ANZPT Sydney: Ryall rules the roost on Day 1a

A new season and a new look for the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour saw Sydney kick things off in impressive fashion today on Day 1a of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. With a focus on larger tournaments with bigger prize pools, the ANZPT is going to be pushing the all-time record for the tour as 214 players enjoyed the twilight start time of 6:15pm this evening. According to ANZPT head honcho Danny McDonagh, we already have 385 entrants in total for this event, including 140 PokerStars online qualifiers, with tomorrow's direct buy-ins set to push the field close to 500 and that elusive million dollar prize pool.

Today's field was a star-studded affair with multiple champions and the cream of poker talent from the Australia and New Zealand regions. We saw previous APPT champs in Jonathan Karamalikis, Aaron Benton and Grant Levy, previous ANZPT winners Martin Kozlov, Octavian Voegele and Angelo Hanataj, 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event winner Oliver Speidel and our most recent WSOP bracelet winner in Andrew Hinrichsen. Our field also contained Australian Poker Hall of Famers Billy Argyros and Jason Gray, as well as the two-time ANZ Player of the Year in Tony Hachem.

Some of them were perched out in poker's new oasis as the Oasis Lounge at The Star hosted four overflow tables. The spacious room provided a pleasantly serene atmosphere that saw a steady flow of players rotate through the tables throughout the day. With a mini-grandstand setup for spectators and plenty of space available, it should provide a great platform to showcase this event throughout the week.

Unfortunately it was a mixed day on the felt for many of those notables. Hinrichsen, Benton, Voegele and Karamalikis were all pretty early casualties, along with Tom Wing, Tom Grigg, David Steicke, Brendon Rubie and Ricky Kroesen, as a few lesser-known players rose into prominence.


We found out a little about Andrew Li (pictured above) who jumped out to an early chip lead, while Nibel Edgtton, Toby Ryall, Gordon Huntly and Sam Capra all enjoyed time at the top during the day. Perhaps they were taking advantage of The Star poker management relaxing the rules on the use of iPhones at the table - well, as long as you had a paperclip handy!

A total of 89 players will return on Day 2 as Toby Ryall ended the day with the chip lead with a stack of 138,500. Ryall emerged towards the end of the day after landing a monster pot with a flopped set of deuces that improved to a full house to stack an opponent.


Some of the other chip leaders included Nabil Edgtton (125,100), Gordon Huntly (121,500) and Rhys Gould (119,600), while notable players Oliver Speidel (70,900), Dan Kelly (70,600), Michael Kanaan (70,200), Tony Hachem (48,100), Billy Argyros (22,600) and Martin Kozlov (21,000) all managed to navigate their way through the day.

Due to a late finish tonight, the casino staff have informed us that complete chip counts won't be available until tomorrow morning. I guess they deserve a bit of shut-eye. We're hoping to steal a few hours of rest ourselves before we return at 12:30pm tomorrow to do it all over again. We look forward to your company then. Good night from Sydney!

@PokerStars in Sydney