The Main Event of the 2008 PokerNews Cup Australia Championships kicked off at the Crown Casino in Melbourne with 171 players on Day 1a. Among the big names in the field were Julian Powell, Tony Hachem, Tony G and Joe Hachem. Several preliminary PNC event winners also took the field on Day 1a, including Abel Cabrera (Event #4), Harry Ligos (Event #1), Kenneth Damm (Event #5) and Jamie Pickering (Event #3).
Pickering became one of the early casualties on Day 1a when he ran afoul of Michael Comer. Pickering made a big bet on the turn with a board of , and Comer raised enough to put him all in. Pickering called with for the open-ended straight draw, and Comer tabled pocket fives for a flopped set. The river brought the and washed Pickering's Main Event down the drain. Other early eliminations included Kent Hunter, Filipe Pacheco and Tony G.
The brothers Hachem both took to the felt on Day 1a, with similar unpleasant results. Tony Hachem busted first on a brutal river against Barry Beyers. Hachem fired at the flop, and Beyers called. The came on the turn, and Hachem check-raised Beyers. Beyers moved all in and Hachem called for all his chips with Q-8 for top two pair. Beyers needed help as he revealed pocket kings, and the on the river made his set and sent Tony Hachem packing.
His brother Joe Hachem made it past the dinner break on Day 1a, but could get nothing going and busted in the early evening at the hands of Mitchell Carle. Carle led out on a flop of , and Hachem called. Hachem check-called the turn as well, and Carle moved in on the river. Hachem made the call, and Carle turned over the nut full house with to send Hachem to the rail.
Billy "The Croc" Argyros chipped up nicely through Day 1a to finish among the chip leaders. He got off to a rocking start by cracking Con Cotsomitis' aces after all the chips went in preflop. The board ran out , and the queen on the river gave Argyros the double up. Later on in the day he sent Allistair Desplace to the rail in a big, if somewhat confusing, pot. Desplace led out at the flop, and Argyros min-raised. Desplace moved all in with , and Argyros quickly called with for top two pair. The on the turn was no help, but the on the river gave Desplace a set of jacks, and both players initially reacted as though Desplace held the winner. Eventually the dealer pointed out that running spades had given Argyros the flush, and along with it, all of Desplace's chips.
Argyros finished Day 1a among the chip leaders, as the top ten chip stacks looked like this:
Tim Heath - 180,000
Jarrad Dale - 150,000
Lisa Walsh - 140,000
Andre Villandberg - 125,000
Harry Ligos - 120,000
Billy 'The Croc' Argyros - 115,000
Tim Balaban - 105,000
Bill Jordanou - 95,000
Barry Long - 90,000
Danny Mountt - 90,000
Join PokerNews at 12:10 PM Melbourne time on Friday as the Day 1b competitors take the field.
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