The first ever Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT), sponsored by PokerStars, just wrapped up its AUD $2,200 buy-in Main Event from the Star City Casino in Sydney. A 25 year-old local student, Paren “Puzz” Arzoomanian, won the high-stakes tournament.

A field of 493 players turned out for the inaugural ANZPT Sydney festivities, seven short of its official maximum capacity. As a result, Arzoomanian banked AUD $246,000 for his efforts. The cancer survivor battled against Gold Coast mortgage broker Lisa Walsh heads-up, with the latter earning the largest payday ever by a woman in an Australian poker tournament. On the final hand, she shoved low on chips with K-9 and was called by Arzoomanian, who flipped over A-5. The flop came J-8-8, leaving Walsh needing a king, nine, or running cards to make a straight. A five on the turn preserved Arzoomanian’s lead in the hand and an ace on the river sealed the victory for the youngster with aces up.

Here were the top nine finishers in Sydney along with their payouts. All figures given are in Australian Dollars:
1st Place: Paren Arzoomanian – $246,500
2nd Place: Lisa Walsh – $162,690
3rd Place: John Caridid – $93,670
4th Place: Chris Kittos – $69,020
5th Place: Majed Haddad – $55,709
6th Place: Vasilios Argyros – $44,370
7th Place: Joel Dodds – $34,510
8th Place: James Newhan – $24,650
9th Place: Xin Zhao – $16,762

Kittos fell by the wayside in fourth place after coming out on the losing end of a race holding A-K against Walsh’s pocket threes. The flop came 2-4-5, adding a straight draw for Walsh and counterfeiting three of Kittos’ outs. The turn came another five and the river was a jack, sending Kittos home AUD $69,020 richer for his wear. Caridid was also sent packing by Walsh, who held A-K against Caridid’s A-8. The board fell 10-2-3-7-J, sending the final PokerStars qualifier standing out of the tournament in third place. Arzoomanian held a 5.6 million to 4.1 million chip lead entering heads-up play.

Two members of Team PokerStars Australia also finished in the money. Tony Hachem grabbed 17th place for AUD $8,874, while Eric Assadourian took 28th place and saw his bank account grow by AUD $4,930. Hachem now sits atop the overall ANZPT Season 1 leader board with 84.8 points, besting fellow Aussie Karl Krautsschneider by 4.8. At the end of Season 1 of the ANZPT, the overall leader board champion takes home prize packages to every Main Event on the PokerStars-sponsored Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) during Season 4 as well as the 2010 Aussie Millions Main Event. The player will officially be sponsored by PokerStars, which will front airfare, tournament buy-ins, and hotel accommodations as part of the AUD $60,000 prize package. The runner up takes home sponsorship for every event on the second season of the ANZPT (valued at AUD $25,000), while the third place finisher will grab AUD $10,500 in buy-ins and expenses to tournaments in the region sponsored by PokerStars.

Here’s a look at the top ten of the current leader board after the Sydney event:
1. Tony Hachem- 84.8
2. Karl Krautsschneider – 80.0
3. Daniel Noja – 69.2
4. Bill Argyros – 69.0
5. Joel Dodds – 67.6
6. Paren Arzoomanian – 67.4
6. Lisa Walsh – 67.4
6. John Caridad – 67.4
9. Mike Stecker – 65.6
10. Tony Dunst – 64.0

After a three week hiatus, the ANZPT will return on May 25th in Melbourne at the Crown Casino. The AUD $2,700 buy-in Main Event plays down to a winner on May 27th and the tournament is capped at 450 entrants. From July 21st through 25th, the tournament series heads to Queenstown’s SkyCity Casino for an AUD $2,500 buy-in contest.

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