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Glitz And Glamour As Aussie Millions Starts

The Southern Hemisphere's biggest poker event has attracted the world's top players

With all the splash and the cash of a showbiz extravaganza and to the strains of Cool and the Gang's "Celebrate" the Aussie Millions Main Event started over the weekend at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Personalities including Australia's own World Series of Poker champ Joe Hachem and ace Aussie cricketer Shane Warne welcomed the competitors, dancing girls pranced and gold confetti showered down before the traditional "Shuffle up and Deal" call was made.

The tournament program commenced with seven 90 minute levels in Day 1, Flight one and was followed today (Monday) by another seven levels in Day 1, Flight 2.

On Tuesday the elimination process will continue through seven more levels in Day 2, and by Day 3 on Wednesday there will be 6 X 90 minute levels. Thursday as Day 4 will produce six levels and will end early if the final 7 players are reached, with Day 5 moving forward to allow a 1.00 pm start for the Final Table.

The total starter field is well up from last year's 418 contestants. Official figures show a 747 player, star-studded entry field that includes almost every big poker name in the book. 358 players started the action in Day 1 Flight 1 yesterday, and today 389 lined up for Day 1 Flight 2.

At stake is a winner's prize of $1.5 million, whilst the runner up will get a million; the remaining cash flows down to 80 of the most successful players in the event.

Poker Player Joe Hachem at WSOPWell known players sitting down at the tables on the first action-packed day included: Dan Alspach, Billy the Croc, Gary Benson, Scott Fischman, Melissa Hayden, Matt Hilger, Mel Judah, Jesse Jones, Lee Nelson, JJ Liu, Patrik Antonius, Jeff Lisandro, Jack McClelland, Daniel Negreanu, Paul "The Virus" Ravesi, Joe Reina, Shane "Shaniac" Scheleger, Paul Wasicka, Marsha Waggoner, and Haralbos Voulgaris. Several members of Team Full Tilt were also in the fight… Andy Black, Richard Brodie, Steve Brecher, Allen Cunningham, John D'Agostino, Chirs "Jesus" Ferguson, Kristy Gazes, David Grey, Carlos Mortensen, Greg FTB Mueller, Joe Sebok, David Singer, Erik Seidel, Keith Sexton, Ram Vaswami, and Steve Z.

Aggressive Finnish player Patrik Antonius prevailed in Day 1 Flight 1and has an arsenal of over 300 000 chips ready for his next encounters in Day 2. To get there he had to run the gauntlet of some major names in a power-packed field that saw Daniel Negreanu, Allen Cunningham, Joe Sebok, Huck Seed, Zolotow, Jeff Lisandro, Roland de Wolfe, Vaswani, Negreanu, Carlos Mortenson and Erik Seidel all sent packing early.

The Finnish player was clearly on a major roll, and as his day ended was sufficiently fired-up to challenge all comers to a $10 000 heads up extraneous game. There were no takers.

When we looked in on the round 4 action after several hours play in Day 1 Flight 2 the eliminations included Elizabeth Shannon, Ehyad Tatouh, Lee Watkinson, Mike Matusow, Perry Friedman and John Juanda. Hanging in with a mere 7 500 chips was WSOP champ Joe Hachem, well behind chip leader Brendan Schaefer (42K) and Phil Ivey (23K)


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