ANZPT Darwin Day 3: Levels 15 & 16 (blinds 2500-5000, ante 500)

7:20pm: Fifteen-minute break

The end of that level didn't produce any major clashes as all fourteen players have survived to the next break. Tim English and Bruno Portaro are splashing around, Trevor Potts has raised with kings and queens but got no action, while Tony Hachem is continuing to lay low to try and squeak into the money.

7:00pm: Portaro finds some voice

Bruno Portaro has found a massive double up through chip leader Tim English. Billy "The Croc" Argyros raised from the button to 14,000 before English made it 36,000 to go from the small blind. Action was then with Portaro who rocked back in his chair before declaring himself all in. Argyros quickly folded and English made the call of the additional 56,500.

Portaro: J♦J♠
English: 2♦2♠

Portaro managed to fade a deuce on the board of Q♥4♥A♠6♥5♣ to double through to close to 200,000 as English slips back to the pack with about 300,000.

6:43pm: Aaron Benton eliminated; Tony Hachem in prime position for ANZPT POTY

Action folded around to Tim English who moved all in from the small blind with Aaron Benton making the call in the big blind.

English: A♥3♠
Benton: Q♦8♥

The board ran out 7♦7♣4♣3♦5♥ to leave Benton unable to connect with the board this time around to see his run in the ANZPT Darwin Main Event come to an end.

Benton's elimination means that Tony Hachem now only has to survive two more eliminations to cash to win the ANZPT Player of the Year title for the second consecutive year.

6:38pm: Benton won't die

Aaron Benton is not going down without a fight as he's just doubled up through Angelo Limanis. Benton moved all in from the cutoff for his last 18,300 with Limanis calling in the big blind.

Benton: 6♦5♣
Limanis: T♦8♠

Benton would need to connect with the board and he did so as it landed 9♠Q♣4♥6♣A♥. Benton is now up to nearly 40,000 and around eight big blinds.

6:35pm: Dixon done

Clint Dixon raised to 20,000 before Jai Gao moved all in. Dixon made the call with A♠K♥ as Gao showed 7♦7♠. The race was on but the board bricked out 6♣J♣9♠5♣8♣ to leave Gao's pair in front and end the run of Dixon in 16th place. Nick Ergos is now the lone local flying the flag for Darwin as the rest of the field are from interstate or overseas.

6:30pm: Benton crippled by Crocky

One of the most significant all-in clashes of the entire ANZPT season has seen Aaron Benton crippled at the hands of Billy "The Croc" Argyros.

Crocky raised to 15,000 from the cutoff before Benton raised an additional 45,000 from the big blind. Crocky moved all in and Benton made the call with A♠K♥ to have Argyros in bad shape with his A♣Q♣.

The board fell 2♥9♠J♠8♣Q♦ and Argyros spiked a pair of queens on the river to stay alive. He doubled to 200,000 to leave Benton on his knees and his ANZPT POTY chances in jeopardy as he's down to just 22,000.

6:20pm: Level up, blinds 2500-5000, ante 500

6:15pm: Portaro's friend locked up

Tony Hachem raised to 12,000 before Bruno Portaro moved all in for an additional 38,000 to send Hachem into the tank.

"Where's ya thing?" asked Hachem referring to Portaro's squeaking soft toy that has been driving most of us nuts all day.

"They've locked it up in the box over there...." replied Portaro, pointing to the trophy cabinet. "He's looking after my bracelet!"

(Apparently another act of sabotage by Danny McDonagh after Portaro threw the toy at him)

Back to the hand, and Hachem folded and Portaro flashed the A♣.


Bruno Portaro's toy is now proudly on display here at the SKYCITY Darwin Casino

6:10pm: Benton still alive

The other man still in the race for ANZPT POTY honours is Aaron Benton and he just found a much needed double up to stay alive. He was all in preflop for his last 46,000 with A♥5♣ against Billy "The Croc" Argyros' 7♦7♠.

The board ran out 8♥4♥3♥J♥5♠ to give Benton the nut flush to stay alive.

"Yes! Still alive baby!" yelled Benton as he's up to nearly 100,000.

6:00pm: Hachem under the pump

As we approach the bubble now there's an interesting dynamic developing with the ANZPT Player of the Year race, and we just saw a good example of it in a hand with Tony Hachem.

Hachem is desperate to cash to climb up to the top of the ANZPT POTY leaderboard, which means that he is a little vulnerable right now as he doesn't want to bust.

In a recent hand Chris Levick opened to 11,000 before Hachem made it 27,000. Action folded to Anthony Flanagan on the button who moved all in for an additional 132,700. Levick folded and Hachem went into the tank.

It had to be going through Hachem's mind that perhaps Flanagan was pressuring him light and after a good five minutes of deep thought Hachem made a reluctant fold saying, "There's just too much at stake." Flanagan flashed Q♥Q♠.

Flanagan is up to 200,000 with Hachem down to 100,000.

5:50pm: Chin out

Another previous chip leader has busted out of the tournament as local Mark Chin has been felted by Jie Gao. It was a battle of the blinds as Gao popped it up to 19,000 from the small blind before Chin moved all in from the big blind for around 55,000. Gao insta-called with J♥J♣ as Chin would need to catch with his Q♥T♥.

The board fell 5♦3♣6♦6♣T♦ to leave Gao's jacks in front as he took the pot and eliminated Chin in 17th place.

5:40pm: Overnight chip leader sent to the rail

Overnight chip leader Byron Henderson has been eliminated just short of the money. He was down to his last 30,000 in chips when he moved all in with A♦7♥, only for Angelo Limanis to move all in over the top with a dominant A♠K♠.

The board fell 5♣J♣9♦K♣4♣ to eliminate Henderson as Limanis has some chips to play with for the first time today as he's up to 100,000.

5:33pm: Benton bitten by the Croc

Billy "The Croc" Argyros opened to 11,000 before Aaron Benton re-raised to a total of 30,000. The table folded back to Argyros who moved all in for a total of 66,000 with Benton making the call.

Argyros: Q♣Q♠
Benton: A♠Q♥

The board landed K♣2♠K♥T♦3♥ to leave Argyros' queens in front for a big double up. "The Croc" jumps to 140,000 with Benton back down under 100,000.


Billy "The Croc" Argyros looking dangerous...literally!

5:22pm: Redraw Final Two Tables

Table 5
Seat 1: Nick Ergos - 50,000
Seat 2: Chris Levick - 80,000
Seat 3: Tony Hachem - 96,000
Seat 4: Bruno Portaro - 125,000
Seat 5: Anthony Flanagan - 150,000
Seat 6: Brotha D - 245,000
Seat 7: Ben Savage - 55,000
Seat 8: Luke Edwards - 125,000
Seat 9: Trevor Potts - 60,000

Table 6
Seat 1: Tim English - 225,000
Seat 2: Clint Dixon - 85,000
Seat 3: Aaron Benton - 170,000
Seat 4: Byron Henderson - 30,000
Seat 5: Jie Gao - 110,000
Seat 6: Mark Chin - 70,000
Seat 7: Angelo Limanis - 65,000
Seat 8: Daniel Laidlaw - 95,000
Seat 9: Billy "The Croc" Argyros - 70,000

5:15pm: Two down, 18 left

After one elimination in two hours, we've just seen two simultaneous eliminations to see our field reduced to our final 18.

Constantin Harach was first to go when he pushed his open-ended straight draw holding T♣9♣ on a flop of 3♥8♠J♣ against Aaron Benton who made the call with his K♣J♠ for top pair. The turn was the K♥ to improve Benton to two pair and the river bricked the A♠ to eliminate Harach.

At the same time a short-stacked Christian Meza was all in with K♦T♣ but failed to improve against an opponent's A♣J♣ when the board ran out J♠Q♠T♥6♦J♦.

18 players remain and they are now redrawing for the final two tables of play.

5:10pm: Play resumes

With just one elimination in that last session, we're still stuck at 20 players remaining.

"They'll have to start dropping soon!" commented Billy "The Croc" Argyros during the break.

You would think so, with the blinds now up to a sizeable 2000-4000 with a 400 ante. Brotha D has shot into the chip lead with 245,000 with Tim English next best on around 190,000.

Also during the break there was an attempted attack that squeaking dodo of Bruno Portaro. ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh was spotted wielding a knife and about to cause some serious damage to the soft toy out on the balcony, but a protective Portaro managed to interfere with the attempt just in the nick of time. The squeak lives on!