ANZPT Sydney: 666 is the number of the beast for "Halloween" Mayar
By Landon Blackhall and Sean Callander
Random table draw? The seat allocations have thrown up some intriguing battles today as a capacity field of 260 have started day 1B of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event.
Joe Hachem Deep Stack High Stakes winner Monica Nguyen, 2008 APPT Grand Final High Roller runner-up Sam "The Colonel" Korman, the best dealer in the world Steve Williams and Andrew Jeffreys, who final-tabled the $2000 No-Limit Hold'em event at last year's WSOP, are all seated at table 11.
Then at table six, NZ poker celebrity Brooke Howard-Smith, top Aussie online player Harris Pavlou and Crown regular Bruno Portaro are butting heads.
With renovations underway here at Star City, the poker room is a little dimmer than at previous event, and Howard-Smith almost feel victim to the lack of light in the early going. He threw in what he thought was a bet of 700, but it was in fact 7000. No surprisingly, his opponent threw the hand away.
Early contender for play of the day came at table 16, where 2008 Aussie Millions $1k rebuy winner Michael Pedley and 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event final table participant Sam Capra watched a player push all-in on a board of 6♠ 7♣ 9♠ Q♣.
The player under the pump was Sydneysider Michael "Halloween" Mayar, who thought long and hard before folding his pocket sixes. His opponent showed pocket queens - nice fold, sir.
It's been a steady start for the other big names playing today, including Team PokerStars Australia colleagues Tony Hachem, Grant Levy, Emad Tahtouh and Celina Lin and 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event winner Stewart Scott.
Aussie poker stalwart Leo Boxell is here, along with 2008 Western Classic champion Marc DesAnges and James "Jabba" Broom, seated next to Kiwi hope James Honeybone.
At this stage the total number of participants is up to 493. Those numbers will be confirmed later in the day, however based on the figures we have so far, the ANZPT Sydney Main Event has generated an impressive AUD $986,000 prize pool. Giddy up!