ANZPT Melbourne: Levels 24 & 25 (blinds 20000-40000, ante 4000)

6:50pm: Dinner break

The players will now be taking a 40-minute dinner break. See you back at 7:30pm local time!

6:42pm: Min-raising shenanigans

James Obst min-raised to 80,000 from under the gun and David Chilcott called in the big blind. They saw a flop of Q♠6♣J♦ and both players checked. The turn was the Q♦ and Chilcott checked to Obst who bet 50,000. Chilcott check-raised the minimum to 100,000, and that was enough to force a fold from Obst.

6:35pm: Ben Savage eliminated in 5th place

Play folded to James Obst who open-shoved the button on the two short stacks in the blinds. Amanda De Cesare folded but Ben Savage made the call.

Obst: A♦4♥
Savage: 9♣9♠

The flop was a harmless Q♣K♥7♠ but Savage couldn't look as he buried his head down on the table. The turn was a safe 6♠ but the groans from the rail said it all as the A♠ landed on the river to ship the pot to Obst. Savage heads to the cashier to collect $42,625 for his tournament.

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Ben Savage eliminated in 5th place

6:23pm: Obst clips Chilcott

David Chilcott raised the button to 100,000 with James Obst defending his big blind with a call to see a flop of 3♥7♦5♠. Obst led out with a small bet of 40,000 and Chilcott called to see the A♦ hit the turn.

Obst led again, this time for 100,000, but Chilcott responded with a raise to 250,000. That didn't slow down Obst who announced himself all in. Chilcott sighed and released as Obst's empire continues to grow.

6:15pm: Double up for The Poker Star

Amanda De Cesare moved all in from the button for 327,000 with A♣8♣ and David Chilcott made the call in the big blind holding K♥J♥.

The cheer squad of "The Poker Star" were on their feet as the board ran out 3♠7♦Q♠Q♦3♣ to give De Cesare a big double up. She's up to 700,000 with Chilcott back down to one million.

6:10pm: Kristina Jeney eliminated in 6th place

Action folded to James Obst on the button who made his standard min-raise to 80,000. Kristina Jeney thought for several minutes in the small blind before announcing herself all in for around 770,000. Amanda De Cesare folded her big blind and it didn't take long for Obst to make the call.

Jeney: 3♦3♣
Obst: 8♣8♠

Jeney would need a three to stay alive but didn't find it on the Q♦9♦4♥ flop. She did however pick up some outs on the 7♦ turn as a diamond would also now keep her alive. It wasn't to be as the T♥ fell on the river to eliminate Jeney after a fantastic tournament in 6th place for $34,875 in prize money.

Meanwhile the Obst juggernaut continues as he's up to nearly three million in chips and almost half of the chips in play.

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Kristina Jeney eliminated in 6th place

6:02pm: Chilcott chipping up

Amanda De Cesare opened to 100,000 from early position and David Chilcott made the call on the button. Play folded to James Obst in the big blind who tossed out calling chips to see a rare multi-way flop of K♣Q♦5♦.

It looked like a big pot was brewing, but Obst and De Cesare checked to Chilcott who fired out a bet of 100,000 to take it down without further resistance.

De Cesare is now the short stack with around 400,000 chips, or just ten big blinds.

5:50pm: Level up, blinds 20000-40000, ante 4000

5:48pm: Kozlov check-raises Obst

James Obst seems to have switched gears a little now that we are short-handed, as he is opening a lot of pots for the minimum raise.

In a recent hand he raised from under the gun to 60,000 and Martin Kozlov thought for a long time before making the call in the big blind. They took a flop of J♠4♦8♥ and Kozlov checked to Obst who casually flung 50,000 into the middle. Kozlov declared himself all in and Obst quickly released.

Kozlov is up to 700,000 with Obst back to 1.9 million.

5:29pm: Ted Nguyen eliminated in 7th place

David Chilcott and Ted Nguyen saw a cheap flop of Q♣9♠7♠ in a battle of the blinds, but it soon got pretty expensive. Chilcott tossed out 30,000, and after some friendly banter, Nguyen moved all in for his last 310,000. Chilcott snap-called and slammed 9♦7♣ on the table as Nguyen was behind with his Q♠5♣.

The turn was the 6♦ and river the 4♠ to end the run of "Red Wine Ted" in 7th place. He'll take $27,900 back home to Perth for his efforts in Melbourne.

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Ten Nguyen eliminated in 7th place

5:07pm: Raj Ramakrishnan eliminated in 8th place

Raj Ramakrishnan moved all in preflop for 384,000 with K♦Q♦ but James Obst instantly called with K♥K♣ - when you're hot, you're hot!

Ramakrishnan caught a queen on the A♥6♠Q♣ flop, and picked up straight outs on the J♥ turn, but the river was the 6♥ to leave Ramakrishnan to depart in 8th place for $22,090 in prize money.

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Raj Ramakrishnan eliminated in 8th place

5:02pm: The two million dollar man

Our two chip leaders have just collided in the biggest pot of the tournament to date.

It all started with James Obst raising to 60,000 from under the gun with Ben Savage making the call. They saw a flop of A♠J♣K♦ and Obst led out for 87,000 but was met with a raise from Savage to 200,000. Obst casually made the call and the 7♣ fell on the turn.

Obst checked and Savage quickly checked behind as the 4♦ bricked on the river. Obst verbally bombed the river with a big bet of 600,000 to send Savage deep into the tank.

"Why did you do that mate?" exclaimed Savage. "Why not make it like 250?"

After a cut down of chips and further banter, Savage eventually made a crying call saying, "I really hope you have ace-jack!"

Obst showed Q♥T♥ for the stone cold nuts as Savage shook his head and flashed A♥K♣ for top two pair.

Savage is left with just 250,000 as Obst has now taken a strangehold on this final table with a massive stack worth around 2 million.

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James Obst now has a stranglehold on this final table

4:50pm: Play resumes

The eight remaining players are back on the felt after an extended break and the cards are back in the air. It took a while to lose our first player, but that may open the floodgates with the blinds and antes starting to kick in. James Obst and Ben Savage are our chip leaders as the only two players above one million in chips, although David Chilcott has made a nice recovery from his short stack with a mini-rush before the break to be up to around 840,000.