Dan Shak Leads Closely Bunched Final Table At Aussie Millions Main Event

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In just a few hours, the final table for the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event will begin, with a strong field in contention for the latest of what many consider one of the “major” championships in the poker world today.

On Friday at the Crown Casino in Melbourne (late Thursday evening in North America), the final 36 combatants came to the six handed tables to work down to the final seven competitors. Australia’s Ray Ellis was holding the honor of his countrymen in the chip lead (and also the only player over the million chip mark), but Patrik Antonius, James Obst, Dan Shak and Phil Ivey were looking to take him down.

Ivey started the day as one of the short stacks and looked to gain some ground in the early going. After Obst opened the betting, Ivey would three-bet the action to 45K and Obst would call. Both players checked the J-10-7 flop and, after another Jack on the turn, Ivey opened up for 50K, which Obst called. When an eight came on the river, Ivey simply checked. Perhaps sensing something awry, Obst checked behind him and sent his cards to the muck when Ivey opened up pocket Jacks for quads!

Although he failed to trap Obst, Ivey still saw his stack bump over the 500K mark with the win. Obst would get some of his lost chips back against Shoshiro Karita when his Big Slick was able to run down Karita’s pocket Queens for a key double up. Ivey, meanwhile, was unable to use Obst’s chips in giving up a sizeable pot and dropping to only 130K.

As the action worked later into the afternoon, the lead would switch hands and be held by one man for much of the rest of the day’s play. After an opening bet from Karita, Obst pushed out a three-bet of 46K. Shak nearly beat him into the pot with a four-bet of 200K and Karita dumped his hand.

Obst agonized over the decision, even considering the fact that Shak had him beat pre-flop, before moving all in. Shak immediately put his tournament life on the line in making the call, but he had the ammunition; his pocket Aces were, in fact, ahead of Obst’s pocket Queens. After a Jack high board ran out, Shak rocketed to 1.3 million in chips and Obst dropped to 385K.

Obst once again would rebound, knocking off Karita, while Lee Markholt exited the tournament in 31st place when his A-Q couldn’t catch up to Ping Chan’s pocket Jacks. Obst continued to be one of the most active players in the tournament when he went to battle with Ivey holding an edge with pocket sevens over Ivey’s pocket sixes. In poker, as we all know, there is no such thing as an easy win. The 3-4-5 rainbow flop kept Obst in the lead but opened some outs for Ivey. None of them were to come on the turn eight and Ace river, though, knocking Ivey out in 30th place.

Shak punished his opponents as the field grew smaller, even though he gave up a few chips to Jarrod Glennon to fall to four million in chips. After that small setback, Shak put it pretty much on cruise control and let the rest of the field fight it out to see who would make the final table. His final act of the night was to dismiss Samantha Cohen from the tournament when his bigger straight trumped hers to set up today’s final table:

1. Dan Shak, 3.775 million
2. Jarrod Glennon, 3.6 million
3. Patrik Antonius, 3.345 million
4. Mervin Chan, 2.91 million
5. Joseph Cabret, 2.655 million
6. David Yan, 1.45 million
7. Jay Tan, 1.22 million

Shak has had a great deal of success at the Aussie Millions over the past few years, so there will be little pressure on him at this final table. Antonius, long one of the cash game terrors both online and live, is making a return to a final table for the first time since April of last year. The “wild card” at this final table could well be the Bodog-sponsored Tan, who is earning the fifth final table of her career and only her third cash outside of the Macau gambling zone.

The final table of the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event will begin at 2:30 Australia Time (10:30PM Eastern Time) and the prizes will be well worth the effort for all involved. The top two slots will each receive a seven figure payday, with the champion earning a $1.6 million (Australian) bounty as well as a sports car for their efforts.

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