ANZPT Canberra: Rotar chops up day 1B field

Canberra's return to the national poker scene has been confirmed with a highly impressive field of 181 players entering the first ANZPT Canberra Main Event. They've created a prizepool of $362,000 with the winner assured $95,930. The tournament area at Casino Canberra was packed to near capacity today with 97 players in action on day 1B. After eight one-hour levels, that number had been culled to 50.


Sam Rotar turned in a dominant display on day 1B

Today's field featured an impressive line-up of past ANZPT champions, final table finishers and some of the greats of Aussie poker. The headline act was Team Australia Pro Tony Hachem. Other ANZPT winners Scott Kerr (Queensland 2009), Chris Levick (Melbourne 2009) and Angelo Hamataj (Sydney 2010) were also in action.

Australian Poker Hall of Fame foundation inductee Billy "The Croc" Argyros was eyeing an unprecedented third ANZPT final table, with Martin Comer, Mike Ivin and Jason Gray also waving the flag for the "old guard".

Recently crowned Melbourne Poker Championships winner Brendon Rubie, fellow young guns Sam Rotar, Hugh Cohen and Yann Pauchon along with brothers Nik and Aleks Lackovic, Dale Marsland, Peter Aristidou, Michael O'Grady, Mike Spilkin and Andrew Scarf.

In one of the most dominant singe-day performances we've seen on the ANZPT, PokerStars Qualifier Sam Rotar bolted from the stalls and was never headed. He finished the day in the overall chip lead with a staggering 168,100 - more than 60,000 ahead of Melbourne's Amanda Simpson. PokerStars Qualifier Jesse Maguire (100,500), ANZPT Sydney fourth-place finisher Michael O'Grady (91,600) and Brendon Rubie (84,400) filled out the top five.


Amanda Simpson is aiming to become just the third female to reach an ANZPT final table

Tony Hachem's hopes of an eighth ANZPT cash in nine events ended during level three when Simpson's set of threes held up against Hachem's busted flush draw.

It's interesting to note that more than two-thirds of today's field finished below the chip average, which should create some fireworks when the 90 players still in contention for the first ANZPT Canberra title return at 12.15pm tomorrow.

We'll be playing nine levels, which should ensure the money bubble of 21 is surpassed late in the day. In the meantime, there's a World Cup match to watch and a beer to drink!