ANZPT Perth: Final table, level 24-25 updates
7.15pm: Tony Hachem wins ANZPT Perth; Aleks Lackovic eliminated in second place
One of the most remarkable runs in Australian poker history continues with the crowning of PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Tony Hachem as the first PokerStars.net ANZPT Perth champion, winning AUD $132,750.
Just as we'd settled in for what was expected to be a marathon heads-up battle, Aleks Lackovic raised pre-flop to 100,000, Hachem popped it an extra 350,000, Lackovic announced all-in and Hachem called, showing J♣ J♥. Lackovic held A♣ K♠.
The flop came 9♦ 3♣ Q♣ - Hachem quietly uttered "keep it low, keep it low" - the turn fell 5♥ and the river 3♦ to confirm Hachem first major victory. That's six cashes in seven ANZPT events, including a seventh and first to start season 2010. Lackovic takes home AUD $84,250 as runner-up.
6.50pm: Vesko Zmukic eliminated in third place, AUD $47,500
We're heads-up for the 2010 PokerStars.net ANZPT Perth Main Event title after the departure of Vesko Zmukic in third place. Tony Hachem bet enough to put the 2009 Western Classic winner all-in, and he obliged, showing J♠ [10s] while Hachem had his nose ahead with 3♥ 3♦.
Spectators craned their necks to see the board fall 4♣ K♦ A♥ 4♠ 5♥, which failed to improve Zmukic's hand. Hachem enters only his second major heads-up battle (he was second in the 2008 New Zealdn Poker Championships main Event) holding 2.8 million, with Lackovic back to 1.5 million.
6.35pm: Level 25 (25,000/50,000, ante 5000)
Aleks Lackovic finally located a chink in Tony Hachem's armour to snare a pot worth just one million. The local player kicked off the betting with a pre-flop raise to 130,000, with Hachem making the call. The flop was dealt 9♠ 2♣ Q♦; Lackovic checked, Hachem bet 100,000 and Lackovic called. The turn was Q♠, which went check-check. On the river 7♣, Lackovic bet 220,000 and Hachem called, showing A♣ [10c]. But Lackovic's A♠ 7♠ was good, and he was back to almost 1.5 million.
6.15pm: In for the long haul
As we tick down to the end of level 24, most pots are being folded to the big blind or to a pre-flop raise as players seemingly settle in for the long haul. Not much change to the chip counts either, with Tony Hachem on 2.6 million, Aleks Lackovic holding 1.35 million and Vesko Zmukic has 550,000.
With not much action to report, a quick word about last night's ANZPT Perth High Stakes event. Past Sapphire Series winner and high stakes cash game whiz Jovo Scekic was a popular winner with Kristian Lunardi, Leo Boxell and Lynn Brooks filling the minor placings.
The ANZPT Perth schedule wrapped up this afternoon with a satellite to ANZPT Sydney, which will be the next stop on our trek across Australia and New Zealand. The preliminary schedule kicks-off on April 15 at Star City, with the Main Event from April 21-25.
6pm: Take your shot, boys
Play has settled into an extraordinarily tense phase with Aleks Lackovic and Vesko Zmukic each taking their shot at Tony Hachem, and honours have remained fairly even for the majority of the level. The pressure on the players is starting to show for the first time in the tournament with Hachem content to park back on the ropes and take the best that the two West Australians have to throw at him. Less than 15 minutes remains in level 24 with Zmukic still the player most at threat on 450,000.
5.35pm: Hottest ticket in town
A massive rail five and six deep has crowded around the final table to see the finale to the PokerStars.net ANZPT Perth Main Event. The lion's share of support is for locals Aleks Lackovic and Vesko Zmukic, but plenty of the visiting pros have thrown their support behind Tony Hachem's charge towards his first major title.
He remains on track after watching a flop of 7♦ K♦ A♠ with Lackovic. Hachem bet 155,000 in response to Lackovic's check before the Perth player added an extra 155,000. Hachem announced all-in and a dismayed Lackovic shipped his cards to the muck. Hachem is clearly in the zone and on a heater of sorts, with his bets now attracting little interest from his two opponents.
5.20pm: Lackovic claws some back
Aleks Lackovic has inflicted a small hit to Tony Hachem's stack after shoving all-in on a board of 3♠ A♦ J♦ 8♠ [10s] for a pot worth 700,000. That hand left Hachem with 2.3 million, Lackovic is back to 1.35 million and Vesko Zmukic is on 645,000.
5.15pm: Level 24 (15,000/30,000, ante 3000)
All the momentum is with Tony Hachem after taking down another pot worth more than a million. It's a case of déjà vu for Aleks Lackovic - four years ago in the Melbourne Poker Champs Main Event, Lackovic was battling Joe Hachem three-handed. Today, Joe's younger brother is proving his nemesis.
Lackovic filled the small blind and they saw a flop of 2♠ 6♥ 3♦. Lackovic checked, Hachem bet 80,000 and Lackovic called. The turn was the 9♦, and both players checked. On the river A♦, Lackovic bet 65,000, Hachem bumped it another 120,000, Lackovic doubled the bet, Hachem added an extra 240,000 and Lackovic called.
Both players showed flushes, but Hachem's K♦ 6♦ beat Lackovic's [10d] 2♦ to take the chocolates. Hachem is up to 2.6 million, Lackovic is down to 1.05 million and Vesko Zmukic holds 750,000.