ANZPT Sydney: Heather hooks lead for the Irish

It was always going to be a tough ask today. 208 players into a final table of nine within ten levels of play - virtually an impossible equation, but we gave it a crack here on Day 2 of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. As the players bag and tag after a long day of toil we have 27 players returning tomorrow for their shot at ANZPT glory.

It was a tough day at the office for many, with some of Australia and New Zealand's finest falling into the sea of casualties. Joel Dodds, Leo Boxell, Lee Nelson, Tony Hachem, Vesko Zmukic, Dennis Huntly, Mel Judah, Billy Argyros, Angelo Hanataj, Peter Aristidou, Martin Drewe, Gary Benson and Tony Kondevski are some of Australia's most decorated players but they won't be adding a 2012 ANZPT Sydney cash to their resume after feeling the pain of elimination during the day.

The internationals also didn't fare so well. Dan Kelly went missing pretty early on, while Maria Ho and Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen fought valiantly on the short stack for large parts of this event before finally succumbing just short of the money bubble.


Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen fell agonizingly close to the money today

Of course, where there are losers, there are winners, and we had plenty of good luck stories today. You could say that Scotsman Gordon Huntly had a little luck of the Irish today. Not sure if he'll be thrilled to hear it described like that, but he would be chuffed about his day today. Huntly was able to crack the defences of pocket aces on a couple of occasions - both times making a straight to cruise through the day as one of the big stacks.

We also spotted 2008 APPT Sydney champion Martin Rowe progressing well during the day. Rowe had got on a nice run after he made a big call down with a pair of eights to catch his opponent's bluff, before finishing him off moments later. Rowe would love nothing better than another big final table here in Sydney.

One player who seems to go deep in every tournament he plays is reigning Aussie Millions champion Oliver Speidel. This guy is just unstoppable at the moment. He continues to prove that he's the real deal with a dominant performance today, pounding on his opponents relentlessly to end the day as one of the chip leaders.


Watch out if you're sitting next to this guy tomorrow!

After enjoying the mouth watering delights of The Star's world-class dining options at the dinner break, we played another four levels before the day reached a conclusion, and the evening session undoubtedly belonged to Nick Heather.

Heather got a little fortunate with pocket sixes against pocket queens before he collected a massive pot when his pocket jacks held against ace-king. From there, he never looked back as he amassed a stack of 953,500 by the close of play which was good for the chip lead.


Our overnight chip leader is Irishman Nick Heather

The Irishman is currently based out of Sydney on a bit of an extended holiday. He said that he'd like to extend if his girlfriend can secure a visa, but if he can secure the first-place prize of $226,812 then he'll have even more reason to call Sydney home. He'll certainly be a huge threat tomorrow with the chip lead and a poker resume that includes four WSOP cashes and a final table in a $1,000 NLHE event in 2010 worth almost $150,000.

Others to end the day in good shape include Oliver Speidel (797,000), Jim Collopy (638,500), Alec Smith (572,000) and Mishel Anunu (434,500).

Also still in contention are 2008 APPT Sydney champ Martin Rowe (294,000), 2010 ANZPT Darwin runner-up Luke Edwards (180,000), 2010 ANZPT Gold Coast 3rd-place finisher Liam O'Rourke (495,000), 2010 APPT Sydney 4th-place finisher Peco Stojanovski (193,500) and 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event final tablist Sam Capra (440,000).

To cap off an exciting day, ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh announced the finalized schedule for Season 4 of the ANZPT.

The next event will be the ANZPT Perth which will run from May 2 to 6 featuring an $1,100 buy-in, while the Casino Canberra Winter Poker Championship has been added as an Australia New Zealand Player of the Year Qualifying event.

"With over 100 players already qualified for ANZPT Perth, we are expecting a player number approaching the fabulous result achieved here in Sydney," commented McDonagh.

Look out Perth, here we come!

With that good news, we'll call it a night here in Sydney, but look forward to your company again tomorrow from 2pm as we play all the way until a champion is crowned!

@PokerStars in Sydney