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2007 Aussie Millions Main Event - Day 1A

An International Field of Over 700 to Vie for $1.5 Million First-Place Cash Prize

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The biggest poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere - that's right, Southern Hemisphere - kicked off on January 14 with day 1A of the 2007 Aussie Millions main event. Held in the Las Vegas Room at Melbourne's Crown Casino and Hotel complex, the $10,000 buy-in event attracted a starting field in excess of 700 players, making Aussie Millions perhaps the most impressive example of poker's growing popularity around the globe.

In the spirit of the momentous occasion, the Crown Casino treated the 358 day 1A participants to an opening ceremony that included interviews with Howard Lederer and Joe Hachem among others and a Vegas-style musical production of the song "Celebration."

Tournament officials soon gave players plenty to celebrate about with the announcement of a $7 million total prize pool and a $1.5 million first-place cash prize for the main event's winner.

At 1 p.m., play began with $50-$100 blinds and $20,000 starting stacks (or "banks" as they say Down Under). Like many of the preliminary events, the crowds packed all the available rail space, most notably around the Las Vegas Room's feature table, which included David "The Dragonfly" Singer (seat No. 1), Daniel Negreanu (seat No. 4), Marsha Waggoner (seat No. 8), and Danny Smith (seat No. 9).

An accomplished tennis player himself, Patrik Antonius started the day seated at the same table as Australian tennis pro Mark Philippoussis, and Shane Warne, the Michael Jordan of Australia's national cricket team.

The first big-name elimination of day 1A came at the expense of Roland De Wolfe. The FullTilt pro exited tournament play when his flopped straight fell to an opponent's full house.

Like De Wolfe, Joe Sebok also saw his 2006 Aussie Millions main event end on a tough hand … well, tough might be an understatement. All in on a Jspade 9heart 8club board, Sebok took a huge lead over his opponent when he showed Jheart Jclub and his opponent turned over 9spade 9diamond. The 8diamond turn put Sebok a card away from doubling up, but the veteran pro lost when the 9club, his opponent's only out, spiked on the river.

Other pros eliminated during the first half of play include Steve Zolotow, Allen Cunningham, Greg "FBT" Mueller, Mel "Silver Fox" Judah, Gary Benson, Huck Seed, Ram Vaswani, and Scott Fischman.

While some notables like Daniel Negreanu and Jesse Jones busted during post dinner break play, Patrik Antonius accumulated a massive chip stack late on day 1A. On one hand, Antonius coerced an opponent into moving all in on a 10diamond 8diamond 3heart flop. Holding only A-4 off suit, his opponent shipped over $80,000 and was eliminated from the tournament, when Antonius turned over a set of eights. The win put the Martins Poker pro at the top of the leader board with over $200,000 in chips.

Antonius followed up the $80,000 victory by busting Keith Tilston and another opponent on the same hand when his pocket jacks held up against Tilston's pocket sevens and the other player's pocket nines.

At 1:29 a.m. the seventh level of action concluded, and day 1A of the 2006 Aussie Millions main event came to a close. Approximately 145 players survived the first flight, with notables Kristy Gazes, John D'Agostino, Haralabos Voulgaris, Keith Sexton, and defending champ Lee "Final Table" Nelson all moving on to the tournament's next round.

Some players who failed to survive day 1A include Erik Seidel, Danny Smith, Jack McClelland, Jeffrey Lisandro, Carlos Mortensen, Melissa Hayden, and Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie.

The top five chips counts were as follows:

1. Patrik Antonius - $315,400
2. Nebil Soner - $201,400
3. Christopher Chronis - $178,100
4. James Fricke - $139,100
5. Kristy Gazes - $133,900

Play resumes at 11:30 a.m. with day 1B.

Stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for more news and information on the 2007 Aussie Millions.

Quote of the Day: "I look like a baby next to Patrik" - A player on the chip stack self-esteem issues of sitting adjacent to Patrik Antonius