ANZPT Melbourne: Final table underway
The players are taking their seats and shaking off the cobwebs of a late night in preparation of another tough day ahead on the felt of the Crown Poker Room. We've reached the final day of the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event and today we'll be crowning the newest champion of Australia and New Zealand.
Both sides of the Tasman are represented with Paul Hockin carrying the flag for the All Blacks. One of New Zealand's finest young online players, with several huge six-figure scores, Hockin will be keen to put his stamp on the live poker scene with a breakthrough major tournament victory.
Hockin will be up against a tough final table that includes a couple of Aussie young guns in Michael Guzzardi and Anthony Aston. Guzzardi is proving he has the game for all conditions - cash games or tournaments, four cards or two. All that's missing is that big title on home soil.
Another missing a title is Anthony Aston. He's been in this position a couple of times before with two third-place finishes on the ANZPT last season on his way to the runner-up award in the ANZ Player of the Year. That experience will hold him in good stead this afternoon.
The other interesting story of this final table is Peter Matusik. He came from obscurity to win the 2011 ANZPT Gold Coast title but now finds himself in a great position to become the first player to win two ANZPT titles. Late on Day 2 his aggression was too much for his opponents, and now with chips in hand, he's going to be tough to budge on this final table.
However our chip leader is Perth's Ashley Warner. After winning a massive hand against Hugh Cohen late yesterday when his set of tens improved to quads to trump Cohen's straight, Warner put his chips to good use with some bullying tactics that saw him grow his empire to a commanding position. He's the man to catch as play gets underway.
The clock has been wound back to half way through the 8,000/16,000/2,000 level to satisfy the 40 big blind average stack guarantee that Danny McDonagh loves so dearly. It will give our players a little breathing room, and hopefully create some good post-flop dynamics.
ANZPT Melbourne final table line up
1 Paul Hockin (New Zealand) - 801,000
2 Michael LoGiudice (Australia) - 1,071,000
3 Michael Guzzardi (Australia) - 509,000
4 Peter Matusik (Australia) - 1,058,000
5 Anthony Aston (Australia) - 680,000
6 Igal Augarten (Australia) - 473,000
7 Karan Punjabi (Australia) - 235,000
8 Ashley Warner (Australia) - 1,565,000
9 Ismail Ismail (Australia) - 350,000
Crown Poker tournament director Christian Vaughan has introduced the players to the crowd and the cards are now officially in the air!