ANZPT Canberra: Day 1B, levels 1-3 updates
3pm: Rotar flying high
Each time we walk past Sam Rotar's table, his stack grows - the PokerStars qualifier is up to 80,000 less than three levels into day 1B. It took most of the day for a player to amass so many chips on day 1A. In contrast, Billy "The Croc" Argyros has just taken his seat at table 10 - not quite a Hellmuth-esque entry (well, no Caesar outfit) but the Australian Poker Hall of Famer is quickly to work to make up for lost ground.
2.40pm: Level 3, 100/200
Players are back from the first break of the day, which for many meant putting on a couple of bets in the TAB located next to the tournament area. Another tick for Casino Canberra, actually, make that two ticks as we just found beetroot in the burger). Some of the bigger stacks in the room belong to Brendon Rubie (45,000), Dale Marsland (41,000), Sam Rotar (41,00), Con Angelakis (40,000) and Michael O'Grady (34,000).
2.20pm: Hammer time for Hamataj
There's a replay of the ANZPT Sydney final table where champion Angelo Hamataj and Michael O'Grady have resumed hostilities. Short-stacked, Hamataj was all-in with K-J against the pocket aces of the O'Grady but found a K on the flop and J on the turn to double up to 12,000. It sparked a typically theatrical celebration from Angelo.
You may have noticed that Angelo "Hanataj" is now Angelo "Hamataj" - he alerted us to the error while registering today. That's after his name appeared in every form of poker media in the past month after his victory in Sydney. Better late than never Angelo!
2pm: Rubie shines again
All eyes on table nine where four players have already been eliminated and Brendon Rubie has taken an early chip lead. ANZPT Perth runner-up Aleks Lackovic was the first victim when he was crippled by a straight against his set of aces before shipping the last of it with bottom set against a flush. Martin Comer is almost down to the felt and Yann Pauchon is staying out of the way while Rubie has amassed a stack of more than 50,000.
1.40pm: Level 2, 75/150
Three players have been sent to the rail early in level two of day 1B, with the beneficiaries PokerStars Qualifier Sam Rotar and Michael O'Grady. PokerStars.net's Tony Hachem has experienced a rocky start to his run towards yet another ANZPT cash.
He picked up pocket aces early but received no action, then flopped a set of fours but watched the board flow 4-5-6-7. He wisely got out of the way as his opponents bet around him. He's down to 12,000, but that's double what he held in Perth before going on to win the title.
1.20pm: KO-free hour
We lost a player on the second hand of day 1A, but all 96 players have successfully negotiated the first 45 minutes of play today. Also noteworthy is the number of females playing today. Just one female player lined-up yesterday but today there are 11, including The Poker Star contestant Donna Ciric, Texas Hold'em pub poker qualifiers Annette Hall and Lyndal Swanson along with Star City satellite winner Connie Diakovasilis.
1pm: Loaded field
Others spotted in the room today include Tamara Volkoff, who's been the top female finisher at the past two ANZPT events. Mike Spilkin has final-tabled three of his past four tournaments, including the Melbourne Poker Championships Main Event, making him one of the form players in the country. Mark Iskander, who placed third in the same event for the second year in a row, is also playing today.
The Perth contingent flew in yesterday, comprising Aleks and Nik Lackovic along with Dale Marsland, who final-tabled the ANZPT event in his hometown. Raj Ramakrishnan is also here today - he's best remembered for his fourth-place finish in the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event. We also welcome Alfred Markarian, publisher of the world's only weekly poker publication, Australian Poker Weekly.
12.45pm: Yu da man
"Can you tell me where I'm seating?" a polite youngster asked a few minutes ago, handing over a green-jacketed passport so we could check his name. Welcome to Yu Chang Cheng, our sole international player in today's ANZPT Canberra field. Table six, seat nine - good luck to you sir.
12.30pm: Now that's dedication
Some players have covered plenty of miles to reach Canberra for thus tournament, but none have travelled further than 2009 ANZPT Player of the Year runner-up Chris Levick. The ANZPT Melbourne winner has been in Las Vegas for the past fortnight and despite missing a connecting flight, managed to land in Sydney yesterday and make the three-hour drive to the Australian Capital Territory in time to take his seat today.
12.15pm: Shuffle up and deal, level 1: 50/100
One hundred players were waiting for the doors to open at Casino Canberra at the stroke of midday, and 95 of them have headed straight to the seats in the tournament area for day 1B of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Canberra Main Event. Cards are in the air!