As Day 4 loomed, hopes were high for Black Belt Poker's lone ranger, and the pressure was mounting, but, as expected, Sam Razavi was in confident mood, and certainly wasn't going to let the potential of a A$2 million payday interrupt his stride.
Prior to the starting whistle, Sam was one of just 18 remaining, his 841,000 stack placing him right in the middle of the pack. However, that statistic changed dramatically within the opening stages as Sam rocketed up into the chip lead in blink-and-you'll-miss-it fashion.
Despite a dogged starting table which included fellow Brits James Keys and start-of-day chip leader Chris Moorman, Sam more than held his own, before enjoying a succession of nice pots, the latter elevating him to the top of the charts with 2,395,000 when he found As-Ah versus the Ac-Ks of Cliff Lee. A king on the flop momentarily teased tragedy, but four raggy cards later and Lee's departure left us with 15.
Unfortunately, Sam was unable to build on this success, and later relinquished the chip lead when he lost half a million in chips to last year's finalist Sorel Mizzi with 3d-3h versus Th-9h on an 8s-7h-3c-6h-Qd board. He then lay down a three-bet to Jeff Rossiter to see his stack dwindle below the 1.5 million mark.
From thereon in, Sam kept a low profile, but it was perhaps this patience - and reluctance to tilt after his recent knocks - that saw him reach the final of the Aussie Millions Main Event, guaranteed A$130,000 in winnings and a mammoth bar bill after the event. Before the night was through, there was time for one last casualty, and that man was Mizzi who exited in ninth.
With just one day remaining, the chip counts are therefore as follows:
Randy Dorfman -- 3,895,000
James Keys -- 2,395,000
David Gorr -- 2,370,000
Samad Razavi -- 1,360,000
Patrik Antonius -- 1,300,000
Jeff Rossiter -- 1,235,000
Michael Ryan -- 960,000
Chris Moorman -- 955,000
With the final level of the day being 12,000/24,000(4,000), there is still plenty of play left in the event, and Sam can take solace in the fact that he has around 50 big blinds. But for Sam, nerves won't be an issue come tomorrow, and it was likely this 'swagger' that led to him offering odds of 4:1 when Randy Dorfman claimed to know the holding of David Gorr in one of the final hands of the day. Of course, he didn't, and Sam scooped up an additional $5,000 pot.
When it rains, it pours - let's hope Sam's good fortune continues tomorrow, and BBP have the honour of crowning the 2011 Aussie Millions Champion.