After a five-month break between events, the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour made an emphatic return today with Day 1a of the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event filling the floors of the Crown Poker Room. There was a buzz in the air as the field of 242 players set us well on the way towards a record field for the ANZPT and a potential seven figure prize pool.
The field was extremely diverse with Hall of Famers, Aussie Millions champs, WSOP bracelet winners and plenty of familiar ANZPT faces. However there was also a good sprinkling of newbies, perhaps playing their first-ever major poker event, which is extremely encouraging for the growth of poker in this region.
Among the starters were the likes of Benn Skender, Kahle Burns, Steve Topakas, Dale Marsland, Leo Boxell, James Broom, Phil Willcocks, Michael Guzzardi, Jackson Zheng, Tom Grigg, Gary Benson, David Gorr, Billy Argyros, Mile Krstanoski, Stevan Chew, Peter Aristidou, Aussie comedian Trevor Marmalade, former ANZPT champ Octavian Voegele and current ANZ Player of the Year leader Sal Fazzino.
Also in the field was PokerStars Team Online member Roy Bhasin.
Bhasin was able to chip up early on, but copped a rather nasty hit with 10♦9♦ on a board of 2♣6♥9♠9♥. Bhasin had his opponent in trouble holding 9♣8♣ but the 8♥ river card delivered his opponent a full house to take a chunk out of Bhasin’s stack.
Bhasin was able to double up with pocket aces, but the challenges continued for Roy throughout the day and he was eliminated short of the full eight levels of play.
While some succumbed and others just tried to survive, there were a few who thrived during the day. One man who is no stranger to big stacks is Tristan “skunkden” Bain. With previous victories on the APT and now defunct WPPT in this country, a win on the ANZPT would see Bain join an exclusive Australian triple crown club that could never be matched!
Bain was first out of the gates and was among the chip leaders all day as he bagged up an tidy 110,800. Former JHDSS champ Daniel Botta picked up 134,100, while Akash Mazumdar looked like he would grab the end-of-day lead when a double elimination with pocket aces saw him climb to 152,000. However he was pipped on the line by Anthony Legg who bagged up an impressive 160,200.
Legg may only have a modest live poker record, but he has recorded the rare feat of finishing on final table of the PokerStars Sunday Million, not once, but twice. He finished sixth and seventh for over $70,000 in winnings combined under the online handle of “Leggieblufs1”. Perhaps this will be the event to launch Legg onto the live poker stage.
A total of 85 players made it through the day with other survivors including Michael Chrisanthopoulos, Tom Rafferty, Adrian Attenborough, Aleks Brkovic, Minh Nguyen, Tino Lechich, David Gorr, Hugh Cohen and Sam Rotar.
Head to the live reporting section of the blog for full chip counts which will be posted shortly.
Day 1b is the final opportunity for players to be a part of this potentially record-setting ANZPT Melbourne Main Event. We’re aiming for a 500-player field and a million dollar prize pool, so if you’re in Melbourne, we strongly recommend you don’t let this opportunity slip! Give your poker buddies a call and get down to the Crown Poker Room to get amongst the excitement of the ANZPT. Tomorrow’s field will be highlighted by Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang while we might also see 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem in action. There will also be over 80 PokerStars online qualifiers and a throng of locals all with dreams of poker stardom.
Play will kick off inside the Crown Poker Room at 12:10pm (GMT+10) and the best place to follow along is right here on the PokerStars Blog. We look forward to your company then!
Heath “TassieDevil” Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.