ANZPT Queenstown: Day 2, levels 8&9 (blinds 400-800, ante 100)
4:12pm Play concludes
That's it for Day 2. It looks like Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson, with a shade more than 115,000 chips, finished play as the chip leader. 50 players will return tomorrow -- 35 from Day 2 here in Queenstown and 15 from Day 2 in Auckland. A complete recap of this abbreviated day will come later this evening.
4:10pm: Ending with a bang!
On the very last hand at the very last table still in action, Julian Cohen opened for 2,200 pre-flop from under the gun. Only "Furniture" John called to a flop of 6♥K♣Q♣. Cohen cotinued for 4,000 and again Furniture John called.
The turn was the J♣. Cohen checked, then double-fist-pump-snap-called a shove from Furniture John. John showed 6♣6♦ for a set of sixes; amazingly, Cohen turned over A♣[10c] for a royal flush! Furniture John was drawing dead. The Q♥ river that gave him a full house was just a slap in the face.
3:55pm: Seven more hands
We've already reached that time of the day. Each table will play seven more hands and then we'll be done.
3:50pm: Anunu's ace-high is good
Mishel Anunu made what Michael Spilkin described as a "hell of a call" against Scott Kerr a few moments ago. Anunu opened pre-flop to 3,000, with Kerr calling right behind him. Both players checked a nine-high flop, 3♥2♠9♦. Anunu also checked the 6♥ turn, drawing a bet of 4,500 from Kerr. There wasn't much hesitation as Anunu put the matching chips into the pot.
The river was the 4♦. Again Anunu checked. Kerr fired another 8,000 chips into the pot, then announced "king-high" after Anunu called. Anunu tabled unimproved A♦J♥ to collect the pot.
3:45pm: 51 is not an even number
"36 players left here," said ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh. "Combined with the 15 from Auckland that's 51 total. I need one more to volunteer to lose today so we can all start in this room tomorrow."
Unsurprisingly, nobody volunteered.
3:33pm: Level 9 begins (blinds 500-1000, ante 100)
This is the last level of Day 2. Play will conclude after 35 minutes have elapsed, in order to sync up the field with the Auckland flight that played last weekend.
3:25pm: Still nothing coming easy for Hachem
Chris Levick opened for 2,000 in front of Jason Gray. We're not sure what Gray did, but we do know that Tony Hachem moved all in. Gray snap-called after Levick folded. Hachem tabled two kings... and Gray tabled the other two kings. A rainbow flop ended the hand in a chop.
"You probably thought you had the best hand!" said Gray to Hachem.
"Actually, I was sure you had aces," said Hachem. If that's true, then chopping Chris Levick's 2,000 wasn't the worst result.
3:15pm: Three in a row for Maklouf?
John Maklouf has made the final table of each of the last two ANZPT events. He's putting himself in a great position to do that again here in Queenstown. He made a reluctant pre-flop call after a player three-bet all in for 11,600 over the top of Maklouf's opening raise to 2,100. Maklouf's pocket tens were racing against K♠Q♠ and won the race, 7♥2♣2♥6♦2♠. Dragging that pot vaulted Maklouf to about 80,000 in chips.
3:06pm: Gray gets crafty with aces
Action folded to Jason Gray's button. He made a 2.5-times raise to 2,000 that was called only by the big blind. Action checked all the way to the river of a 9♣9♠3♣4♥Q♠ board. That's where the big blind took a stab with a bet of 2,000. Gray raised to 4,500, then turned up the red aces after being called. The big blind flashed a Q♣ before mucking.
Gray had a tough day yesterday, but he's grinding it out here today. His current count is about 32,000.
2:59pm: Knox shocks
Carl Knox and Serge Mazza each put in 2,100 chips before the flop. Knox acted first on a king-high flop, 9♣8♥K♠, and bet 4,100. Mazza quickly and emphatically made it "this much", putting five orange (T5,000) chips into the pot. The raise effectively would put Knox all in if he called.
"Wow," he said. He went into the tank for several minutes. "Have you got A-K Serge?"
"I've got good cards," Mazza replied.
Knox eventually shocked the table by open-folding A♥A♣. Mazza did not show his hand as he collected the pot.
2:50pm: Nelson's streak continues
We want to point out -- again -- that at the early stage of Level 5 Lee Nelson had only 3,500 chips left in his stack. He's up to more than 90,000 now after taking out another player. Nelson's A♦K♦ was too strong against his opponent's A♥[10h], all in before the flop. There was a small sweat as the board developed A♠2♥3♦4♥, bringing potential flush and board-straight possibilities. But the river Q♣ didn't fill any of those draws.
Today has felt like a day mainly of all-in pre-flop battles. We'll see how that changes as we get closer to our early departure time in Level 9.
2:42pm: Another table breaks
Two quick eliminations after the break trimmed the field down to 39 players. A random breaking order was drawn, and Table 2 -- the table of Michael Spilkin, Tony Hachem, Lee Nelson and others -- was drawn as the first to break. Those players have now filled in the empty seats at the other tables.
Spilkin was sent to Table 5, where his good friend Vesko Zmukic was happy to see him. "Hello honey!" he said as Spilkin sat down.
2:33pm: Play resumes
Cards are back in the air. The field is scheduled to play all of Level 8 and 35 minutes of Level 9. Play will be suspended at that point.