We knew there was going to be a strong turnout when the ANZPT arrived in Perth this week. Early talks were for a total of 250 players and after Day 1a attracted 89 players, there were some concerns as we were a long way from that mark. But there were quite a few pleasantly surprised faces when we rocked up for work this morning to discover the Burswood Poker Room bursting at the seams as the room capacity was stretched to 221 for Day 1b of action. It's a fabulous turnout and boosted the overall numbers to 310 to create a very healthy $310,000 prize pool. The top 36 players will cash with first place set to take home the ANZPT trophy and $78,275 in prize money. Not bad for a few days in the wild west!
While yesterday's field was largely comprised of locals, WA was again well represented today, but there was also a fair sprinkling of players from both interstate and overseas.
Some of those among today's runners included Kristina Griffith, Aaron Benton, Aaron Lim, Josh Barrett, Jesse McKenzie, Ted Nguyen, Mishel Anunu, Stev Lackovic, Steve Lindeblad, Anthony Aston, Michael Kanaan, Brian McAllister, Vesko Zmukic and recent ANZPT Sydney champion Gordon Huntly.
We also had one member of Team PokerStars with Singapore's Bryan Huang representing the red spade today. Unfortunately for Huang his day ended during the last level when his top pair wasn't enough to get past his opponent who had flopped two pair with an ambitious three-five offsuit.
Just 94 players survived the seven levels, and as the day rounded out we thought it was going to be Didier Guerin who would be in front. Guerin went on a huge tear during the later levels, collecting a massive pot when his queens survived against both ace-king and ace-ten.
Guerin shot up to over 160,000 at one point, but gave some back in the final stages of play as Josh Foster came from nowhere to pinch the chip lead. With players spread out across two rooms, we didn't pick up Foster in any hands during the day, but clearly his stack of 143,500 indicates he had plenty of winning ones. Guerin came in next best with 136,100, while six other players collected more than our Day 1a leader.
The 136 remaining players will be back in the Burswood Poker Room tomorrow with the goal to survive the day and get themselves into the money for the top 36 players. It should be an exciting day so please join us for exclusive live updates on the PokerStars Blog from 12:30pm tomorrow (GMT+8). See you then!