ANZPT Perth Day 1b: Levels 1 & 2 (blinds 75-150)

2:40pm: Ten-minute break

2:25pm: Rubie check-raises Barrett

When two young online players collide there's always going to be fireworks. Sitting side-by-side Josh Barrett and Brendon Rubie have just tangled with Rubie getting the upper hand. It was four ways to a K♦J♠7♥ flop where Barrett's bet of 525 was check-called by Rubie before the 8♣ hit the turn.

Rubie checked again to Barrett who fired another 1,050 but Rubie responded by a check-raise all in for 6,575. Barrett gave it up as Rubie recovers some chips to get back to around 12,000.

2:15pm: It's Christmas for Raj

It's been pretty slow going during the early stages of Day 1b here in Perth, but we've just spotted a handy double up for Raj Ramakrishnan.

After a raise preflop, three players went to a flop of 4♥7♦4♠. Action checked to the player on the button who bet 1,100 before Ramakrishnan check-raised all in for another 6,700. Jie Gao made a reluctant fold but the button player made a gambling call with just A♣J♦ for ace-high as Ramakrishnan was in a great spot to double up with his J♣J♥.

The turn was the 2♦ and river the 9♣ to double Ramakrishnan to 18,500.

1:55pm: Oh no for O'Grady

"Of course it would have to be THIS table!" exclaimed Michael O'Grady as he joined his new table following a table break. He looked around at his new opponents and found himself seated with Brent Thomas, Tony Hachem, Brendon Rubie and Josh Barrett. Ouch.

1:40pm: Level up, blinds 75-150

1:25pm: All quiet on the inside

Once again our tournament is split up into two sections today. We have nine tables inside the regular poker room (which has fourteen tables in total) with another eight tables outside in the overflow area on the main gaming floor which is where we are set up. The tables will break this direction to provide the opportunity for friends and fans to come along and rail all the action.

There's a great atmosphere out on the gaming floor, while inside the poker room, things are definitely a bit more quiet and serious. On our most recent pass we caught Stevan Lackovic taking a pot off Daniel Neilson, with Lackovic chipping up nicely in the early stages. It looks like Ben Savage has taken most of the damage as he's down under half his starting stack.

1:15pm: Hachem playing small ball

Tony Hachem is known for liking to play "small ball" poker - that is, a preference for playing lots of small pots, rather than getting involved in risky, large pots that might put his tournament at risk.

So he wasn't too fussed that his table had been playing 25-50 for the first half an hour of play, just half of the actual blinds of 50-100 which have always been the first level of play at the ANZPT.

This is only Hachem's 15th ANZPT event but as he defended with a laugh, "I'm not the dealer, I'm not the tournament director, I'm just a player!"


Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem in action on Day 1b

1:00pm: A few more names

A few other names in today's stacked field include ANZPT Melbourne champion Martin Kozlov who finds himself seated next to young gun Jonathan Karamalikis on a table that also features Josh Barrett and Kristina Jeney.

Michael Pedley was a late arrival as he has taken his seat with John Maklouf and Kristian Lunardi, while we also have the full set of Lackovics here today. Aleks finds himself seated with Billy Jordanou, Nik will be tangling with Raj Ramakrishnan and Singaporean Nathanael Seet, while youngest brother Stevan is seated with Dan Neilson and Ben Savage.

The big screen is currently showing 138 entrants for today, which puts us at 219 in total - just three players short of last year's number. If you're in the Perth area and have a lazy $2,500 laying around the house then get on down to the Burswood Poker Room!

12:50pm: Stars shining on Day 1b

It's a healthy field here this afternoon for Day 1b of the ANZPT Perth Main Event as we look set to get very close to breaking last year's total number of entrants.

Some of those already spotted entering the field of battle include Australia's number one online player Brendon Rubie, Aussie Millions champ David Gorr, 2010 PokerNetwork Player of the Year & Western Classic champion Daniel Neilson, and the trifecta from Adelaide in Octavian Voegele, Jesse McKenzie and Ian Parnell.

We've also got two Team PokerStars Pros playing today in Singapore's Bryan Huang and the back-to-back ANZPT Player of the Year, Tony Hachem.

12:40pm: Let's get it started

The players have taken their seats and exchanged pleasantries as Day 1b of the ANZPT Perth Main Event is getting ready to kick off.

Once again we'll be playing seven levels today with our players starting with a 20,000-chip start bank.

Burswood Poker Room Manger Deb Wyatt has welcomed the players to Perth and gone through the local rules and regulations before the microphone was handed to Aussie Millions champion David Gorr who gave the official word to "Shuffle up and deal!"

The heat is on!

As we wake up on another stunning Perth day, we can't help but be a little jealous. Those of us hailing from the Southern states have endured some rather average Summer weather and as soon as the calendar ticked over into March to announce the arrival of Autumn, it felt like the temperature instantly dropped about five degrees. No such worries out West as the next three days have been projected at a whopping 36 degrees Celcius! MBN!

It's no wonder that outdoor activities are so popular with the locals. Perth has some of the most beautiful parklands and walking tracks around the CBD, and of course its stunning coastline will be busy today with beachgoers, surfers and the odd sailing boat.


Perth has some wonderful walking tracks and parks close to the CBD
(Image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

While we'll be tucked up in air-conditioned comfort of the Burswood Poker Room, the heat will definitely be on our new batch of hopefuls as we determine the contenders from the pretenders over seven levels of play. With a good turnout today we should exceed a total field of 200 players and get close to last year's figure of 222.

The action kicks off at 12:30pm local time (GMT+8) so stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog for all your live updates.