ANZPT Darwin Day 1C: Levels 1 & 2 (blinds 75-150)

2:40pm: Fifteen-minute break

2:35pm: Rotar recovers

Catching the action on a flop of 3♥4♠A♠, PokerStars qualifier Morry Edelstein checked it over to Sam Rotar on the button who bet out 525. Edelstein made the call and the 4♥ hit the turn. Again Edelstein checked it over to Rotar who released another barrel worth 750. Edelstein made the call and the 7♠ completed the board on the river.

Edelstein decided to lead out with a bet of 1,100 but Rotar was quick to match it. Edelstein showed A♦9♠ for top pair, but he was out-kicked by Rotar's A♥K♣. Both players now sit with around 18,000 chips.

2:18pm: Another double up for Mishel

While the action remains relatively quiet on three of our tables, table four is giving us plenty of action as Mishel Anunu has secured a second double up.

It was a flop of A♠J♣Q♦ that saw Roy Wan move in and Mishel Anunu call off his last chips. Wan tabled K♣Q♥ for middle pair and straight draw but Anunu held A♥J♥ for two pair for the lead. The turn was the 7♥ and river bricked the 3♥ to give Anunu the double up to 15,000 Wan slips back down to 24,000.

2:00pm: Anunu's turn to double

Well, it seems that the break has also done wonders for Mishel Anunu as all the action is on the one table at the moment.

Anunu was all in preflop for his last 3,700 holding J♦J♠ and was called by the A♣Q♣ of Danny Andrews. The board ran out 5♠J♥8♥K♣7♠ to produce yet another set and give Anunu the double up to around 8,000.

1:50pm: Second set lucky for Portaro

Bruno Portaro's smoko timeout seems to have worked for him as he's just doubled up to get himself back into contention.

Portaro raised the button before Mishel Anunu three-bet from the big blind to 1,250. Portaro made the call before both players checked the 4♦Q♥6♣ flop. Anunu checked the 3♥ turn but Portarto took a stab with a bet of 3,000. Anunu called and the river was the 9♠. Anunu checked again and Portaro moved all in for his last 3,600.

Anunu deliberated for a few moments before making a crying call. Portaro revealed 3♣3♦ for a set of threes which was good as Anunu mucked. Portaro is back up to 16,000 while Anunu is now on the short stack with just 4,500 as it's his turn to take a smoko break.


Hitting sets is the easy part for Bruno Portaro

1:40pm: Level up, blinds 75-150

1:28pm: Portaro's set gets run down

We arrived at table four to see Roy Wan fire a bet of 7,000 into a raised pot on a flop of Q♠T♦9♥. Bruno Portaro had responded by moving all in, and Wan made the call for his last 6,950.

Portaro opened T♠T♣ while Wan would need a little help with his A♠A♦.

Wan was chasing an ace from space but the Q♦ on the turn was actually a good card.

"A queen on the river would be sick..." chirped tablemate Joel Guy. His words would come to life as the dealer burned and flipped over the Q♣ on the river. Wan had made queens full of aces to better Portaro's queens full of tens.

Wan gets an incredible double up to close to 30,000 as Portaro was dented to just 7,500.

"And with that, I think it's time for a smoke," said Portaro as he went for a walk to cool off.

1:10pm: Maklouf moving early

ANZPT Player of the Year leader John Maklouf is off to a strong start today after chipping up early in a hand against youngster Sam Rotar.

Rotar opened to 300 from early position and found two callers including Maklouf in the small blind. The flop landed Q♥4♥3♥ and action checked to Rotar who bet our 575. The player on the button folded but Maklouf made the call. The turn was the 8♠ and Maklouf again check-called for 825 before leading out for 1,500 on the 6♥ river.

With four hearts on board, Rotar grimaced and released his hand as Maklouf chipped up to 22,000.


All eyes are on ANZPT POTY leader John Maklouf in Darwin

12:55pm: Levick knows the feeling

Chris Levick knows what it's like to be playing the ANZPT finale with a chance at ANZPT POTY glory. He was in that same position last year as one of the contenders entering the final event on the Gold Coast. After winning the ANZPT Melbourne title last year, Levick finished 2nd in the POTY and was rewarded with PokerStars sponsorship into a number of ANZPT events.

Levick hasn't had as much fortune on Season 2 of the tour, and he's off to a slow start here in Darwin. We just caught him lose some chips after calling the raise from Anthony Hayes and then bets of 600 on the flop and 900 on the turn on the board of 4♦5♦T♦7♠. When the river landed the Q♠ Hayes fired another 2,500. Levick shook his head and released to slip back to 14,000 chips.

ANZPT Player of the Year goes down to the wire

One of the most intriguing aspects to the ANZPT finale here in Darwin is the Player of the Year race which has provided some thrilling moments throughout the year. After his early form, including a win in Perth, Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem looked like he was set to make it back-to-back ANZPT POTY titles. However John Makouf with three final tables and four cashes surged into the points lead, narrowly ahead of Andrew Scarf with two final tables and four cashes. Both are in today's field and will be looking for a deep run to secure their places.

There are approximately AU$90,000 in prizes being awarded to the top three players, and with the ANZPT Darwin event the last chance to grab points.

1st John Maklouf - 203.8
2nd Andrew Scarf - 202.65
3rd Tony Hachem - 191.65
4th Aaron Benton - 174.45
5th Michael Spilkin - 162.9
6th Rennie Carnevale - 159.55
7th Ricky Kroesen - 148.65
8th Daniel Neilson - 139.55
9th Bradley Bower - 138.75
10th Vesko Zmukic - 136.1

12:50pm: Anyone in Darwin looking for a game of poker today?

We have another 32 players in action at the moment for Day 1C which brings our total number of entrants to 99, just one player short of the magical 100 (I've already offered to take my laptop and blog from the table!)

While ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh has SKYCITY Darwin staff searching the floors of the casino for a whale to bring up to the tournament area, the action is underway across our four tables. It's a solid lineup today with some tough table lineups.

Andrew Scarf is seated next door to his long lost twin Billy "The Croc" Argyros, with Bruno Portaro and Mishel Anunu also part of this table. Table three is also a solid one with Ben Savage, Chris Levick, Brian Hull and Leo Boxell all seated in a row.

Others mixed amongst the other tables include ANZPT POTY leader John Maklouf, Brad Bower, Morry Edelstein, Sam Rotar and Joel Feldman.

12:40pm: The third and final chance at ANZPT glory

We're back in the SKYCITY Darwin Casino for the third and final flight of the ANZPT Darwin Main Event. The finale of ANZPT Season 2 has attracted many of the country's finest players to the Top End for a poker adventure that is like no other.

PokerStars qualifiers have been treated to a variety of tours throughout the week, including trips to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks where they got up close to the wide variety of unique wildlife seen in these parts. One man who got up close and personal with his own likeness yesterday was our own croc in Billy "The Croc" Argyros. Apparently the crocs were a bit tame for Billy so he'll be looking for bigger action on the poker felt today.

Joining him in today's field will be ANZPT Player of the Year points leaders John Maklouf and Andrew Scarf who will be keeping a very close eye on each other's progress today. A cash result might be enough to grab the coveted POTY title and the lion's share of the $90,000 in added prizes.

For the first time since we've been here it's currently looking a little rainy outside, so the run good has already started for those who are playing inside the casino today. Can they carry it all the way through five levels of play? Stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog today to find out as we bring you all the live action from the tournament floor.

SKYCITY Darwin Poker Tournament Director Tony Jackson has welcomed the players to Darwin before the dealers were given the word to send the cards in the air!