ANZPT Auckland: Scots and Yanks Lead the Way
Yet again we are at the pointy end of a Day 1 flight here at the ANZPT Auckland Main Event. This time is a little different though. There is no other Day 1 flight scheduled and so, in just over an hour's time, we will know how many people will be at the felt on Day 2. At the moment there are 37 players remaining out of the 86 players who began the day. Almost 50 players have hit the rail today and we recognised plenty of those faces, one of them being Anthony Aston.
At the beginning of Day 1c, Aston was looking toward becoming the first player to make four final tables in one single year. Aston had managed to finish 3rd at both ANZPT Sydney and ANZPT Perth, before also finishing 8th at ANZPT Melbourne a few weeks ago. The only other player to make three ANZPT final tables in a single year is John Maklouf back in 2010. Maklouf and Aston will have to continue sharing the record though, as Aston has been eliminated from this event.
We happened to be having a wander around Aston's table when the young-guns elimination played out. It was shortly after the final break of the night began and Aston had to come up against the familiar face of American, Mike Stecker.
The hand in question began with blinds at 400-800 and with Stecker opening the pot to 1,700. Aston was on Stecker's direct left and shoved all in for his remaining stack of around 12,000. A flurry of cards hit the muck from around the table and it was back on Stecker, who snap-called. Aston got out of his seat when he saw Stecker's Q♦Q♣ hit the felt, as his 3♦3♥ would need plenty of help to not end up in the muck. The dealer spread out a 6♠6♥5♠4♥8♠ board and despite having a straight sweat on the turn, Aston was sent packing.
Following the above hand, Stecker continued to add plenty of chips to his stack and now sits as one of the chip leaders with around 75,000. Stecker has had some success on the ANZPT in the past, finishing 8th in the 2011 ANZPT Sydney Main Event. He will surely be looking to emulate that success here in Auckland.
There is exactly one level left to go in the night and while Stecker is doing great, it is still Stephen McKay who is cruising at the top of the chip leader board. As this goes to press, McKay sits with around 140,000. If he can finish with anywhere near that amount, then he will head into Day 2 as the overall chip leader. Interestingly, McKay is from Scotland, while Stecker is from the United States, so Day 1c certainly has some international flare about it. Stay tuned to find out what happens at the conclusion of the night! In the mean time, check out Lynn Gilmartin's interview with Anthony Aston before he was eliminated.