ANZPT Melbourne: Chris Levick is the champ

The history of Aussie poker is intrinsically linked with Crown Casino. The nation's largest gaming property has been the backdrop for some of the pivotal moments in local poker folklore.

From the first Australasian Championships back in 1998 (played as a $1000 buy-in Limit Hold'em event) to the first Summer Championship in 2000 and the first Aussie Millions in 2003, Crown has been the undisputed home of poker in Australia for more than a decade.

The Crown calendar has been constantly refined and improved over the years, and casino management have always been quick to move with the times when a new idea is presented.

As such, it was hardly surprising that Crown hosted an event as part of the first season of the PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT), incorporating the tournament into its highly popular Melbourne Poker Championships schedule.

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Crown's Jonno Pittock and Mike Tarr with ANZPT commissioner Danny McDonagh, ANZPT Melbourne winner Chris Levick and runner-up Heath Chick

And what an event it proved to be - 218 of the region's best players including 61 PokerStars qualifiers, Team Australia pros and sponsored players. The tournament also served up arguably the most intriguing heads-up combination in Australian tournament history.

Chris Levick is one of Australia's most known poker businessman, having established a string of poker rooms and the highly successful Oz Poker Tour competition throughout NSW over the past three years. Levick has also been a big improver on the tournament scene, as shown by his two APPT cashes and top-15 finish at the recent ANZPT Sydney event.

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Chris Levick celebrates his first major tournament victory

His opponent was Heath Chick, a 30-year-old Tasmanian who is rightly regarded as one of Australia's most respected poker media writers and commentators via Poker Network, home to Australia's most popular poker forum.

It was an appropriate pairing, as both players had been among the biggest stacks in the field throughout the entire event. But Levick's dominance at the final table - he eliminated six players - meant he took a 5:1 chip lead into the heads-up duel.

But it wasn't meant to be easy. Chick twice doubled up to eradicate the deficit and when Levick pushed all-in on the third last hand, Chick agonised before throwing his hand into the muck.

The tournament was decided when Levick raised to 150k, Chick re-raised to 300,000, Levick pushed all-in and Chick snap-called with Q♥ Q♣. Levick's A♥ J♥ needed help, and it duly arrived on a flop of 8♣ A♠ 3♣. The board ran out 3♥ 6♣ for Chris Levick to be confirmed ANZPT Melbourne champion for AUD $158,050. A gallant Heath Chick takes home AUD $103,550.

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Heath Chick: guy sure knows what he's writing about

Earlier, the heads-up line-up was decided when Shillig pushed all-in for his remaining 265k holding K♦ 9♣. Again, it was Chris Levick waiting with the call, and his Q♦ T♦ hit the flop big-time -board runs out Q♠ Q♣ 5♣ J♦ 2♥ - to leave the Queenslander out in third, but AUD $59,950 to the better.

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Greg Shillig was a deserved third-place finisher

In addition to winning the PokerStars.net ANZPT Melbourne trophy, Levick has snatched the ANZPT Overall Points lead from PokerStars.net Team Australia player Tony Hachem, who celebrated his third successive ANZPT cash in this event.

On behalf of Landon Blackhall, our photographer Shannon Morris and the entire ANZPT team, thanks for following all the action from Crown Casino in our hometown of Melbourne, Australia over the past three days.

We'd like to also take this opportunity to wish our Aussie and Kiwi players the best of luck at the 2009 WSOP. Just days after the 2009 WSOP Main Event final table is decided, we'll be in the stunning New Zealand alpine town of Queenstown from July 20-25 for the next event on the PokerStars.net ANZPT.

PokerStars.net ANZPT Melbourne final results

1st Chris Levick (Australia) PokerStars Qualifier AUD $158,050
2nd Heath Chick (Australia) PokerStars Qualifier AUD $103,550
3rd Greg Shillig (Australia) AUD $59,950
4th Peter Aristidou (Australia) AUD $49,050
5th Sam Khouiss (Australia) AUD $38,150
6th Jie Gao (Australia) AUD $27,250
7th Kristian Lunardi (Australia) AUD $21,800
8th Ben Savage (Australia) AUD $16,350
9th Rodney Burles (Australia) Pokerstars Qualifier AUD $10,900
10th Peter Kotsiris (Australia) AUD $8175
11th Salvatore Fazzino (Australia) AUD $8175
12th Brent Thomas (Australia) AUD $8175
13th Trevor McCarthy (Australia) AUD $8175
14th Amanda Simpson (Australia) AUD $5450
15th Antonio Casale (Australia) AUD $5450
16th Tony Hachem (Australia) PokerStars.net Team Australia AUD $5450
17th Lance Patison (Australia) AUD $5450
18th David Zhao (Australia) AUD $5450