ANZPT Gold Coast Day 3: Levels 16 & 17 (blinds 3,000-6,000, ante 500)
1:30pm: Break time
Just before the break we lost Ian Parnell in 29th place. He moved all in with A♦J♣ against the Q♥K♦ of Liam O'Rourke. Parnell flopped a jack on the flop of J♦3♣8♣, but the T♥ turn and 9♥ river gave O'Rourke a running straight to take it down and jump to 225,000. 28 players remain.
1:25pm: Here come the bustouts
Following the bubble bursting, the eliminations have come thick and fast. Chad Wairepo was first to go when he pushed with A♠4♠ into the pocket kings of Nick Wong. There was no ace on board to save Wairepo and he was first to the cashier in 32nd place.
He was followed by Joe Vedelago in a rather strange hand. Blain Robertson opened with a raise before Duncan McKinnon shoved over the top. Vedelago also committed his stack to put Robertson in the tank. He eventually decided to fold pocket kings face up, but it was the wrong decision as McKinnon showed A♠Q♥ and Vedelago held pocket jacks. The board fell Q♥6♦6♠T♣9♥ to send Vedelago to the rail thanks to a relieved Duncan McKinnon.
John Maklouf was next to go as his quest for four consecutive final tables just came up a little short. He was all in with pocket queens against the ace-king of James Davey. A king on the flop was enough to end Maklouf's run in this tournament, but he's done enough to claim the lead in the ANZPT Player of the Year race.
As a side note, Aaron Benton and Michael Spilkin can jump to as high as third in the POY race with victory here, while Angelo Hamataj can climb to as high as fourth.
1:10pm: Two all ins, one elimination as Mark James bubbles
The bubble has burst in rather dramatic fashion, with two all ins on different tables, resulting in just one elimination.
Mark James was first to move his stack all in with Maurie Pears making the call. As per ANZPT rules, neither players revealed their cards until action had completed on all other tables. Most players will generally fold very quickly knowing that there is an all in on another table on the bubble, but not Michael Spilkin, who decided that he would also move all in against the raise of Nauv Kashyap. The chips were cut down and it was determined that Spilkin was the shortest stack of the all-in players, so the James/Pears duel was resolved first.
James opened A♦9♦ and Pears showed a dominant A♣J♣. The flop brought a potential chop but the final board was K♠K♦5♥3♠K♥ to eliminate James and leave him to sweat the action in the Spilkin/Kashyap hand.
The crowd gathered around as Spilkin showed ace-jack against Kashyap's queen-three. The board ran out 7♥2♥5♣J♠3♠ and Spilkin survived to double up to 85,000, leaving Mark James as our bubble boy!
12:55pm: Stories on the bubble
There are a couple of nice stories emerging once this bubble bursts.
Firstly John Maklouf will claim the ANZPT Player of the Year lead if he cashes in this tournament. With three consecutive final tables, and four consecutive cashes, he has been a model of consistency this year and will be tough to pass at the top of the leaderboard in the home stretch of this tour. Of course, the question remains how far will he be able to stretch his lead?
Other players still alive who are prominent in the ANZPT POY rankings are Michael Spilkin, Aaron Benton, Angelo Hamataj and Ricky Kroesen who will all move up towards the top of the leaderboard with another cash here.
The other story lays with Maurie "The Master" Pears. A member of the Australian Poker Hall of Fame and considered the Godfather of Australian poker, Pears will claim the record, according to ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh, as the oldest player to cash at an ANZPT event if he can survive one more elimination.
12:45pm: Kittos bubbles the bubble
We're now officially on the money bubble following the elimination of Chris Kittos.
Kittos was short-stacked overnight and blinded down to his last 10,000 before putting them into the middle with A♣K♥. He was up against the pocket fives of Chris Chau but Kittos couldn't connect with the board of 9♥4♠8♠4♣J♠.
With that elimination we're now hand-for-hand across all tables. One player will feel the pain of going home empty-handed after three days of work on the Gold Coast, while the remaining 32 players will have 4,665 reasons to celebrate.
12:30pm: Blinds up: 3,000-6,000, with 500 ante
12:28pm: Doubling for survival
It's been a rather frantic start to the day with eight eliminations in the first level of the day, putting us just two spots away from the money. While the short stacks have struggled to survive today, we've just had a couple of notable double ups.
Joe Vedelago has found a double up when his A♥T♥ was able to improve against the pocket sixes of Michael Spilkin as the board fell A♠7♦K♥5♦K♣.
Luke Edwards also doubled up when he moved all in with pocket queens against the A♠7♣ of Adam Cameron. The board landed A♥6♣Q♦8♦9♥ to give Edwards a set and the pot to move up to 170,000.
12:24pm: Two more miss the money
Robert Caccato is out after he moved all in with K♠J♠ but found himself dominated by the A♥K♣ of Danny Silk. The board ran out 7♣4♦2♣K♦9♦ to send Caccato to the rail as Silk moves up to 180,000.
Joining him on the rail is Jimmy Ghobrial after he shoved A♥Q♠ but ran into the pocket kings of David Steicke. The board was spread T♥2♥2♦J♣Q♥ and Ghobrial is gone as 34 players remain.
12:15pm: Allan runs into the rockets
Dave Allan has been eliminated when he ran his A♦K♥ into the A♠A♣ of Blair Robertson. There were no miracles for Allan as the board bricked out 4♠2♠Q♥9♠3♠. Robertson has recovered well this morning to now be up over 200,000.
While most of the short stacks haven't had much luck so far today, one short stack who managed to find a double up was Ian Parnell. He moved his last 35,000 into the middle with 9♠9♠ and was called by Liam O'Rourke's A♦9♣. Parnell avoided an ace on board to give himself a bit of breathing room as he's back to around 73,000.
12:00pm: Maklouf crushes Kazonis
John Maklouf is heading towards another cash result after the elimination of Christos Kazonis. The chips went into the middle on a flop of J♠9♠4♥ with Kazonis holding A♣J♣ for top pair, top kicker, but Maklouf tabled J♦9♦ for top two pair. The 9♥ turn improved Maklouf to a full house before the 6♥ bricked the river.
Maklouf is now up to 205,000 chips.
11:53am: Dzian done
We've lost another one. Daniel Dzian pushed his short stack with Q♦T♣ but ran into the K♣K♥ of Trevor Wills. The board fell 9♣A♠2♠7♦7♠ to eliminate Dzian from the tournament. 38 players remain.
11:45am: Gray gone
It won't be three final tables in a row for ANZPT Canberra champion Jason Gray.
Gray only had one bullet left to fire this morning, as he committed his short stack with 8♠8♥ but he ran into Ricky Kroesen's Q♠Q♦.
The flop was ugly for Gray when it landed K♠T♦Q♥ but he picked up chop outs on the J♠ turn. However the river bricked the 3♠ to send Gray to the rail as Kroesen gets himself back into contention.
The buck stops here
A few days ago we mentioned how the button is known as the "Buck" here in Queensland, and no one seemed to really know why.
Well, we may have an answer for you, thanks to a man who has seen it all in Queensland. After reading our report, Maurie Pears offered the following explanation:
"In Harry Truman's memoirs it was mentioned that he had a motto on his desk 'The buck stops here' meaning he has to carry the ball and take all the major decisions. He has to make it for everyone else. So it was derived that the dealer's button refers to the one who need to make the decisions, hence the name 'buck'."
They don't call him "The Master" for nothing!
11:35am: It's not Wayne's world
Well that didn't take long. We've had our first elimination of the day when Wayne Hockey shoved his short stack in a blind-on-blind battle against David Steicke and came off second best.
He was soon followed by Wayne Dever who pushed his last 37,000 with A♣J♥ but was called by the A♦K♥ of Dominic Coombe. The board ran out Q♠9♠4♣2♦A♥ and Dever headed to the rail.
11:30am: It's go time!
The players found their way to their new seats as Jupiters Poker Room manager Martin Coughlan has gave the official word for the dealers to shuffle up and deal.