NPL 500III 2012 – Day 1

10.45pm: Quach takes Day 1 chip lead

It’s been a long yet eventful day here in sunny Sydney with the third running of the popular NPL500 being held at The Star for the very first time.

When play kicked off at 10.30am there were 259 players – ranging from recreational ‘pub poker’ qualifiers to established tournament pros – dreaming of poker glory but by the time we had worked our way through 15 Levels just 56 remained.

Among those still in contention for the title are Jimmy Ghobrial, Errolyn Strang, Jason Pritchard and Laurence Hall.

Not so lucky, however, were the likes of Brendon Rubie, Aaron Benton, Grant Levy, Bryan Huang, Daniel Neilson, Jesse McKenzie, David Allan and Rhys Gould.

That’s of little concern to Ashleigh Quach who ends Day 1 as our tournament chip leader with a monster stack of 264,000. Not far behind her is Geoff Budd with 218,500 and Ron Oakley with 175,500.

Incredibly, 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 saw 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 money bubble with 25 players set to be paid.

Join us here at PokerMedia Australia from 12.30pm tomorrow as bring you all the live reporting action from NPL500 III.

10.20pm: Monster stacks

250,000 – Ashleigh Quach
200,000 – Geoff Budd
190,000 – Ron Oakley
175,000 – Zion Chan
175,000 – Peter Oaks
150,000 – Errolyn Strang
150,000 – Victor Teng
140,000 – Jason Pritchard
140,000 – Jimmy Ghobrial
140,000 – Joshua Kelty

10pm: The home stretch

The clock has just ticked over into our last level of the day which means that in 40 minutes we’ll be bagging and tagging! Blinds are now at 2,000/4,000 with 65 players remaining.

9.50pm: What a Quach

Only an hour or so ago Ashleigh Quach was desperate for a double-up with just 20,000 in front – now she is chip leader with a massive 230,000!

It all began when she shoved A-5 into Queens and managed to double-up, then did it all again before the following hand unfolded.

After a raise and re-raise pre-flop, the dealer spread a K-Q-J flop with Colm Patrick Galloway leading out for 16,000. Quach then shoved over the top with Galloway making the call.

The cards were tabled and it was Quach needing help with her A-Q trailing the Q-J of Galloway. Of course, it was a brutal Ace that spiked on the river as Quach hauled in the biggest pot of the tournament so far and left Galloway crippled.

9.30pm: One, two punch

Jason Abrahim (pictured) has just knocked out two players and lifted his stack up to about 70,000 in the process after seeing both opponents shove into him and looking down at K-K.

Jared Summer opened the action, moving all in holding Ad-8d with another opponents shoving over the top holding A-Q.

The board ran out 10-5-8-7-5 and Abrahim claps his hands with glee as his NPL500 dreams continue on.

9.20pm: Level up

We’ve just started Level 14, our second last level of the evening, with blinds now at 1,500/3,000. There are 77 players remaining.

9.05pm: Short stacks struggling

We’re certainly cutting a swathe through the field in this final session of the day with 14 players eliminated in the first 25 minutes! With blinds at 1,200/2,400 and the average stack around 60,000 there are plenty of short stacks desperate to get their money in and double and not many of them are enjoying much success at the moment.

We’re down to 84 runners.

8.25pm: Break time

We’re on our final 15-minute break of the evening. When players return blinds will be at 1,200/2,400 with three Levels remaining before we call it quits. At present there are 98 players still in the hunt.

8.20pm: Our 100k stacks

165,000 – Tty Ly (pictured)
150,000 – Daniel Marton
130,000 – Jason Pritchard
128,000 – David O’Dea
110,000 – Victor Teng
110,000 – Colm Patrick Galloway
105,000 – Abraham Kybali
100,000 – Ling Liu Estera

8.05pm: Jimmy jumping

Jimmy Ghobrial has enjoyed a good month after finishing ninth at the recent Sydney Championships for $10,616 and he just scored a big double up to move to 90,000 in chips … but not before a major scare thanks to Joe Caruso.

The action began when Ghobrial opened to 6,100 and was 3-bet to 16,000. He quickly moved all-in with Caruso making the call for 29,000 more.

Caruso turned over 10-10 and was well behind Ghobrial’s Kings until a 10 spiked on the flop, but his joy was short-lived as the dealer turned a King to cut Caruso back to size. He still sits with a very healthy 80,000.

7.45pm: Mind games

Con Rekes (pictured) has just scooped in a tidy pot at the expense of James Economos, who probably should have saved himself a few chips on the river.

On an As-Ah-8s flop, Economos led out for 1,600 and was re-raised to 4,600 by Rekes. He called and the dealer dealt the 7h. Economos checked and Rekes bet 7,000. After some thought Economos made the call.

The river brought an interesting 5s but Economos’ 5,000 bet offered Rekes around 6:1 to make the call which he duly did with A-2. Economos showed 10-10 and slides to 40,000 while Rekes moved up to 75,000.

7.15pm: Breaking tables

There has been a flurry of action amongst the floor staff here at The Star as the field continues to dwindle. A good indicator of the action so far today is the main poker pit where we started with 20 full tables today but have seen 15 of those broken down.

At the current rate it won’t be long before the final five are also broken and all players moved to the eight tables underneath the big screen near the Sports Theatre.

We currently have 129 players remaining with blinds having just risen to 800/1600.

6.50pm: Fun and games at The Star

We’ve just had a slight commotion under the big screen here at The Star with David Harrison calling the floor staff over for a ruling.

The action began when two players, including Tony Sama (pictured), limped in for 1,200 before Laurence Hall raised to 7,000. Harrison motioned to call but then pulled his chips back when he realised Hall had raised.

The dealer told Harrison his motion signalled a call but Harrison argued his case and after a five-minute break while the surveillance footage was checked, floor staff gave him the benefit of the doubt and he folded his hand.

Sama then shoved for his last 19,500 and needed help with his J-J against Hall’s A-A.

Cruelly for Hall, the dealer spread a 2-J-7 flop and when no Ace arrived Sama was back in the hunt with 42,000. Hall drops back to 50,000.

6.25pm: Ready to rumble

The dinner break is done and dusted and the cards are back in the air. We’re about to start Level 10 with blinds at 600/1,200 and 146 players remaining. Play will continue for six more levels tonight. The biggest stacks in the room are as follows:

121,000 – Peter Haddad
105,000 – Karl Jenkins
103,000 – Daniel Marton
102,000 – Alan Casas
94,000 – Ling Liu Estera
85,000 – David Harrison
85,000 – John Faaoli
82,000 – Joe Caruso
82,000 – Park Jiman
73,000 – Jazz Mathers
70,000 – Errolyn Strang
70,000 – Isaac J. Lennon

5.40pm: Dinner break

Players are about to embark on a 45-minute dinner break.

We’ve played nine 40-minute levels so far today with the field cut from 259 to 146. There are still six more levels to come tonight so we expect that number to be slashed considerably by the time we pull up stumps around 11pm.

Blinds will be at 600/1200 when we return.

5.35pm: Don’t you just hate when that happens?

John Faaoli has just scored a big double up to move to 70,000 in chips at the expense of a very unlucky Michael Kahale.

Faaoli opened in middle position to 3,000 and was met with a 3-bet from Kahale in the cut-off. Faaoli then came back over the top to 22,000 with Kahale taking his time before making the call.

The flop came 6-7-7 and Faaoli wasted no time in shipping his remaining 13,000 into the middle. Incredibly, Kahale tanked for close to five minutes before making the call with Kings, however his instincts were right as Kahale showed A-A. The turn J and river 10 didn’t help Kahale who slips to around 25,000.

5.10pm: Table games

An interesting table has formed not far away from our registration desk with 2009 Melbourne Championships Main Event winner Tony Kondevski, 2011 Sydney Championships champ Errolyn Strang, Jai Kemp, Jay Huxley and Jesse McKenzie all seated together … or they were until Kemp was just eliminated in a recent hand.

Both McKenzie and Huxley are also in need of help although Kondevski is comfortable with around 25,000.

Strang, meanwhile, has joined the chip leaders with a very healthy stack of 80,000.

4.45pm: Chipping up

Daniel Marton is on the verge of becoming the first player to crack 100,000 in chips as this year’s NPL 500 starts to take shape. The big stacks halfway through the day’s play are:

97,000 – Daniel Marton
73,000 – Ling Liu Estera
73,000 – Isaac J. Lennon
70,000 – Victor Teng
65,000 – David O’Dea

4.30pm: Ouch!

David Paul thought he was about to win a whole heap of chips when he got it in with Kings on an A-K-5 flop, but he didn’t count on John Maroulis showing A-A. That cooler was a lifesaver for Maroulis who recovers to around 30,000 with that pot while Paul is on life support with just a few thousand remaining.

3.50pm: Nothing but air for Jordan

Online gun Jordan Westmorland has just been eliminated after running his 10s in the K-K of Nicole Ebert. The board ran out 4-5-Q-J-4 and Westmorland, who finished runner up in the PokerMedia Australia $1k Special at the recent Sydney Championships, is our latest casualty.

3.45pm: We’re back

Players have returned from their break. We’re now into Level 7 with blinds at 300/600.

3.20pm: Break it up

We’ve made it through our second block of play as players depart on a brief 15-minute break. We have now played six levels with 50 players eliminated from the 259 that took their place this morning.

3.10pm: NPL 1 – Pros 0

It’s been a tough day out for the big names in the field with Brendon Rubie and Michael Tran recently joining the likes of Bryan Huang, Grant Levy and Daniel Neilson on the rail.

Needing some help are Aaron Benton, Rhys Gould, Jesse McKenzie, Jai Kemp and Jordan Westmorland while inaugural NPL500 champion Terry Tserdanis has just doubled to haul himself back to just below his starting stack.

2.45pm: The big stacks

70,000 – David O’Dea
65,000 – Daniel Marton
60,000 – John Paolini
55,000 – Tty Ly
50,000 – Michael Mayar
50,000 – Ray Ruiz
45,000 – Mike Ivin
40,000 – Con Rekes

2.20pm: Huang hung

We’ve just seen a double elimination thanks to a huge cooler hand on Table 5 – and Team Asia pro Bryan Huang is one of the casualties.

The action all happened on the 7c-3d-Jd flop with Huang, Trudie Sultana and Tty Ly getting it in to create a hefty 55,000 pot.

When the cards were tabled Huang was in huge trouble holding K-J against the pocket 3s of Sultana and 7d-8d of Ly.

The turn was a meaningless 6s but the 2d on the river gave Ly the flush and he scooped in the pot while sending both Huang and Sultana to the rail.

2.10pm: Back on the airwaves

We’ve had a few connectivity problems but are back on deck! There is no doubt that the action is starting to heat up with 239 of the 259 that started still remaining.

Among those to hit the rail so far are Grant Levy, Daniel Neilson, Mark Iskander and Luis Arrilucea who enjoyed a deep run at the recent Sydney Championships main event.

We’re currently about halfway through Level 5 with blinds at 150/300.

12.35pm: Lunch time

We’ve been playing for two hours and three levels which means players are about to embark on a 45-minute lunch break. A number of bust-outs on this third level has seen the field cut to just under 250 form our starting 259 players.

We’ll be back at around 1.20pm as NPL500 III continues!

12.15pm: No joy for Joyce

After a slow start to the day the action has really heated up in the last 20 minutes or so with a handful of bust-outs giving some players some brilliant bad beat stories to tell.

One of those is Matthew Joyce, who found himself eliminated in the space of two very unlucky hands.

The first saw he and Dave Borton get all their chips into the middle with Joyce holding 6-7 and Borton 7-8 on a 9-6-7 board. The turn was an irrelevant Q but when the Q repeated on the river, Joyce’s two pair was counterfeited and he was left short.

Just a few hands later he saw an opportunity to start his recovery when he found Aces against an opponent’s K-10 but the K-10-3 flop was a disaster for Joyce and he found no more help as he headed to the rail.

12pm: First elimination!

Local favourite John Thompson has taken out the dubious title of first player eliminated from today’s event after consecutive cooler hands on Table 5.

Thompson was seated at a tough table featuring both Bryan Huang and Brendon Rubie so the last thing he needed was for luck to run against him. Unfortunately, after running flush into flush to leave himself short early on, he was eliminated when he ran his Q-10 into Huang’s Queens on a Q-10-2 flop.

11.15am: Level up

As is usually the case there hasn’t been a whole lot of action during the early stages with all 259 starters still in their seats.

We’re approaching the end of our first Level with blinds about to rise to 50/100.

10.55am: More names

Brendon Rubie has just rolled up, fashionably late of course, to take his seat. Others littered throughout the field include 2011 ANZPT Sydney winner Michael Kanaan, Mike Ivin, Laurence Hall and Jimmy Ghobrial.

In a twist of fate, Jimmy G and Ismail Ismail are seated directly next to each other on Table 7 after both making the final table of the Sydney Championships main event just a few weeks back.

10.45am: Play is underway!

We’ve just kicked off the action with blinds at 25/50 and starting stacks of 20,000.

We’re scheduled to play 15 40-minute levels today with play expected to finish around 11pm.

10.35am: Familiar faces

It looks like a tough field for those that have qualified for this event through NPL regional, quarterly and monthly finals with a number of big names taking their seats for today’s event.

Among those we’ve spotted are Team Asia pro and recent Sydney Championships final tablist Bryan Huang, Daniel Neilson, Aaron Benton, Jesse McKenzie, Jordan Westmorland, Rhys Gould and inaugural champion Terry Tserdanis.

Also in the field is 2011 Sydney Championships winner Errolyn Strang, Graeme Putt, Jason Pritchard and four more from the most recent Sydney Championships final table in Dave Allan, Kahle Burns, Suzy Khoueis and Ismail Ismail.

Welcome to the third edition of the NPL500

Welcome to PMA’s coverage of the NPL500, live from The Star in Sydney. This is the first time that the National Poker League’s marquee event will be played in a casino poker room, with a field of 250 players battling for a massive $500,000 in cash and prizes.

NPL500 III Tickets have been won via NPL satellite games, which include giveaways, Special Events, Quarterly Finals, Regional Finals and Monthly Finals. Based on a capacity field of 250 players, the winner will take home a prize package of $200,000 including $102,000 in cash, a stunning Audi A4 2.0L TFSI S-Line (valued at $95,000) and a ticket to the next NPL World Tour event valued at $3000. The top 25 players are ensured a minimum payout of $2500 while the top eight will all earn NPL World Tour seats.

Inaugural NPL500 winner Terry Tserdanis took home $250,000 in prizes, including a WSOP Main Event seat, an Aussie Millions Main Event seat, $135,000 in cash, plus a brand new Lotus Elise S sports car.

Last year, Ben Pride took the NPL500 II title at the Parramatta Leagues Club, with his prize package comprising $133,000 in cash, an Audi TT sports car plus WSOP Main Event and Aussie Millions Main Event seats.

We’d also like to acknowledge the support of our good friend Alfred Markarian from Australian Poker Weekly, who’ll be providing photographs over the weekend. All the best to players competing over the weekend.

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