ANZPT Queenstown: Day 3, level 11&12 (blinds 800-1600, ante 200)
25 players remain. They're now on a short break.
3:56pm: Macbeth happy for the action
Action folded all the way to the small blind at Tim Macbeth's table. That player moved all in for about 25,000. Tim Macbeth snap-called with J♣J♥. The small blind showed A♣3♣ and although he did develop a club draw, ultimately bricked out a K♣[10d]7♠5♣2♦ board.
"Did you even look at your cards?" a player asked Macbeth, referring to the speed of his call.
"I was like, 'Don't fold all the way around!'" Macbeth replied. He's now up to about 190,000.
3:51pm: Huang ups the aggression
Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang started the day with a quick double-up but has been treading water ever since. He's become more active in the last orbit or two, re-raising several opening raises several times. So far none of his opponents have been interested in four-betting or calling to a flop.
3:37pm: Slowdown finally arrives
With the tournament down to three nine-handed tables, the pace of play is finally starting to slow down. Players seem less willing to call all in raises as the money slowly starts to come in sight.
We did just lose Yannick Frenette, however. Frenette entered the day as the chip leader with more than 167,000 chips, a 50,000 chip lead on the second-place player. But he had a day of terrible luck, constantly getting out-turned or rivered by his opponents. On Frenette's final hand, he bet a flop of 9♣[10c]K♠ after his sole opponent checked. That player called Frenette's bet, then check-raise shoved the 3♥ turn. Frenette called with pocket aces and had the best hand against his opponent's Q-10, a pair of tens. But the river Q♥ improved Frenette's opponent to two pair and ended Frenette's run. He is busto.
3:20pm: Macbeth's adventurous call doesn't work out
Serge Mazza was first into a recent pot at Table 5. He limped in, allowing Tim Macbeth to put in the first raise behind him, to 6,300. Jie Gao then shoved all in for a total of about 24,000. Mazza quickly folded but Macbeth agonized over his decision.
"This would be such a bad call, but I think I'm ahead," said Macbeth. After several minutes, he added, "Donation, mate," and called with A♥5♣. Gao showed A♣[10s] and won the pot on a board of 4♦4♥6♠[10d]9♣. He's now on about 50,000, while Macbeth has dropped to 125,000.
3:07pm: Spilkin back to where he started
Up and down, up and down. That's how things have gone today for Day 1A chip leader Michael Spilkin. He's back to roughly what he started the day with -- about 90,000 -- after eliminating a short-stacked opponent. That player raised to 8,000 pre-flop, then put the rest of his stack in the middle (about another 8,000) on a king-high flop, 6♠7♦K♠. Spilkin made an easy call with 6♦7♣, sixes and sevens. His two pair held.
"Are you allowed to high-five the dealer?" Spilkin asked.
3:01pm: Level 12 begins (blinds 1000-2000, ante 200)
2:53pm: Formosa out on a race
We're really starting to reach the stage of the tournament where one race can be the difference between making a push for the money and being shown the door. David Formosa lost his "one race". He moved in with A♥Q♥, was called by 5♦5♣, and couldn't improve.
2:44pm: Spilkin can't shake Huang
Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang refused to back down to Michael Spilkin. Both had checked a 7♠7♣3♥ flop. On the turn 5♠ Spilkin bet 4,000 and Huang called. The action checked through on the A♠ river.
"King-high," announced Spilkin. He showed K♥Q♠. Huang tabled 4♥4♦ to win the pot.
"One more bet and you fold?" Spilkin asked.
"Mmmmm..." Huang considered. The player to his right then remarked that Huang never folds. "I'm a calling station," Huang agreed with a smirk.
2:35pm: Cohen's slow-play backfires
Julian Cohen has roughly 200,000 chips in his stack, but isn't beyond playing craftily to try to lull his opponents into a trap. But Cohen's most recent trap backfired on him. In position, he called a raise to 4,000 pre-flop. Bryan Huang also called for a three-way flop of 9♠5♣5♠. Huang checked to the pre-flop raiser. He continued for 7,500 and only Cohen called.
Both players checked the A♠ turn and 9♥ river. Cohen's opponent opened A♦Q♠ for a pair of aces; Cohen nodded and flashed two red queens, Q♥Q♦.
2:25pm: Huang almost gets away with one
Michael Spilkin's been having some trouble seeing the board today. He completely missed the potential that his opponent held a flush earlier in the day, and almost missed his own full house just now. On a board of 5♠5♥7♥Q♥A♥, Bryan Huang led out for 11,000.
"I'm sure my set of 7s is no good," said Spilkin. That seemed an odd thing to say, because with a board pair a set of 7s was actually a full house! Spilkin eventually made what another player described as "the most angry call I've ever seen" and slammed over 7♣7♠. Huang quickly mucked his hand. That's when the rest of the table clued Spilkin in to his full house.
"I swear to God, I couldn't see properly," said Spilkin.
2:19pm: McKenzie sends another player packing
Ever since Jesse McKenzie's big three-way all-in showdown early on Day 1B, he's had an up-and-down time of it. He started today off trending downwards, but is rebuilding again after knocking out another player. McKenzie opened his button for 4,000 pre-flop, then called a small blind shove to about 22,000. McKenzie said he felt the small blind had been "making big moves" all day, and it turned out he was right this time. The small blind showed 7♦3♦ against McKenzie's A♦9♦. A flop of A♣8♣A♠ gave McKenzie a hammer-lock on the hand. After the turn fell 2♣, McKenzie's opponent was drawing dead.
2:14pm: Zmukic gets kings AGAIN
Vesko Zmukic had pocket kings three times yesterday. He's had them three times again today. His first pair of kings didn't fare well; despite flopping a set, Zmukic lost to Sandy Retallick's running flush. A few minutes ago, however, Zmukic's kings held up all in to send a player to the rail.
When I checked for a "kings" magnet under the table, Zmukic quickly grabbed my wrist and yanked it away from the table.
2:07pm: Chisnall's day ends
After an opening raise to 3,600, Paul Chisnall moved all in. He wound up involved in a three-way all in with 9♥[10h]. His opponents showed J♥J♠ and K♣K♥. Chisnall made a pair on the flop, 7♦9♠A♥, but there was no further drama in the hand. He was eliminated, one player tripled up and the stack of the third was severely reduced.
2:01pm: Play resumes
Cards are back in the air. We have 34 players left in the field. 15 will be paid.