It's Jesse's World at ANZPT Adelaide

It seemed like forever, but the wait was finally over as Season 3 of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour had arrived. It was worth the wait as the tour kicked off in style at the Adelaide Casino Poker Zone for the $2,400 ANZPT Adelaide Main Event.

This event has regularly attracted solid fields, but today's lineup of 105 players was stacked as the ANZPT Adelaide appears to have attracted many International stars, leveraging off the success of the Aussie Millions. Some of the overseas players in today's field included Canadian Elliot Smith, American Joe Serock and Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang fresh off a plane from Singapore.


Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang had a rough day on the felt of the ANZPT Adelaide

Unfortunately it wasn't a great day for Huang as he was dented early when his two pair was run down by a backdoor flush and he was eliminated during the afternoon.

He wasn't the only one struggling as many notable players had a rough time getting back into the swing of things.

Some of those who succumbed during the eight levels of play included Andrew Watson, Ben Delaney, Dean Nyberg, Jackie Glazier, Tom Wing, Sean Dunwoodie, Dennis Huntly, Stewart Scott and Daniel Neilson who fell in the final minutes of the day.

Of course, where there are losers, there are those at the other end of the scale. Early on Jonathan "xMONSTERxDONGx" Karamalikis was the man in front when he was on the right end of an aces versus kings cooler. At one stage Karamalikis had several massive towers of small denomination chips in front of him, but with a death row of Internet phenoms moved to his direct left, Karamalikis was forced to tighten the reigns late in the day, but he did progress safely to reach day two.

Karamalikis enjoyed plenty of entertaining moments with tablemate Michael Haddad who was the talking point for much of the day, and that's just the way he likes it. As Haddad's chip stack increased, so did his volume control but this was one show you never wanted to mute. Haddad's one-liners, witty jokes and fast play were as entertaining as I've seen in my years on the poker circuit, and we can only hope that this Adelaide Casino regular can one day reach a televised final table!


Michael Haddad entertained all with his fast talk and faster play!

Haddad was at one stage in the chip lead, but slipped back into the pack late as the likes of Craig Bourke, Jay Houston, Daniel Botta and AlexanderZhidkov started to shine. However the day undoubtedly belonged to one young gun who shone far and away brighter than them all.


PokerStars Player Jesse McKenzie dominated the chip count leaderboard on Day 1a

Jesse McKenzie rocked up to the Adelaide Casino Poker Room today at a few minutes before eleven o'clock with no intentions of playing today. The PokerStars player was scheduled to play tomorrow but after a look around the room and a little convincing from a friend, McKenzie decided at the very last minute to play today instead. And what a decision that turned out to be!

Fast forward eight and a half hours and McKenzie was bagging up 181,325 chips - almost double that of his nearest rival! McKenzie's stack headed in the right direction all day as he was always accumulating chips with ruthless efficiency and well-timed aggression. However McKenzie waited until the last few hands of the day to really put his big stack to work with a massive triple-barrel that saw his stack soar to dizzying heights.

McKenzie started to make his mark on the Australian poker scene late in 2010 with a couple of decent live scores backed up with some solid online results, but perhaps this will be his breakout major event.

Craig Bourke (98,250), Michael Sellars (80,675), Dean Bryden (74,800) and Eddie Saade (70,100) rounded out the top five as 46 players survived the carnage. Other notables who will return on day two include Michael Haddad (65,925), Joe Serock (62,200), Daniel Botta (58,325), Jeff Rossiter (55,175), Aaron Benton (41,650), Jonathan Karamalikis (41,050), Danny Silk (33,775), Matthew Pilat (31,425), Ricky Kroesen (24,700) and the defending champion Rennie Carnevale (24,475).

A complete list of the end of day chip counts can be found in the link below:

End of Day 1a Chip Counts

A new batch of fresh-faced hopefuls will enter the Adelaide Casino Poker Zone tomorrow, headlined by Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem. Others spotted in town include Van Marcus, Paul Khoury, John Maklouf and Brendon Rubie so it should be another cracking day with the action recommencing at 11am (GMT+9:30) local time.

As we leave you this evening, our prayers go out to the folk in northern Queensland tonight who are about to be hit by the biggest cyclone seen in this country in 100 years. Stay safe and good night from Adelaide.