ANZPT Queensland: Scene set for season one finale

The final day has dawned on the first season of the PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, with the final eight players starting to arrive for the final table in the PokerStars.net ANZPT Queensland Main Event.

There are one or two sore heads in the room after last night's ANZPT farewell party. Indeed, the players who've trekked down to the Gold Coast from Brisbane have enjoyed their time at Jupiters Hotel and Casino so much that when the bus arrived to take them back to the state capital, only one player turned up!

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Jupiters Hotel and Casino, venue for today's PokerStars.net ANZPT Queensland final table

The mad Manc Lee Fraser was whooping it up along side the PokerStars.net Team Australia pros at the party last night but has pulled up remarkably well for his run at the title. Now living in Surfers Paradise, the PokerStars Qualifier starts today with 458,000.

Chip leader Joel strongplay Dodds has just meandered into the tournament area, and is quietly confident that he will celebrate his maiden live tournament win today. He's in the box seat, holding a massive 1.582 million in chips.

Dodds will have to outlast good mate and respected young Aussie pro Scott "Punty" Smith, who has led this tournament at numerous points during recent days. Smith has almost half the chips of Dodds (806,000) but is in clear second position heading into the final table.

Sydney's Danny Joukhadar is ranked the best outsider today, especially with the added incentive of a possible second-place finish in the overall ANZPT points race. But with 431,000, he has an uphill battle ahead today.

Paul Gibson arrived with a big band of supporters from Brisbane, who've snatched up every seat on the rail to watch their man claw back from seventh chip position after his gutsy comeback late yesterday from just 30,000 in chips.

PokerStars Player Shoshiro Karita is beaming at the thought of playing for his first major tournament title, even though he brings the outright short stack of just 239,000 to the table. Likewise, PokerStars Qualifier and Star City poker dealer Scott Kerr (532,000) is pinching himself at the thought of being on the opposite side of the fence today.

Final player to arrive was Auckland's Phillip Willcocks, a PokerStars Qualifier who is quietly confident of a deep run today after staying under the radar and out of trouble on day three. The New Zealander has 536,000, more than enough chips to have a major influence on the results today.

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The final eight contenders prepare to go to battle

Blinds have been wound back to level 19 (6000/12,000 with an ante of 1000), with the final table being played on the main gaming floor overlooking Broadbeach and another glorious Gold Coast afternoon. Play will be underway shortly. The structure for today's play is:

Level 19: 6000/12,000 (ante 1000) - 30 minutes remaining
Level 20: 8000/16,000 (ante 2000)
Level 21: 10,000/20,000 (ante 2000)
Level 22: 12,000/24,000 (ante 3000)
Level 23: 15,000/30,000 (ante 3000)
Level 24: 20,000/40,000 (ante 4000)
Level 25: 30,000/60,000 (ante 5000)
Level 26: 40,000/80,000 (ante 5000)
Level 27: 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 28: 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 29: 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)
Level 30: 100,000/200,000 (ante 30,000)

Official chip at start of day 4

Seat 1: Paul Gibson, Brisbane, Qld, Australia (352,000)
Seat 2: Phillip Willcocks (PokerStars Qualifier), Auckland, NZ (536,000)
Seat 3: Scott Smith, Kempsey, NSW, Australia (806,000)
Seat 4: Scott Kerr (PokerStars Qualifier) Newcastle, NSW, Australia (532,000)
Seat 5: Lee Fraser (PokerStars Qualifier) Manchester, England (458,000)
Seat 6: Shoshiro Karita (PokerStars Player) Melbourne, Vic, Australia (239,000)
Seat 7: Joel Dodds, Sydney, NSW, Australia (1,528,000)
Seat 8: Danny Joukhadar, Sydney, NSW, Australia (431,000)