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Aussie Millions -- $100,000 AUD No-Limit Hold'em Challenge Day 1

David Steicke Takes the Lead into the Final Table


The fourth edition of the $100,000 AUD No-Limit Hold’em Challenge began today at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia at 2:15 p.m. local time. The was the eighth event in the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championships and it attracted a large flow of rail birds throughout the day as some of the top names in poker jumped in to the largest buy-in tournament of the year. Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Chris Ferguson, John Juanda, Erik Seidel, J.C. Tran, Nam Le, and others joined the field of 23 players and created a first place-prize worth $1.2 million AUD.

David SteickeThe early going was rough on the two former Aussie Millions champions in the field, as Alexander Kostritsyn was the first to fall in 23rd place and Hansen followed him to the rail in 21st place. Ivey said hello to the tournament field near the end of level 2 today, and then he quickly said goodbye, busting out during the third level of play in 19th place. Tran took the early lead in the tournament heading into the dinner break, but he tangled with David Steicke right before the dinner bell rang, and Steicke jumped into the chip lead when he doubled up through Tran to win a huge pot with 15 players remaining. The two players did not back down from each other all day long and when one raised the other was usually soon to follow.

After dinner things started slowly, the first level back saw no player hit the rail. But during level six things picked up and players began to file out of the room in an orderly manner. The final table of nine players was reached before the end of level seven, but then something happened. The players decided that they wanted to keep playing and agreed to push on through the end of level 9 and see if they could finish the tournament off in just one day.

They then drew new seats at the final table:

Seat 1: Dan Shak -- 370,000
Seat 2: J.C. Tran -- 335,000
Seat 3: Patrik Antonius -- 248,000
Seat 4: Jason Gray -- 145,000
Seat 5: David Steicke -- 462,000
Seat 6: John Juanda -- 290,000
Seat 7: Tony Bloom -- 181,000
Seat 8: Jeffrey Lisandro -- 75,000
Seat 9: Bill Jordanou -- 180,000

Patrik Antonius was the first player to fall at the final table in ninth place. His elimination made J.C. Tran the chip leader, and Tran settled right into his duties as table captain. After Antonius took his leave, then it was Jason Gray and Jeffrey Lisandro that followed him to the rail in eighth and seventh place respectively to bring the field down to six players at the end of level eight. That was when the players changed their minds once again and they decided to call it a night. Steicke was able to steal the chip lead back from Tran at the end of play when he eliminated Lisandro, and he will start tomorrow with 631,000. Here are the chip counts for tomorrow's final portion of the final table:

David Steicke: 631,000
J.C. Tran: 528,000
John Juanda: 480,000
Dan Shak: 356,000
Tony Bloom: 181,000
Bill Jordanou: 139,000

Full Elimination List

Check back tomorrow for live coverage from the final table beginning at 4 p.m. AEDT (9 p.m. PST), and don't miss the Day 1A coverage of the Aussie Millions $10,500 AUD main event, starting at 12:30 p.m. AEDT (5:30 p.m. PST).

Here are the highlights of day, as featured in’s live updates:

J.C. TranTran vs. Steicke

J.C. Tran bet 12,000 on a flop of 1092 and both John Juanda and David Steicke made the call. The turn fell 9 and both callers checked to Tran, who bet 26,000. Juanda mucked and Steicke made the call with his 30 seconds expiring. The river fell K and Steicke let the clock almost expire once again before he checked. Tran then pondered how much to bet and he moved all in as the clock was expiring on his decision. Steicke called instantly and he turned up pocket nines for quads. Tran's pocket threes were no good and Steicke doubled up right before dinner.

Tran vs. Steicke Round II

On a flop of 843 David Steicke bet 16,000 from the big blind and J.C. Tran made the call in middle position. The 10 fell on the turn and Steicke checked. Tran bet 20,000 and Steicke made the call. The Q fell on the river and Steicke checked to Tran again. Tran bet 27,000 and Steicke made the call. Tran flipped up A10 and he took down the large pot from Steicke. Tran held 225,000 after the hand while Steicke was dragged down to 250,000.

Chris Ferguson Eliminated in 13th Place

Chris Ferguson and Patrik Antonius got involved in a large pot where a series of raises and reraises preflop built such a large pot during pot-limit hold'em that Ferguson found himself all in and 440,000 chips found their way into the middle. Their cards:

Antonius: JJ
Ferguson: QQ

Board: K535J

Ferguson was crippled after the hand and Antonius was a huge chip leader with over 440,000.

After another series of raises and reraises built the pot large enough for a short-stacked Chris Ferguson to move all in, he did so against David Steicke. Steicke made the call and they turned up their hands:

Steicke: AQ
Ferguson: K10

Board: Q1093A

Ferguson was eliminated in 13th place and Steicke added to his large stack.

Patrik AntoniusYou Win Some - You Lose Some

Patrik Antonius lost the chip lead when David Steicke moved all in against Antonius on a flop of 1098 and Antonius called him down. Their cards:

Antonius: QQ
Steicke: J7

Turn and River: 5A

Steicke doubled up on the hand and he is now the chip leader in the tournament.

Patrik Antonius Eliminated in Ninth Place

Patrik Antonius made it 32,000 to go preflop after J.C. Tran limped into the pot. Tran made the call and after the flop of Q74 was dealt J.C. Tran checked and Patrik Antonius bet 26,000 right behind him. Tran raised to about 60,000 and Atonius moved all in. Tran made the call and flipped over 44 for a set. Antonius showed down AQ and the turn and river were dealt K2. Antonius was the first player to exit the final table in ninth place.

Jeffrey Lisandro Eliminated in Seventh Place

Jeffrey Lisandro raised to 20,000 preflop and David Steicke made the call. The flop was dealt KQ3 and Steicke bet 25,000. Lisandro made the call and the turn fell K. Steicke moved all in and Lisandro made the all-in call. Their cards:

Lisandro: AA
Steicke: K9

River: J

Lisandro was eliminated in seventh place and he was the final player to fall on day 1. Steicke moved up to 635,000.