ANZPT Queenstown: Day 1A, levels 3&4 (blinds 100-200)

australia_poker_tour.png2:32pm: Play resumes

Cards are back in the air.

2:40pm: Final entrants

The late registration for Day 1A is completed. 38 players entered today's field. They'll play three more hours before bagging up the chips. Approximately the same number are expected for tomorrow. All told, the Day 3 field (when the survivors here in Queenstown are combined with the Auckland survivors) should be approximately 40 players.

2:49pm: Zmukic and Anunu collide

Seated next to each on Table 5 are two players that have recently experienced success on the ANZPT. Mishel Anunu notched his first cash last month at the Canberra event, coming 20th. He opened a recent pot to 600. Vezko Zmukic, who finished 3rd in Perth, is on Anunu's direct left. He re-raised to 1,800, clearing the field of all other competitors. Anunu called to a jack-high flop, 9♣J♠3♥, then checked and folded to a bet of 3,000 from Zmukic. Zmukic claimed (and eventually showed) pocket queens.

3:03pm: Grigg sighs

On a five-way limped flop of Q♥7♣Q♣, Tom Grigg was the only player to call a bet of 750 made by the small blind. Both players checked the 9♦ turn. When the river came the K♦, the small blind fired another 2,300. Grigg stared at the board, then glanced at his opponent. Finally he let out a long, audible sigh and folded his hand. It was at that moment that ANZPT President Danny McDonagh came by to ask Grigg why he had some markings on the back of his left hand.

"Pub crawl," said Griggs. "It's how they identified us."

3:11pm: Spilkin surrenders to pressure

In no-limit hold'em, the winner of a hand is often determined by who makes the pressure bet. That would be Tim Clarke in the last hand played at Table 3. On a jack-high flop, he appeared to lead out for 2,000. Mike Spilkin was in late position and raised to 5,000. Clarke pursed his lips, considered the raise and glanced at the board. Finally he very casually tossed 12,000 chips into the pot, putting the action squarely back to Spilkin. Spilkin decided he was done with the hand.

3:20pm: Lum pushed around by Anunu

The stacks are starting to spread out, with the players who have chipped up now able to apply more pressure to those who are heading downwards. For example, with 1,500 in a pot on the turn between Damon Lum and Mishel Anunu, Lum checked 9♠3♠A♥5♣. Anunu bet 1,100, then quickly announced he was all in after Lum check-raised to 2,500. The raise was 9,200 back to Lum and would put him all in if he called. Lum seemed unsure what to do. He furrowed his brow, gave the matter some thought, and then finally folded his hand, showing the A♣ before he did so. Although the table exhorted Anunu to show his hand, he quietly slid his cards face down into the muck.

3:27pm: Chip leaders

With nearly three levels gone, a few big stacks have started to emerge around the room.

Koray Turker - 44,000
Mishel Anunu - 42,000
Tim Clarke - 39,000
Scott Kerr - 37,000
Vesko Zmukic - 30,000
Tom Grigg - 29,000

32 of the 38 starters remain in contention.

3:32pm: Level 4 begins (blinds 100-200, ante 25)

3:36pm: Bower's bluff ends badly

Bradley Bower got a great river card for a bluff. Bower, with 4,500 already in the pot, had check-called a bet of 2,000 from Michael Spilkin. At the river, the board showed 7♦2♥6♥4♦5♦, with all sorts of two-pair, straight and flush combinations in play. Bower opted to lead out for 5,400. iSpilkn decided that Bower's range was "too wide" and quickly called.

"Nice call," said Bower. He mucked his hand. Spilkin flashed two red jacks, then dragged the pot and increased his count to about 33,000. Bower led out a deep sigh, cheeks puffed out, as the next hand began.


Michael Spilkin

3:50pm Grigg bends; Benton breaks

Tom Grigg and Aaron Benton started out strong today but both have hit a rocky road here in Level 4. Grigg three-bet a hand pre-flop from the big blind, making it 2,025 to go after James Bills opened for 525 from the cutoff and was called in one spot. Only Bills called the re-raise from Grigg. On a flop of 4♣3♠9♣, Bills made a small raise to 5,000 after Grigg bet 2,325. That raise ended the hand.

Over on Table 3, things went much more badly for Aaron Benton. He opened with a pre-flop raise that was three-bet from middle position and then four-bet by Michael Spilkin. Benton moved all in with ace-king and wound up called by Spilkin's pocket queens. Benton couldn't win the race and beat a quick retreat out the door.

Most of the chips seem concentrated on Table 3 at the moment.

4:04pm: Spilkin unstoppable

A chip leader has emerged. It's Mike Spilkin. He's hit a string of strong hands all in a row and has been paid every time. Spilkin's latest victim is Jason Chappell. Chappell and Spilkin got about 5,500 chips into the pot. On a flop of 3♥A♣6♦, Spilkin made the first bet of 3,000. Chappell raised to 10,000, then called all in after Spilkin jammed. Chappell showed A♠K♦ for top pair, top kicker, but Spilkin showed the nuts. His set of aces, A♥A♦, left Chappell drawing stone dead with two cards to come. The dealer put out a perfunctory 5♠ and 4♥, then pushed the pot to Spilkin.

Chappell is out, and Spilkin is busying stacking chips. We'll try to get his count when he's done.

4:11pm: Spilkin's luck

After the elimination of Jason Chappell, Andrew Jeffreys regaled Table 3 with a story from the previous day. He and Spilkin had been together somewhere when a bird relieved itself on Spilkin's face.

"It was all drippy and diarrhea-like, really bad!" said Jeffreys. "And we were inside! At that point we said, 'You're winning this.'" Jeffreys was referring to the long-held superstition that it's good luck if a bird relieves itself on a person.

Spilkin hasn't won yet, but he does have a Day 1A-leading 85,000 in chips. Jeffreys, however, may have wished the bird had relieved itself on him instead of Spilkins. Jeffreys busted on a race, with pocket eights against ace-king.

4:25pm: Grigg stumbles again

Ricky Kroesen has gotten the better of Tom Grigg in a pot that went all the way to showdown. Kroesen started things off with a pre-flop raise of 500 that Grigg called in position. On an eight-high flop, 2♣4♠8♥, Kroesen bet 1,000. Grigg raised to 2,600, then called after Kroesen three-bet to 5,000 straight. Kroesen smoked a check on the A♦ turn, with Grigg checking behind. Kroesen also checked the 4♣ river. Grigg's bet of 6,000 put Kroesen to a difficult decision. He sighed, tanked, and finally called with K♥K♠, kings and fours. He was good.

Grigg isn't out, but he's definitely trending downwards.

4:32pm: Second break arrives

Players are on their second break of the day. They'll return in ten minutes to play one more hour.