ANZPT Queenstown: Day 2, levels 6&7 (blinds 200-400, ante 50)

australia_poker_tour.png 2:20pm: Break time

The remaining 41 players have been sent on their first and only break of the day.

2:10pm: Hachem frustrated

Three pre-flop raises put Tony Hachem in a tough spot. Michael Spilkin (down to 95,000 so far) opened for 1,700. Hachem was next to act and made it 4,500 to go. Action passed to Grant Ven's big blind. Ven shipped it all in, about 19,500 in total.

"I guess the book says I'm supposed to fold," said Spilkin. He did what 'the book' said to do. That brought the action back to Hachem, whose decision was less clear.

"I don't know what to do," said Hachem. "Anyone else on this table I snap-call." Eventually Hachem folded his hand, preserving a stack of 9,000.

1:55pm: Not so fast

It stands to reason that as soon as we made a comment about play slowing down, there would be a three-way pre-flop all in on one of the tables. Scott Redman opened all in from early position for about 6,000. When action came to Mishel Anunu, one of the chip leaders to start the day, Anunu put in an isolation raise to 15,000. That isolation raise failed as Vesko Zmukic moved all in behind Anunu for 22,200 total. Getting better than 5-to-1 on his money, there was no way Anunu was folding. He called with the worst of the three hands.

Redman: Q♠Q♣
Anunu: 9♣9♠
Zmukic: K♣K♦

Zmukic was delighted to see a king flop, 3♦4♣K♥. By the turn 7♠ both of his opponents were drawing dead. He shot up to about 50,000 in chips, while Anunu fell to about 40,000 and Redman was eliminated.

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Vesko Zmukic

1:48pm: Play settles

The initial wave of aggression has washed over the room, smashing some short stacks and floating others. Now that we're into the second level, the players seem more settled into their tables and prepared to grind out smaller pots. It's not as if they're in for a long day -- we'll be finished mid-way through Level 9, the fourth level of the day.

Chip leader Michael Spilkin is in a dangerous seat, with Tony Hachem and Lee Nelson to his immediate left. He's been laying low so far today.

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1:36pm: Bonham takes advantage of scary turn

Danny Andrews and David Bonham were the only players in the pot for a flop of J♥6♥7♠. Andrews checked to Bonham, then raised to 4,200 after Bonham made a half-pot bet of 2,000. Bonham called that bet to see a doozy of a turn card come, the A♥. It was an overcard to the flop and also the third heart on the board. Andrews bet 6,500 and was quickly faced with a minimum-raise to 13,000.

"You get very lucky there, I can tell you that," said Andrews as he mucked his hand. Bonham did not reply.

1:25pm: From one points leader to another

Rennie Carnevale (currently 2nd in the ANZPT Season 2 points race) and Andrew Scarf (3rd) drew the same starting table today. Rennie had the shorter stack between the two men and just passed what was left of it to Scarf. The two got all in before the flop, with Carnevale's K♠Q♠ dominated by Scarf's A♣K♥. There was no miracle queen to be found on the board for Carnevale. He's now out. Scarf is up to 34,000 in chips.

1:20pm: Level 7 begins (blinds 300-600, ante 75)

1:14pm: Colman booted

Julius Colman made the right play. He got his chips all in pre-flop with by far the best hand, A♣K♠ against Serge Mazza's A♥Q♠. The dealer paused as he dealt the flop, then with a flourish spread three cards -- 6♣Q♣5♠. The queen was bad news for Colman. He immediately stood up and began to gather his things. There was no king coming on the turn or river.

"Bad luck Julius," offered a sympathetic Andrew Scarf. Colman shook a few hands and then exited the room.

1:04pm: Field re-united

With roughly 15 minutes left in the first level of the day, the table on the main gaming floor has been broken. 49 players are now spread through the five tables in the main tournament room.

12:59pm: Portaro doesn't need to river Cohen

Joel Cohen moved his short stack all in and was called by the just-slightly-bigger stack of Bruno Portaro.

"Are you going to river me again Bruno?" Cohen asked with a smile. He opened pocket jacks, J♣J♥. It turned out Portaro had the best hand with Q♦Q♠. He sent Cohen on his way after a board of K♠2♠8♥8♠A♦. Portaro now has about 8,000 in chips. There's still plenty of work for him to do.

12:50pm: Don't get in Nelson's way

Woe to the player who tries to beat Lee Nelson out of a pot right now. There's no stopping the Team PokerStars Pro. On a heads-up flop of 4♠2♦7♦, he moved all in as first to act. Opponent John Guthrie, with about 8,000 behind, faced a tough decision.

"That's a horrible bet," he said. Then he stuck his chips into the pot. It turned out his nut flush draw, A♦8♦, was actually ahead of Nelson's K♥Q♦ -- until the Q♣ spiked on the turn. The 4♥ river sent Guthrie off to find something else to do.

"Very unlucky," offered Nelson graciously before Guthrie departed.

"The flush draws aren't coming," noted Team PokeStars Pro Tony Hachem.

"They'll come later. You know that," Nelson replied.

"We just have to make sure we're still here later."

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Maybe it's the scarf

12:43pm: The rich get richer

One of the players we're watching closely today is Jesse McKenzie. McKenzie was the beneficiary yesterday of a first-level three-way all-in. He started Day 2 with almost 70,000 in chips and is climbing again after taking a small pot from Danny Andrews. McKenzie check-called a bet of 3,500 on a 6♦A♦J♣[10d] board. Both players checked the K♠ river. McKenzie took the pot with two pair, A♣J♠; Andrews claimed an ace and a busted flush draw.

12:39pm: Nelson charging again

It seems hard to imagine that at the start of Level 5 on Day 1A, Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson was down to about 3,500 in chips. That's because he's up to 60,000 now after flopping a straight and getting paid. Easy game!

12:35pm: Zmukic's feeling is right

A series of pre-flop raises put 8,000 in chips in the pot. Carl Knox moved all in for 18,000 more, putting the decision to Vesko Zmukic. He tanked for about thirty seconds before calling with K♦K♠. He clearly had feared the pocket aces that Knox turned over, A♥A♠.

"I had a feeling," said Zmukic with a sigh. The board came eight-high to double up Knox.

12:30pm: Grigg hits the rail

Sandy Retallick gave Tony Hachem fits yesterday with an unorthodox style of play. She's brought that style back for Day 2 and just fitted Tom Grigg with a toe-tag. Grigg got it all in on the turn, 7♠2♣[10c]A♣. He had a set of aces, A♦A♥, but was drawing against Grigg's club flush, 9♣5♣. The river 3♥ did not pair the board, ending Grigg's Season 2 Queenstown Main Event.

After the pot was pushed to Retallick, Grigg sat at the table for a few moments, holding his head in his hands. "I don't know what I'm going to do now," he remarked.

12:25pm: Hachem starts the long climb

John Guthrie and Michael Spilkin limped into a pot ahead of Tony Hachem, who shoved all in for 4,125. Guthrie flicked his cards several times before calling with K♠Q♠. Spilkin's fold left Hachem in a dominating spot with A♠Q♣.

"Let's not get unlucky," Hachem asked. The board came a clean 7♦2♥7♣9♣2♠ to double Hachem up to about 9,000.

"John, that's the first time I've beat you in a hand in two years," said Hachem.

12:15pm: The game's afoot

Players are in their seats and cards are in the air. We have six tables in action today. Five are in the main tournament room and one is out on the gaming floor. That sixth table should be broken relatively quickly, given the number of short stacks.

ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh attended to a few pre-game orders of business before calling for cards to fly. He asked if anyone had seen Bruno Portaro's duck and also asked TD Toni Quedley what happened to her husband last night.

"Danny got him drunk," Quedley replied.

"I didn't make him go to jail," McDonagh replied. "But they're very friendly here."