The Aussie Millions at Crown Casino in Melbourne is kicking into high gear. James Chen won the $25,000 Challenge, Fedor Holz is back into the poker groove, and the Main Event is underway in the Land Down Under.
Chen, a Taiwanese pro, defeated Brandon Adams heads-up for the title and $648,098 (AUD$861,840). It was his second victory at the 2017 Aussie Millions. Less than two weeks ago, he took down the $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. tournament for pennies compared to what he won on Sunday ($29,322).
With these two titles, he has gone from 5th to 2nd on Taiwan’s all-time live tournament winnings leaderboard. And he’s now just $49,000 away from overtaking Hui Chen-Kuo for the top spot.
He had to earn his victory on Sunday. The final table was stacked with many familiar faces, including Adams who received $446,067. Former November Niner Antoine Saout finished in 3rd place ($288,032). Poker Hall of Famer John Juanda, one of the top tournament players ever, busted out in 4th place ($216,024).
Other notable players to cash included Mustapha Kanit (7th), Pratyush Buddiga (8th), and Cate Hall (13th). There was a total of 133 entries in this three-day event.
Welcome Back Mr. Holz
Fedor Holz got edged out by David Peters for 2016 GPI Player of the Year in late December, which was due to his semi-retirement from poker. The German Holz, hadn’t played much since the summer, while Peters continued grinding the high roller circuit throughout the year.
But now he’s back, at least temporarily. The so-called “recreational player,” entered the $100,000 Challenge on Sunday and showed no rust. After Day One, he is 2nd in chips with 394,500. There are seven players remaining, including Peters (96,000). Steffen Sontheimer, the other German left in the field, is in the chip lead (451,000).
Just 18 players signed up for this three-day event. Play will resume on Tuesday. The tournament will play down to the final seven. Those players will then be held back until January 28th to allow them an opportunity to enter the Main Event.
Main Event Underway
Speaking of the Main Event, the tournament got underway on January 22 with Day 1A followed by Day 1B on Monday. In total, 396 players have entered this $10,000 buy-in tournament. Day 1C begins Tuesday at 12:30 PM local time.
Through the first two Day One flights, Sam Ingham holds a slight chip lead (160,100) over Rhys Jones (159,000), and Mustapha Kanit (155,000). Actress Jennifer Tilly made it through the day with an above-average stack (85,000). Her long-time boyfriend Phil Laak, on the other hand, had a short day.
After finishing runner-up in the $100,000 Challenge, Brandon Adams hopped in the Main Event and made it to Day Two with 32,000. Kenny Hallaert, a 2016 November Niner, also got through the first day with 23,000 chips.
Others to advance to Day Two include Erik Seidel (86,000), Cate Hall (67,000), 2016 Aria Super High Roller Bowl champion Rainer Kempe (58,400), former Australian star cricketer Shane Warne (36,500), Darryll Fish (53,000), and Sam Abernathy (16,175).
Local hero and 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem busted on Day One.