SYDNEY CHAMPS: Capelin’s title defence starts impressively

Reporting by Ben Blaschke

Among the pacesetters is last year’s winner Andrew Capelin, who enjoyed a solid start to his title defence to bag up a healthy 84,400 in chips and sit comfortably inside the top 20 chip counts. Although he is far from a regular in tournaments, the Sydney local said he would love nothing more than to enjoy another deep run in 2011 as he looks to defend his title.

“Oh for sure, I want to make the final table. To go deep again this year would be great. I’ll give it my best shot and who knows? I’m feeling pretty good. It’s nice to get through to the second day and it’s nice to have some chips,” he said.

Capelin started solidly enough yesterday as he gradually built his stack but it was one monster hand in which he tripled up that really set him on his way. Raising the cut-off with 10-9 off-suit, he was 3-bet out of the blinds but decided to see a flop after a number of other players flat-called to make it a five-way pot.

“And the flop comes down 6-7-8 so I flopped top straight and got it in against bottom straight and pocket Kings. It was just a dream hand really. After that it was just a case of hanging in there and grinding – picking things up here and there,” he recalled.

Not so fortunate was 2009 winner Jarred Graham who couldn’t recover from a crippling hand early on when his flopped set of Queens was no match for an opponent’s Broadway straight.

There was also no joy for young guns Brendon Rubie and Daniel Neilson or popular tournament regular Bruno Portaro who were all eliminated early in flight two. Despite their absence there will still be plenty of big names returning for Day 2 as they look to reach tomorrow’s final table, including Jackie Glazier, Michael Tran, Justin Cohen, Jai Kemp and John Caridad.

Another 178 players took their seats yesterday, bringing the total number of entrants in this year’s event to 313 and creating a prize pool of almost $500,000.

$1650 Sydney Champs Main Event (top 10 chip counts after day 1 flights)

Hun Wei Lee 212,000
Julian Malki 198,600
Avi Ayalon 116,900
Mark Staples 112,700
Connie Lai 108,100
Jackie Glazier 106,400
Cieran Sharpe 100,000
Eamon Lunders 97,600
Michael Tran 91,700
Michael O’Grady 91,100

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

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