Over two days at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australian fashion designer Christopher Chronis put on a master class in aggressive play on his way to a first-place finish in Event #2 of the 2008 Aussie Millions, $1,100 Pot Limit Hold ‘Em. Along the way, Chronis outlasted 188 other top poker pros, including Jimmy ‘gobboboy’ Fricke, Sarah ‘Aussie Sarah’ Bilney, Mel Judah and Julian Powell.
‘Aussie Sarah’ Bilney got all her money in ahead on Day 1 when she pushed all in with pocket Kings and found one caller in an opponent with pocket threes. The three on the river washed away Bilney’s hopes of an Aussie Millions trophy in this event, and she was joined on the rail by local favorites Gary Benson and Graeme ‘Kiwi G’ Putt.
Anna Wroblewski went on a rush late in Day 1 to fuel her trip to the final table, crippling Sol Bergren in a five-way pot that saw her river a flush to bust Bergren’s flopped trips. On the very next hand, Bergren and Wroblewski tangled again, this time with Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros in the middle. Wroblewski raised preflop, and found herself in a three-way all-in pot with Bergren and Argyros. Wroblewski was ahead with to Bergren’s and Argyros’ . No Jack or running Kings on the board, and Wroblewski’s Aces held up to send two tough opponents to the rail.
With all of Wroblewski’s action, it was Chris Chronis who was the story of the day, taking out multiple opponents as he built a huge chip stack going into the final table. After a very active early period, Chronis found himself short stacked and with the last of his chips in the middle holding . Alex Keating called with , and Chronis doubled up as the board ran out to give him the full house. On the very next hand Chronis pushed all in again with and found one caller in Keating again, this time holding . The board blanked out, and Chronis doubled through Keating for the second time in as many hands.
As Day 1 drew to a close, Chronis came from behind one last time to bust Richard Holmes and secure his chip lead at the final table. On a flop of , Chronis and Holmes got all their chips in the middle, with Chronis drawing thin with A-9 for top pair to Holmes’ over pair, Queens. The Ace on the river gave Chronis the pot and sent Holmes to the rail in 11th place. When David Gorr’s pocket Kings held up to bust Paul Taylor’s A-J in 10th place, the final table was set.
When eight of the final nine players rejoined the action on Day 2, the chip stacks looked like this -
Chris Chronis - 195,500
Sam Youssef - 168,000
Anna Wroblewski - 92,000
Harris Pavlou - 84,500
David Gorr - 81,000
Alex Keating - 61,000
Richard Sara - 51,000
Jonathan Karamalikis - 47,000
Manny Stavropoulos - 22,500
Only eight of nine returned to start Day 2 because Anna Wroblewski missed the first several orbits of the final table, reportedly going deep in a major online tournament. Alex Keating was at the table, at least for a little while. Keating busted in 9th when he ran his pocket Jacks into Chris Chronis’ Aces. Not only did Keating not catch a Jack on the board, Chronis made quad Aces on the hand to bust Keating! Manny Stavropoulos tried the same trick a few hands later with identical results when he ran his pocket Jacks into Richard Sara’s pocket Aces. Sara didn’t make quads on the hand, but he didn’t need quads to bust Stavropoulos in 8th ($5,670).
After Jonathan Karamalikis’ Queens were cracked by George Palavos’ to bust him in 7th ($7,560), Wroblewski finally joined the final table. She made up for lost time (and blinds) in her first hand as she pushed all in over the top of a preflop raise to claim more than her fair share of missed blinds.
Richard Sara doubled through Chris Chronis twice in as many hands before giving all those chips to Richard Gorr in his last big hand. Sara moved all in on a board of -Q with . Gorr called with , and his two pair held up to send Sara to the rail in 6th ($9,450). Gorr then took out Harris Pavlou in 5th place ($11,340) when his caught a two-outer on a board of to crack Pavlou’s .
After doubling through Chris Chronis several times at the final table, Anna Wroblewski’s luck finally ran out in 4th place ($15,120). Holding , Wroblewski re-raised Chronis preflop, then put the last of her chips in on the flop of . Chronis made the call with , and his Ace kicker held up to bust Wroblewski. David Gorr then set the table for the heads-up match by busting Sam Youssef in 3rd place ($20,790). Youssef and Gorr exchanged raises preflop until all the chips were in the middle, and Gorr tabled Kings to Youssef’s . No ace on the board, and Youssef was out.
After an hour of heads-up play, Chronis and Gorr both limped into one last pot. Both players checked the flop of , and Gorr bet out when the turn brought the . Chronis raised all in, and Gorr called with for trips on the flop. Chronis tabled the turned flush with , and the on the river was no help for Gorr, who picked up $35,910 for his second place finish. Fashion designer Christopher Chronis claimed his trophy and the $60,398 first place prize money as the champion of Event #2 of the 2008 Aussie Millions.