ANZPT Darwin Final Day Player Profiles
At the start of the week 100 players from all around the world came to the SKYCITY Casino in Darwin for the conclusion of Season 2 of the PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT). As we reach the final frontier just twelve players remain. They are all in the cash but only one will walk away with $57,000 and the title of ANZPT Darwin champion.
Let's take a closer look at our final twelve:
Jie Gao, Melbourne, Victoria, PokerStars Qualifier (299,000)
Our chip leader entering the final day of play is PokerStars qualifier Jie Gao.
Jie has only been playing poker for three years, primarily in no limit holdem tournaments, but he has already collected a string of results to his credit. His biggest score came at the ANZPT Melbourne event last year where he finished 6th for $27,250. It's worth noting that both Chris Levick and Ben Savage were also on that final table, so they will be very familiar with Jie's aggressive style.
Billy "The Croc" Argyros, Donvale, Victoria (247,000 chips)
He may be outside of his home state, but Billy "The Croc" Argyros feels right at home in croc country here in the top end. Argyros is one of the country's most decorated players with results dating back to the Stone Age across every poker discipline imaginable.
With six WSOP cashes, one WPT cash and two Aussie Millions gold rings to his credit, Argyros sits 9th on the Australian All Time Money List with nearly one million US dollars in career earnings. It's no wonder that Billy has been inducted into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame as one of the greats of our game.
Of course a little luck doesn't hurt either, and Billy had a share of it when his ace-queen found a lovely lady on the river against Aaron Benton's ace-king to stay alive in the tournament. Billy then burst the bubble with the elimination of Daniel Laidlaw to enter the final day placed second in chips. This is one wild croc that's going to be difficult to handle!
Danny "Brotha D" Leaoasavaii, South Auckland, New Zealand (231,000 chips)
The coolest man in the hottest town, Brotha D is well known as the Godfather of New Zealand hip hop and, more recently, the APPT Auckland champion.
Brotha D has been playing poker for three years but has proven he has the game to match it with the best in the region. Earlier this week, Brotha D took down a $550 No Limit Holdem side event and will bring plenty of final table confidence to the felt.
After hitting quad aces on the third hand of Day 3, Brotha D carried that momentum and remained relentlessly aggressive on the bubble to ensure he entered the final day as one of our chip leaders.
Tony Hachem, Melbourne, Victoria, Team PokerStars PRO Australia (187,000 chips)
Where do you start to describe one of the most highly decorated players on the Australian circuit? The "little brother" tag is no longer a consideration for the man with eight ANZPT cashes, one title and back-to-back Player of the Year awards to his name.
Hachem started day three with a goal to win the POTY title. With that now in the bag he can now focus on becoming the first player to win multiple ANZPT titles. A humble, generous and gracious guy away from the felt, Hachem is an inspiration for many young poker players and a great ambassador of the game.
Sitting fourth in chips, expect Hachem to open up his game on the final day with the pressure off and the title within reach.
Tim English, Melbourne, Victoria (165,000 chips)
This 25-year old from Melbourne may look innocent enough at the table, but his online poker background means he has the game to get frisky on the felt if he wants to. And he's no stranger to big final tables, with a 5th place finish to his credit at the 2008 APPT Grand Final in Sydney worth a healthy $140,000.
Away from the felt, Tim enjoys the outdoors and staying fit - a rare quality for a poker player.
Tim is also unlikely to be copping any penalties from Twittering his updates at the final table as he says that he hates iPhones with a passion!
Chris Levick, Malabar, New South Wales, PokerStars Sponsored (153,500 chips)
It's been a quiet twelve months for Chris Levick since his big win in the ANZPT Melbourne event last year. Levick's win helped him to second place on the Season 1 ANZPT Player of the Year which earned him sponsorship into several 2010 events including this one in Darwin. Chris is putting that sponsorship to good use as he looks to become the first player to win multiple ANZPT titles.
Chris had a bit of luck early on day two when his pocket tens were all in against pocket jacks and he spiked a lucky ten to stay alive. He's now sitting neatly in the middle of the pack and will bring plenty of experience and skill to the final table.
Chris credits Jeff Lisandro as his biggest influence in poker, so if anyone can close the deal and win tournaments it's the Australian Poker Hall of Fame Legend.
Trevor Potts, Langhorne Creek, South Australia (146,000 chips)
The lone South Australian remaining in the field, Trevor Potts is a 46-year old Cellarhand who has been playing poker for about five years after being attracted to the game as a kid watching his father's home games.
After qualifying for this event through a satellite at SKYCITY Casino in Adelaide, Trevor is fortunate to still be in the tournament after his defining moment came late on day one when he spiked a one outer queen on the river to crack Luke Edwards' pocket kings. From there Trevor had ridden his luck all the way to a final day berth.
Off the felt, Trevor enjoys cricket and a flutter on the horsies, so it's a good time of the year for him to enjoy some gambling success. This is Trevor's first major tournament cash.
Angelo Limanis, Melbourne, Victoria (114,000 chips)
After it seemed like he couldn't get his stack above starting stack for three days, Angelo Limanis now finds himself on the final day of the ANZPT Darwin Main Event. Perhaps following in the footsteps of ANZPT Melbourne champ Martin Kozlov's success as short-stack ninjas?
Angelo is a 36-year old Demand Manager from Melbourne who was inspired to get his hands dirty in poker five years ago following Joe Hachem's famous 2005 WSOP victory. Angelo is well-known in his home casino at Crown as a regular cash game and tournament grinder with his career highlight coming from a cash result at a WSOP event this year.
Angelo got himself motoring in this event when he won a flip with queen-jack against Bruno Portaro's pocket sevens and he'll be looking to carry the momentum all the way to his largest tournament cash.
Anthony Flanagan, Bolton, England (103,500 chips)
Anthony Flanagan has one of the more unique stories to bring to the ANZPT. This 32-year old Chef from the United Kingdom was backpacking around Australia when he heard about a wee poker tournament. Anthony jumped into a last-chance satellite at SKYCITY Darwin Casino (since according to Danny McDonagh, backpackers must satellite in and cannot buy-in directly) and won his seat into the Main Event.
With a modest tournament record to his name, Anthony says that this tournament has been his biggest highlight in poker to date as he looks to become the first player from outside Aus/NZ to capture an ANZPT title.
Ben Savage, Melbourne, Victoria, PokerStars Player (103,500 chips)
Ben Savage is a 38-year old professional poker player and "natural ranga" from Melbourne with a string of tournament success to his credit. His largest result came with a runner-up finish in the 2006 Victorian Poker Championships Main Event for $81,000, and he also had a deep run in this year's Aussie Millions Main Event. This could be back-to-back ANZPT final tables for Ben after his 5th place finish in the ANZPT Melbourne earlier this month for $42,625.
Ben claims that he has yet to find himself all in during this tournament. It's this Phil Hellmuth-esque approach to tournament poker which is proving successful for Savage as he eyes off another final table.
Bruno Portaro, Melbourne, Victoria, (102,000 chips)
Bruno Portaro is no stranger to big tournaments having been a regular on the Australian poker tournament scene for several years. In fact Bruno has a previous ANZPT final table to his name at the inaugural ANZPT event in Adelaide last year.
Bruno was a chip leader entering that final table but clashed with another big stack to bow out in a disappointing 8th place. Bruno will be desperate for a better result this time around in Darwin - a place that he called home for 14 months. He'll have some work ahead of him as the second shortest stack of the field with 102,000 chips.
Although not a qualifier or sponsored player, Bruno has been proudly wearing the PokerStars patch this week and he believes it has inspired him to greatness.
Luke Edwards, Barwan Heads, Victoria, PokerStars Qualifier (76,000 chips)
Luke Edwards is a 26-year old who works in the Information Technology industry by day, but by night he's forged an impressive poker career in the five years he's been playing the game. Luke is primarily a six-max cash game specialist but enjoys the tournament rush with a pair of cashes at the APPT in Auckland and a deep run in the ANZPT Gold Coast event this year.
Luke has battled with a short stack for large periods of this tournament, but displays a fearless approach to the game, as evident by the fact that he says he enjoys downswings. Sicko.