ANZPT Sydney: Bright Eyed and Hopeful

The most interesting aspect of the early stages of any Day 1 is who is at the tables. Having a walk around the poker room here at The Star, which is split up into two areas separated by at least 50 metres of casino floor, and it is clear that the players have one thing in common - they are all bright eyed and hopeful that by the end of the night they will still be hanging onto their tournament lives. Of course, there are varying degrees of this energy as some of the players are seasoned veterans at partaking in Day 1 of a poker tournament.

One player who certainly has plenty of experience playing on Day 1, and beyond, is local player Michael Kanaan. Back in 2011, Kanaan defeated a field of 393 players to claim the Season 3 ANZPT Sydney Main Event and the $195,714 first-place prize that went along with it. Kanaan is once again at the familiar felt of The Star and will be looking to be the first player to win the very same ANZPT on two separate occasions.


Deja vu for Michael Kanaan

With such a large field here on Day 1a of ANZPT Sydney, it is no surprise that there are dozens of recognisable faces littered throughout The Star poker room. Not only are young gun players like Daniel Neilson, Ricky Kroesen, Ryan McKay, Josh Barrett, Kristian Lunardi, Michael Guzzardi, Michael Fadersen, Alex Lynskey, Jarrod Glennon, Nurlan Boobekov, Joel Feldman, Michael Fadersen and Jordan Westmorland all at the tables, but the old guard is well represented with five-time WSOP gold bracelet Jeff Lisandro leading the charge. Lisandro has one of the most accomplished poker records for any Aussie player, but an ANZPT title is one of the things lacking on Lisandro's poker resume. Let's see if that changes this week.

It is somewhat surprising that apart from Kanaan we haven't spotted any other past ANZPT Sydney champions. However, we did notice that the recent ANZPT Perth champion Dejan Divkovic is also nestled in at the tables. Divkovic hails from Bosnia, which is just about as far away as a player can come to play in an ANZPT. We would guess that Divkovic got a taste for ANZPT success back in Perth and now he is hungry for more.


Dejan doing Bosnia proud in Sydney, Australia

With eight levels until the end of Day 1a, and multiple days until an eventual ANZPT Sydney champion is crowned, it is no surprise that the players are all trying their best to stay calm and composed. It's a patience game at this point and the slightest misstep will have players out the doors days before the action will really count. The only thing worse than busting on Day 1, is busting as the bubble boy, but that's a different story all together and it's a story we will inevitably write about in the coming days. For now though, sit back, relax and enjoy Day 1a of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. After all, it's only going to get more action packed from here on out.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Sydney