ANZPT Gold Coast: A Darko Day

It was a day that brought with it a lot of expectations. And after eight levels of frantic action, you would have to say that those expectations were met. Last night we knew we were in for a big day as the whispers surfaced of a likely capacity field. The "full house" sign was out very early this morning as the Jupiters Poker Room was jumping when Day 1B of the ANZPT Gold Coast Main Event got underway.

150 players, including ten alternates, hit the felt and the rapid rate of eliminations saw us end the day with just 63 survivors. Along the way we lost several big names with Andrew Scarf, John Caridad, Tyron Krost, Brendan Rubie, Donna Ciric, Jamie Pickering and Mike Ivin all failing to make it through the day.

It seemed that the circulation of chips ended with one man - PokerStars qualifier Darko Balaban. After accumulating quietly in the early stages of play, Balaban kicked it up a gear in the second half of the day with some aggressive play, big hands and favourable boards that saw his stack balloon to epic proportions. At the start of the day we wondered if we'd get someone to six figures today. Well, Balaban smashed that number and will enter day two as an overwhelming chip leader with 203,150 chips.


Darko Balaban will enter day two with a commanding chip lead

Nick Wong (124,025) was the only other player to reach six figures, while Anthony Grange (90,725), Danny Silk (82,400) and Mark James (82,250) rounded out the top five from today's field.

It was also a solid day on the felt for PokerStars Team Australia Pro Tony Hachem. After chipping up in the first level of play with pocket aces against an opponent's pocket queens, Hachem carried that momentum throughout the day to bag up a solid 58,150. With the ANZPT Player of the Year race heating up, Hachem found himself seated on the very same table as John Maklouf who is going for an unprecedented fourth ANZPT final table in a row. The two points leaders were able to keep a close eye on each other's progress and Maklouf will be content after finishing the day with 50,700.


Tony Hachem is looking to maintain his ANZPT POY lead

Other PokerStars sponsored players also had good days on the felt with 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton bagging up 57,700, 2009 ANZPT Melbourne champion Chris Levick surviving a tough day to end with 56,475 and Sally Snow finding some late "run good" to end the day at her high point of 49,275.


PokerStars sponsored Sally Snow ended the day on a high note

Some of the other notables to survive include Peter Aristidou (61,500), Chris Kittos (55,400), Angelo Hamataj (48,700), David Steicke (45,650), Sheldon (41,250), Michael Spilkin (41,050), Jason Gray (23,200), Raj Ramakrishnan (20,800), Billy Argyros (18,225) and Karl Krautschneider (2,500).

The 63 survivors will join the 69 who made it through Day1A as play recommences at 11:30am tomorrow for Day 2 of the 2010 ANZPT Gold Coast. It should be a cracking day of poker, so make sure you don't miss a moment and keep your browser locked on the PokerStarsBlog for our live and exclusive coverage!