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

australia_poker_tour.png 4:33pm: Last break of the day

The remaining 33 players are on a ten-minute break.

4:29pm: A break for Hachem

An all-in brought us quickly over to Table 5, where Tony Hachem check-raised a bet of 1,500 all in to about 6,000 on a flop of 5♠6♠2♦. Once Hachem's opponent folded, Hachem opened J♦J♣.

"I had pocket queens. It was close," his opponent claimed. Hachem looked stunned.

4:18pm: Great river for Watt

Simon "durrrr killer" Watt, recently in possession of his first WSOP gold bracelet, will most likely readily admit that it takes some luck to win a poker tournament. He found a lucky river in a recent pot and managed to get paid off. There were 6,000 chips in the pot as the river came [10s]5♣9♦7♣8♦. Watt's lone opponent checked, then called a bet of 3,000. Watt turned up a very creative K♦J♥. We're not sure how he got to the river with that hand (putting in 15 big blinds along the way), but the river gave Watt a jack-high straight and the winning hand.

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The face of a (durrrr) killer

4:06pm: Simultaneous big bets lead to simultaneous folds

Big pots developed on Tables 3 and 4 simultaneously, though each fizzled out before anybody got seriously hurt. On Table 3, action on a four-way flop of 4♣Q♦6♦ checked all the way to last-to-act Julius Colman. With 3,400 chips in the middle, he moved all in for 10,150. Nobody was interested in taking him on.

Over at Table 4, it was big stacks Dongying Ling and Jackson Zheng who went to war on an all-heart flop, 3♥6♥4♥. Ling checked to Zheng, who started the bidding at 1,275. Ling check-raised to 3,600, then faced a re-raise back to a total of 8,600. He surrendered at that point.

3:55pm: Still no gains for Hachem

Tony Hachem has been playing lots of pots with the player on his left, Sandy Retallick. The two were at it again in a recent pot. With 2,000 chips already up for grabs on the turn, J♦4♠3♥J♣, Hachem checked and called a bet of 1,000 from Retallick. He then checked the 8♣ river.

"You told me to take it easy on you so I am," Hachem said to Retallick.

"I'm afraid of the check-raise so I'll check," Retallick replied. She opened J♥5♣ for trip jacks.

"You are unbelievable," said Hachem. He mucked his cards. "It's like playing baccarat. Nice hand."

Retallick is back up to 14,000 while Hachem dipped under the starting stack for the first time in a while, settling at 19,000. He left the room a few moments later, saying something about, "Tom and Jerry" and "The Three Stooges".

3:42pm: Karamalikis hits the slopes

Jonathon Karamalikis went through quite a hassle getting into the country earlier this week. (Ask him and he'll tell you an entertaining story.) All that hassle went for naught as he's been eliminated in the early stages of Level 4. According to Jackson Zheng, Zheng got pocket aces all in pre-flop against Karamalikis' pocket tens. "Pretty standard," said Zheng in an off-hand way.

Zheng now has roughly 60,000 chips and is vying for the chip lead.

3:33pm: Level 4 begins (blinds 100-200, ante 25)

3:25pm: If you were in the USA, you'd ring 1-800-GAMBLER

"Have you got a problem gambling?" Andrew Scarf asked, reading aloud from a pamphlet he found on a nearby table. "Do you feel sad or unhappy?"

Scarf looked up. "When someone river me I feel very sad and unhappy!" The rest of the table laughed.

3:22pm: Portaro becoming more active

Bruno Portaro has one of the larger stacks at Table 3 and is using it to apply pressure. He opened for 600 pre-flop and was called only by the button player, David Bonham. Portaro continued for 1,000 on a jack-high flop, J♣[10d]3♥. Bonham raised to 2,000; Portaro responded by quickly firing back a re-raise to 5,000. That re-raise ended the hand.

"Which one do you want to see?" Portaro asked. Bonham chose the left card. Portaro peeked at it, then said, "I don't know if I want to show you that one. You'll be upset." He did, however, flash an ace.

3:12pm: Duck knows best

What started out as a limped pot between small blind Bruno Portaro and big blind Andrew Scarf wound up going all the way to a showdown. Portaro bet 300 on the flop and 500 on the turn. Scarf called each bet, then took the lead for 1,200 after Portaro checked the river, J♣9♥Q♦9♣8♦. Portaro cut 1,200 off his stack, paused slightly, then tossed his chips into the pot. Scarf showed J♠9♦ for a full house, prompting Portaro to flick his fingers out as if to say, "Aiyah!"

"I should have folded," said Portaro. "What didn't I ask the duck? He would have said fold." Portaro was referring to a small squeaky toy duck that he has on the table. He's been squeaking it all through the day whenever he's been involved in a hand.

3:00pm: Everyone loves Tony

Tony Hachem is an out-sized personality who brings fun, laughter and good times wherever he goes. He recently asked the tournament room if anyone wanted a drink. "It's on Danny McDonagh's tab," he joked. McDonagh then suggested Hachem should offer them toasted sandwiches as well -- apparently a reference to something that happened earlier this season.

Hachem then repeated his offer to the room, telling anyone interested to put it on Hachem's tab. The next hand, Hachem looked down at his cards and flicked them towards the dealer a little too vigorously, hitting the dealer in the stomach with both cards. The dealer pantomimed a fatal injury.

"I tried to stab him with the cards!" said Hachem with mirth in his eyes. Hachem hasn't been able to get much above the starting stack just yet. He's currently sitting behind approximately 25,000 in chips.

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Tony Hachem

2:50pm: Shi busto

Vinson Shi, crippled just before the last break, found himself out-kicked on a 6-7-6-Q-4 board. His opponent showed 10-6 for trip sixes, with a better kicker than Shi. Shi's now out.

2:46pm: Everything's aces for Gray

Jonathon Karamalikis and Jason Gray are two of the players in today's field who have experienced the most previous success. They're sitting next to each other at Table 4 now and found themselves involved in a heads-up pot on the turn, 5♦8♦[10s]6♣. With 2,500 in the pot, Karamalikis bet 1,400. Gray called that bet, then quickly called another 2,300 when the river paired the board 6♠. Karamalikis showed top pair, K♥[10h], for tens and sixes, but was second-best to Gray's aces and sixes, A♥A♦.

2:34pm: Play resumes after extended break

The players are back in their seats after a slightly extended break. There was a hand at Table 5 between Chris Levick and Vinson Shi that went about five minutes into the break. Shi had three-bet pre-flop, putting Levick on his guard. Levick check-called a king-high flop, check-called 2,600 on the turn when an ace hit, and then led out for 6,000 when the board paired on the river with a second king. Shi raised that bet to 13,000, putting Levick to a big decision.

"I probably should have called quicker," said Levick afterwards, but he was worried that Shi held pocket aces for aces full of kings. Levick did eventually make the call with ace-king, kings full of aces, and took down the pot. He now has about 42,000, while Shi is down to just 3,500.