ANZPT Melbourne: If it had to be anyone ...

"Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," was a piece of sage advice passed from Vito Corleone to his youngest son Michael. It could have also been written for Team Australia duo Eric Assadourian and Emad Tahtouh, who'd spent much of the day seated next to each other.

In the early stages of level seven on day one of the ANZPT Melbourne event, Tahtouh picked a spot to commit his short stack, with Assadourian coming to the party in this battle of the blinds.

Tahtouh showed 3♣ 4♠ while Assadourian revealed 8♠ 4♦, and one of the Melburnian's outs. The board ran out A♠ A♦ 8♥ [10s] 6♦ sending Tahtouh for an early shower and Assadourian to a smidge under 25,000.


Eric Assadourian, now keeping a close eye on Emad Tahtouh's chips

Two of the region's other rising stars have also departed in the early stages of the evening session. After having his stack slashed by ANZPT Adelaide winner Karl Krautschneider, Julian Powell was KOed by Peter Aristidou when his queens wandered into the path of kings.

Then young Kiwi James Honeybone found his A♦ Q♣ up against the A♠ K♣ of Sam Higgs, with the 10-high board sending Higgs to almost 95,000 in chips and Honeybone in search of the evening's first cleansing ale.

But the story of the day continues to be the rise and rise of PokerStars qualifier Heath Chick. Nicknamed "Tassie Devil" in honour of the fearsome marsupial with which he shares a home state, Chick is a runaway chip leader on 145,000.

Other prominent stacks belong to Adam Kane (100,000), Sam Youssef (75,000), ANZPT Sydney 13th-place finisher Chris Levick (70,000), Team Australia pair Grant Levy (60,000) and Tony Hachem (58,000) and Sam Khouiss (54,000).

Hachem is aiming for a third successive cash in the ANZPT, which would put him in the box seat to take out the first prize in the overall points race - a sponsorship package for the APPT and Aussie Millions. Joe who?