Day 2 of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Melbourne Main Event started out with 105 hopefuls returning to the Crown Poker Room with the objective of reaching the final table. It was always going to be a long road, and for many, the minefields were too much to overcome.
PokerStars WCOOP bracelet winner Kelvin Beattie was an early casualty while Bruno Portaro also made a surprisingly brief stay. After entering the day as one of the big stacks, Portaro had his pocket aces cracked by fellow big stack Daniel Nelson to crash out of the tournament in dramatic fashion. Such is the relaxed nature of Neilson, that he just shrugged and went back to work, putting his newly-found chips to good use.
After PokerStars Team Pro Lee Nelson was eliminated early, Tony Hachem also fell in another cooler when he ran his pocket queens into the pocket kings of Toothpick Tony, to leave Andrew Scarf as the only highly-ranked player to receive points in the ANZPT Player of the Year race.
Tyron Krost and Ryan McKay surged towards the leaders, while overnight chip leader James Obst flirted with some nervous moments around the bubble. Obst and Neilson were relentless on a prolonged bubble which extended well over an hour. Neilson had again been part of a tournament defining pot when he eliminated John Caridad just short of the money. Neilson held pocket kings which held against Caridad's ace-queen after the chips went in on a queen-high flop. Neilson put his big stack to work and pounded on his table as everyone was trying to squeak into the money.
In the end it was Jim Andreadis who would claim the unfortunate title as bubble boy, while the remaining players celebrated being in the cash.
Karib Karib (34th), Dennis Huntly (32nd) and Carl Booth (30th) were some of the first to the cashier, while Michael Pedley and Graeme Putt were eliminated on the same hand to split 27th place.
2008 APPT Sydney champ Martin Rowe was putting in a fine performance but he was eventually eliminated in 24th at the hands of Ben Savage who flopped a set to shoot up the chip count leaderboard.
Sliding in the wrong direction was Andrew Scarf, who needed to finish in 17th place to claim the outright lead in the ANZPT Player of the Year, but he fell just short in equal 18th place. It was enough for Scarf to jump into 2nd in the POTY race and leaves us with plenty of interest heading to the Grand Final of the season in Darwin.
Also departing in 18th place was Daniel Neilson, who raced for the chip lead with James Obst, but ultimately fell on the wrong side of the coinflip. Obst would once again be back on top and he looked set to carry that lead into day three play until he was upstaged in the closing moments of play.
Kristina Jeney had flown under the radar for most of the tournament but her moment came when she connected with her straight and flush draw to cripple the stack of Logan English-Smith. Jeney raked in the pot worth over 900,000 to end the day out in front.
As Danny Silk was eliminated in 12th place on the final hand of the evening, it left us with 11 players who will return for the final day of play tomorrow. Here's how they will lineup:
Day 3 Seating Allocations & Chip Counts
Seat 3: Martin Koslov - 114,000
Seat 5: Kristina Jeney - 960,000
Seat 6: Daniel Laidlaw (PokerStars Qualifier) - 274,000
Seat 7: Amanda De Cesare (PokerStars Sponsored Player) - 335,000
Seat 8: Ryan McKay (PokerStars Player) - 612,000
Seat 1: Ted Nguyen - 410,000
Seat 4: David Chilcott (PokerStars Sponsored Player) - 657,000
Seat 5: Ben Savage - 760,000
Seat 6: Raj Ramakrishnan - 672,000
Seat 7: Joe Allis - 554,000
Seat 8: James Obst - 798,000
It's a fascinating final table lineup, with plenty of youth, talent and a couple of ladies to mix it up and keep the boys honest!
The action will recommence at 12:30pm tomorrow in the Crown Poker Room as we play it out until a new champion of Australian poker is crowned!