ANZPT Sydney: Team Australia benched as Hachem exits
We're down to two tables in the battle for the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event, and players continue to steadily stream from the tournament area.
Eight of the 26 players who started the final day were eliminated during the opening level of the day, with Michael Marvenak out in 22nd when Matthew Pongrass' K-J improved to a pair of jacks after Marvenak had also flopped a pair, albeit nines.
Andy Meldrum's run ended in 21st when his K♣ 6♣ failed to connect on a board of 5♦ 9♦ J♣ 8♦ 3♦ as Matthew Pongrass' A♦ 7♦ turned a flush.
The final non-Australian in the field, PokerStars qualifier Robert Acton, fell in 20th spot when his A♣ 8♥ and James Newhan's [10h] 6♥ both made a straight on a board of 5♦ 4♦ 2♦ 3♥ [10s], but Newhan's six prevailed.
In the biggest pot of the day so far, Peter Ling's Q♥ Q♣ looked in great shape against the 7♠ 7♦ of Majed Haddad, but the board of 9♦ K♣ 6♦ 2♦ Q♦ gave the local a flush and propelled him to the chip lead with 1.4 million.
The field was redrawn at 18, and it didn't take long for David Hibbott to join the others on the rail. After plenty of pre-flop action, Hibbott, holding A♦ [10h] found himself up against the J♦ J♥ of Ben Barclay, and the jacks prevailed as the board ran out 8♠ 7♠ 8♥ 3♦ 5♠.
Just before the level ended, PokerStars.net Team Australia player Tony Hachem's dream of a breakthrough tournament victory was dashed. In pole position to double through Joel Dodds, Hachem's pocket aces were cracked when Dodds' kings improved to a set on the flop. He then bowed to the K♠ K♥ of Chris Kittos when the board of 2♥ 8♠ [10c] 5♥ Q♣ missed Hachem's A♣ 7♦.
Matt Burgoine, a poker manager at Crown in Melbourne, celebrated his first big tournament cash with 16th as Haddad's pocket kings prevailed over Burgione's A-6.
Haddad (1.5 million) now leads from Billy Argyros (1.2 million), Barclay (920k), Chris Kittos (870k) and a resurgent Lisa Walsh (760k). Blinds will soon be at level 22 (12,000/24,000 with an ante of 3000).