The 2014 Aussie Millions Main Event kicked off on Sunday as 175 players turned out for the first of three starting flights. After a long day of play – one that lasted seven 90-minute levels – the field was whittled down to 86 players with David Malka and his stack of 205,400 leading the way.
Notable End of Day 1a Counts
Most of poker’s biggest names are in Melbourne for the Aussie Millions, but many of them opted to play the $25,000 Challenge on Sunday. Even so, a few notables took their shot on Day 1a and it didn’t take long for action to heat up.
In Level 4 (150/300/25), Jordan "JWPRODIGY" Westmorland, an American who relocated to Thailand to play online and grind live tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region, was eliminated from the tournament. It happened when action folded to Westmorland in the hijack and he shoved his last 3,750. Naoya Kihara of PokerStars Team Online made the call from the cutoff and the rest of the field folded.
It was a bad spot for Westmorland, and according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator he had just an 11.68% chance of winning the hand while Kihara would score the knockout 85.57% of the time. The flop made things interesting as Westmorland's open-ended straight draw saw his chances of survival jump to 42.42%.
The turn was a blank, and that meant Kihara was a 3-1 favorite headed to the river. The dealer burned one last time and put out the . "Good luck," Westmorland said before making a hasty exit from the tournament floor.
Westmorland made an early exit from the tournament, but he had company on the rail in the form of 2013 World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players' Champion Matthew Ashton and 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event winner Oliver Speidel.
Ashton was eliminated after Liv Boeree opened for a raise, a player on her left called, and Ashton put in a three-bet. Boeree folded, the other player put in a large four-bet, and Ashton moved all in. The player then tanked for a bit before calling with , which clearly crushed Ashton's . The slowroll was a bitter pill to swallow on what would be Ashton’s last hand.
As for Speidel, who talked to PokerNews earlier in the day, his end came in Level 4 courtesy of Full Tilt Poker Ambassador Tom Grigg.
His final hand came when Grigg opened under the gun and another player flatted. Speidel opted to jam for 2,800, Grigg isolated with a four-bet, and the flatter folded. Speidel tabled and found himself in dire straits against Grigg's . The board ran out clean and that was all she wrote for Speidel.
While many players failed to survive Day 1a, a bunch of notables managed to punch their ticket to Day 2 including Antonio Fazzolari (190,500), Edison Nguyen (133,900), Guillaume Rivet (125,000), Jake Balsiger (110,400), Tom Grigg (110,000), Casey Kastle (93,000), and last year’s runner-up Joseph Cabret (75,900).
Day 1b is set to kick off at 12:30 local time. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action and eliminations from the floor of the Crown Poker Room, so be sure to join us then.