ANZPT Auckland: The Last Chance

Today will see a batch of fresh players enter the SKYCITY Auckland Casino poker room for Day 1c of the ANZPT Auckland Main Event. We predict there will be around 80 fresh-faced hopefuls to add to the 122 entrants from the last two Day 1 flights. All 80 of them will no doubt be well rested and ready to make their way towards a Day 2 berth. Take note, any amount of players over 80 will see the field reach a 200-plus player field. A great effort from all involved.

When Day 1c came to an end at around 3 am last night it was Charles Caris who had bagged up the largest stack. He will take 108,900 into Day 2, which is good for the second largest chip stack. The player to catch and the one who sets the benchmark for all the players here on Day 1c is Angie Fitzgerald. It was the opening Day 1 flight that Fitzgerald conquered, with her 113,500-chip stack towering over her opponents.


The tables wont be empty for long

So what's today going to bring? Well, it's the last Day 1 flight and so it's the last chance for players to start making their way toward crowning a champion of Auckland poker. One of the players who will be in today's field certainly knows what it takes to win on Auckland felt and that is New Zealand's own Simon Watt.

Back in 2009, 263 took to the tables of the SKYCITY Auckland Casino creating a prize pool of NZ$789,000. That event featured a slightly higher buy-in and in the end it was Watt who overcame a tough final table to be crowned the champion. Interestingly, Watt's win was just a few months before he would gain notoriety when he became the "Durrrr Killer", defeating Tom Dwan heads-up to win a WSOP gold bracelet and become a home grown hero.


Simon Watt is already a New Zealand poker hero

Plenty of other notable players are expected to join Watt at the tables, including the reigning champion of Auckland poker, 2010 APPT Auckland champ Danny 'Brotha D' Leaoasavaii,Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang, recent APPT Queenstown Snowfest victor Dave Allan and 2011 Aussie Millions champion David Gorr.

Huang has been busy at the poker tables of late, travelling all around the Asia-Pacific trying to snag a big tournament victory. Huang was recently in Melbourne for the first event on Season 5 of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour. It was a bittersweet few days for Huang though, with a 12th place finish seeing him fall just short of a final table berth. He will surely be looking to do better here in Auckland.


Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang in Queenstown earlier this year

The players are currently starting to shuffle around the tables and prepare for their day at the felt. It will once again be 8 levels of play, with blinds starting at 50-100. Be sure to keep your eyes on the PokerStars Blog for all your feature stories out of New Zealand, while PokerNews will be on the floor providing live updates from the ANZPT Auckland Main Event.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Auckland