ANZPT Sydney: Level 1 (50/100) & 2 (75/150) updates
2.20pm: Familiar territory
"This is my house," Aaron Benton declared after a change of fortunes earned him a big pot midway through level two on day 1A of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. The 2009 APPT Grand Final winner flopped trip aces against an opponent's pocket queens to scoop up a pot worth more than 35,000.
But the tournament is over for young gun Brendon Rubie. After losing the bulk of his chips to 2009 Melbourne Poker Champs Main Event winner Todor Kondevski, Rubie was KOed in cruel circumstances after flopping a straight only his opponent to make a flush.
2.05pm: What's the hurry?
Less than 75 minutes into day 1A of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event and the shriek of "all-in, call" has already split the air of the Star City Poker Room on at least 20 occasions. That's a change of pace from previous ANZPT events where players have been happy to carefully pick their marks in the early going.
Early casualties include 2008 New Zealand Poker Championships Main Event winner David Borg (at the hands of Perth's Dale Marsland) while Reza Vakili, who final-tabled the 2010 Aussie Millions teams event, is also out.
1.45pm: One down, seven to go
Play has just ticked into the second level of the day, with seven of the 156 starters already parked on the rail. There will be eight one-hour levels today but no dinner break meaning chips will be bagged at approximately 9pm tonight.
PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Eric Assadourian is back to his best after being "gagged" by a local rule that forbid table talk during the last ANZPT event in Perth. However, the 2007 APPT Macau High Roller champ is treading carefully against the likes of Jay Kinkade and Brendan Edmonds on table 18.
1.30pm: Grant's on the go
PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Grant Levy faces a busy few days after reaching the final table of the ANZPT Sydney High Roller event in the early hours of this morning. Levy, who won the same event in Adelaide, will be back in action tonight along with top local players Jason Gray, Peter Aristidou, Michael Guttmann, Jonathan Karamalikis, Tolly Sakellariou and Emanuel Seal chasing a slice of the AUD $290,000 prize pool. Levy will then be back here tomorrow for day 1B of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event.
1.15pm: Don't cross Kris
It doesn't get much easier for highly rated young Aussie player Kristian Lunardi. The reigning Aussie Millions six-handed champ wandered into the Star City poker room, took his seat and on the first hand found pocket aces. With the board showing Q-7-2-3, the money was all in the middle against an opponent's K-Q. The status quo remained, and Lunardi is our chip leader.
1pm: Parade of champions
Several big names have made a "Hollywood" entrance well after the first hand was dealt. Players we've seen take their seats so far today include 2008 and 2009 APPT Grand Final champions Martin Rowe and Aaron Benton, past ANZPT champions Chris Levick (Melbourne), Karl Krautschneider (Adelaide 2009) and Rennie Carnevale (Adelaide 2010).
There's a big Western Australian contingent playing today, including Nik Lackovic, Dale Marsland and Sean O'Reilly while 2010 ANZPT Adelaide final table participants Andrew Scarf, Octavian Voegele and Daniel Neilson, PokerStars Qualifiers Julian Cohen and Andrew adgee Jeffreys, experienced campaigners Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt and Mike Ivin, former Aussie number one ranked online player Jay SEABEAST Kinkade plus Daily Telegraph journo Brad Clifton are also in today's field.
12.40pm: Starter's hands ... and we're away
An empty Star City Poker Room didn't take long to fill up for day 1A of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event, with approximately 140 players here today. We've just heard the order to "shuffle up and deal" from new Star City managing director Sid Vaikunta and cards are in the air.