ANZPT Queenstown: Hachem out, 13 remain in final table race

The tight play of day two has made way for several quick-fire eliminations early on day three of the ANZPT Queenstown Main Event at SKYCITY Casino. Only 13 of the 18 starters remain in the hunt for a spot at tonight's final table after a cut-throat opening hour of play.

With a crowd packed around the two tables in play, which have been relocated to the main gaming floor out of the Summit Room, didn't have to wait long for the first elimination of the day when Team Australia pro Tony Hachem shoved in his short stack with 9c-8c on the opening hand. Steve Smith made the call, with his overpair holding up to confirm Hachem's fourth successive ANZPT cash and 18th-place finish.

Robert Wang, who qualified for this event from a satellite at SKYCITY Casino in Auckland, was next to go when he committed his remaining chips with 8♦ 8♣, and found a willing caller in chip leader John Guthrie with Q♦ A♥. The cards again fell Guthrie's way with the board running out [10h] J♦ 9♦ 8♥ 3♣ to eliminate Wang in 17th.

New Zealander Sam Williams looked in good shape with A♦ K♣ against the Q♦ [10h] of Will Mauga but a board of 3♣ 6♦ 4♥ [10d] 7♦ did him no favours and he was KOed in 16th.

Cesar Cavagnero again lit up the room with his boundless enthusiasm, and he was more than happy to race Mark Walker's Q♥ 7♥ with J♠ [10d]. The pot was sent Walker's way after the board fell 4♣ K♦ [10h] 4♥ A♠, and the Argentinean was off to the cage to collected the prizemoney for 15th place

Aaron Golledge, the young PokerStars qualifier from Canberra, lost half his chips to Walker with pocket fives against pocket 10s, and made a final stand with A♥ 8♦ against the 7♣ 7♦ of Raj Ramakrishnan.

The board came 2♦ Q♥ 2♠ 5♥ 4♥, and Golledge left the tournament area on the final hand before the first break in 14th, while Ramakrishnan is back above 70,000 after being down to less than 10,000 late yesterday.

The remaining 13 players have retaken their seats with blinds up to level 16 (3000/6000 and an ante of 500). John Guthrie remains a massive chip leader with more than 700,000 in chips.