Event Name:

$25,000 Challenge

  • Days:
  • 1
  • 2

James Chen Leads $25,000 Challenge at 2017 Aussie Millions

James Chen

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 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 multi cultural Top 5 is rounded out by Mustapha Kanit (485,000) and Brandon Adams (455,500).

#PlayerCountryChip Count
1James ChenTaiwan621,000
2Antoine SaoutFrance601,000
3Jeff RossiterAustralia582,500
4Mustapha KanitItaly485,000
5Brandon AdamsUnited States455,500

Play got underway at exactly 2:10 p.m. and the tables filled up rather quickly. No hesitating 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.

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 A$63,840, making the six-handed final tables guarantees the players A$143,640 and winning nets one player A$861,840.

PokerNews.com 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.

YearEntriesPrize PoolWinnerCountryPrize in A$Prize in $
201220A$500,000Dominykas KarmazinasLithuaniaA$200,000$205,895
201330A$723,000Igor KurganovRussiaA$275,000$290,317
201465A$1,560,000Max AltergottGermanyA$241,785*$211,522*
2015104A$2,496,000Alexander TrevallionAustraliaA$645,150**$521,835**
2016122A$2,928,000Chance KornuthUnited StatesA$790,560$547,874
2017133A$3,192,000  A$861,840$650,481
* denotes a 5-way deal with Dan Smith (2nd, A$278,414), Jason Mercier (3rd, A$265,538), Martin Jacobson (4th, A$285,921) and Scott Seiver (5th, A$265,538)
** denotes a deal with Tobias Reinkemeier (2nd, A$614,850)


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

End of Day Chip Counts

An extensive recap on today's action to follow.

James Chen621,000401,000
Antoine Saout601,000101,000
Jeff Rossiter582,500132,500
Mustapha Kanit485,00090,000
Brandon Adams455,500455,500
Cate Hall353,0000
Pratyush Buddiga349,00069,000
Manig Loeser332,50038,500
John Juanda307,000227,000
Claas Segebrecht287,000
Ryan D'Angelo245,00092,000
David Yan243,000-77,000
Stephen Chidwick218,50077,500
Nick Petrangelo212,000112,000
Sam Greenwood197,50017,500
Oliver Weis188,500
Rajkumar Ramakrishnan185,000
Barry Woods163,000
Johannes Becker156,500
Martin Kozlov129,000-81,000
Jason Pritchard100,000
Dan Shak98,000-107,000
Chance Kornuth93,000-87,000
Tomas Jozonis62,500-2,000
Sam Higgs30,500

Cate Hall Doubles in Last Hand of the Night

It was the last hand of the night and Tomas Jozonis on the button opened for 9,000. Chance Kornuth folded his small blind and started counting his chips to know what to write on the bag in just a bit, but big blind Cate Hall had bigger plans. She three-bet to 28,500 and action was back on Jozonis. The Lithuanian player four-bet to 54,000 and called Hall's 164,500-shove.

Tomas Jozonis:
Cate Hall:

The flop gave Jozonis four outs to a chop but those wouldn't come in with the hitting the turn and completing the board.

Cate Hall353,000173,000
Tomas Jozonis64,500-165,500

Astapau a Goner

Anton Astapau has been eliminated. He got it in with ace-five against the king-queen of Mustapha Kanit and saw his Italian foe hit a queen on the flop.

Anton Astapau0-165,000

Two More Hit the Rail

Jack Salter () and Dario Sammartino () both got it in before the flop against a player with . The board ran out and in one big swoop, two more players hit the rail.

Dario Sammartino0-47,000
Jack Salter0-70,200

The Rich Get Richer

In a battle of the blinds, Antoine Saout checked from the small on a flop of . Big blind Alexander Lynskey bet 12,000 and Saout shoved all in. Lynskey called (for what looked like 90,000 to us, but we're not hundred percent sure) with for the flopped straight. Saout tabled and saw his straight draw complete on the river after the on the turn had been a blank.

Antoine Saout500,000100,000
Alexander Lynskey0-220,000

33 Remain

With about half an hour left for the day.

Jeff Rossiter450,000325,000
David Yan320,00015,000
Pratyush Buddiga280,000-5,000
James Chen220,000-80,000
Dan Shak205,000131,000
Sam Greenwood180,0005,000
Cate Hall180,00080,000
Chance Kornuth180,00015,000
John Juanda80,00047,000
Ben Heath00

Sammartino Doubles Through Salter

Jack Salter open shoved his last 80,000 or so from the cutoff. Dario Sammartino, on the button with 30,600, called all in and both blinds folded.

Jack Salter:
Dario Sammartino:

The flop already brought some help for Sammartino, and he locked in the double up with the on the turn and on the river.

Jack Salter70,2004,200
Dario Sammartino47,00016,400

37 Remain

The last level of the day has just started. 37 players from 133 entries remain.

Kanit Makes a Big Call to Send Lakemeier Home

Jens Lakemeier

Jens Lakemeier raised from the hijack to 8,000 and small blind Mustapha Kanit called. Big blind Jack Salter came along as well.

Kanit and Salter checked on and Lakemeier fired 13,000. Kanit was the only caller as Salter folded.

The hit the turn and this time Kanit check-called a bet of 28,000. With the completing the board, Kanit checked for the third time. Lakemeier shoved for 75,200 and Kanit tanked for a bit before he called.

Lakemeier showed for not much of anything, Kanit took it down with .

Mustapha Kanit395,000195,000
Jens Lakemeier0-43,000
Tournament Information
Events List
  • Level Info

  • Level: 24
  • Blinds: $30,000/60,000
  • Ante: $5,000
  • Players Info

  • Prize Pool: $3,192,000
  • Entries: 133




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