ANZPT Melbourne: King Paulie leads the way
Today was the second and final chance for players to be a part of the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event at Melbourne's Crown Poker Room. We were expecting a solid field and the final number of 159 for Day 1b was suitably impressive. It brought the total number of entrants to 345 for the event - a record for the ANZPT in Melbourne which is a tremendous result. The prize pool of $690,000 will be distributed to the top 41 players, with a min-cash worth $3,450, while our champion will receive the trophy and a whopping $172,500 in prize money.
There were once again plenty of big names among the entrants including a little international flavour with defending champion Sam Razavi from the UK, and our two Team PokerStars Pros in Singapore's Bryan Huang and Mexican Angel Guillen.
The locals were also well represented with 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton, Aussie Millions champ Oliver Speidel, previous ANZPT Melbourne champ Martin Kozlov, reigning ANZ Player of the Year Mishel Anunu, Australian Poker Hall of Famer Jason Gray and a host of talented players including Stevan Chew, Ricky Kroesen, Will Jones, Anthony Aston, Hai Bo Chu, James Bills, Kristian Lunardi and Tony Hachem.
While some players punted off their stacks, it wasn't until the last two levels of play that the big stacks started to emerge. Luis Arrilucea won a bit of an usual hand where he floated with jack-high and rivered a straight to crack the six figures, but his lead didn't last long as Kiwi Paul Hockin surged past him.
Known as "King Paulie" online, Hockin has several impressive online scores to his credit, including a final table in the PokerStars Sunday Million. He accumulated his chips today in two big pots - one where he turned a gutshot Broadway straight and the other in a cooler with pocket aces against ace-king.
Hockin bagged up 120,100 which was good for the chip lead, with Karim Jomeen, Luis Arrilucea, Alex Givotovsky and Karan Punjabi among the chip leaders as approximately 70 players survived the day. Aaron Benton, Bryan Huang and Angel Guillen also survived but will have some work ahead of them on Day 2.
For details of the Day 1b chip counts and the redraw for Day 2, head to the live updates section of the website a little later this evening.
The survivors from the two opening flights will return at 12:30pm tomorrow where we have a long day ahead of us to reach our final table of nine. Enjoy your Saturday night and we look forward to your company again tomorrow.