Tran tames the stars on Day 1b in Sydney

The Star City Poker Room was filled to capacity today as 241 entrants took to the felt on Day 1b of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Main Event. It was great to see the room buzzing with excitement with the cream of the Australian poker crop joining a throng of local qualifiers for a big day of poker action.

Anytime a tournament field contains legends of the game such as Lee Nelson, Jeff Lisandro, Billy Argyros and Joe Hachem, the reigning ANZPT Player of the Year Tony Hachem, recent ANZPT champions Grant Levy and Octavian Voegele, Aussie Millions champs David Gorr and Tyron Krost, APPT Sydney champs Jonathan Karamalikis and Aaron Benton, and Asia Player of the Year Bryan Huang, just to name a handful, you know it's going to be a day to remember.

There were some stellar table draws with the likes of Dunwoodie, Neilson, Cunz, Karamalikis and Hachem senior all seated together, while a table break saw Huang join Voegele, Nelson and Hachem junior.

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Octavian Voegele and Lee Nelson seated next to each other on Day 1b

It made for some entertaining poker highlighted once again by a Royal Flush - the second that we've seen in two days. This time it was Daniel Neilson, who was still reeling from a two-outer bad beat just moments earlier when he got his last chips in preflop with A♥K♥ against Michael Mariakis' A♣A♦. It looked like Neilson was going to be sent crashing out of the tournament but the flop of J♥T♥Q♥ changed everything as Neilson flopped the grand daddy of them all to leave Mariakis drawing dead in a state of pure shock. It jumped Neilson to 75,000 after a wild day, and he'll be a genuine threat on Day 2.

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The day wasn't so royal for Team PokerStars. Joe Hachem was a late arrival and early casualty when his pocket tens fell to an opponent's jack-seven on a jack-high flop, before he lost a final race with K♦9♦ against pocket eights. Brother Tony never got anything going all day as he limped to slightly above starting stack by the end of the day, while Singapore's Bryan Huang will be somewhat relieved to make Day 2 but he has some work to do when he returns as one of the field's short stacks.

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While the stars were struggling it was a wave of enthusiasm that carried Jimmy Tran to the end of day chip lead with a late surge.

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After eight levels of play Tran bagged up 142,475 for the lead, ahead of Jamal Ishac (122,050) and PokerStars qualifier Josh Barrett (110,900). Jesse McKenzie (64,925), Daniel Laidlaw (58,525), Nobbi Tanaka (47,325), Chris Kittos (39,225), Grant Levy (27,650), Jonathan Karamalikis (23,075), Michael Guzzardi (17,000), Tyron Krost (13,575), Danny Chevalier (11,075) and Jeff Lisandro (10,700) also survived the day as 120 players made it through to Day 2.

Click here for the complete Day 1b chip counts

In total the ANZPT Sydney Main Event has attracted a total field of 393 with the final 185 players coming together tomorrow for the very first time. They'll be looking to get close to the money with the top 45 players set to head home with profit in their pocket.

The action will recommence in the Star City Poker Room tomorrow at 12:30pm local time (GMT+10) and we look forward to your company then!

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