ANZPT Melbourne: Levick leaps to lead at day's end

What we thought might be a short and sharp sprint to the final table turned into a marathon battle of wit and will before the final table was decided for the PokerStars.net ANZPT Melbourne tournament.

More than 13 hours after the first hand was dealt to the 69 players who started day two, the nine players who will contest today's final table were decided, led by PokerStars qualifier Chris Levick from Sydney.

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Chris Levick leads the field into the final table

Day two ended in dramatic fashion when Ben Savage bet 45,000 and Peter Kotsiris pushed in his last chips, with Rodney Burles also making the call. The board of 3♥ 8♦ K♠ 3♦ 9♦ was checked all the way until Savage bet 45,000. Burles mucked, Kotsiris showed pocket 10s but Savage revealed 3♣ 3♠ for quads!

Earlier, Tony Hachem has set a record that may take some beating after celebrating his third cash in as many PokerStars.net ANZPT events. The PokerStars.net Team Australia player added 16th-place in Melbourne to his 13th in Adelaide and 17th in Sydney.

The end came for the younger brother of Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem when he pushed in his remaining 90,000, with Greg Shillig making the call. Hachem showed 8♣ 8♦ but could only grin when Shillig showed A♣ A♠, The board fell 6♣ Q♥ 9♠ 2♥ 2♦ and Hachem was headed for the Las Vegas Bar here in the Crown poker room.

Shortly after, 2008 Aussie Millions sixth-place finisher Antonio Casale bowed out in 15th when his chips went in on a board showing 6♥ Q♠ 6♦ 5♦.

Chris Levick showed K♦ Q♥ for two-pair, while Casale's A♥ K♥ needed help. The [10d] on the river sent him to the cage but continued an impressive run for the veteran in his home poker room over the past 18 months.

The gallant run of Amanda Simpson ended in 14th when she ended up in a three-way pot with Jie Gao and Salvatore Fazzino. Gao's bet of 35,000 on the flop of [10d] 8♦ 3♦ was enough to push Fazzino aside, leaving Simpson's J♦ Q♠ up against Gao's [10d] J♣. The board ran out 4♠ 5♣, and the final female player in the field was out.

"Irish" Trevor McCarthy lost a race with pocket threes against Lunardi's Q♣ J♣ to send him to the rail in 13th as Lunardi stormed to a big chip lead.

The run of former chip leader Brent Thomas ended in 12th when his K♣ 9♥ made two-pair on a board of Q♠ 9♠ 5♠ K♥ only to find Chris Levick with J♠ 6♠ and a made flush.

Salvatore Fazzino's short stack then came under attack - his K♠ [10s] was in a world of hurt against the A♥ Q♥ of Ben Savage and Jie Gao's A♠ 4♠ on a board of 9♣ A♦ 6♠ 7♣ 2♥ as he exited in 11th.

The final table is scheduled to start at 2pm local time (3am GMT) and will comprise:

Seat 1: Heath Chick (Australia) Pokerstars Qualifier 283,000
Seat 2: Rodney Burles (Australia) Pokerstars Qualifier 168,000
Seat 3: Sam Khouiss (Australia) 354,000
Seat 4: Chris Levick (Australia) Pokerstars Qualifier 969,000
Seat 5: Jie Gao (Australia) 517,000
Seat 6: Ben Savage (Australia) 682,000
Seat 7: Greg Shillig (Australia) 190,000
Seat 8: Peter Aristidou (Australia) 432,000
Seat 9: Kristian Lunardi (Australia) 713,000