ANZPT Gold Coast: Levels 7 & 8 (Blinds 400-800, Ante 75)

8:15pm: A few late stumbles

The final five hands provided a couple of rough moments for Karl Krautschneider and David Steicke to finish the day.

Krautschneider got himself into trouble in a button versus big blind battle against Dominic Coombe. With all the chips in preflop, Krautschneider held king-queen but he ran into Coombe's pocket aces which held on the board of 5♦7♥9♥Q♦5♣. Coombe will end the day around 50,000 as Krautschneider was left with small change.

On the adjacent table Steicke three-bet preflop and then fired a continuation bet of 10,500 at the flop of A♠K♥7♥ however his opponent check-raised all in for an additional 23,600. Steicke sighed and flashed the A♦ before mucking to leave himself with around 50,000 at the end of the day.

That wraps up play on Day 1B,with approximately 64 players surviving the day. No doubt who our chip leader is today, as Darko Balaban bagged up over 200,000 in a dominant performance. We'll have a complete wrap of the day, including end of day chip counts for you shortly.

7:50pm: Levick ending strong

It's been a rough day for 2009 ANZPT Melbourne champion Chris Levick. After grinding his way with a short stack for lengthy periods today, he's just taken down a sizable pot on the flop to get himself back in contention.

There was already over 22,000 in the pot on a flop of 5♠3♠7♥ when we arrived at the table to see Levick commit his entire 27,000-chip stack. David Steicke was standing up from his seat considering his options, before making a very reluctant fold. It was then Sheldon's turn in the tank as he also looked like he was going to call.

"Pretty sure you're not making a move here," sighed Sheldon before he also let his hand go.

"I had ace-six of spades," groaned Steicke, but it didn't matter to Levick as he tries to regain some of his form from 2009 as he chips up to 50,000 chips.

7:37pm: Zhao slips with Big Slick

Another young gun to stumble recently is David (Xin) Zhao. He found his chips in the middle preflop holding A♠K♥ against the Q♦Q♣ of Danny Silk. Zhao couldn't connect with the board of 2♠J♣8♠7♣2♣ as Silk doubled up. He's up to 48,000 with Zhao down to just 7,000.

7:25pm: Nguyen cracked

Minh Nguyen is one of the most promising young players on the circuit, but he's just copped a nasty beat to send him crashing out of the tournament. Nguyen held pocket aces against the pocket tens of James Davey, but a ten on the flop gave Davey the two-outer to take the pot. Nguyen is out as Davey is up to 36,000.

7:15pm: Full house for Spilkin

Michael Spilkin is still in the hunt for the ANZPT Player of the Year after doubling up his short stack. Spilkin was all in with J♦J♥ against the A♠K♥ of PokerStars qualifier Esan Tabrizi. The board was spread 9♣8♠5♦5♥J♣ to give Spilkin a full house and a double up to 14,000. Tabrizi slips back to 45,000.

7:04pm Queen Sally stays alive

Sally Snow has found a double up of her short stack with a fortunate river card keeping her alive. She was all in preflop for around 11,000 with A♠Q♠ up against the pocket jacks of Bodo Sbrzensny and didn't connect with the first four community cards as they landed K♠K♦4♦9♦ but the Q♥ on the river saved Snow for the double up to 23,000.

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Sally Snow doubles up to stay alive at the ANZPT Gold Coast

However Mike King wasn't so fortunate with his short stack as he waited patiently for A♠A♦ to commit his chips against Joe Allis' J♥9♥. The board ran out 6♥5♥3♦K♦2♥ and Allis made a flush to send the popular Kiwi to the exit.


6:55pm: Blinds up: 400-800, with a 75 ante

6:46pm: More Balaban!

This really is turning into the Darko Balaban show as he's just eliminated another player.

The latest elimination came on a flop of 3♣2♥2♠ when a near 70,000-chip pot was created. Balaban held A♠2♣ for trips as his opponent opened pocket sixes. The turn was the A♦ and river the 4♥ and Balaban jumps to a massive 200,000 chips - more than double the amount of our chip leader from yesterday!

6:31pm: Darko is the man to catch

Darko Balaban has continued to amass chips at a frantic rate as we now estimate his fortune to be worth 135,000 for a clear chip lead over his nearest rival. In his most recent clash, Roy Hills was all in preflop for his last 20,000 chips with A♠J♠ against the T♠T♥ of Balaban.

Hills thought he was good for a double up when the flop landed A♣8♥9♦ but Balaban spiked a T♣ on the turn to leave Hills in trouble. The river landed the 9♣ to improve Balaban to a full house to take down another monster pot and send Hills to the rail.

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Darko Balaban is running away with the chip lead

6:15pm: Artistidou races along

Races in poker. They're not much fun, especially on day one, but sometimes you just can't avoid them. Peter Aristidou was certainly happy to win this one, as he now finds himself with 49,000 chips. Aristidou held Q♠Q♦ against the A♠K♣ of Terry Brockhurst as the board ran out 2♦4♦5♥8♣Q♥.

6:05pm: Play resumes; Benton and Balaban well placed

The players are back and the cards are once again in the air. There's 86 players remaining which means we're on track to end up with roughly half of our starting field by the end of the day. 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton is progressing well with about 55,000, along with David Steicke and Angelo Hamataj, but our runaway chip leader is PokerStars qualifier Darko Balaban who is the first player to crack six figures with a stack of 105,000.

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A man in form - Aaron Benton at the ANZPT Gold Coast