Aussie Millions $25,000 Challenge: Chen Leads After Day 1

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The 2017 Aussie Millions saw its first High Roller start today with the $25,000 Challenge commencing at 2:10.

Again, like in recent years, high rollers came from all over the world to play the elite event in Crown Casino Melbourne and once again records were broken. With 122 entries last year, the bar had been set pretty high, but this year’s edition easily surpassed that with 133 paying entries.

After 12 levels of play, James Chen (photo) leads the final 25 players having catapulted his 50,000 starting bank to a chip castle worth 621,000. He’s closely followed by former November Niner Antoine Saout (601,000) and local poker hero Jeff Rossiter (582,500). The Top 5 is rounded out by Mustapha Kanit (485,000) and Brandon Adams (455,500).

# Player Country Chip Count
1 James Chen Taiwan 621,000
2 Antoine Saout France 601,000
3 Jeff Rossiter Australia 582,500
4 Mustapha Kanit Italy 485,000
5 Brandon Adams United States 455,500

Once, play got underway, the tables filled up rather quickly. No one hesitated about whether to enter or not; most players sat down immediately to get action underway.

Grayson Ramage was the early chipleader, doubling his stack busting Jason Mo in a set-over-set situation. Mo would bust his second bullet not much later, making him one of the first players to bust indefinitely, as the event was organized as a single reentry. Despite being off to a good start, Ramage wouldn’t bag as he too got eliminated in the end.

Mo, having busted two bullets, and Ramage, on a single bullet, wouldn’t be the only ones to bust. Every table was filled with recognizable players and they hit the rail one by one. Erik Seidel, who may consider Melbourne one of his favorite cities to play poker after cashing here big year after year, would not have to write down his chip count at the end of the day and neither would WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem, to name just two.

Chen bet-called a shove with nothing but queen-nine for a gutshot.

While it was Antoine Saout with the lead for most of the day, the title of chipleader was snagged right from under his nose as James Chen won some huge pots in the last level to finish up top. The biggest pot Chen played was a hand against high stakes cash game player Ben Tollerene.

After some hefty action before the flop, Chen bet-called a shove with nothing but queen-nine for a gutshot and an over card. That was good, it turned out, as Tollerene tabled the bottom end of an open-ended straight draw with nine-seven. The jack on the turn gave Chen the straight he was looking for and Tollerene hit the rail well before the money after a blank on the river.

Play resumes at 2:30 local time as the tournament will play down to a winner. With 25 players remaining and 14 players in the money, 11 players will leave empty-handed. Min cashing is worth AUD$63,840; making the six-handed final tables guarantees the players AUD$143,640 and winning nets one player AUD$861,840. will be on the floor for live updates once again on Day 2, so check back at 2:30 p.m. local time to see how this record-breaking tournament concludes.

Year Entries Prize Pool Winner Country Prize in A$ Prize in $
2012 20 A$500,000 Dominykas Karmazinas Lithuania A$200,000 $205,895
2013 30 A$723,000 Igor Kurganov Russia A$275,000 $290,317
2014 65 A$1,560,000 Max Altergott Germany A$241,785* $211,522*
2015 104 A$2,496,000 Alexander Trevallion Australia A$645,150** $521,835**
2016 122 A$2,928,000 Chance Kornuth United States A$790,560 $547,874
2017 133 A$3,192,000 A$861,840 $650,481

* denotes a 5-way deal with Dan Smith (second, A$278,414), Jason Mercier (third, A$265,538), Martin Jacobson (fourth, A$285,921) and Scott Seiver (fifth, A$265,538)
** denotes a deal with Tobias Reinkemeier (second, A$614,850)

Position Prize in AUD$ Prize in $
1 $861,840 $648,098
2 $590,520 $444,067
3 $383,040 $288,032
4 $287,280 $216,024
5 $207,480 $156,017
6 $143,640 $108,012
7 – 8 $119,700 $90,010
9 – 10 $95,760 $72,018
11 – 12 $79,800 $60,015
13 – 14 $63,840 $48,012

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