Rennie Carnevale hadn't planned to play the PokerStars.net ANZPT Adelaide Main Event. After winning one of the preliminary events, he'd decided to take the cash and preserve his bankroll.
His flight back to Sydney, near his Wollongong home, was booked and his bags were packed when an email arrived from PokerStars to approve his request to buy-in with FPP points; worthy reward after spending weeks to earn Supernova status.
Six days later, and with the support of his best mate and 2009 PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final winner Aaron Benton, Carnevale monstered his way through the final table to capture the first title of the 2010 ANZPT and, with it, a payout of $165,900 and a swag of points towards the ANZPT Player of the Year title.
Carnevale cast an imposing figure at the final table. The 21-year-old powerlifter, with arms thicker than the necks of most people, was the dominant force once the experienced core of Billy Argyros, PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Tony Hachem and wunderkinds Aleks Brkovic and Daniel Neilson had been eliminated.
The heads-up battle with 52-year-old Sydney trader Andrew Scarf was particularly brutal. The pair started almost even in chips, but Carnevale's relentless aggression paid handsome dividends as he rolled over Scarf in less than 20 minutes.
Although the final table lasted barely six hours, there were many highlights - none more than Tony Hachem's finish in seventh. The PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro won the title of ANZPT Player of the Year in 2009 after cashing in four of the five season one tournaments, and started 2010 in blistering form with his first ANZPT final table.
We should also acknowledge the effort of PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Eric Assadourian, who ended a relatively lean run by his high standards to bubble the final table in 10th.
Carnevale's victory completed another vastly successful ANZPT Adelaide schedule, with the Main Event field increasing from 215 in 2009 to 236, while the preliminary schedule drew quality fields of players from across the nation. Octavian Voegele, who placed third in the Main Event, would have been a certainty for the title of player of the tournament after final tabling four events.
With the opening event of the 2010 ANZPT consigned to history, our focus turns to Western Australia, where the first ANZPT Perth Main Event will be held from March 21-24. We'd like to acknowledge the support of Poker Zone team here at Adelaide Casino, and on behalf of my PokerStars blog colleague Landon Blackhall, and the ANZPT and local PokerStars teams, we bid you farewell from Adelaide, South Australia.