Twenty different events going on this month, plus a “Million Dollar Cash Game” which looks like it was played yesterday as no-limit hold’em with $500/$1,000 blinds and a $100 ante. Kind of an ABC of some of poker’s biggest names in that one, including Antonius, Benyamine, Cates, Dwan, Elezra, and Feldman. (Oh, and Ivey and Juanda, too.)
Also highlighting the schedule at the Aussie Millions was that $100,000 Challenge, won by the red-hot Brit Sam Trickett. (Those dollars are AUD, by the way, which I believe are not too different from USD at the moment.)
Interestingly, the Aussie Millions $100,000 buy-in event attracted 38 players total, exactly the number who participated in the recent PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $100,000 Super High Roller event played a couple of weeks ago.
I remember noting how at the PCA Super High Roller the many members of Team Full Tilt seemed conspicuous by their absence. Ultimately David Benyamine (Team Full Tilt) and Andrew Lichtenberger (a Red Pro) did sign up for that one, but most of the big names -- i.e., the ones you’d expect to see play in one of the very few $100,000 events on the poker calendar -- were not there to participate in the PokerStars-sponsored tournament.
A lot of those guys did show up for the Aussie Millions high buy-in event, however. Indeed, if you scan the list of entrants, it appears more than half of the 38 who entered (about 20) were Full Tilters. Not too surprisingly, none of the half-dozen PokerStars pros who played in the PCA Super High Roller (Negreanu, Mercier, Grospellier, Brenes, Duhamel, Chen) also played in the $100,000 Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge. Incidentally, there was one PokerStars guy in the Aussie field -- the country’s most famous poker player, Joe Hachem.
I was curious to see how many players signed up for both events. I could have missed someone, but a scan of both lists of entrants turned up six names appearing on both: David Benyamine, Daniel Cates, Masaaki Kagawa, Sorel Mizzi, James Obst, and Justin Smith.
We’ve all known Benyamine and Mizzi for a good while now. Both Cates (a.k.a. “jungleman12”) and Smith (a.k.a. “BoostedJ”) are fairly well known, too. Cates has become more familiar thanks to his involvement in the second “Durrrr challenge,” and Smith for a lot of recent live scores, including scoring the cover of the October 2010 issue of Bluff Magazine.
James Obst is also a name very familiar to those of us who follow big tourneys on PokerStars, including SCOOP and WCOOP events. Of course, there we know him better as “Andy McLEOD,” a name that appears at the top of the chip counts over and over and over in those big events. Guy is only 20, too, still another year away from playing in the WSOP.
The sixth of the bunch, Masaaki Kagawa, is certainly the least known of the double-dippers. A highly successful a Japanese businessman who routinely plays high-stakes cash games, Kagawa also frequently shows up for the big buy-in tournaments such as the ones this month. He didn’t fare so well in these two, finishing around 30th in both. But he has a few results over the past four years, including a third-place finish in the Aussie Millions $100,000 event in 2007.
Of these six players, it looks like only Obst managed a cash in either event, finishing fifth at the Aussie Millions, good enough to win $200,000. So he essentially broke even on the two events, while the other five ended $200K in the hole.
That’s a lot of candy bars.