At the tail end of September, Sam Razavi opened an account with Black Belt Poker, but little did he know that just four months later, he'd be heading into Day 4 of the Aussie Millions Main Event as one of just eighteen players battling it out for the two million first prize.
Having ploughed his way through a 721-thick field, Sam sits in ninth place and is in with a genuine chance of bringing home a second Aussie Millions ring after fellow Black Belt Poker pro Richard Ashby triumphed in the 8-Game Mixed Event several days earlier.
Sam's journey onto the final two tables, however, has been far from smooth, and, indeed, his initial starting stack of 20,000 was depleted to just 3,300 within the opening levels after he ran top-pair-top-kicker into a set, and pocket aces into trips. But despite his early stutter, Sam laced up his boots and made a comeback of Rocky proportions to finish the day with a somewhat healthier stack...
"Sam actually finished with 45,000," reported mentor Neil Channing. "He got it in with K-Q near the end and thought the guy said 'call', so he flipped his hand up. The guy claimed he said 'cool' and that he hadn't acted yet but then he looked at the K-Q and quickly called. Sam's neighbour piped up that he folded K-Q. The A-3 of diamonds flopped a flush draw, but a nice off-suit king came on the river. Pretty sweet."
Sam's progress through Day 2 was uneventful, but steady, and he ultimately ended the session with a respectable 107,000 and just four places away from the money. In contrast, Day 3 saw more fireworks than bonfire night as Sam enjoyed an immediate double-up with Kc-Ts versus Ac-9c (running tens hitting the flop and turn) to kickstart an incredible surge that would see his stack constantly increase.
Along the way, he eliminated multiple WPT winner Howard Lederer with 3s-3c versus As-Kd, and, at one point, found himself sitting in fourth place with a staggering 1,085,000 when he dispatched of homegrown talent Matthew Kirk in 20th with Qh-Qd versus Ac-Kc. At the final whistle, and with a guaranteed payday of A$70,000 in the bag, Sam went to bed with 841,000 in chips.
Sam may be the only Black Belt Poker pro remaining, but he's not alone in flying the British flag as former James Keys, Eli Heath and Chris Moorman are still alive and well, the latter boasting the chip lead with a commanding stack of 1,643,000. Other recognisable names include Mark Vos, Sorel Mizzi, Tobias Reinkemeier and Finish high stakes pro Patrik Antonius.
Black Belt Poker would like to wish Sam the very best of luck tomorrow; our wages depend on you. No pressure, though.