ANZPT Queenstown: Day 1A, levels 1&2 (blinds 50-100)
12:15pm: Shuffle up and deal!
The players have shuffled into the room and taken their seats. They were addressed by Michelle Baillie, the Executive Director of SKYCITY Queenstown.
"Thank you all for coming," Baillie began. "We're really excited to host again. This is a great event. We know that you're going to have a wonderful time while you're here, even if you do get knocked out." There were several smiles at the tables.
"Best of luck! I hope the cards go your way." With that, the cards are in the air. Each player has been given a starting bank of 20,000.
12:30pm: Faces in the crowd
In the comfy confines of the SKYCITY tournament room, it's easy to pick out a few notables amongst the crowd. We've already spotted Aaron Benton, well-known for his first-place finish at the 2009 APPT Sydney Main Event and his final-table performance at Canberra last month; Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson; defending Queenstown champion Danny Chevalier; 2009 ANZPT Gold Coast champion Scott Kerr; and of course well-known ANZPT regular Tom Grigg.
12:45pm: Maiden the first to go
Someone always has to be first. For today that player is Glenn Maiden, who came 3rd in this event last year. Maiden held a pair of unimproved kings on the flop and got it all in against New Zealender Koray Turker, who had flopped a set of deuces. The board bricked out, and that was that. The seal on the elimination has been broken.
1:05pm: There's a first time for everything
The table that has drawn our attention right from the start is Table 3, where Aaron Benton, Tom Grigg, Scott Kerr and Danny Chevalier are all seated in a row. At that table, three people limped into the pot for 100 chips before Andrew Jeffreys raised to 650. He was called by Kerr and by Tim Clarke. Action checked all the way on a 9-high flop, 9♣4♦2♦. On the A♠ turn, Jeffreys bet of 1,000 chased Kerr. Clarke put in a big raise. Jeffreys responded by open-folding A♠Q♥.
"I don't think I've folded top pair ever in my life," said Jeffreys.
1:17pm: Kroesen regrets his line
There's always plenty of time to second-guess your actions after a hand of poker is finished. Ricky Kroesen was beside himself after losing a pot to Bradley Bower. Bower check-called 1,000 on the turn, A♠4♥6♣5♥, with 2,500 already in the pot. On the river J♥, Bower led into Kroesen for 5,000.
"A set of 6s or a set of 4s," Kroesen said aloud. After about a minute he flashed A♣5♣ and mucked. "I should have checked the turn back."
1:20pm: BLINDS UP (75-150)
1:29pm: Share and share alike?
We've seen players buy each other drinks. We've seen players offer everyone at the table gum. We've seen them pass reading materials around and we've definitely seen them swap percentages. But we've never seen two players sharing the same iPod -- until today. Aaron Benton and Tom Grigg each have one bud of an iPod being shared between them. We're not sure who has control of the song selection and what should happen if one is eliminated.
1:38pm: Chappell plays the knave
Part of tournament poker success is applying pressure to your opponents and, when you're behind, catching up to them. On a three-handed flop of 3♣Q♣Q♦, Jason Chappell bet 800 and was called by one in-position opponent. He fired another 2,000 when the turn came a jack, J♦. Again Chappell's opponent called. Both players checked the 6♣ river, where Chappell showed A♠J♠ to collect the point with queens and jacks. His opponent claimed to have folded pocket tens.
1:42pm: The course of play
ANZPT President Danny McDonagh informed the players earlier today how things went for the early flight of players that played at SKYCITY Auckland during the weekend. They played a total of 8 hours and 35 minutes to squeeze the field down to 15 players. The chip leader of those 15 has 167,700. McDonagh said that the likely plan here in Queenstown is to play 5 levels today, 5 levels tomorrow on Day 1B, and then 3.5 levels on Friday' Day 2 so that the fields can sync up on Saturday for Day 3.
1:53pm: Looking good isn't good enough
Table 3 is providing the most action so far. Defending champion Danny Chevalier is already down to 5,600. It seems most of those chips have wound up in the stack of Scott Kerr (46,000), although Tom Grigg (32,000) may have gotten a piece.
Chevalier had the button when he called a pre-flop raise to 400 made by Andrew Jeffreys. Both blinds also called, prompting Jeffreys to quip "It's a hot tub. Four gents in a nice round space." The small blind, well-regarded Aussie Michael Spilkin, opened for 650 on a flop of 6♣Q♥K♥. After the big blind folded, Jeffreys squinted at the bet and asked if it was 1,150. "Oh!" he said upon being told it was 650. "Please! I was considering 1,150." He called.
Both players checked the [10c] turn. Spilkin also checked the [10d] river. That's where Jeffreys bet 1,000 and said, "100% I win."
"I was looking so good," said a dejected Spilkin. He open-mucked 5♥6♥, a pair and a busted flush draw. Jeffreys flashed trip tens, with an offsuit jack-ten.
2:09pm: Who's fooling whom?
The hand itself wasn't very memorable. Timothy English opened for 350 from the cutoff and was three-bet to 900 by Koray Trker on the button. Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson, sitting in the small blind, squeezed out his cards and then four-bet to 2,600, folding the action back to Turker. Turker tanked for about a minute and then folded.
What made the hand interesting was the table talk afterwards, as Turker claimed to have had pocket queens and Nelson claimed kings. Turker pressed the issue, asking Nelson the suits of his kings. Nelson refused to provide any further information. The only thing he did say was that if Turker had put in another raise, Nelson was "100% calling".
Each player is well above the starting bank. Turker, who knocked out Glen Maiden to start the day, has about 42,000. Nelson is sitting behind approximately 29,000.
2:16pm: No repeat this year
Last year's ANZPT Queenstown Main Event was one by Danny Chevalier. Just a few minutes bfore the first break he is on the rail. The champ, who said his stack was "compromised early", limped into the pot pre-flop on his final hand. Action passed to New Zealander rErich Stadler, who put in a standard raise. When action came back to Chevalier, he moved all in. Stadler quickly called with pocket kings. Chevalier sighed as he opened pocket jacks. Stadler's kings held and that was the end of Chevalier.
2:20pm: Break time
The players have reached the first break of the day.