The 2015 Aussie Millions Poker Championship AU$10,600 Main Event has been called the southern hemisphere's most prestigious tournament, and today players from around the world flocked to Crown Melbourne for the first of three starting flights. Day 1a attracted 183 players – up from last year's 175 – and after seven 90-minute levels, approximately 104 remained with Jan Suchanek and his stack of 163,400 leading the way. Suchanek has seven top-three finishes in Aussie Millions events in last five years, including victory in a $1,100 eight-game event back in 2012
While many of the game's biggest names like Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, and Scott Seiver were busy across the room playing the AU$100,000 Challenge, others were busy battling for a spot on Day 2 of the Main Event. Among those to survive the night with big stacks were Joakim Backlund and defending champ Ami Barer, who is primed for a title defense finishing the night third in chips.
Day 1a started slow, but eventually Manny Rodriguez earned the distinction of being the first player eliminated from the 2015 Aussie Millions Main Event. Obviously he would not be the last. Others who joined him on the rail throughout the day included Ben Wilinofsky, Maria Ho, Jason Wheeler, Matthew Ashton, Brian Roberts, [Removed:17], Chris Moorman, Martin Finger, 2012 Aussie Millions runner-up Joseph Cabret, and 2011 champ Oliver Speidel.
Speidel, who topped a field of 659 players to win AU$1.6 million three years back, fell in Level 6 (250/500/75) when he got his last 8,000 all in preflop holding and was racing against the pocket tens of Marc MacDonnell. Speidel came up empty, and his hopes of becoming the tournament's first two-time winner came to an end.
Likewise, 2006 champ Lee Nelson fell in the last level of the night after four-bet jamming his last 15,000 holding only to run into the of Raiden Kan. Nelson failed to get lucky, and his exit left Barer and 2011 champ David Gorr as the only former champs remaining in the field. Gorr went on to bag up 42,200.
Other who managed to punch their ticket to Day 2 were World Series of APAC runner-up Jack Salter (85,400); WSOP bracelet winner Andrew Hincirchsen (89,000); 2014 WSOP Main Event runner-up Felix Stephensen (82,000); Australian Hall of Famer Jeff Lisandro (54,700); last year's third-place finisher Jake Balsiger (46,800); and Australia's pride and joy, Joe Hachem (13,400).
Day 1b of the 2015 Aussie Millions Main Event will begin at 12:30 p.m. local time on Monday. Players will once again play seven 90-minute levels, and of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there every step of the way to bring your all the action and eliminations straight from the floor of the Crown Poker Room.
While you wait, check out our video on the great city of Melbourne: