Jumpin' Jack leads the final 18 in Darwin
With the sun beaming down on another beautiful Darwin day, it was a perfect afternoon for a spot of fishing, lazing by the pool or adventuring into the Australian outback. Or how about a little poker? The SKYCITY Darwin Casino once again opened its door as 47 players returned to the International Room for Day 2 of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Darwin Main Event.
With another five levels scheduled we were expecting to get deep into this tournament, but few thought we'd reach the final two tables as the rapid pace of eliminations took its toll.
PokerStars qualifier Ryan McKay was fast out of the blocks with nut straight versus second second-nut straight against overnight chip leader Roy Hills. McKay shot to the top of the chip counts and never relented while Hills will rue another missed opportunity on the ANZPT.
Another to start strong was ANZPT Perth champion Grant Levy who doubled up on the first hand of the day. But his momentum came to an abrupt halt, despite flopping the nuts with K♦J♦ on a A♥T♣Q♣ flop. His opponent was Jeffrey Cawthorne who had craftily played his A♠A♦ and improved to a full house when another queen hit the turn to send Levy to an early exit.
Others to fall along the way included APPT Queenstown champion Marcel Schreiner, Brendon Rubie, Ben Savage, Tamara Volkoff and Ricky Kroesen, despite hitting his first ever Royal Flush earlier in the day.
However one of the more significant eliminations came towards the end of the fourth level of play when ANZ Player of the Year contender Jesse McKenzie bowed out in unfortunate circumstances. With Danny Chevalier recovering from his overnight short stack, and Leo Boxell up and down like a yoyo, Jesse McKenzie had a huge opportunity to build a big stack when his K♣Q♥ was up against the K♠8♣ of Michael Guzzardi on a king-high flop. The turn was a brick but the river was a cruel 8♥ to leave McKenzie to be content with 3rd place in the ANZ POTY.
It was part of a mighty surge from Guzzardi, who has had plenty of colourful moments in Darwin, both on and off the felt. He bagged up one of the room's biggest stacks and will be a genuine threat over the next two days.
While Boxell, Chevalier, O'Rourke, Benton and McKay were some of the 18 players who made it safely through the day, the end of day lead goes to Jack Drake who accumulated quietly to end up with 118,500 in chips.
Day 3 Seating Draw
Seat 1: Aaron Benton (Australia) (Pokerstars Qualifier) - 36600
Seat 2: Mark Taylor (Australia) - 48600
Seat 3: Ryan McKay (Australia) (Pokerstars Qualifier) - 94100
Seat 4: Tony Kanochkin (Australia) - 85100
Seat 5: Danny Chevalier (Australia) - 52100
Seat 6: Liam O'Rourke (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 35400
Seat 7: Jack Drake (Australia) - 118500
Seat 8: Michael Guzzardi (Australia) - 103700
Seat 9: Brett Dannevig (Australia) - 72100
Seat 1: Jeffrey Cawthorne (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 76000
Seat 2: Tim Wade-McDonald (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 94100
Seat 3: Fotios Manolakos (Australia) - 50600
Seat 4: James Park (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 41600
Seat 5: Jamie Hill (Australia) - 53100
Seat 6: Scott Van Loon (Australia) - 23800
Seat 7: Jonathan Dangio (New Caledonia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 94800
Seat 8: Glenn Parry (Australia) - 68500
Seat 9: Leo Boxell (Australia) - 36600
It's a great lineup with a nice mix of local players, seasoned professionals and young guns. Of course most of the attention will be focused on the heads-up duel between Leo Boxell and Danny Chevalier for the ANZ Player of the Year award. It's fitting that the number one and two ranked players are still alive in this tournament and the battle is going to go down to the wire!
We'll return to the SKYCITY Darwin Casino again tomorrow at 12:30pm (GMT+9:30) where our goal will be to halve our field and determine the final nine. In theory, this should be a relatively straight forward, but with the added complexity of the ANZ Player of the Year race, there could be some tense moments.
Until then, the Mindil Beach markets are the order this evening. Held in the parklands just alongside the casino, the markets offer a plethora of great food options, arts and crafts and live entertainment until well after the sun goes down. Whatever you're up to, we hope you have a great evening and we look forward to you joining us tomorrow!