ANZPT Sydney MAIN EVENT Day 1 Flight 2


9.55pm: That’s a wrap



It has been another hectic day here at The Star but after eight hours of play on day 1B of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event the chips have been bagged and tagged and we’re headed to the business end of the tournament.

We’ve seen huge numbers flocking to The Star poker room all week and today was no different with a whopping 246 players taking their seats for a shot at the $226,812 first prize. That means the total number of runners over the two flights has reached an impressive 461 – more than played in both 2010 (446) and 2011 (373) and second only to the inaugural ANZPT Sydney in 2009 (493).

While day 1A saw the crème of the young brigade do battle in a high quality field, today was more about the old guard with former Aussie Millions winners Lee Nelson and David Gorr, Leo Boxell, Mel Judah, Mike Ivin, Graeme Putt and Gary Benson among the starters.

Others to try their luck included Maria Ho, 2008 APPT Sydney champion Martin Rowe, Josh Barrett, Tim English, Mark Iskander, Ali Khalil, Julius Colman and Haibo Chu. While most of those players scraped through, only Boxell and Benson progress with decent stacks heading into Day 2.

In-fact, Boxell should have had more than his almost 70,000 had it not been for a remarkable lay-down by Ciaran Sharp who folded a set of 9s on an A-8-9 flop after correctly putting Boxell on a set of Aces. Incredibly, having faced elimination had he called Boxell’s shove, Sharp finished the day inside the top 10 with 72,325.

Four players topped the 100,000 chip mark on Day 1b with the top stacks as follows:

Tam Truong (pictured above) – 120,700
Justin Cohen – 110,625
Bill Kennedy – 107,725
George Marando – 104,950
Adam Bevis – 86,175
Luke Edwards – 85,150
Ludovic Citerne – 85,150
Nam Le – 75,900
Ciaran Sharp – 72,325
Mario Ljubicic – 69,250

They all trail the overall chip leader from Day 1a, Tobin Ryall, who leads the way with 138,500. 110 players from today’s flight will return for Day 2 tomorrow, which when combined with the 98 survivors from yesterday means we’ll see 208 taking their seats at 12.30pm tomorrow. Just 54 of those will make the money.

Make sure you join us once again at PokerMedia Australia for live updates of all the ANZPT Sydney action.



9.20pm: The end is nigh

The tournament directors have informed the players that there will be four more hands played tonight.

9.15pm: Sheldon ships

Sheldon Mayer has endured a tough time since returning from the dinner break – losing more than half the stack he had spent all afternoon building – but he has just won a massive pot to move back alongside the chip leaders.

Folded around to Mayer on the button, he raised with 2h-5h and was flat called by Hung Tu Wang in the big blind. The flop came 2s-5s-6c and Mayer bet 3,500. Wang then re-raised to 9,000, Mayer shoved for his last 45,000 and Wang snapped him off with A-A only to find that he was behind Mayer’s flopped two pair.

That still left a sweat for Mayer but the turn and river came J-8 and he scored a huge double to soar to 100,000 with the day’s play drawing to a close.


9pm: Stack wrap


Luke Edwards – 120,000
George Marando – 98,000
Bill Kennedy – 95,000
Zhi Yao – 90,000
Tam Truong – 81,000
Ciaran Sharp – 73,000
Mario Ljubicic – 68,000
Leo Boxell – 66,000
Hung Tu Wang – 64,000
Chad Awerbach – 63,000
Charlie Boustani – 55,000
Raemin Alexander – 55,000
Kristina Griffiths – 50,000
Martin Rowe – 48,000
Sheldon Mayer – 35,000
Graeme Putt – 29,000
Martin Drewe – 28,000
Mel Judah – 24,000
Gary Benson – 23,000
Dennis Huntly – 18,000
Maria Ho – 17,000
Peter Skouteris – 16,000
Lee Nelson – 16,000
Mike Ivin – 13,000


8.35pm: Final level!


The tournament clock has just ticked over into Level 8 which will be the final level of the day’s play. In an hour’s time those that have survived will be bagging and tagging before they hit the hay in preparation for all the ecstasy and agony of Day 2. Blinds will finish tonight at 400/800 with a 75 ante.

8.30pm: Fortune favours the brave


Emad Moaref was down to his last 16,325 when he shoved in late position with K-Q but the signs weren’t good when an opponent insta-called and turned over pocket Aces. However, the K-8-7 flop gave him outs and when a Q hit the turn he shot into the lead. A 6 on the river changed nothing and Moaref lives to fight another day.

8.05pm: The big stacks


Luke Edwards – 115,000
Bill Kennedy – 90,000
Sheldon Mayer – 80,000
Mario Ljubicic – 75,000
George Marando – 73,000
Leo Boxell – 70,000


7.55pm: Club 83


Quietly plugging away at the back of The Star’s poker room today has been 83-year-old Bill Kennedy (pictured above), who we have no reason to doubt when he suggests that he is the oldest player in the tournament. And he’s not doing too bad either with around 90,000 sitting in front as we head towards the final level of the day’s play.

Kennedy is a regular at the Jupiter’s Casino cash tables but decided to try his luck in a satellite to the ANZPT Sydney main event earlier in the week while he was in town visiting a friend.

Now he sits amongst the day 1B chip leaders and is as good a chance as anyone at this stage of making a run for the $226,812 first prize. It’s fair to say that there are plenty here that would love to see him do well.


7.35pm: We're back

The cards are back in the air for Level 7 with blinds at 300/600 and an ante of 50. Inm two hours we'll be done for the day and will know exactly how many players have progressed through to tomorrow's Day 2.


6.50pm: Dinner break

The 152 remaining players on Day 1b are now on a 40-minute dinner break. When they return there will be two more Levels to play out tonight with blinds up to 300/600 with an ante of 50 for Level 7. We’ll be back soon to ride this thing home!


6.25pm: This is my house, baby!


Sheldon Mayer continues to build his stack after eliminating another player from the tournament. Having 3-bet pre-flop to 3,200 after the initial raiser had opened to 1,100, Mayer repeated the dose on a Q-6-7 flop before his opponent shoved his last 10,000 into the middle.

Mayer made the call with 7-8 but needed help to win the pot against Q-10. That help arrived in the form of running cards as the turn 9 and river 10 completed his straight.

"How well are you running," another player at the table quipped, prompting Sheldon to thrust his arms into the air and proclaim "This is my house, baby."

Mayer moves up to 80,000 while the field is cut to 166.


6.10pm: Leaping Lee




Lee Nelson just scored a crucial triple-up after getting it all in pre-flop with Q-Q against pocket 8s and A-K. The board ran out 6-2-6-7-3 and the 2006 Aussie Millions champion is back in contention.

Alas, fellow Aussie Millions winner David Gorr is no more after nursing a short stack all day.

While we’re on the topic of Nelson, his entire catalogue of books – Kill Phil, Kill Everyone, The Raiser’s Edge and Let’s Play Poker – are available for purchase at the PokerMedia Australia store.

Lee Nelson – 32,000
David Gorr – Busted


5.55pm: Hollywood Tran





Michael Tran (pictured above) wasn’t sure whether to look sheepish or ecstatic after admitting that he ‘might have’ slow-rolled his opponent in a big pot he recently hauled.

The Star poker room regular picked up Queens and decided to just flat an opponent’s unusually large open of 2,500 (with blinds at 150/300). Deducing his opponent held a medium pair (9-9 to be precise), Tran was pleased to see a 7-3-3 flop fall and quickly re-raised his opponents 4,000 c-bet to 12,000.

His opponent shoved but Tran took a few seconds to call before slamming his cards down on the table. The turn and river came 7-7 and Tran moved up to 60,000.

Relaying the hand to PokerMedia Australia, we asked him if he had slow-rolled. “No, no, it wasn’t a slow-roll,” he smiled.

A bit of Hollywood then? “Maybe ... but you can’t say that!” he laughed before returning to his seat.


5.35pm: 4-bet, 5-bet, 6-bet, 7!


Sheldon Mayer (pictured above) was extremely excited to tell us about the pre-flop 7-bet pot he was just involved in. He and an opponent decided to get into somewhat of a min-raising war and after repeatedly re-popping it eventually got it all in with Mayer holding a dominating A-A to his rival’s A-K. He is up to 70,000.


5.30pm: Barrett busto

Josh Barrett raced out of the blocks today with a double-up on one of the very first hands of the day, but his luck has just run out after getting it in pre-flop with Aces against Kings. Life was looking rosy again for the one-time big stack as the flop and turn blanked but a King on the river proved disastrous Barrett as he was tumbled out of the tournament.


5.10pm: Cheesed off

Scott Ricotta has been running hot today – so hot that he knows he can get it in bad and still get there in the end. Having recently busted yet another player when they shoved their 9s into his Aces, he has just added another scalp to his list after having a short-stack shove for their last 5,125 following Ricotta’s mid-position open.

Ricotta tanked for 30 seconds before announcing “I’m going to call … but only because I’m running so good!” The table burst into laughter as he rolled over Kh-10h and his opponent J-J.


Sure enough, the flop provided him with flush and straight draws to go with his over-card as it came 6h-9h-7s, the turn 3h completing his flush and moving his stack up over the 70,000 mark. He now sits on 72,000 while his opponent heads to the rail wondering where it all went wrong.

5pm: Four down, four to go

Players have just returned from their second 10-minute break of the day with blinds now at 150/300 with an ante of 25. The arrival of Level 5 means we are officially at the halfway mark of the day’s play with 214 of the 246 runners remaining.


4.50pm: First prize tops $220,000

We’ve just been handed the official payout list for the main event after a total of 461 entrants created an impressive prize pool of $922,000.

The huge turnout means that whoever is crowned ANZPT Sydney champion on Sunday will pocket a whopping $226,812 with 54 players making the money. The complete payout list is as follows:


1st $226,812
2nd $144,754
3rd $80,214
4th $62,696
5th $48,405
6th $39,185
7th $29,965
8th $23,511
9th $17,518
10th $11,525
11th $11,525
12th $11,525
13th $9,220
14th $9,220
15th $9,220
16th $7,837
17th $7,837
18th $7,837
19th $6,454
20th $6,454
21st $6,454
22nd $5,532
23rd $5,532
24th $5,532
25th $5,071
26th $5,071
27th $5,071
28th $4,610
29th $4,610
30th $4,610
31st $4,610
32nd $4,610
33rd $4,610
34th $4,610
35th $4,610
36th $4,610
37th $4,149
38th $4,149
39th $4,149
40th $4,149
41st $4,149
42nd $4,149
43rd $4,149
44th $4,149
45th $4,149
46th $3,688
47th $3,688
48th $3,688
49th $3,688
50th $3,688
51st $3,688
52nd $3,688
53rd $3,688
54th $3,688


4.40pm: Jimmy G complains, doubles


We were drawn to one of the tables in the main poker room by a whole lot of commotion with Jimmy Ghobrial apparently quite upset by the actions of the female dealer. It turns out that after mucking the hands of two players that were away from the table, the dealer saw a third player returning and waited for him to return and look at his cards.

Ghobrial protested, insisting that dealers shouldn’t wait for players to return. After much yelling and confusion, poker room manager Stephen Ibrahim confirmed that the player’s cards were to be mucked.

When the rest of the table settled back into the hand, three players limped for 200 before Ghobrial decided he wasn’t having any of it and raised to 1,200. One opponent called.

The flop came Ah-Kh-8h, the caller led for 8,000 and Ghobrial shoved all-in. His opponent called and showed 2h-2c which was, surprisingly, still ahead of Ghobrial’s Qc-10h.

Not for long though as the dealer turned the Qh to hit one of Ghobrial’s myriad of outs and double him through to 30,000.

4pm: Some more stacks




Sheldon Mayer – 55,000
Gary Benson (pictured above) – 53,000
Luke Edwards – 45,000
Chad Awerbuch – 35,000
Graeme Putt – 32,000
Michael Tran – 28,000
Ben Savage – 27,000
Mel Judah – 19,000
Lee Nelson – 19,000
Jimmy Ghobrial – 14,000
Haibo Chu – 13,000
Ali Khalil – 13,000
Alain Boratuand – 12,000
Julius Colman – 11,000


4pm: Big numbers for ANZPT Sydney

We’ve just had confirmation that today’s flight has attracted 246 runners – giving us a grand total of 461 players for this year’s ANZPT Sydney main event.

Those impressive figures represent the second highest number of runners in this event since its inception in 2009 with only that inaugural year attracting more (496). Since then we’ve seen 446 players in 2010 and 373 last year. We’ll bring you the official payout list shortly.


3.30pm: Nuts to that




Maria Ho (pictured above) has been cruising along this morning and at one stage built her stack up to almost 50,000, but she has just hit a bit of a roadblock after firing three bullets into an unmovable object. Having already fired on the flop and turn, Ho bet 4,500 into the 10,600 pot on a board of Qc-7c-Kd-7h-4c only for her opponent to move all-in.

“You must have something like Kings full because you definitely don’t have the nut flush,” Ho sighed before eventually mucking. Her opponent quietly raked in the pot as Ho slips to 27,000.


2.45pm: Quads with extra cheese






Not content just to crack his opponent’s Queens, Scott Ricotta (pictured above) decided to go one better as he rivered quads to move up amongst the early chip leaders just as the first break of the day arrived.

On a 6-8-10 flop, Ricotta snap-called his opponent’s shove with pocket 10s and when the turn and river came 9-10 he moved up to 49,625. Players have just returned to the tables after their 10-minute break for Level 3 with blinds at 100/200.


2.30pm: Chip counts


Lee Nelson (pictured above) – 36,000
Dennis Huntly – 31,000
Sheldon – 30,000
David Gorr – 30,000
Ali Khalil – 20,000
Tim English – 16,000
Mark Iskander – 13,000
Van Tran – 3500


2.30pm: Leo the Lion


Apparently Leo Boxell has the Midas touch today after again besting an opponent’s set. This time it was a set of Jacks that was no match for Boxell’s turned straight holding K-Q on an A-10-5-J board.

The veteran tournament specialist managed to get it all-in after check-raising the turn and when the river came a King Boxell had eliminated an opponent and moved his stack up to 47,000.


2pm: Fold of the century


We’ve seen some tough river folds over the years but it will be hard for anyone to beat Ciaran Sharp’s (pictured above) remarkable laydown on the flop to Leo Boxell just moments ago.

Sharp raised UTG + 1 and was 3-bet by Boxell on his immediate left. Sharp called and they saw an A-9-8 flop. Sharp then check-raised Boxell’s continuation bet only for the elder statesman to move all-in over the top. Sharp tanked for a good eight minutes and actually called time on himself before incredibly folding his pocket 9s face-up. Boxell? Well he obliged by flashing his A-A. Sharp drops to 12,000 but has done well to remain alive after that hand!

Leo Boxell – 30,000
Ciaran Sharp – 12,000


1.30pm: Blinds are up

The first level has come and gone, with the blinds now up to 75/150. We’ve lost two players in the opening level with the field cut from 229 to 227. Registration is still open for the next hour.

1.20pm: Dennis the Menace




The ever-popular Dennis Huntly has certainly enjoyed his week here at The Star after winning the Pot Limit Omaha event for $10,680 on Wednesday and he stopped by our desk before taking his seat today to show us his latest business card.

And what else could it tell us about him other than he is a ‘Man of Many Talents?’

Giddy up, Dennis.


1pm: Easy come, easy go




Josh Barrett (pictured above) had barely taken his seat today before he eliminated our first player of the day to secure a crucial double-up, albeit courtesy of a little good fortune. Barrett 3-bet an opener’s raise to 1,100 with K-K before calling an opponent’s 20,000 chip shove on a 9-10-J flop.

He was in bad shape when his opponent turned over K-Q for the flopped straight but running cards gave him the winning flush and sent his stunned opponent trudging off to the rail. Barrett later explained that he had put our unlucky departee on Queens.


12.40pm: Having a Balla





For those that haven’t visited The Star since it underwent its recent $870 million redevelopment, make sure you head down sometime soon – you’re in for quite a treat. Now a truly world class destination, it not only boasts a visually stunning main gaming floor but also an array of exclusive bars and clubs as well as mouth-watering dining experiences. Among the many new restaurants at The Star is Balla, which the PokerMedia Australia crew were fortunate enough to be offered a sample of last night.

Balla marks Stefano Manfredi’s return to the Sydney dining scene with what he describes as the most Italian restaurant he has ever done. Named after Giacomo Balla, the futurist poet and painter, Balla is a modern interpretation of the classic Osteria Milanese, with a menu built around the heart of traditional Italian cuisine. The addition of a wood-fired grill to Stefano’s Italian kitchen reflects his dedication to delivering truly authentic cuisine. It also features the stylish Aperitivi Bar offering a million dollar view over Sydney Harbour.

Stefano Manfredi is one of Australia’s leading chefs and recognised as a master of modern Italian cuisine internationally. He has influenced the way we eat since first opening The Restaurant Manfredi in 1983, which was awarded a coveted Three Chefs Hats by The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 1995. More than two decades later, Manfredi has owned and operated several restaurants in Sydney, most notably the award winning The Restaurant Manfredi (1983-1996) and Bel Mondo (1996-2002).

The distinctively Italian yet undeniably modern menu boasts some of Sydney’s freshest seafood – last night we sampled some delectable Sydney Rock Oysters and a range of fresh fish including King George Whiting and Blue Eye.

Be sure to take the opportunity to sample the best that Balla has to offer when you next stop in at The Star.


12.30pm: Cards are in the air

Welcome to Day 1b of ANZPT Sydney. After a late start and late finish to last night’s opening flight, today’s action returns to a 12.30pm start with a packed field of close to 250 players expected – pushing the total number of starters well over the 400-mark.

Considering last year’s event attracted only 373 players across the two flights, that’s quite an impressive achievement for the poker crew here at The Star.

214 players took their seats yesterday with 98 progressing through to Saturday’s Day 2. Among them are Tony Hachem, Michael O’Grady, Jesse McKenzie, Billy Argyros, Sam Capra, Joel Dodds, Liam O’Rourke, Andrew Scarf, Jackson Zheng, Martin Kozlov, Daniel Laidlaw, reigning champion Michael Kanaan and 2012 Aussie Millions champion Oliver Speidel.

Not so fortunate were big names Brendon Rubie, Jonathan Karamalikis, Jason Gray, Aaron Benton, Grant Levy, Andrew Hinrichsen, Daniel Neilson and Tom Grigg who were all among the Day 1a casualties.

The end of day chip leader was Tobin Ryall who sits behind 138,500 and today’s field face a tough task to overhaul during the scheduled eight one-hour levels.

Despite a plethora of big names taking part yesterday, we’ve spotted plenty more familiar faces wandering in this morning including one of the world’s top female players in Maria Ho, former Aussie Millions champions Lee Nelson and David Gorr, Leo Boxall, Mel Judah, Gary Benson, Ali Khalil, Mike Ivin, Tim English and Graeme Putt.

As we speak, play has just begin for the day with blinds at 50/100 and a 20,000 starting stack. Make sure you stay tuned to PokerMedia Australia as we bring you all today’s live action!