ANZPT Queenstown: What birds know about Michael Spilkin

australia_poker_tour.pngIn many cultures, it's considered good luck if a bird should -- pardon the expression -- crap on you. Nobody will be able to tell you why that's so. Some will say the statistical likelihood of such an event is so low it has to be good. Others will just insist that there has to be a good side to getting crapped on by a bird. It's a dirty, disgusting business, after all. People don't want to believe that there's no silver lining there, that it's really just another one of life little bits of randomness (and a foul one at that).

I'm not the type to believe in random superstitions unless they involve US $50 bills. But maybe there's something to this one. Case in point: Michael Spilkin's Day 1 at the 2010 ANZPT Queenstown Main Event.

Spilkin was out with some mates yesterday after arriving here in Queenstown. They were down by the wharf, in either a pub or the old casino down there (this bit of the story is hazy). While they were indoors, having a grand time of it, a bird crapped on Spilkin. But it didn't just get him on the shoulder, or down the front of his shirt. It got him square in the face.

Andrew Jeffreys described it as, "All drippy and diarrhea-like, really bad!"

That was bad for Spilkin at that time, no doubt. But whatever luck the event was supposed to impart seemed to carry over to today, where in five levels of Day 1A play Spilkin turned his starting bank of 20,000 in chips into 103,925. That, by the way, is a tournament-leading stack.

Consider Spilkin's good fortune: He flopped a set of aces against A-K. He flopped a nut straight against a pair of kings. He won a race with queens against Aaron Benton's A-K. Just about the only h and Spilkin didn't win was a hand against Jeffreys where Spilkin flopped a pair and a flush draw, and Jeffreys' made runner-runner trips.

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Michael Spilkin

Spilkin was not the only story of the day, of course, but he was the biggest. He was one of the 24 players, out of 38 starters, who bagged up chips and will return on Friday for Day 2. He'll be joined by Mishel Anunu (78,450), Koray Turker (55,350) and 21 others -- including Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson, who managed to more than quadruple his short stack in the last level of the night to finish with 37,700.

There were, of course, some players who didn't make it through. Defending champion Danny Chevalier was out before the end of Level 2. He was soon joined by Aaron Benton and young Dean Coates, a player we first met in Cebu last November.

Five levels of play came and went before most players even knew felt like they were getting into the thick of things. The process will repeat itself tomorrow, when another 40-50 players take their seats for the Day 1B flight of this event. Who will have rubbed the rabbit's foot tomorrow?

We don't know, but we'll certainly be interested to find out.

End of Day 1A chip counts:

Michael Spilkin - 103,925
Mishel Anunu - 78,450
Koray Turker - 55,350
Tim Clarke - 54,550
Gregory Familton - 43,350
Vesko Zmukic - 39,625
Lee Nelson - 37,700
James Bills - 36,850
Erich Stadler - 35,125
Julian Cohen - 33,325
Martin Rodwell - 30,875
Michael Matthews - 30,000
Raymond Huang - 28,950
Hugh Cohen - 27,725
Ricky Kroesen - 27,075
David Formosa - 19,225
Danny Andres - 16,450
Bradley Bower - 13,175
Ben Barclay - 12,850
Rennie Carnevale - 9,800
Tom Grigg - 8,425
Joel Cohen - 6,700
Matty Yates - 5,625
Scott Kerr - 5,025