, we recommend that you come and join us in the Crown Poker Room to watch it all unfold in person. But if you can't make it here, the next best place to watch is right here on the PokerStars Blog.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.