ANZPT Queenstown: Day 3, levels 13&14 (blinds 1200-2400, ante 300)
6:52pm: Stephen Smith bubbles; Day 3 concludes
It took more than hour, but we finally have the bubble boy of the 2010 ANZPT Queenstown Main Event. In a blind-versus-blind battle, Stephen Smith moved all in for an additional 38,600 from the big blind after Bryan Huang was in from the small. Huang clearly was not in love with his hand, but decided to go for the kill and called with [10c]8♥. He had two live cards against Smith's A♣Q♥ and paired one of them on a flop of 8♦K♦J♣. That flop left Smith looking for an ace, a queen or a ten on the turn to overtake Huang. Smith picked up a few more outs when the turn K♣ paired the board. The river, however, was a tournament-ending 3♠ for Smith.
With Smith's elimination, the remaining fifteen players are in the money. They're currently bagging up their chips for the night. A full recap of the day's events will come later tonight but it looks like Vesko Zmukic is the chip leader.
6:48pm: Spilkin's ace-high may have been best
A curious hand just went down at Table 2. Michael Spilkin limped from middle position and Serge Mazza completed his small blind before Bryan Huang made a minimum raise to 6,000. Spilkin and Mazza both called. Huang continued for 10,000 on a flop of 7♦9♥5♣. Spilkin raised that bet to 21,000, folding Mazza. Huang called.
Huang checked the 9♠ turn and was faced with a small bet of 17,000 from Spilkin. Huang tanked for a minute before folding. Spilkin opened A♥[10s].
6:36pm: Maklouf's turn to win a flip
John Maklouf opened all in for about 40,000. Action passed to Julian Cohen in the big blind, who quickly called with A♦K♦. It was another race, with Maklouf's 7♦7♠ having the slightest edge. Each player found a match on a flop of K♣5♦7♥. Maklouf's set of sevens were in charge, but the turn Q♦ was a "sweater", giving Cohen a flush draw. The river was red, but it was a heart, not a diamond. The 5♥ doubled Maklouf up to 80,000.
Hand-for-hand play on the bubble therefore continues.
6:20pm: Gray survives flip
John Maklouf was first into a pot on Table 2 with a raise to 8,200. Jason Gray, sitting with the button, then moved all in behind Maklouf for an additional 50,000. Maklouf tanked for several minutes before calling with A♥Q♥. He was flipping against Gray's 8♥8♠. The flop came with paint, but it was not a queen -- 4♣K♥3♣. Gray made it home when he turned a set with the 8♦.
Gray now has about 120,000. Maklouf is the new short stack with roughly 40,000.
6:12pm: Bubble continues
All the pots are small and cautious at the moment. The clock has been frozen at the end of the level, rather than sending the tournament on a break. We will be here, in this room, until someone busts. Right now it looks like that's going to require two big hands to be dealt at the same time.
5:59pm: A long bubble gets longer
The shortest stack in the room previously belonged to Campbell Melville. But he just quietly doubled up at Table 1. Nobody else is particularly short. We could be here a while, especially with coveted Player of the Year points up for grabs.
5:40pm: Hand-for-hand play commences
16 players remain in the tournament. 15 are being paid. The two eight-handed tables still in action are playing hand-for-hand until the next elimination. At that time the players will re-draw and bag up the chips until tomorrow.
5:38pm: Watson send Nelson to the rail
A massive pot at Table 1 has resulted in the elimination of Lee Nelson two spots out of the money. Jie Gao, Nelson and Andrew Campbell Watson were each into the pot for 11,200 pre-flop. Action checked to Watson on the 3♦6♥J♠. His bet of 16,700 folded Gao. Nelson then check-raised to 42,500. Watson called.
When the turn came the K♦, Nelson moved all in for 78,600. Watson asked for a count, then tanked for three full minutes before announcing a call. His A♥J♥, a pair of jacks, was ahead of Nelson's 7♦[10d]. Nelson had flopped completed air, then picked up a flush draw on the turn. That draw didn't come. The rivver was the Q♠, eliminating Nelson's tournament run.
Watson may now be the tournament leader. He has about 300,000 in chips.
5:26pm: Bills busto
James Bills held on as long as he could. His short stack was finally in the middle with K♣9♣ and called by Serge Mazza's A♣[10h]. There was something for everyone on a flop of A♠[10c]K♥. Bills made a pair of kings; Mazza made two pair, aces and tens. The turn 3♣ give Bills a flush draw, but he could only improve to a useless two pair with the river 9♥. He's now out.
"It was a scary turn!" said Mazza after shaking Bills' hand.
17 players are left in the tournament. We're within striking distance of the money (15 places).
5:15pm: Level 13 begins (blinds 1500-3000, ante 300)
5:12pm: Spilkin gets better end of cooler
After surviving a set-over-set situation early in the day, Michael Spilkin got the right end of the cooler this time around. He was dealt K♥K♣ at the same time that Jordi Urlings picked up Q♥Q♣. Spilkin found a matching king on a flop of 3♠K♦6♦, basically ending the hand. The stacks were close, but after a count-down Spilkin wound up having Urlings covered. He's up to about 130,000 while Urlings is out on the bubble.
18 players remain. We are three spots off of the money.
5:06pm: Recent eliminations
Sandy Retallick is out. She took A♠K♠ against Matt Pearson's Q♠Q♣ and did not improve. Ricky Kroesen is also out. He got all in with K♠K♣ against Tim Macbeth's A♠K♦, but Macbeth managed to spike an ace on the turn and then avoid Kroesen's flush draw to send Kroesen packing.
5:02pm: Another sick bluff
The bluffing bug is going around the room. Somehow John Maklouf and James Bills got 35,000 chips into the pot pre-flop. They both checked an ace-high flop, A♠9♦5♦. Maklouf acted first on the 5♠ turn and bet 15,000. Bills called.
The river came K♥. Maklouf bet 27,000, about half of his remaining stack and enough to put Bills all in. Bills tanked for three solid minutes before open-folding J♠J♣. Maklouf grinned and showed 4♠3♠ -- a complete airball.
4:56pm: Nelson finds value on the river
Lee Nelson's stack has been on the downswing recently, but he picked up a few chips courtesy of Ricky Kroesen. Nelson opened with a pre-flop raise from the cutoff, then called Kroesen's button re-raise to 14,000. They were heads-up to a flop of 6♥8♠A♥. Nelson checked and then called a continuation-bet of 12,000. Both players checked the 8♦ turn. Nelson fired out a bet of 14,100 on the 9♥ river. Kroesen called with A♠9♣, two pair aces and nines. That was no good. Nelson turned up 8♣7♣ for trip eights.
4:49pm: Wang gets best of three-way all-in
In the front of the room, at Table 1, three sets of cards were on their backs. Lee Nelson had the best hand, J♥J♠, but was facing all the over-cards he could face. Robert Wang showed A♥K♥ and David Bonham showed A♠Q♠. Bonham was the shortest stack and had the worst hand. Wang was the only one to improve on a board of 3♦K♦[10c]9♣8♦. Bonham headed for the exit, tantalizingly close to the money, while Wang scooped a big pot. He now has about 120,000, while Nelson -- who had been running great since Level 5 on Day 1A -- has slipped to 75,000.
4:44pm: Siiiiiiiiick bluff
We came to Bryan Huang's table with a hand already in progress between Huang and John Maklouf. On the turn, 6♥5♠[10s]8♠, Huang led out for 16,500. Maklouf raised that bet to 40,000, then faced a huge decision as Huang three-bet to 95,000. After thinking it through for several minutes, Maklouf folded. Huang showed Q♥J♥, a stone bluff.
4:33pm: Power poker, by Vesko Zmukic
Sometimes poker isn't necessarily about making the best hand, but making the pressure bet that your opponent can't withstand. Andrew Scarf opened a recent pot at Table 3 to 7,100 and was called by small blind Vesko Zmukic. On a Q-5-2 rainbow flop, Zmukic led out for 13,000. Scarf popped it up to 41,000, leaving himself about 60,000 behind. Zmukic then re-raised to 81,000 and got Scarf to lay down his hand.
As Zmukic collected a sizable pot, he opened [10c]7♣ for a stone bluff. Scarf claimed to have folded A♠6♠.
4:25pm: Didn't we just see this hand?
The chips were all in on Table 2, with Rewi Emmerson at risk of elimination. He had the best hand, however, tabling K♣K♦ against Erich Stadler's A♣J♦. Stadler turned a jack but couldn't find a river card that improved him further, 8♦[10d]5♦J♠[10d]. Emmerson's king-high flush propelled Emmerson to 95,000 and left Stadler with just 8,100.
"Chip and a chair," he said as the dealer tossed him his change. "Nice hand, brother."
4:20pm: It's good to be Bryan Huang
Back from the break, Bryan Huang quickly got a player all in and in bad shape. Huang's pocket kings were the leading hand against the A-Q of Huang's opponent. The board rolled out an easy 8♠J♠5♦K♣2♣ to give Huang a set of kings. He eliminated his opponent.
"You run so bad Bryan," said Michael Spilkin.
"Can't complain," Huang replied.
4:13pm: Play resumes
Cards are back in the air. We're ten eliminations from the money.