APPT Melbourne: Stacked field floors Aston
As we tick into the fourth level of play, we are still awaiting confirmation of numbers but with eleven tables in play, and most of them looking pretty full, we'll predict a Day 1a field of close to 100 players. Last year we saw 260 players in total with Leo Boxell taking down the title and AU$330,000 in prize money. With most of the PokerStars qualifiers in tomorrow, we're expecting a bigger field to hopefully exceed last year's number.
Today's field is certainly stacked with some of the best players in the country taking to the felt of the Crown Poker Room. Past champions, online grinders and some precocious talent have come together to form some super-stacked tables.
Some of those in action this evening include the reigning Aussie Millions champion Oliver Speidel, recently-crowned APPT Queenstown winner Dave Allan, Australian Poker Hall of Famers Jason Gray and Gary Benson, previous ANZ Player of the Year Danny Chevalier, PokerStars Team Online's Roy "GodlikeRoy" Bhasin and Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu.
However undoubtedly, the "table of death" award belongs to a stacked table in the high-limit section of the poker room. John Corr looked across the table to see Luke McLean, Jackie Glazier, Brendon Rubie and Tom Grigg all sitting next to each other. Glazier and Rubie both made headlines over the Australian winter with runner-up finishes at the World Series of Poker, while Grigg and Corr both know the feeling of finishing second as both have done so at previous APPT/ANZPT events.
If that wasn't bad enough, Kristian Lunardi joined the table in Seat 1, before the man known as "SEABEAST", online phenom Jay Kinkade, arrived to send shudders around the table. Ouch!
While the chips have been flying around that table, with Rubie and Grigg the early benefactors, we've seen our first major casualty of the tournament, coming from the adjacent table, and it was a surprising elimination at that.
Anthony Aston held high hopes coming into the APPT Melbourne Main Event this evening. He was leading the ANZ Player of the Year race and knew that a big result would all-but-assure him of the crown and the sponsorship prize valued at approximately AU$28,000. However Aston will now have to sweat (or perhaps anti-sweat) the progress of Didier Guerin and Mishel Anunu who are his nearest ANZ POTY rivals, after Aston was an early elimination from our Day 1a field.
Aston recalled to us that he made a play in a battle of the blinds that ultimately backfired. Without looking at his cards, Aston three-bet from the big blind to "try to assert some control over the table". His opponent came back with a four-bet, which Aston called. He looked down at his cards and discovered the old jack-six offsuit. Eeek.
Aston wasn't deterred as he looked to represent on the T-9-4 flop. A bet and a call saw an ace appear on the turn. The small blind bet again and Aston put in a min-raise to represent strength but his opponent made the call as a bricky deuce found its way on to the river. The small blind checked and Aston finished telling the story by moving all in for around 15,000. However his opponent couldn't be shifted from his ace-nine for two-pair as Aston was crippled and eliminated moments later.
The ANZ Player of the Year race is now wide open, which should produce an exciting finale for the season here in Melbourne.