ANZPT6 Melbourne Day 3: Spano eyes #1 spot
"I'm a bit worried now," said PokerStars Asia Pacific Live Events Manager Sam Dawson. It was half way through Level 21 and Dawson was understandably concerned that the slow progress of play might mean we're in for a long haul.
"Danny (McDonagh) is more confident, but I think it could be 4am now," Dawson added.
He may be right. We might indeed be here to 4am tonight, and there was a period of play recently that made us worry that it could be even later than that.
Level 20 was a true grind. A real war of attrition with the short stacks fighting tooth and nail to survive. Eventually something had to give.
Henry Tran ran into pocket kings to fall in 24th place and we clearly jinxed Luke Brabin by talking up his chances in our last article as he fell in 23rd.
Shao Liu, Luke Edwards, Lloyd Godsland and Robert Salter all had their day brought to an early end as the players formed the final two tables.
We'd only lost six players in the last two hours of play, but just before the recent break the luck went against the short stacks as Nicholas Mullen, Henry Szmelcer and Adrian Bolzonello all succumbed.
With 15 players remaining heading into the second break of the day, Dawson, and the rest of us, are now a little more relieved that the tournament is back on schedule and we might get out of here before the sun rises tomorrow.
Emerging from the pack in the last two hours has been Luke Spano.
Spano picked up ace-king in the perfect spot on more than one occasion, removing both Shao Liu and Luke Edwards with the old "Big Slick".
With a cash earlier this year at the ANZPT in Perth, Spano is clearly a player to watch as we get deep in this tournament, especially now as he's our chip leader with over 1.5 million in chips.
Spano also has claim to another interesting stat here in Melbourne.
Due to the enormous size of the prize pool, if no deals are done on the final table, the winner's cheque of $253,000 will instantly elevate the winner to #2 on the all-time earnings for the ANZPT. That leaderboard is currently led by former ANZPT Perth champ Dejan Divkovic with $258,440 in earnings, so if our winner has at least $5,440 in previous ANZPT earnings, he will take over the top spot.
A quick skim through our remaining player's records and it looks like Luke Spano is one of only two players in the field who could potentially take that #1 spot. Spano's two previous ANZPT cashes have netted him $7,780, so he's a prime candidate for top spot. The only other player who can take the #1 spot is Edison Nguyen who finished 19th at the ANZPT in Sydney earlier this year.
A few others, such as Dennis Huntly an Peter Skouteris for example, do have previous ANZPT cashes but they won't have earned enough to take over #1.
With 15 players left and a big chip lead, Spano will definitely be starting to eye that winner's cheque.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.