ANZPT Queenstown: Final table, levels 17&18 (blinds 3000-6000, ante 500)
4:50pm: Break time
The remaining six players are on a ten-minute break.
4:48pm: Rewi hanging around
The last kiwi in the field, Emmerson Rewi, has been on the short stack all day. When action folded to his small blind, he moved in for about 35,000. Julian Cohen called with A♣6♣, in the lead against Rewi's 8♥7♠.
Rewi went to shake Cohen's hand on a board of A♠K♦J♥, but Cohen pointed out the possibility of runners. The furst runner came with the [10c] turn. "Queen!" called out Cohen, pointing out the possibility of a chop. Rewi did him one better by calling for, and receiving, a 9♥ to make a jack-high straight and double up.
4:45pm: Spilkin gets Clarke back
After a brief lull in the action, Vesko Zmukic opened a pot for 20,000. Tim Clarke had the button and was next to act. He made it 61,000 to go. Michael Spilkin, in the small blind, peeked at his cards and then moved all in for 242,000. Zmukic quickly folded.
Clarke debated several minutes, got an exact count, and then called with A♦K♣. Spilkin showed A♥A♣ and doubled up on a board of [10s]8♥6♠7♦4♥.
"I liked that hand better than the other one," said Spilkin, referring to his earlier confrontation with Clarke. Spilkin now has about 520,000, while Clarke is down to 185,000.
4:29pm: Watson floats and gets a fold
Andrew Watson has the biggest stack on the final table and is using it to great effect. He opened a recent pot for 19,000, then called after Tim Clarke re-raised the big blind to 52,000. Clarke continued for 66,000 on a flop of 8♣3♣K♥. Watson was undeterred and, with position, called to the 2♠ turn. Clarke checked that card and then folded to a bet of 115,000. Watson showed A♦4♦.
4:18pm: Clarke flushes to double through Spilkin
In no-limit hold'em, everything can change in an instant. Tim Clarke looked to be struggling and Michael Spilkin looked to be in control. They've reversed roles after a huge pot that started with a raise to 20,000 pre-flop by Spilkin. Clarke called out of the big blind to a flop of 8♥7♥Q♣ and checked. A series of raises quickly got the chips all in. Spilkin's A♣Q♥ made top pair and was ahead of Clark's flush draw, A♥[10h]. Spilkin dodged eight hearts on the turn 4♣, but the river 2♥ brought in Clarke's draw and doubled him up.
4:15pm: Watson puts Clarke to the test
Tim Clarke opened pre-flop for 20,000 and was called by Andrew Watson out of the big blind. Watson checked an ace-high flop, J♥A♦7♦, inducing a bet of 27,500 from Clarke. Watson then check-raised to 72,500. Clarke wanted nothing further to do with the pot and surrendered his hand.
4:03pm: Jason Gray eliminated in 7th place
Julian Cohen had such a tough decision that he decided to let random chance make it for him. Cohen opened pre-flop to 17,500 in front of Jason Gray, who moved all in for 73,500 total. Cohen agonized over his decision for several minutes before asking TD Toni Quedley if he could flip a coin to decide.
"Of course!" Quedley replied.
Cohen then fished a coin out of his wallet and asked Gray to call it in the air. If Gray called correctly, Cohen would fold. If not he'd call. Gray called heads but the coin came up tails. Cohen, true to his word, called with Q♥[10h]. Gray, fittingly enough, showed 8♥8♦ for a coin-flip situation. Gray lost his second flip of the hand as the board came Q♠2♣5♣A♠J♥ to give Cohen a pair of queens. Gray's tournament is finished in 7th place.
3:56pm: John Maklouf eliminated in 8th place
John Maklouf is the first player in ANZPT history to make three consecutive final tables. But he's out of today's event after running into the buzz-saw that is Michael Spilkin. On the turn of a Q♣Q♠9♥K♥ board, Spilkin fired a bet of 55,000 chips into an already sizable pot. Maklouf tanked for more than a minute before raising all in for about 160,000. Spilkin snap-called with A♠Q♦, trip queens. Maklouf winced as he showed down A♥K♦, two pair kings and queens. There was no savior for Maklouf as the river fell 7♣ to knock him out.
Spilkin now has about 570,000 and appears to be closing in on chip leader Andrew Watson.
3:51pm: Level 18 begins (blinds 4000-8000, ante 500)
3:50pm: Gray doubles through Cohen
The last hand of Level 17 produced yet another all-in confrontation. Jason Gray put himself at risk as he moved all 31,000 of his chips into the pot after an opening raise to 14,000 by Julian Cohen. Cohen called with A♣[10c], dominated by Gray's A♦K♥. The board completely bricked out, J♦5♣4♠2♦7♣, allowing Gray's king kicker to play for a double-up.
3:48pm: Bottom pair good enough for Zmukic
On the penultimate hand of Level 17, Vesko Zmukic and Andrew Watson took a heads-up flop of J♣8♠A♦. Zmukic checked and then called a bet of 22,000 from Watson. Neither player made any additional aggressive actions, checking the action down all the way. Zmukic took the pot with a pair of eights, 8♦7♦.
3:37pm: Big pockets abound
The big pocket pairs have been all over the place today. Most recently it was Andrew Watson's turn. After Tim Clarke opened for 14,00 from under the gun, Andrew Watson re-raised to 39,500. Clarke called to a flop of [10c]7♥8♥ but checked out to a single bet of 53,000.
3:28pm: Rewi doubles up
Down to 38,500, Emmerson Rewi put all his chips at risk with 3♥3♦ after John Maklouf opened for 15,000. Maklouf called with A♣9♣ but whiffed on a boar of J♣7♦4♦Q♠4♠. Rewi is still short, but in slightly better condition with about 88,000.
3:24pm: Zmukic's aces go down in flames
The action was heavy pre-flop between under-the-gun player Michael Spilkin and small blind Vesko Zmukic. Zmukic led out for 35,000 on a flop of [10c]7♦[10s] and was raised by Spilkin to 95,000. Zmukic did not hesitate long in calling, but thought much longer and harder on the K♠ turn. He checked that card, prompting Spilkin to quickly lead out for 60,000, about 40% of his remaining stack. Zmukic eventually open-folded A♦A♥, and it was a good fold. Spilkin showed K♥[10d] for a full house.
3:13pm: Clarke fires three times
A most unusual four-way pot took place at our final table. Each player was in for the minimum of 6,000 before the flop. On an all-diamond flop of 2♦9♦8♦, action checked all the way to Tim Clarke. His bet of 16,000 was called only by Michael Spilkin. Spilkin check-called another 43,500 after the turn fell K♣ and then checked the J♣ river. Clarke didn't slow down. He fired another 70,000. Spilkin tanked for several minutes, leaning back in his seat with his arms folded across his chest, before finally folding.
3:02pm: Bryan Huang eliminated in 9th place
Bryan Huang knew he was going to have to make some strong moves if he wanted to take down this tournament. After Andrew Watson opened to 14,000 from late position, Huang moved all in for a total of 81,500. Watson called with A♦[10h]. Huang tabled K♥Q♣ and did a little shimmy in his chair, perhaps to try to bring some good flop mojo, It had the opposite effect, as a flop of A♥A♠7♠ made trip aces for Watson and left Huang looking for runners that never came. He leaves the final table as the 9th-place finisher.
2:50pm: Level 17 begins (blinds 3000-6000, ante 500)
2:40pm: Shuffle up and deal
After an extended pause to set the tournament floor up for the final table and to collect biographical information from the final nine players, cards are back in the air. Ten minutes remain in Level 16.