SYDNEY CHAMPS: Thomas tops opening day

Reporting by Ben Blaschke

After seven hours of play on day 1A of the $330 buy-in Opening Event of the 2011 Sydney Championships later it was Uzziah Thomas sitting pretty at the top with a massive 176,200 in chips. But there are some big names bringing up the rear with both 2009 APPT Sydney champ Aaron Benton and 2010 Melbourne Championships winner Brendon Rubie enjoying solid starts.

Benton was particularly impressive as he bulldozed his way to fifth spot in the chip counts with 72,000 while Rubie had to bide his time as he finished with 34,500.

Pete Lackovic, Terry Tserdanis and Donna Ciric also progressed but Graeme Putt was one of the notable casualties. He will have a chance to start afresh when the third flight and repechage round starts on Thursday.

Benton said he was pleased with his progress after he returned to form by winning a side event at last week’s APPT Queenstown.

“It was a pretty steady day and was able to build a big stack by the end of the day,” he said. “I made a fortuitous mistake towards the end to be honest with pocket 8s on a J-high board. I thought I bet 4500 but it was a dirty stack and I actually bet 9500.

“A gentleman shoves and it as only 10,000 more to call and when I called him off he only had A-high. I think he thought I’d folds but I don’t fold for 10k in a 70k pot. So that sort of finished my day quite nicely.”

Just 39 of the 122 starters survived the opening flight but they will be joined by plenty more with two flights remaining before Friday’s Day 2. The Opening Event is the first of nine on the 2011 Sydney Championships schedule with the Main Event due to kick off next Thursday September 8.

$330 Opening Event day 1A top 10 chip counts:

Uzziah Thomas 176200

David Rockwell 84,200

M Dias 81,300

Michael Harrington 72,800

Aaron Benton 72,000

Adam Ratten 61,900

Tat Hung Wong 61,800

Elias Potamianous 51,800

Nati Hassoun 51,700

Matt Rolfe 45,100

• For all information and results from the 2011 Sydney Poker Championships, click here

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