ANZPT Melbourne: Table for 144 please
By Landon Blackhall and Sean Callander
As we tick down to the dinner break on day one of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Melbourne event with 144 of the 218 starters still in contention, players are starting to make their dinner plans.
Readers of this blog will recall our fondness for the Garden Buffet at Star City in Sydney, the previous stop on the ANZPT and host venue for the PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final.
But there'll be no need to join the buffet queue here at Crown due to an astounding array of dining options all within the complex.
The most popular top-end destination for poker players seems to be the world famous Japanese eatery Nobu. Whether this shows impeccable taste or an ability to eavesdrop on the other players at the table, we're not sure.
Regardless, the hungry horde will be able to chow down on everything from a $100 steak at Rockpool to a $2 cheeseburger at McDonald's at the end of level six.
Sean O'Reilly's evening meal won't taste quite as sweet after he drifted back to the field leaving an incredibly even race for the chip lead after six levels of play. The list of players vying for the top slot includes Heath Chick, Sammy Youssef, PokerStars qualifier Chris Levick, Michael Pinzone, James "Jabba" Broom, Sam Khouiss and Jon Karamalikis.
There was action aplenty in the high stakes area of the Crown poker room just before the dinner break where Tino Lechich, one of Australia's most respected players, claimed a scalp with A-K against pocket 10s to climb above 50,000.
Then veteran Antonio Casale took a huge hit to his stack from Jason Spooner after finding their chips in the middle with the flop and turn reading 5♦ K♦ J♠ 2♥. "Come on, let an old guy win a pot," Casale said.
"I think it's time for the young guy to win a pot," Spooner replied, to which Lechich quipped, "I don't know if he knows who you're messing with!"
However the table groaned as the cards were turned over - Casale held K♥ Q♠ for top pair, top kicker, but Spooner was well ahead with his pocket twos for a turned set. Despite the K♣ falling on the river, it was of no help and Casale has only 12,000 in chips remaining while Spooner is up to 30,500.
We'll be back at 7.45pm local time (11.45am GMT) for the remaining three levels of play on the opening day of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Melbourne tournament.