Hills climbs to the top in Darwin

This is poker territory.

That's the marketing slogan of the Poker Zone here at the SKYCITY Darwin, and it couldn't have been more true today as the PokerStars.net ANZPT made its way to the Northern Territory for just the second time.

It was a short and breezy day here in Darwin, and that's the way we like it. It was Day 1a of the ANZPT Darwin Main Event and after five levels of play just 26 remained.

For a small field the pace was rather frantic early as Clayton Dwyer and Jackie Glazier were amongst the early eliminations. After an early blow, Glazier was looking for a triple up to get back into contention when she held pocket jacks on a 6♠2♥6♣ flop. However both of her opponents had flopped trips with Roy Hills' A♥6♥ collecting the sizable pot when the T♥ and 4♠ completed the board.


The eliminations and the big hands kept coming as the day progressed.

Brett Dannevig landed the Holy Grail with a sweet Royal Flush and that was soon followed by Bryan "Snake" Cantle making quads to eliminate Clint Dixon.

Meanwhile Bruno Portaro's day never got out of second gear. After reaching the final table of this event last year, Portaro was looking to once again demonstrate his fondness for the "Top End", but he'll have to be content to do it from his fishing boat after he squeeze-shoved his short stack with 8♥4♦ and once again it was Bryan "Snake" Cantle who was the destroyer holding A♠K♠.


Today's field may have been petite but there were a couple of previous ANZPT champs lurking in the field. ANZPT Adelaide winner Octavian Voegele started off strong before a horror run of coolers and coinflips sent him spiralling out of the tournament, while 2009 ANZPT Queenstown champion Danny Chevalier also had a day he'd rather forget.


Chevalier is desperate to secure valuable ANZ Player of the Year points here in Darwin, and he made a tremendous fold holding ace-king on a king high flop against a set of kings. However that was the highlight of his day and after losing a key pot late in the day, he was left with just 7,650 in change when the players bagged and tagged.

Ben Savage (16,550), Michael Guzzardi (20,875), Bryan "Snake" Cantle (24,625) and Jack Drake (30,800) all survived while Brendon Rubie (51,175) and Tony Kanochkin (56,650) threatened for the chip lead. However that honour went to Roy Hills.


His elimination of Jackie Glazier shot him to the top of the counts and he held that position throughout to end the day with 61,850 chips. Hills was chip leader after day one at the ANZPT Adelaide event earlier in the year, only to have his pocket aces cracked and miss the money, so he'll be looking to improve on that showing on day two here in Darwin.

Click here for the complete Day 1a chip counts

We'll be back to do it all again tomorrow with the Day 1b field set to include the likes of Jesse McKenzie, APPT Queenstown champion Marcel Schreiner and ANZ Player of the Year leader Leo Boxell. Play recommences at 12:30pm (GMT+9:30).

Until then we leave you with the rumours that TOT may have found a legal loophole to be reborn as "Tequila on Tuesdays". We all love tequila, so that will no doubt require some investigative journalism this evening. Meanwhile the Oktoberfest celebrations are kicking off in the gardens of the SKYCITY Darwin tonight where copious amounts of German beverages will be enjoyed. You gotta love Darwin! Good night!