ANZPT Sydney: Been Here Before

Over the years the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour has crowned many champions. A large portion of those champions are regulars on the tour and as such it was not surprising to see them partake in the Season 5 ANZPT Sydney Main Event. While not all of those victors are still in with a chance to score another ANZPT trophy, there are still several previous champs alive here on Day 2.

One of the players we are referring to is actually seated just about two metres from the media desk and is a player who knows the felt of The Star all too well. Back in 2011, 393 players partook in ANZPT Sydney and one of those players was Michael Kanaan. By the time only nine remained Kanaan would become part of a very tough final table which included players like Jay Kinkade, Stevan Chew and Andy Lee. None of these players were any trouble for Kanaan though, as he finished up with the victory and $195,714 to go along with it.

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Michael Kanaan is hoping for some deja vu in Sydney

Starting the day with 59,800 in chips, Kanaan has every chance to create history this weekend by becoming the first player to win the same ANZPT on two separate occasions. Kanaan has had a good start to the day, recently sending Adam Smith home when his ace-king was too strong for Smith's king-ten on a king-high board. Kanaan currently has a stack of just over 100,000 in chips and considering he his playing right under our noses here in the media, we will be keeping a close eye on him all day.

Another past ANZPT champ, and another player who like Kanaan knows what it takes to win in Sydney, is Grant Levy. Back in 2007 Levy famously won the APPT Sydney Main Event to become the first player to win $1 million on the shores of Australia. Since then Levy has amassed one of the most impressive tournament resumes in all the land, with a victory in the 2011 ANZPT Perth Main Event just one of many big results that Levy is known for.

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Grant Levy getting comfortable at ANZPT Sydney

Interestingly, another of our ANZPT champions in today's field is actually seated on the same table as Levy. Like Levy, Matusik also took down his ANZPT trophy during the 2011 season. It was ANZPT Gold Coast and Matusik defeated a final table which included Paul Hockin, Julian Cohen and Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Leo Boxell. For that effort Matusik picked up $145,100 and since then has been seen cashing in several ANZPT's. While Levy and Matusik aren't doing as well as Kanaan, they both have plenty of chips to try and make a deep run here in Sydney. Anyway, as you can see above, Levy is getting massaged and strapping himself in for a long day.

A few of the other ANZPT champs still in with a chance to add another title to their resumes include Martin Kozlov, who won the 2010 ANZPT Melbourne Main Event, while Paul Hockin would win the same ANZPT in 2012. Danny Chevalier is also in today's field and he knows what it takes to win an ANZPT after winning ANZPT Queenstown back in 2009.

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Peter Matusik is one of many former ANZPT champs in the field

We are just coming up on the first break of the day in the ANZPT Sydney Main Event, but we have already seen around 175 players whittled down to 130. That pace is unlikely to keep up though, what with all the short stack now either finding the rail or managing some quick double ups. The long grind continues. We might try and see if we can borrow Levy's masseuse when he's had enough.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Sydney