ANZPT Auckland: Late Surge Sees Xia Lead into Day 2

Ladies and Gentlemen, all the Day 1 bags are locked away safe and sound and are ready to reawaken tomorrow for Day 2 action. When Day 1c began, it was the last chance for players to start marking their way towards an ANZPT Auckland title. As such, a total of 86 players made the trek into the SKYCITY Auckland Casino. Many of those players were some of the biggest stars of poker we have seen this week.

As the day kicked on, plenty of players were cashing in on the poker room's amazing $9.90 Surf 'N' Turf steak and wine deal. One of the players enjoying some steak was Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang, but that was all he would enjoy as he was eliminated during the early stages of Day 1c.


Steak was the highlight of Bryan Huang's day

When the dust settled on the exact numbers of the day, it was announced that a 207-player field had created a prize pool of NZ$414,000. Of that amount, NZ$107,640 is reserved for the eventual Auckland champion, while it will be the top 24 players who will go home with at least NZ$3,726.

The halfway mark of Day 1c passed by with the players hitting the rail at the quickest pace we have seen all week. Eventually more than half the field were sent to the rail and among those eliminations were two past Auckland poker champions. The 2010 APPT Auckland victor Danny "Brotha D" Leaoasavaii hit the rail quite early, while 2009 APPT Auckland champ Simon Watt was looking good to last the night.

However, in an unlucky turn of events for Watt, he would see his pocket aces get cracked by the pocket kings of Stephen McKay. Speaking of Stephen McKay, it is he who held the chip lead heading into the final level of the day as his chip stack started hitting the monumental amount of around 140,000. While McKay was on the player list as being from Britain, he made sure we knew he was Scottish.


McKay doing the Scots proud in Auckland

Joining McKay in having a late surge up the chip leader board was Mike Stecker. Hailing from the United States, Stecker and McKay added an international flare to the chip leader board.

With only a short while to go in the evening, it was looking like it was going to be McKay who would lead the field heading into Day 2. However, that all changed when McKay rumbled with Xiaodong Xia. At the end of the night, Xia and McKay got a huge amount of chips in on a K♥5♦6♥A♥A♦ board. Xia held K♦K♠ and unfortunately for McKay, he had ran his lower set of sixes into the set of kings. With that, McKay was down to 30,000 and Xia was hitting heights we had yet to see this week.

Xiao Dong Xia_ANZPT_Auckland.JPG

Xiaodong Xia has all the chips heading into Day 2

Following the above hand, Xia will now head into Day 2 with the overall chip lead. In total, Xia has 180,600 - a huge amount more than his nearest Day 1c rival, Monica Eastwick, who has 137,000. Be sure to watch out for the full table draw, with Day 2 chip counts, that will be posted by the boys at PokerNews shortly.

With exactly 26 players surviving Day 1c, there will be a total of 76 players partaking in Day 2 action tomorrow from 12.15 pm. The money bubble is going to burst tomorrow and we are going to be playing down to a final table, so expect a long day! Be sure to join us then and in the mean time, check out Lynn Gilmartin's 'Nighlty Notables' with ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Auckland