ANZPT Queenstown: A raft of early eliminations

Like the bubbling brook that runs along side the Novotel Lakeside where many of the players are staying, there's been a steady stream of players leaving the tournament area early on day two of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Queenstown Main Event.

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PokerStars Team Australia pro Tony Hachem ... "that's the last time you bananas re-raise my big blind"

A total of 46 players returned for the first two-and-a-half levels of play, with a further 45 back here at 3pm. It's expected that we'll play down to 18 players or approximately midnight, making this by far the longest day of the tournament so far.

So far today, players eliminated have included PokerStars Team Asia pro Celina Lin, whose 5♥ 4♥ was drawing to the flush only to find 2009 Aussie Millions champ Stewart Scott waiting with A♣ A♥, which held up. "Limping with aces ... I feel bad," Scott quipped.

Tamara Volkoff was first out for the day when Nick Becker, a PokerStars qualifier from New York, awoke with pocket kings that led all the way against the Melburnian's A♥ J♥. "I think I almost had a heart attack," Nick's anxious father Dan said from the rail.

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US PokerStars qualifier Nick Becker experiences the ups and downs of tournament poker

Dan's heart received another workout not long after when Nick again found pocket kings, but his opponent's A-K found an ace on the flop and the youngster was out.

Outright short stack Richard Lancaster has been riding his luck - he doubled his short stack of 2000 when his A♥ 4♥ improved to trip fours on the turn against Lyle Smith's pocket 10s.

Lancaster then raced another short stack, popular Aussie Dennis Huntly, with pocket sevens against A-Q. Both hit the flop of A-10-7, but it was Lancaster's set that sent Huntly on his way.

Australian PokerStars qualifiers Dane Middlebrook and Andrew Capelin were also KOed in the early going, as was NZ actor/poker player Dan Sing, who walked A-J into A-Q and trailled the board all the way.

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Melbourne's Julius Colman remains the man to catch

Nine players were eliminated in the opening hour of play, leaving 37 in the running to return for the second stanza of play later this afternoon. Julius Colman remains the chip leader with more than 110,000 but Andrew Hinrichsen has been the big mover in the early going, up to more than 90,000. For latest chip counts, click here.