ANZPT Queenstown: Day 1A, level 5 (blinds 150-300, ante 25)
4:44pm: Play resumes
The players are back in their seats. This is the last level for today. 27 remain.
4:54pm: Coates runs into Spilkin's straight
Any players that might be going out looking for young, single ladies tonight should probably rub Michael Spilkin for good luck before they do so. Spilkin has been en fuego (as some NYC friends used to say) today. He just eliminated Dean Coates, who pushed all in for 10,000 on a flop of 7♠3♥5♣. Spilkin snap-called with a straight, 4♠6♠, leaving Coates and his K♣K♠ looking for runners to a full house. No such luck for Coates; the turn Q♣ left him drawing dead.
"Did a bird really dump on your face?" I asked Spilkin as he stacked up yet more chips. Spilkin replied that it was true.
"I'm going back to that pub tonight!" said the player on Spilkin's right.
5:06pm: Grigg doubles up
Hearing a player announce, "All in" at Table 2 diverted our attention from Table 4. On a board of 2♥K♣8♠A♠, Tom Grigg bet 5,000, then faced an all-in raise that would actually put him all in. With a sigh, he said, "I call, I call" and turned over ace-eight for two pair, aces and eights. His opponent showed, king-eight, having flopped kings and eights. It was an unlucky turn for him and a lucky turn for Grigg. The river blanked out 9♣ to double Grigg back up to 23,000.
5:10pm: Scary board blanks out for Nelson
"Three! Three!" said a standing Lee Nelson. He had gotten it all in with 4♠4♥ against the Q♠J♠ of Rennie Carnevale. The flop came [10s]K♥[10c], giving Carnevale a boat-load of outs to win the pot. Any ace, king, queen, jack, or nine would put Nelson in bad shape. The turn was actually the best card it could be for Nelson, the 2♣. He secured a tough double-up to 7,000 after the river fell 5♦.
5:20pm: Nelson standing again
While chatting with Vesko Zmukic about the incredible good fortune of Michael Spilkin so far today, we watched Lee Nelson pop out of his seat again and start calling for a queen. He was all in with Q♣9♣ against Koray Turker's 5♣5♥ after a flop of 6♦4♣2♣. Nelson's asked-for queen did actually appear on the turn, Q♥, giving Nelson the lead. He secured another double-up after a river [10s].
The amount of Nelson's all in was 9,375. "Do you mind if I pay with these?" Turker asked, holding up two orange (T5,000) chips. Nobody objected, change was made, and Nelson doubled up to about 20,000. Turker is down to about 47,000.
5:28pm: Nelson AGAIN?!
It's hard to believe, but for the third time in less than twenty minutes Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson was out of his seat. Both he and an opponent flopped the nut straight on a 9♦[10h]J♦ board. Nelson's K♥Q♥, however, had the potential for a running flush draw that his opponent did not have. Sure enough, the turn came A♥ and the river a third heart to give Nelson the nut flush. Nelson actually had enough chips through his previous two double-ups to eliminate his opponent. He's now up to about 38,000.
:"What have I started!" joked Rennie Carnevale, the first player to double up Nelson twenty minutes ago.
5:34pm: That time already?
With just ten minutes left in the level, we've reached the end of the day. Tournament staff have directed each remaining table to play three more hands.
5:42pm: Day 1A ends
Each table played out its final three hands without much fanfare. It appears 24 of the 38 starters have made it through to Day 2. They're headed by Michael Spilkin. We'll have a more complete recap of the day later this evening.