It was a long yet eventful day in sunny Sydney for the third running of the NPL500 – the marquee event of the National Poker League – which was being played at The Star for the very first time.
When play kicked off at 10.30am there were 259 players – ranging from recreational NPL qualifiers to established tournament pros – all dreaming of poker glory but by the time they had worked their way through 15 levels just 56 remained.
Taking their seats along side NPL qualifiers from the length of Australia’s east coast were notables including Singapore pro Bryan Huang, Star Poker ambassadors Grant Levy and Aaron Benton, Daniel Neilson, Brendon Rubie, Jesse McKenzie, Jordan Westmorland, Rhys Gould and inaugural NPL500 champion Terry Tserdanis.
2011 ANZPT Sydney winner Michael Kanaan, Errolyn Strang (2011 Sydney Champs Main Event winner), veteran pro Graeme Putt, Jason Pritchard, Jimmy Ghobrial, Mike Ivin and four players who featured in the recent Sydney Champs Main Event final table alongside Bryan Huang – Dave Allan, Kahle Burns, Suzy Khoueis and Ismail Ismail – were also in action today.
But such poker luminaries were of little concern to Ashleigh Quach (pictured), who finished day one as the chip leader with a stack of 264,000. Geoff Budd was second in chips with 218,500, followed by Ron Oakley on 175,500.
Quach was extremely short-stacked heading into the final two hours of play but a series of double-ups and a monster pot in which she rivered a better two pair than her opponent helped her rocket up the leaderboard.
She will return tomorrow with dreams of claiming the NPL500 trophy and a first prize that includes $102,000 in cash, an Audi A4 convertible and a ticket to the next NPL World Tour event in Manila valued at $3000. First on the agenda, however, will be the bubble with 25 players set to be paid.
Join us here at PokerMedia Australia from 12.30pm tomorrow (Sunday) as we bring you all the action live from the race to the final table of the NPL500 III.
NPL500 III prizepool
1 $102,000 + $95,000 Audi A4 2.0L TFSI S-Line + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
2 $77,000 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
3 $47,000 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
4 $27,000 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
5 $17,000 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
6 $14,500 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
7 $12,000 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket
8 $10,000 + $3000 NPLWT Manila ticket