9.55pm: Meveni Tonga tops Day 1b chip counts
The second flight of the inaugural APT Sydney is complete and it is NPL qualifier Meveni Tonga (pictured above) leading the way with a monster stack of 221,650. Tonga still trails last night’s chip leader Ricky Lim, who returns tomorrow with an imposing 254,300, but they are the only two to pass the 200,000 mark despite the fact around 370 players will be returning to The Star for Day 2.
It was another huge day here in Sydney with a monster field of 379 filling the poker room to capacity and beyond. Although another recount of the final numbers will be conducted tonight after two players were caught buying in today for a second time, we believe the final tally is likely to clock in at 648 – making this easily the biggest main event ever held in Sydney.
Much like yesterday, there were plenty of big names in today’s field but not all of them survived. Australia’s 2005 WSOP main event champion Joe Hachem couldn’t get out of first gear and was eliminated midway through the day’s play while Brendon Rubie, Leo Boxell, David Gorr and Chad Awerbuch were among those to join him on the rail.
However, making it through were the likes of Jeff Lisandro, Tony Hachem, Tom Grigg, David Borg, Tobin Ryall, Michel Bouskila, John Caridad and Jesse McKenzie to name just a few. Caridad in particular will be worth keeping an eye on. The former WPT final tablist doubled up on the second hand of the day and finished on 169,700 to rank among the big stacks.
Our top five for today are:
Meveni Tonga – 221,650
John Caridad – 169,700
Andrew Lock – 152,175
Michael Martinovic – 123,675
Michael Webb – 122,850
We’re in for a very, very long day tomorrow as we try and thin the field as much as possible. With the prospect of reaching a final table or even getting close seemingly impossible, early talk is that we are likely to add an extra day to the event with a winner to be decided on Monday.
We’ll be back tomorrow to update you on all of the happenings here at The Star so make sure you join us at 12.30pm for Day 2 of APT Sydney.
9.30pm: Calling it quits
The tournament staff has called final hands and players are about to bag and tag.
9.15pm: Stress release
It was getting stressful for the tournament staff, but we’ve cracked the magic 229 barrier. Playing 11-handed to start Day 2 is far from ideal but at least we are assured of fitting everyone in now.
9.15pm: Martinovic marching forward
Michael Martinovic (pictured above) has been having a great day, already sitting with around 150,000, and he just eliminated another opponent in an interesting hand to move closer to the 200,000 mark.
It began with Martinovic opening and a short stack shoving from the cut-off. A second opponent called from the blinds but Martinovic then shoved over the top to put both at risk.
The player in the blinds tanked for a good three minutes before folding his J-J. Martinovic showed Q-Q to be well ahead of the short-stack’s A-6.
The J in the window wasn’t what the short stack wanted to see but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway as a Q landed on the river to ensure Martinovic continues his march up the chip counts.
8.35pm: Cutting it close
The floor staff have informed us that the magical number for tonight now stands at 229. That’s the maximum number of players we want to have remaining by the end of this level to ensure we can fit everyone at the tables when Day 2 begins tomorrow – and that’s for 11-handed!
The board currently says there are 245 remaining and although it is likely a few players behind the times it seems there is still some work to be done to get us to where we need to be.
As for what happens if we have more, that’s anyone’s guess!
8.30pm: Blinds are up
The clock has just ticked over into the final level of the night with blinds at 400/800 with a 75 ante.
8.30pm: Tonga moving on up
Last night’s opening flight saw Ricky Lim emerge with the chip lead with a stack of 254,300 after eight hours of play. Well, he could be facing a challenge for the overall chip lead come the end of tonight’s second flight with Meveni Tonga getting awfully close to that 250,000 mark with one level left to play.
Tonga is an NPL qualifier from Team Marrickville and no doubt would be a popular option at the top of the leaderboard heading into Day 2.
8.20pm: Veterans fade away
Good mates and Aussie poker veterans Leo Boxell and David Gorr (pictured above) have both been eliminated since players returned from the dinner break.
8.15pm: Tran cops a beauty
Michael “Pokerlife” Tran has been working hard to build his stack and ensure a deep run in this event, but he has just copped a terribly bad beat that has set him back somewhat.
Tran was one of five players to see a K-10-8 flop all hearts when it was checked to him he bet 3,000. All but the small blind folded and they saw a repeat King land on the turn.
This time Tran bet 9,000 when checked to only to see his opponent check-raise all-in for another 11,000. Tran insta-called with 7-4 of hearts for the flopped flush and was well clear of his opponent’s 9-10, but a 10 on the river changed all that and saw Tran drop back to 50,000.
7.50pm: No trouble for Tony
Sometimes you would love to know what your opponent had – not that Tony Hachem (pictured above) is too concerned. With blinds at 300/600, the last Hachem standing opened to 1,250 in the cut-off and was called by a player in the small blind.
The flop fell 10-4-2 and the small blind donked for 2,500. Hahem bumped it up to 7,500 and the small blind called.
The turn was a K and this time the small blind led for 3,500. Hachem called. When a repeat 2 fell on the river, both players checked and Hachem showed 9-10. The small blind mucked and Hachem pulled in a tidy little pot to move to around 85,000.
7.30pm: We’re back
The dinner break is over and we’ve entered the home stretch. There are two levels remaining tonight with blinds now at 300/600 with a 50 ante.
7.00pm: Dinner break
We’ve just reached the end of Level 6 and players are headed off on a 30-minute dinner break. When we return, play will continue for two more levels before we call it quits for the night.
6.55pm: Lisandro chipping up
It’s hard to argue against the notion that Jeff Lisandro is our most successful poker player of all time. With five WSOP bracelets – most of them in variations of Stud – he ranks among an elite list of players around the world to have won multiple WSOP gold.
Tucked away in a corner of The Star poker room today, he has kept a relatively low profile but has been chipping away bit by bit.
We just caught a hand in which he opened to 1,100 in middle position and received two callers. The flop came 10-6-10 and it was checked around. The turn was a 7 and when checked to, Lisandro bet 3,000. His opponents showed him respect and folded, with Lisandro smiling as he flashed a 10.
He is up to 50,000.
6.35pm: Running out of space
Tournament staff the world over always fret over the number of players they will attract to their various tournament series. Perhaps because so few casinos in general value poker in comparison to table games, poker management know they must at least attract decent field to justify the floor space they occupy.
There are no such worries at APT Sydney with a record field of 650 players on hand, however that number could cause a very different headache when Day 2 starts tomorrow.
With 34 poker tables on hand, that makes for a capacity of 340 players at any one time and there is a fear we could have more than 340 remaining by the end of today’s play.
The official number of survivors from Day 1a has been finalized at 143, meaning Star Poker can fit in no more than 197 more from today’s flight when players return tomorrow.
We have two-and-a-half hours of play remaining tonight with the board reading 285 players remaining. Although the action will inevitably heat up as the blinds rise, time will tell if we can hit that 197 figure and avoid a restless night for the staff here!
6.25pm: Lord Borg
One of the more colourful characters in any room he plays in is the inimitable David Borg (pictured above). Although well known in local poker circles, he surprised even himself in Las Vegas last year when he played in his very first WSOP event and managed to finish second from a field of 2,798 to come within a whisker of a bracelet.
Later that year he reached the final table of the Sydney Championships, however he was confiding in us just the other day that he has developed a bad habit of donking off his chips in smaller buy-in events now that he has tasted the big time.
No wonder he made a point of noting that he is still alive and kicking as we near the dinner break with around 35,000 in chips. Not only that, he has done so despite having his Kings cracked by Queens earlier in the day on a 6-6-3-Q board.
Hopefully he can run deep to live up proceedings during the slower moments!
6.20pm: No joy for Hachem
2005 WSOP main event champion Joe Hachem was riding the short stack for much of the afternoon so it was no surprise to see his seat empty when we sauntered past a few minutes ago. He’s not alone either. Brendon Rubie, Jai Kemp and Chad Awerbuch are among a number of other recent eliminations as the action finally starts to heat up here at The Star.
6.15pm: Tangled in the Webb
Barry Forrester has just been sent to the rail after having his Aces cracked in fairly unfortunate circumstances.
Forrester had every player’s dream come true when he limped his A-A and had a player behind re-raise and another call all-in. Forrester then 3-bet only for the initial raiser, Mick Webb, to shove for around 25,000.
Forrester called to see his Aces up against Webb’s 9s and the short stack’s Q-3. It all began well enough for Forrester as the board fell 7-2-10-8 but of course a 9 on the river was a dagger through his heart. It was good news for Webb though who is now up to 60,000.
6.00pm: Tran the man
Michael Tran (pictured above) is a regular at the cash tables here at The Star. He is also known for being wildly aggressive when it comes to tournaments. But he is playing particularly solid poker today to chip up to 75,000.
We recently caught him winning a couple of decent sized pots from an NPL qualifier on his immediate left – the first with 9-9 on a 6-3-6-5-A board against K-Q and the second an unusual hand in which he held A-K against his opponent’s 10-3.
We caught the K-10-6-2 turn as Tran bet 12,000 and his opponent called. Both players checked the 4 river and Tran raked in more chips.
5.30pm: How big are we?
Tournament staff have been busy trying to finalize numbers for the inaugural APT Sydney and we will bring you all of the updated chip counts ASAP.
We were originally told that with 381 players registering today, the total size of the field was 650 however that number has likely been reduced to 349 because staff caught one player trying to buy in twice!
First place will pay around $282,000.
5.00pm: Play is underway
Players are back from their break with blinds now at 150/300 with ante of 25.
4.50pm: Break it up
We’re halfway through the day’s play with players off on their second 10-minute break of the day. We started the day with 381 players and have 335 remaining.
4.35pm: Notable stacks
John Caridad (pictured above) is well known around these parts, having run deep in a number of tournaments both here at The Star and around Australia. He also reached the final table of the WPT Bellagio Cup two years ago.
Caridad started the day in the best way possible, doubling on just his second hand of the day with a set of 4s against an opponent who couldn’t fold Q-Q and although he has been up and down since, he is now our chip leader today with 95,000.
John Caridad – 95,000
Sam Capra – 80,000
Russell Terrey – 60,000
Terry Tserdanis – 55,000
Con Angelakis – 52,000
Alexander Antonios – 50,000
Leo Boxell – 45,000
Michael Tran – 45,000
Michel Bouskila – 45,000
Jackson Zheng – 40,000
Martin Comer – 35,000
Jeff Lisandro – 33,000
Sheldon Mayer – 30,000
David Gorr – 28,000
Joe Hachem – 12,000
Brendon Rubie – 12,000
4.15pm: The power of aggression
Russell Terrey just demonstrated the power of aggression after raking in a tidy pot thanks to a well-timed 3-bet.
On a K-Q-J flop, he led for 2,000 only for an opponent to re-raise to 5,000. A third player made the call before Terrey 3-bet to 13,100. This forced the first player to fold while the second called after thinking it over.
The turn brought a 9 and this time Terrey’s 10,000 bet forced a fold from the remaining opponent, who revealed she held Aces. However, his other rival said he had folded 9-10 for the flopped straight – believing Terrey must have A-10.
Terrey showed pocket Jacks instead and is up to 60,000.
Blinds are up to 100/200 with a 25 ante.
3.45pm: A hard split to take
Ali Ghezelbash is ruing his luck after getting it all in with A-A v an opponent’s A-10 on an A-10-7 flop.
With three diamonds already on the board, it was a diamond turn and diamond river that ensured the pot was split as the moment Ghezelbash had been waiting for slipped away.
3.30pm: What do you mean you’re all in?
There is good and bad to playing against those who usually reserve their poker for Tuesday nights as the local bowling club, as Sam Capra (pictured above) just discovered.
With blinds at 100/200, an opponent opened to 800 and had one caller. Capra, who finished fifth at the 2009 Aussie Millions, then looked down at A-A and re-raised to 3,400. Both players called.
The flop fell K-6-7 and after the first player checked, the second shoved for 30,000! Capra went deep into the tank as he contemplated whether he could be beat and what range of hands his opponent would make such an audacious over-bet with.
Eventually he made the call, his opponent showed 5-6 for the open ender and, fortunately for Capra, the board blanked. With that bizarre hand he is up to 72,000.
3.10pm: McKenzie takes the slow route
Aaron Stenlake has been bossing his table around for most of the morning without much resistance, but he was just slowed down somewhat by Jesse McKenzie. McKenzie picked up Aces on the button and chose to slow-play rather than risk pushing the aggressive Stenlake off his hand.
McKenzie called all three streets on a 10-7-8-2-3 board with Stenlake tabling 3-5. Both players sit on around 35,000.
2:45pm: We’re back
Players are back from their break with blinds now at 100/200.
2:35pm: Break time
Players are on their first 10-minute break of the day.
2:15pm: K-K is for Kondevski
“The good old Q-9 of spades,” quipped Kahle Burns after Todor Kondevski (pictured above) sent a player to the rail. Indeed, it was Kondevski’s K-K against the Q-9 of said opponent on a Q-4-2 flop with two spades.
The flop certainly looked good for our dearly departed but he received no further help once the chips went in with Kondevski up to 50,000.
1:55pm: Quite the Con job
As we sauntered past Table 4, we noticed Con Angelakis deep in thought as he contemplated what to do on a 3-3-J-A-2 board with his opponent having bet 6,000 on the river.
After a good two minutes, Angelakis suddenly announced he was all-in. His opponent snap-called and turned over Aces, but Angelakis quickly dampened his excitement as he showed 3-3 for flopped quads!
A third player had been saved from going bust by the A on the turn – telling the table afterwards he had folded Kings!
Angelakis edges his way to the chip lead with 65,000.
1:35pm: Buxton with a bang
Right on the hour mark we’ve had our first elimination of the day with Alex Buxton our early chip leader on 60,000.
We caught the action on the turn with the board reading 10-5-6-2 and 6,000 in the middle. Buxton had bet 4,500 only for his opponent to re-raise all-in for 25,000 in total.
Buxton thought for some time but eventually made the call, showing Aces to be well clear of his opponent’s Q-Q. The river was a 4 and Buxton breathed a sigh of relief as he chipped up early.
1:30pm: Level up
We’ve reached the end of our first level of the day with blinds now up to 75/150.
1:30pm: More names
A few late arrivals – Brendon Rubie, David Borg, John Caridad, Jai Kemp and Michel Bouskila have all taken their seats in the field.
1:10pm: A little WSOP magic
We’ve just spotted Jeff Lisandro (pictured above) seated at the same table as Tom Grigg and Alexander Antonios … but do the amateur players at the table know who they’re up against?
12:55pm: Crowding them in
The response to this event has been remarkable with a flood of players today all wanting to buy-in. As a result, the number of starters for this second flight now sits at 367.
Unfortunately there are only 340 seats available, so tournament staff have decided to go 11-handed in order to accommodate the huge field. This brings the total number of entrants to 640 with a prize pool of $1.152 million.
12:50pm: Big names in the house
Much like yesterday, the huge number of NPL qualifiers find themselves facing off with the cream of Australia’s poker crop today.
Our first wander through the poker room saw us come across the likes of Leo Boxell, Tom Grigg, David Gorr, Jesse McKenzie, Tobin Ryall, Kahle Burns, Nabil Edgtton, Jackson Zheng, Chad Awerbuch, Andrew Scarf, Patrick Fletcher, Laurence Hall and Iori Yogo.
Joe (pictured above) and Tony Hachem are also in the field and it was rumoured that five time WSOP bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro would also be playing today although we haven’t spotted him yet.
12.30pm: APT Sydney Flight 2 underway
Welcome back to The Star and the inaugural running of APT Sydney. Formerly known as the Star Summer Series, The Star’s flagship tournament series has linked with the National Poker League and the Asia Poker Tour to create what is certain to become one of the biggest events not only on the Australian poker calendar but the whole Asia-Pacific region.
Already the numbers are impressive. With 273 players last night and 334 already registered today, we’ve already broken the record for the biggest main event field ever assembled here in Sydney – smashing the previous record set at APPT Sydney in 2007
It also means our prize pool has moved well over $1 million.
The floor staff has just announced shuffle up and deal and we’re set for another eight hours of play today with blinds starting at 50/100 and 30,000 starting stacks.
Stay tuned right here at PokerMedia Australia as we bring you all the action from the very first APT Sydney!