ANZPT Queenstown: Hachem on the march
We're down to four tables and 35 players midway through level 11 late on day two of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Queenstown Main Event. This may be a small venue, but the atmosphere matches that of any major poker tournament with a packed rail and the local equivalent of the "big game" underway on a cash-game table in the tournament area.
PokerStars.net Team Australia pros Grant Levy and Eric Assadourian, Team Asia's Celina Lin and PokerStars Sponsored Player Lee "Final Table" Nelson have all been keeping a close eye on the action as the bubble looms closer.
The lone PokerStars.net Team Australia pro Tony Hachem is also being closely monitored by fans and friends, and after a tough start of the day, has underlined why he is the only player to have cashed in all three ANZPT events so far and trails only Chris Levick in the overall ANZPT points chase. He's close 100,000 and starting to loom as a serious threat in this tournament.
John Pye remains the outright chip leader on 170,000, but several players have broken through the 100,000-chip barrier including PokerStars qualifier Tim Clarke, Mark Walker (110,000) and Robert Wang (108,000).
Other notables still in the hunt for the title include Erich Stadler, the owner of local bar Surreal, Mark Iskander, Andrew Scott, James Honeybone, Josh Egan and Raj Ramakrishnan.
Players to have been eliminated in the last level included NZ celebs Brooke Howard-Smith and Darcy Waldegrave, Lyle Smith, Darko Balaban and Daniel Neilson.