It was the last stop of the first season of the PokerStars.com Australia New Zealand Poker Tournament series, and Queenstown, New Zealand was the site of the festivities. The first tournament of its kind in the town, the main event was sectioned off into four days due to the small space allocated for the tournament. Turnout ended up lower than expected, possibly due to World Series of Poker fatigue, but the event was exciting for those in the region who anticipated the presence of the PokerStars series for quite some time.
The first of four starting days brought only 27 players to the felt at the Skycity Casino, and there were 18 left at the end of the day with Mark Measey in the lead and Tony Hachem in the crowd. The second day brought 35, and only 28 survived the five one-hour levels with Matty Yates holding the chip lead. The other two starting days found there to be a total number of 134 players for the entire event, and only 91 after all of the days were done. When all of the chip counts were combined, it was Julius Colman of Australia hanging on to a solid chip lead with 114,425, with Yates following with 67,050, and the rest of the top five included Andrew Hinrichsen, David Bradford, and Measey.
Day 2 brought all 91 players back into action, though it was done in two groups. There were 46 in the first group, who gathered in the early part of the day to find themselves thinned to a group of 28 survivors. The second group started with 45 players and dwindled to 32. All 60 players then joined together for an evening session after dinner to play down further, and John Pye went into it with 135,000 and the chip lead. The excitement of the night happened when the bubble burst during a hand in which Tim Clarke was all-in with pocket aces on a board against the of John Guthrie. The dramatically came on the river to eliminate Clark, who left in 19th place with not much more than memories of an exciting tournament.
The final 18 players left in the nighttime hours knowing they were all in the money for a minimum of a NZD $3,015 payout and would return for Day 3 in search of spots at the final table. Guthrie was in the chip lead with a monstrous stack of 683,500 chips, while the second spot on the leaderboard was maintained by William Mauga and his 229,500-chip stack. In the running was also notable Tony Hachem, though he was second to last in the chip counts.
When they returned on Day 3, Hachem was the first to exit, taking 18th place in the event, and he was followed by Robert Wang, Sam Williams, Cesar Cavagnero, Aaron Golledge, Rajkumar Ramakrishnan, Mark Measey, David Bonham, and Paul Chisnall. That left only nine players to be seated at the final table the following day. Two of them were Australian players, while New Zealanders made up the remainder of the group. The entire table was set as follows:
Seat 1: Will Mauga (Australia) 106,500
Seat 2: Glenn Maiden (New Zealand) 321,500
Seat 3: Steve Smith (New Zealand) 186,000
Seat 4: Andrew Hinrichsen (Australia) 69,000
Seat 5: John Pye (New Zealand) 211,000
Seat 6: David Bradford (New Zealand) 53,500
Seat 7: Danny Chevalier (Australia) 481,000
Seat 8: Mark Walker (New Zealand) 150,000
Seat 9: John Guthrie (New Zealand) 888,500
The last day of action began with some aggressive play and quick eliminations. The first was David Bradford, who pushed all-in with preflop against the of Pye, but when a nine hit, Bradford had to accept a ninth place finish, which was good for a $6,030 payout.
Will Mauga was the next to go when he also pushed with but found himself right up against the of Chevalier. The board ran out , and Mauga was ousted in eighth place with $9,045.
John Pye had failed to gain momentum throughout the last day of play and found himself at risk with on a flop. Walker was the caller with , and Pye’s hand was the best when the came on the turn, but the on the river gave Walker the straight and Pye the seventh place finish, which was worth $12,060.
Another to find an end to his run was John Guthrie, who lost ground from the start of the final table and took a huge stumble when he lost a 630K pot to Hinrichsen midway through the action. The remainder of his short stack went all-in on the next hand with pocket fours, but Hinrichsen got him with pocket sixes that held up. That left Guthrie with $15,075 for his sixth place end to the tournament.
Hinrichsen was on a roll and charged forward to take on short-stacked Steve Smith. Smith pushed with on a board, but Hinrichsen called with and caught a on the turn to take the pot. The on the river meant nothing but a fifth place finish and $21,105 for Smith.
Mark Walker was the next to be put to a serious decision, and that opportunity came on a flop. Walker pushed with his and bottom pair, but Chevalier called with and top pair. The turn came the and the river the to end the tournament for Walker in fourth place with $27,135.
It didn’t take long after that for Glenn Maiden to go all-in with his short stack holding on a flop, but Hinrichsen was there with and the better kicker. The and came on the turn and river to eliminate Maiden in third place with $33,165.
Heads-up action started with Chevalier holding 1.4 million chips and Hinrichsen in close proximity with 1.1 million. The two battled for more than 30 minutes, and during that time, Chevalier got a better grip on the chip lead before Hinrichsen made his final move with Q[c- on a flop. The top pair was no match, however, for the nut flush hand of Chevalier. The on the turn and on the river ended the match, leaving Andrew Hinrichsen with a second place finish and $57,285 in prize money.
Australian Daniel Chevalier won the tournament, which came with a trophy and $87,435 in prize money, not to mention the prestige of winning the ANZPT Queenstown event.
(Thanks to the PokerStars blog for live updates.)