After three grueling days of poker action the three flights of day 1 have now concluded in the Queenstown Snowfest tournament.
The Queenstown Snowfest is one of the most unique poker events in the world. The event is a part of: the New Zealand Poker Tour, the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour and the inaugural event of this year’s Asia Pacific Poker Tour. Not only that, but the Queenstown Snowfest is held in one of the most picturesque casinos on earth; SKYCITY Queenstown. Queenstown is a beautiful tourist town located on the South Island of New Zealand. While not at the tables poker players can enjoy breathtaking views, numerous ski resorts and many adventure activities, such as bungee-jumping.
The field of 149 players was split into three flights because of the small size of SKYCITY Queenstown. This is the biggest field in the history of the event with the winner to take home over $100,000 for the first time. The first flight was dominated by Australian Pokerstars qualifier David Allan. Allan finished the day with a commanding $98,200 in chips with his aggressive play and brilliant reads paying dividends. 2011 ANZPT Sydney champion, Michael Kannan also fared well finishing the flight in 3rd position with $88,350 in chips. Kannan had an up and down day, fighting back from a short stack late in the day. Lithuanian player Laurynas Levinskas is well placed with $84,625 in chips and will be looking to make his move on day 2.
Big name poker players from the region, Jacky Wang and Tom Grigg, were overshadowed in the second flight by qualifier Ken Demlakian, who slowly and steadily, built himself a sizeable chip lead. Demlakian finished the flight with over $10,000 more chips than nearest rival, New Zealand pro, James Honeybone. Colorful professional Billy “The Croc” Argyros was consistently the center of attention with the veteran winning a big hand against Matt Wakeman late in the day to put himself in a good position, going into day 2. Ivan Kalac, Corey Kempson and Jonathan Dangio are all well placed to make a deep run in the tournament.
The third flight was headlined by Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Lee Nelson. Unfortunately, the 2006 Aussie Millions Champion was one of the first players eliminated. Fellow veteran pro, Leo Boxell, fared better and despite being relatively short-stacked is always a threat in AAPT tournaments. Flight three was dominated by Australians with the seven highest chip counts held by Aussies. Leading the pack was Nurlan Boobekov who, like Demlakian the day before, slowly amassed a sizeable advantage. Team Pokerstars pro Bryan Huang kept himself in contention and sits mid field with $39,925 in chips.
Heading into day 2, 87 players remain who all will be hoping to make the top 15 and take home some cash. The field will once again be split, this time into two flights, before joining together at 7.30PM this evening. Will David Allan continue to dominate or will somebody make a charge from the bottom of the leaderboard? Poker.com will keep you updated as the tournament reaches its finale.
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