APPT Sydney, Day 1b: Jason Gray Enjoys Huge Opening Session APPT Sydney, Day 1b: Jason Gray Enjoys Huge Opening Session 0001

The field for Day 1b of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final at the Star City Casino in Sydney was larger than Day 1a, with 172 players joining the event. Among the big names on hand were Gavin Griffin, Raymond Rahme, Terrence Chan and Mark Vos, as well as local favorites Jeff Lisandro, Billy "The Croc" Argyros and 2007 champion Grant "Grunter" Levy. At the end of the day, it was Australian pro Jason Gray leading the pack, with Gavin Griffin his nearest competitor atop the leader board.

Billy "The Croc" Argyros was an early casualty, putting him on the bad end of a last-longer bet he was trying to set up with 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Peter Eastgate. Argyros put up $10,000 AUD that he would outlast Eastgate in the tournament, based on his assumption that the newly-minted world champ would be jetlagged from flying into Sydney the night before the tournament. Argyros busted early on Day 1b, leaving him the guaranteed loser if Eastgate makes the money. Argyros went bust in a brutal set-over-set hand against Terrence Chan when his 66 was no good on a flop of A106 against Chan's 1010.

Other notable eliminations on Day 1b included 2007 champ Grant Levy. He never got anything going in the event, and busted when he put the last of his chips in the middle with 77 and was called by a player with KJ. The board ran out K10A103, and Levy headed to the rail. Jeff Lisandro, Gary Benson, Raymond Rahme and Peter Aristidou were among the bustouts on Day 1b.

Several big names performed well on Day 1b, as Mark Vos picked up aces twice in short order and doubled up both times with them. Vos lost some chips late in the day but finished in the middle of the pack. Finishing up somewhat better was Gavin Griffin, who came to Sydney to add a fourth notch on his belt. Griffin already has titles from the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour to his credit, and he finished Day 1b second in chips as he looks to add an APPT trophy to his mantle.

By far the biggest stack in the field at the end of the day belonged to Jason Gray, and he moved into the lead early with a huge pot against Nathanael Seet. Gray raised preflop and was reraised by Seet. Gray called, and the flop came down 1097. Seet led out, and Gray called once more to see the J come on the turn. Seet checked, and Gray fired a bet. Seet check-raised all in, and Gray called with 85 for the straight. Seet tabled QQ for an overpair and a straight draw, but the 10 on the river was no help as he headed to the rail and Gray dragged a massive pot. Gray never relinquished his chip lead, finishing the day with a huge edge over Griffin and the rest of the field. Other notable survivors included Lee Nelson, Eric Assadourian, Mark Vos and Jamie Pickering.

Join Pokernews at 12:30 PM local time as Thursday's Day 1c starting session kicks off. The top ten chip counts from Day 1b play were as follows:

Jason Gray - 185,000

Gavin Griffin – 130,000

Andy Meldrum - 78,000

Mark Vos - 74,000

Sam Korman - 73,000

Marlon Goonawardana - 68,000

Andrew Scott - 61,000

Suzy Khoueis - 45,000

Assadour Assadourian - 45,000

Jamie Pickering - 42,000

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