ANZPT Sydney: Level 7 (300/600, ante 50) & 8 (400/800, ante 75) updates
8.20pm: Big names bow out
The final hands of day 1A in the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event are being dealt with players content to nurse their way through to day two after almost eight hours at the tables. Eliminations in the final 30 minutes of the day included Perth's Nik Lackovic, whose flopped set of sixes was overtaken on the river by an opponent's flush.
After claiming the first scalp of the day, Kristian Lunardi looked in good shape with A-K against another player's A-J until a jack landed on the turn. Lunardi was joined on the rail by Julian Cohen after his jacks lost a race against A-K.
8pm: Kiwi on the climb; Benton busted
Elliot Nicholls has just edged into the chip lead after shoving all-in on a board showing 3-9-8-J-10. His disgruntled opponent made a crying call and smashed his cards to the table after the New Zealander revealed his pocket queens for a straight. That hand shot the PokerStars Qualifier to 80,000.
But Aaron Benton's hopes of back-to-back main event victories at Star City are over. The 2009 APPT Grand Final winner committed his short-ish stack from the small blind with pocket nines, only for the big blind to wake up with pocket 10s. The board brought no love, and Benton was heading for an early dinner.
7.50pm: The champ is in the house
Reigning ANZPT Player of the Year Tony Hachem has just popped into the Star City Poker Room to call a few hands in the Bounty Event named in his honour and to check on the progress of day 1A in the ANZPT Sydney Main Event.
He watched as ANZPT Adelaide champ and PokerStars Supernova Rennie Carnevale ran pocket nines into pocket queens, slashing his stack to 23,000. Nearby, Jay Kinkade's stack double to around the same size after his pocket nines improved to a full-house on the flop against his opponent's pocket queens.
7.30pm: Scarf out to go one better
It's not unfair to call Andrew Scarf one of the more eccentric poker players on the local scene. With a line-up of crystals next to his cards and an unpredictable style, Scarf keeps everyone on their toes, as he showed when he placed runner-up to Rennie Carnevale in the ANZPT Adelaide Main Event.
If things had run a little luckier for the 50-something share trader, he'd have taken out the title. That's the great thing about the ANZPT - with seven events on the 2010 schedule, redemption never lies far away. Scarf holds just over 33,000 in chips, almost level with the chip average.
7.10pm: Six down, two to go
The beers are being ordered (by the players, of course) as we enter the home stretch on day 1A of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event. Despite the number of chips in play, no big stack has emerged with Peter Skouteris a narrow chip leader on 75,000 ahead of US PokerStars Qualifier Kyle "KC" Carlston. Others well positioned to advance to day two include ANZPT Perth third-place finisher Vesko Zmukic (57,000), Vince Gibson (56,000) and Kiwi PokerStars Qualifier Elliot Nicholls (55,000).