ANZPT Sydney: Hall of Famer leads field into final day

The stage is set for a gripping finale to the first PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event with 26 players still in contention for the title and the AUD $246,500 first prize.

After starting day two with 185 hopefuls, eliminations continued steadily throughout the day until play stonewalled on the bubble. It took 12 hands until Mark Lasarow was virtually blinded out, and 45 players celebrated a spot in the cash, with a minimum payout of AUD $4437.

Heading into the final day's play, the chip leader is the most experienced player in the field, Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Billy "The Croc" Argyros, on 853,000.

One of Australia's most colourful players, "The Croc" is a multiple winner of tournaments on both sides of the Tasman and overseas. He is in career best form, as shown by his fourth place in the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha World Championship at the 2008 WSOP and numerous H.O.R.S.E. titles on home soil in the past 18 months.

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What a pair: Chip leader Billy 'The Croc' Argyros and Team Australia's Tony Hachem

PokerStars Qualifier Ben Barclay is next on 777,000, followed by Majed Haddad (705,000), the only female player still in the field Lisa Walsh (656,000) and Peter Ling (623,000).

PokerStars.net Team Australia player Tony Hachem created a spot of history when he became the first player to cash in two ANZPT events. He also leads the ANZPT season leaderboard, but will be hoping to go further in this tournament. He's on 414,000 in ninth position, just above the chip average.

Four other PokerStars qualifiers - Matthew Burgoine, John Caridad, Chris Levick and the only non-Aussie among the final 26, Canada's Robert Acton - will also be back tomorrow.

After a couple of cleansing beverages and a regulation eight hours' shut-eye, we look forward to returning tomorrow at 12.30pm (3.30am GMT) for the final day of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event.