66 to return and battle for 60 spots in the money
The chips are bagged and tagged after a dramatic day of poker in The MAIN EVENT at Crown Melbourne. After 351 players returned to the felt for day two, just 66 will be back tomorrow, meaning six unlucky players will miss out on a slice of the $559,000 first prize.
During today’s nine 40-minute levels, the chip lead changed hands on several occasions but it was Marion Fisher from Campbelltown (NSW) and Victoria’s Jim O’Bryan who finished neck and neck atop the count on 767,000 and 760,000 respectively.
The grandmother of five said she took some risks at the right time and they paid off. “I’m just having fun,” she said. “That’s why I play poker and that’s what I’ll keep doing tomorrow. If the chips fall my way then that’s even better.” Marion, who usually plays at Green Valley in Sydney’s south-west said her performance today was her best yet. “To play well in a big event like this is the icing on the cake,” she said.
Others prominently placed heading into the final day of play include Nathan Gauci (604,000), James Kavanagh (589,000), Jason Hamilton (569,000), Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (539,000), Rick Nayar (469,000), Shane Slack (467,000), Alex Falon (450,000) and Daniel Skelton (443,000).
It will be an early night for The MAIN EVENT players with day three scheduled to kick-off at 10am AEDST. The PMA team have already set the alarms and will be here tomorrow for the race to decide the inaugural MAIN EVENT champion.
Mitch back to fight another day
We’re going to fall short of the bubble with the field still at 67 players when the order went up that just three more hands would be dealt. Two who’ll miss the money are Achala Hewarathna and Aaron Young, who watched his pocket eights overtaken by Nathan Gauci’s A-K when an ace appeared in the window.
In contrast, 21-year-old Mitch Oates will be back tomorrow. He’s hoping to better his previous highest cash of $5000 with a deep run in The MAIN EVENT. But it’s not the money that keeps the graphic design student coming back to the table.
“It’s a great way to meet lots of different people,” he said. His proud Dad, Stuart has spent the past two days cheering on Mitch from the rails. “I always watch him play,” Stuart said.
Three hands to play
Just seven players are going miss out on one of the 60 positions in the money as the clock ticks down to the end of day two in The MAIN EVENT. Jim O’Bryan leads the field on 735,000 from Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (NSW) 640,000, Daniel Skelton (NSW) 536,000, Rick Nayar (Vic) 400,000, James Kavanagh (NSW) 490,000, Shane Slack (NSW) 480,000, Jason Hamilton (Qld) 416,000, Daniel Smith (NSW) 400,000, Veronica Barwick (NSW) 360,000, Donald Davies (WA) 350,000 and Gary Byrnes (Vic) 305,000.
10 away from the money
Nick Silich has hovered around the chip lead for much of the day but has fallen disappointingly short of the money after he was sent to the rail by Rick Nayar. It was As-10s for the West Australian against pocket kings, with the board of Qd-6d-4s-Qc-4d propelling Nayar’s stack above 500,000.
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson’s charge up the chip count has also continued after he eliminated Justin Watson. Scott-Hutchinson’s pocket eights held up on a board that fell Jh-7s-7h-9c-Jc against Watson’s Ac-3h. Denise Chen has also just been eliminated. We’re just 10 spots away from the money with 18 minutes to go, and all players have been told to remove their headphones as the tension mounts.
Busted queens leave John not so jolly
Recent departure John Jolly was eliminated form The MAIN EVENT when his pocket queens were cracked by Marion Fisher’s A-10 but he didn’t regret shoving pre-flop. “Those queens were screaming at me,” he said. “I could have called her pre-flop raise of 60,000 and waited to see the flop, but I only had 180,000 so it didn’t make sense to risk one third of my chips. I figured I was better off coming over the top.”
The A- J- 5 flop wasn’t a pleasant sight for John and consecutive 9s on the turn and river didn’t improve his hand. He was hoping to beat his previous best finish of 58 in a field of 700. But instead he is now lining up to try his luck in another Crown tourney.
Glory for Blaze
Patience can be a virtue as the spectacularly-named Blaze Scott-Hutchinson just discovered after he flopped a set of queens to triple-up against pocket nines and A-3. Meanwhile, at the other end of the table, Matt Winter turned a shade of grey after deducing that his Ah-Jh would have improved to a royal flush! The MAIN EVENT field is down to 75, with some of the unlucky players to fall short of the money including Arthur Panaretos, Kirsty Bailey, Eugene Schuster, David Murrin, John Darmanin and Souraya Zaarour.
O’Bryan is simply flyin’
With just under an hour to play on day two, the field is down to just 83 with the latest casualties comprising Floyd Tighe, Marcolina Jesus, Tony Tavella, Steven Perich and Brett Campbell. Victoria’s Jimmy O’Bryan is the chip leader on 735,000 – he’s holding court on the feature table with plenty of support from his fellow Murray region players. Such is the excitement in the room, staff are having a tough time keeping spectators out of the tournament area – like sheepdogs trying to round up a stubborn ewe!
Ruth delivers the truth
Ruth Jones (pictured below) doesn’t mind being the short stack on a table of chip leaders. The bookkeeper from the Sydney South region is sitting on table 26 with Daniel Skelton and Veronica Barwick. “I’m happy to be playing with people who can afford to double me up,” Ruth said. “My problem is I’m not getting any decent cards.” She even folded her favourite hand of 7-10 suited before the flop, but was glad she did when Nick Silich showed her A-K.
Brown is the new black
The countdown is at 92 – just 32 short of the money with two levels to play on day two of The MAIN EVENT. Latest departures have included Wes Edmonds (crippled when Matt Winter’s A-Q improved to two-pair on the flop against his A-K), Aaron DeVries, Brian Whittaker, Corey Jones, Michael Ryan and Alex Krepapas. Blinds have just increased to 5000/10,000 with an ante of 1000, and the chip average is up to 187,000. We’ve also noticed several players nursing Crown’s famous chocolate brown tournament chips, which are worth 25,000 each.
State v state battle heats up
With less than 100 players still chasing the first MAIN EVENT title, we thought we’d take a look at the state-by-state breakdown of the contenders. More than half the remaining players (52 to be exact) are from NSW while there are 26 Victorians still in the field. The MAIN EVENT champion could also come from Queensland (13), Western Australia (7) or South Australia (3) but sadly, the title and $120,000 first prize package won’t be heading to the Apple Isle or NZ.
Gauci cops yellow card
It’s all been happening on table 28 where Gary Ross has just been KOed after his A-K failed to connect against the pocket kings of Danny Burke. Earlier, the highly animated and excitable Nathan Gauci was issued a one-orbit penalty for repeatedly standing while still in a hand. He’s nervously pacing just beyond the rail waiting to retake his seat. In the 20 minutes since the last break, Gary Devreux, Pece Ognenovski and Michele Lofthouse have also been eliminated.
Race to the money on in earnest
The 107 contenders for The MAIN EVENT title are hovering near the rail as the end of the second break of the day approaches. It’s been a frenetic afternoon with more than 230 players hitting the rail since the commencement of play. After six 40-minute levels, we have three more to play today (starting at level 19 – 4000/8000 with an ante of 500). By the end of play, we should be very close to the money.
The top 10 stacks are held by Daniel Skelton (NSW) 515,000, Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 501,500, Veronica Barwick (NSW) 430,000, James Kavanagh (NSW) 340,000, Willie Schroeter (Qld) 320,000, Elise Brown (NSW) 310,000, Deborah James (Qld) 300,000, Rick Nayar (Vic) 300,000, Jason Varga (NSW) 260,000 and Con Stikas (NSW) 250,000. Click here for the latest complete chip count.
Luke delivers 1-2 KO combination
In dramatic three-way action Gold Coast player Alec Luke (pictured below) scooped one of the biggest pots of the day when his A-K held up against Kylie Parker’s pocket 8s and Rob Andrews’ pocket nines.
The overcards improved with a flop of A-J-10 and stayed in front with another J on the turn and 6 on the river. Kylie and Rob headed to the rail and Alec was left to organise his newly acquired stack of 300,000.
Daniel Flynn looked in good shape holding A-7 on a flop of A-7-4 against an opponent’s pocket nines. That was until a third 9 fell on the turn, ending his shot at MAIN EVENT immortality. We’ve also just farewelled Tyler Perhouse from NSW.
Keepin’ cool at The MAIN EVENT
The rate of eliminations has barely slowed all day, leaving just 120 players chasing one of the 60 spots in the money and a guaranteed payout of $1800. For the first time in the tournament, players have been condensed into the section below the high stakes area creating an awesome atmosphere with spectators packed around watching the action. And with the temperature nudging the high 30s outside, who can blame the majority for nursing a cool beverage!
Recent additions to the rail have included Tracy Wilson, Shane Batten, Matt Riley, Nathan Purton and SA’s Lara Hildebrand, who just watched her A-K lose a race to pocket deuces on a board that came 3-Q-9-4-6. Alan Casas has also just been eliminated at the hands of Lesley Cairns when he ran jacks into aces.
Skelton tees-off on new challenge
Our new chip leader Daniel Skelton qualified for The MAIN EVENT while taking a break from his number one passion – golf. “Poker is really just a hobby,” he said. “I’ve never done this well in an event of this size before.” When the 21-year-old is not on the greens working on reducing his handicap of three, the Novocastrian is studying for a commerce degree.
New challengers emerge from the pack
We have two new names at the top of the chip count with Daniel Skelton of NSW up to 520,000 while Jim O’Bryan (pictured below) of Victoria is on 480,000. Details of Skelton’s rally will be available in our next update, while we just watched O’Bryan KO two players on the same hand when his A-6 flopped trip sixes against the pocket kings of Ahmed Eid and J-9 of a short-stacked player. Eid, who was among the chip leaders, looked totally defeated as he counted out his stack and shipped it across the table.
Aaron’s turning it up to 11
Table 43 is home to three of the big stacks in play this afternoon. Veronica Barwick started the day with 147,300 and has continued to build her stack, maintaining her position among the chip leaders with 325,000. Her solid play has inspired Rick Nayar to grow his stack to 260,000 and Aaron DeVries (pictured below) is also doing well with 207,000. Rick, of Mordialloc (Victoria) said he would prefer to be playing against a table of short stacks, but was enjoying some banter with Aaron, 34, of New South Wales.
When he’s not chatting with other players Aaron is listening to a selection of hip-hop to keep him going. He’s also hoping his wife will be prepared to continue to entertain the kids at Melbourne Zoo while he builds his stack. “I didn’t think I’d do this well and I have my wife and kids with me,” Aaron said. “We were planning on making the weekend a bit of a holiday.”
The state of play
We’re rapidly approaching the halfway point of day two in The MAIN EVENT at Crown, with fewer than 170 of the 559 players still in contention for one of the 60 spots in the money. That means more than two-thirds of the starting field have been eliminated. Blinds are at 2500/5000 with an ante of 500 and the chip average is just under 100,000.
The top 10 chip counts belong to Veronica Barwick (NSW) on 325,000, Nick Silich (WA) 322,000, Matthew Luketic (Vic) 255,000, Aaron DeVries (NSW) 207,000, Daniel Skelton (NSW) 206,000, Jay Macapagal (NSW) 205,000, Ahmed Eid (NSW) 196,000, Steven Perich (WA) 175,000, Shane Slack (NSW) 175,000 and Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 175,000. Full chip count available here.
Hard to the core
Alan Casas (pictured below) is hoping an apple a day will keep the bad beats away. The Sydneysider is balancing a fresh apple atop his chip stack. “I had a bigger apple yesterday but I ate it,” Alan said. He’s also using an electronic apple to keep his heat rate under control. “I’ve programmed a whole lot of R’n’B into my iPod to keep me chilled while I’m playing,” he said. Despite being a regular at The Star in Sydney, Alan said the MAIN EVENT was the biggest tournament he had contested. “The prize is a big drawcard,” he said.
Case ace wins the race
Tracy Wilson’s stack is back up to 65,000 after a heart-stopping hand on table 33. It was Wilson’s pocket aces up against A-J, but she reeled as the flop came J-J-2. The turn 10 brought no joy, before the case ace landed on the river to make her full-house. Another player at the table revealed he’d folded pocket queens while holding a stack of less than five big blinds! At the end of level 16, our chip leaders are Nick Silich and Veronica Barwick on 325,000 while we’ve just farewelled Jason Thompson, Bevan Narayan and Billy Oggero.
Drive it like you stole it
South Australian Lara Hildebrand is on the ride of her life with a stolen car. OK, it’s a Matchbox car and it was stolen by her three-year-old son, but when it came to selecting a card protector for her first trip to the Crown Poker Room Lara couldn’t think of anything more perfect.
“I found it in the house about six months ago and I had never seen it before,” Lara said. “I asked my three kids where it came from and my youngest confessed to stealing it.”
After trying in vain to find the car’s rightful owner it was confiscated by Lara. “I couldn’t let him keep it and what better thing to use in poker than a stolen car!” she said. The decision has worked a treat with the 40-year-old sitting on a stack of about 130,000.
Gauci gaining traction
Nathan Gauci’s chip graph looks like the EKG of a heart attack patient after a roller coaster ride to start day two of The MAIN EVENT. He started the day with just under 100,000 but tumbled to less than 20,000 in the early going. However, he’s now rebuilt much of the damage after his turned set of aces accounted for the rivered set of queens for Terence Revell, sending Gauci back to about 80,000. The latest player cards to land on the reporting desk, signalling the player’s departure, comprise Robert Waghorn, George Palermo, Jo McDonald, Stevo Roney, Chris Rowe and Charlie Elias.
‘Sorry mate, but it is The MAIN EVENT!”
Ahmed Eid made one of the toughest calls of his life yesterday, electing to ditch his mate’s wedding in favour of the MAIN EVENT. “I realised I was meant to be at this wedding and I booked a flight back. The plan was to go home for the wedding and then come back to Melbourne and keep playing,” the Sydneysider said.
But after some quick calculations Ahmed realised his stack of 30,000 would be demolished by blinds and antes if he left the event. “I decided to stay,” he said. The move allowed him to nurse his stack up to 80,000. He lost $300 on the flights and is yet to face his mate. “He’ll be pretty pissed. Hopefully I can win some cash and make it up to him,” Ahmed said.
That’s how Rick rolls
The break came just in time for Rick Nayar’s heartbeat to fall somewhere back into the normal range after he claimed big pot in the final hand of level 15. The money went in after the flop of 2-4-5, with Nayar turning over pocket queens while his opponent revealed pocket fives for middle set.
Nayar’s despair turned to ecstasy after a Q landed on the turn, with the river A earning him a wad of yellow 5000 chips. When play resumes after the break, it will be level 16 (2000/4000 with an ante of 400). By our estimates, the field is down to 220 players.
Elise keeping the boys honest
A little bit of honey can go a long way at the poker table as Manoj Kapoor discovered. Facing off against his table’s chip leader, Elise Brown, Manoj had to decide if he wanted to pay 13,000 to see the flop. A smile and a wink across the table was all it took to convince Elise to promise to show her cards if he folded. Manoj folded and Elise revealed A-Q giving her two overcards to Manoj’s pocket sevens. “I only agreed because you’re such a little sweetie,” she said.
Barwick bounds ahead
Veronica Barwick’s stack continues to grow and based on the chip counts coming from the awesome Full House Group team assisting on the floor today, her count is up to 290,400 – good for a clear chip lead. With 15 minutes before the first break of the day, 242 players remain with the chip average just under 70,000. That’s of little consolation to our latest departures including David Harty, Jason Petrovski, Grant Meyer, Michael Munro, Johann Walla, Monique Duval and Victoria’s entrant in the APL Player of the Year Final Steve Kane.
Pub poker veteran loves what he sees
There’s no doubt that Alex Falon (pictured below) is serious about his poker. He was the 40th member to join the APL when it started in New South Wales more than six years ago and played in the first pub poker night organised by the league. “Events like this one are fantastic for poker,” he said.
“So many of the players here have never played at a venue like Crown before or in an event of this size. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them.” Alex is using The MAIN EVENT as a practise run for the WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas later this year. “I’ve already booked my flights and my accommodation at the Bellagio.”
Davies plays cards close to his chest
West Australian Donald Davies (pictured below) started day two in outright third chip position, and is thoroughly enjoying his first trip to Crown Melbourne. But the Mandurah man, 23, was reluctant to discuss his strategy for today with his tablemates listening in. “I’m not giving anything away!” he said.
Show us the way, Jay
Blinds are up to 1500/3000 with an ante of 300 in The MAIN EVENT as we commence level 15 – the last before the first break on day two here at Crown. Jay Macapagal from NSW, who started the day in eighth chip position overall, appears to the tournament leader with a stack of 200,000. At the other end of the list, we’ve recently farewelled Gary Ross, Kevin Gardener (his A-K failed to connect against pocket queens), Jarrod Toon, Gary Lake, Gary Seed and John Sultana.
Veronica’s raising the bar
Leading lady Veronica Barwick, 55, (pictured below) from New South Wales was surprised to learn she was fourth in chips at the start of the day. “When I was counting them up last night I was happy because I knew it was a pretty good stack,” Veronica said. “I thought I’d be in the top 20 or 30. Top five is amazing!”
Tighe on the rise
The field in The MAIN EVENT has been whittled down to less than 280 players after a frenetic opening hour of play. After a testing first day, we just watched Sydney’s Charlie Elias snare a valuable triple-up when his Ah-Js improved to top-pair against pocket jacks and pocket queens on a board that came 9d-Ad-8c-Kh-Td.
Likewise, Floyd Tighe sent two players to the rail after his pocket jacks improved to a full-house against the K-10 and A-Q of his rivals after the dealer spread the board A-9-K-J-9. Shortly after Tighe claimed another scalp when he rivered an ace to make a pair of aces, overtaking his opponent’s pocket 10s. Other KOed in the past 20 minutes include Graeme Wright, William Allen, Steve Evans, Paul Pizimolas and Jason Kaeser.
Waterhouse eyes rails run to final table
Terrance Waterhouse’s first visit to the Crown Poker Room is going well, with the 20-year-old finishing second in chips at the end of the first day of The MAIN EVENT. A full time poker player, Terrance (pictured below) travelled to Crown from NSW on his own and is focussed on repeating yesterday’s efforts. “If I play like I did yesterday I should be able to make the final table,” he said.
Another minute, another elimination
We’ve ticked into level 14 (1200/2400 with an ante of 300 of day two of The MAIN EVENT, and the steady stream of departures is showing few signs of slowing. Latest players to hit the rail include Dominic Romeo, Newcastle’s Elizabeth Legovich, Marnie Luke, Sue Davis, Troy Valentini, John Saratsopoulos and The Rail’s Daryl Westley (catch today’s edition of the popular pub poker podcast at www.therail.com.au). Clint Robinson’s day is also over after running pocket queens into pocket kings – a day at the tables Clint would rather forget.
Richard’s hoping for riches
Day one chip leader Richard Ehlers (pictured below) is hoping to learn from past mistakes and hold on to as many of his 168,600 as possible today. “I don’t want to be chip happy,” the Frankston (Victoria) man said. “I’ve been in good positions before and played too many hands thinking I had room to move because of my big chip stack.” When he’s not playing poker the 46-year-old is a project leader for a software house.
Silich sets sail
In addition to the departure of several players (including Gloria Pennell, Richard Allen, Brian Savic, Dale Seaman Dale Seaman, Craig Evans, Mark Pendergast and Phil Lambert), we have a new chip leader early on day two of The MAIN EVENT.
Nick Silich (pictured above) is up to 190,000 after taking down a big pot against Joe Cisca. With the flop showing Ks-Js-4c, Silich shoved all-in and Cisca snap-called. Silich showed pocket fours, while Cisca’s K-Q needed plenty of help. The turn 10d and river 5h were no help, and Silich scooped a pot worth 190,000.
Clint shows how it’s done
Clint Robinson (pictured below) is one of the bravest players we’ve ever met in the poker arena. Born with Cerebral Palsy, he also recently underwent successful surgery to have tumour removed from behind his eye. Clint is unable to work or drive but neither of those hurdles stop him playing poker.
If you ever wanted an advertisement of how poker should be played, we just witnessed it at table 26 where Clint called the all-in of Aaron DeVries with the board showing 6c-7h-Kc-7s and showed black aces. DeVries revealed K-Q and another player proclaimed she’d folded a king.
Sure enough, the case king sailed down the river to give DeVries the hand. He was apologetic, but Clint flashed a grin, said no worries, had a quick chat with his mates on the trail and resumed his seat. Classy, young man, very classy.
We’re in the starter’s hands
Players are making their way into the Crown Poker Room for the start of day two in The MAIN EVENT. There are clearly a few sore heads after last night’s Players Party at Fusion, but the bulk of the remaining 325 players snuck away early to ensure some solid sack time ahead of today’s nine 40-minute levels.
More than 30 players will start the day with less than 15,000 in chips and with the average at 51,600 and blinds starting at 1000/2000 and an ante of 200, they’ll be the ones feeling the immediate pressure. It promises to be a lively start to play!
It’s Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield, but expect the competition to be
just as fierce here at Crown today for day 2 of The MAIN EVENT
Turning up the heat for day 2
Crown Casino is going to provide a haven for the remaining 325 players in The MAIN EVENT today with the temperature expected to soar to 38 degrees in Melbourne today. But despite the air-conditioned comfort of the Crown Poker Room, there’ll still be plenty of sweating as players refocus their aims towards surviving day two for a shot at one of the top 60 spots in the money.
The field are playing for a slice of a $559,000 prizepool, with at least 60 players guaranteed a minimum payout of $1800 while the winner will take home a package of cash and prizes to the value of $120,000. Due to the relatively high number of players who survived the day, Crown Poker officials elected not to redraw the field, with players returning to the exact seats they departed yesterday.
Richard Ehlers from Melbourne’s south-east is the official day one chip leader on 168,600 with NSW’s Terrance Waterhouse (153,600), Donald Davies form Western Australia (150,100), NSW’s Veronica Barwick (147,300) and Queenslander Jason Hamilton (145,800) filling out the top five. Nine 40-minute levels (up from 30 minutes on day one) are scheduled for day two, which is scheduled to kick-off in about an hour (12.10pm AEDST).
The MAIN EVENT official day 1 chip count (top 25)
Richard Ehlers (VIC) 168,600
Terrance Waterhouse (NSW) 153,600
Donald Davies (WA) 150,100
Veronica Barwick (NSW) 147,300
Jason Hamilton (QLD) 145,800
Graham Hein (VIC) 145,100
Phil Davis (VIC) 141,500
Jay Macapagal (NSW) 140,800
Rick Nayar (VIC) 125,500
Josh Clinton (NSW) 122,300
Jason Steindl (QLD) 116,800
John Jolly (QLD) 115,900
Paul Sayers (VIC) 115,500
Charles Im (NSW) 114,100
Shivan Abdine (NSW) 113,700
Joe Giaquinta (VIC) 110,900
Steven Perich (WA) 107,200
Lara Hildebrand (SA) 105,500
Rachel Beard (WA) 104,200
John Habour (VIC) 102,500
Joe Cisca (NSW) 100,500
Gary Byrnes (VIC) 100,000
Nathan Gauci (NSW) 99,300
Clint Robinson (VIC) 98,900
Abraham Daoud (NSW) 95,500
MAIN EVENT structure (day 2)
Level 13: 1000/2000 (ante 200)
Level 14: 1200/2400 (ante 300)
Level 15: 1500/3000 (ante 300)
Level 16: 2000/4000 (ante 400)
Level 17: 2500/5000 (ante 500)
Level 18: 3000/6000 (ante 500)
Level 19: 4000/8000 (ante 500)
Level 20: 5000/10000 (ante 1000)
Level 21: 6000/12,000 (ante 1000)
MAIN EVENT Prizepool
1 $120,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
2 $85,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
3 $55,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
4 $40,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
5 $25,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
6 $22,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
7 $19,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
8 $16,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
9 $14,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
10 $12,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)