ANZPT Queenstown: Final table, levels 21&22&23 (blinds 8000-16000, ante 2000)

australia_poker_tour.png9:51pm: Andrew Watson eliminated in 2nd place -- Julian Cohen wins ANZPT Queenstown Main Event!

After Andrew Watson started trending downwards, he didn't seem to be able to stop. On the final hand of the tournament, Watson opened all in from the button for about 450,000. Julian Cohen snap-called with A♦[10c] and was the dominating favorite over Watson's K♥[10d] to end the tournament. There wasn't much sweat as the board developed 4♠J♣4♥7♣9♠. That ended Watson's run in 2nd place and crowned Cohen the champion.

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Executive Director of SKYCITY Queenstown Michelle Baillie gave a few very brief remarks and then presented Cohen with his trophy.

We'll have a complete recap of the day later this evening, but for now offer our congratulations to Cohen on his accomplishment.

9:45pm: Watson trending downwards

On an all-broadway flop of A♥J♠[10s], Andrew Watson checked and then called a bet of 100,000 from Julian Cohen. Cohen fired another 125,000 after Watson checked the Q♣ turn. Again Watson called. Both players checked the [10h] river, at which point Cohen turned over A♠K♠ for a Broadway straight. He collected the pot after Watson mucked.

Watson is down to about 650,000.

9:40pm: Cohen flips with the best of them

Julian Cohen's lucky coin was out again as he contemplated calling a river bet from Andrew Watson. Cohen flipped and did what the coin told him to do -- call. It turned out to be the correct decision, earning Cohen another pot. He now has the chip lead again, with about 1.5 million to Andrew Watson's 900,000.

9:37pm: Level 23 begins (blinds 12000-24000, ante 3000)

9:35pm: Cohen doubles again

After being ground down to 445,000, suddenly the chips were all in the middle. Andrew Watson limped his button, Julian Cohen shoved all in, and Watson snap-called.

"Uh oh. I'm in trouble," said Cohen. But it wasn't quite as bad as he had feared. His [10d]9♦ was lived against Watson's K♠Q♠. Cohen paired nines on the flop, 9♣8♠7♦, then had to hang on for a sweat after the 3♠ turn. The river was a face card, but it was a J♦ to give Cohen a jack-high straight. He now has bout 900,000 in chips and so we play on.

9:22pm: Back to square one

The chip counts have been restored to what they were at the start of heads-up play -- a roughly 3-to-1 chip lead for Andrew Watson -- after a failed bluff by Julian Cohen. Cohen called a pre-flop raise to 45,000, then led out for 65,000 on a flop of J♣2♣9♠. Watson called to the 2♥ turn, a card both players checked. Cohen took another stab with a bet of 130,000 on the 6♠ river, but he couldn't shake Watson. Watson called with a pair of nines, [10d]9♣, which was better than Cohen's busted straight draw, Q♥[10s].

9:13pm: Watson comes storming back

No sooner had Julian Cohen evened the chip counts then Andrew Watson came back with a vengeance to relieve Cohen of 400,000 chips in one shot. Cohen opened his button to 40,000, then called a three-bet to 120,000 from the out-of-position Watson. Watson bet 130,000 on a king-high flop, 5♥2♦K♥. The words were barely out of his mouth when Cohen had already called. Watson checked the J♠ turn to Cohen, who bet 160,000. Cohen snap-folded to Watson's check-raise to 400,000.

9:09pm: Cohen evens the score

The last two players are virtually dead even in chips after Julian Cohen won another two pots. First, on a flop of K♣A♠5♣, Cohen check and called a bet of 57,000 from Andrew Watson. Both players checked the J♠ turn. Cohen's bet of 100,000 on the 8♦ went uncalled.

The next hand Cohen opened for 40,000. Andrew Watson re-raised to 120,000, but folded when Cohen four-bet to 250,000. Cohen flashed pocket aces.

9:01pm: Julian Cohen doubles up

Julian Cohen opened his button with a minimum-raise to 40,000 and then was faced with a huge decision after Andrew Watson moved all in. After thirty seconds Cohen called all in for 480,000 total, putting himself at risk of elimination. He had to win a race with A♣9♣ against Watson's 6♠6♣ in order to remain in the tournament. Win it he did, making a full house on a board of J♦9♥[10h]9♦[10s]. Cohen now has about 1.0 million in chips to Watson's 1.3. Game on!

8:53pm: Vesko Zmukic eliminated in 3rd place

In the end, Vesko Zmukic couldn't avoid the inevitable flip. He moved all in from the big blind after Andrew Watson opened for 50,000 from the button. Watson quickly called with 6♥6♠, and the race was on against Zmukic's K♥[10h]. A six in the window was pretty much all she wrote. The board came 6♦J♦7♣3♦A♦ to eliminate Zmukic.

Watson and Julian Cohen are now heads-up for the championship. Watson has a 3-to-1 advantage, but Cohen has approximately 30 big blinds. There's plenty of time.

8:50pm: Zmukic makes an eyebrow-raising fold

There was some hushed murmuring on the rail after a recent pot between Vesko Zmukic and Andrew Watson. Zmukic opened his button for 67,000, leaving himself about 200,000 behind. Andrew Watson was next to speak and pushed all in, folding big blind Julian Cohen. Zmukic tanked for about a minute, then open-folded 8♦8♣.

8:43pm: Zmukic teetering

With the limits up, Vesko Zmukic is now right on the edge of being classically short-stacked. He did just manage to pick up 45,000 chips from Andrew Watson to increase his count to about 300,000. Watson opened pre-flop for 45,000 and Zmukic called from the blind. Both men checked to the river, 2♣A♠[10d]K♠J♣. That's where Zmukic's bet of 100,000 took down the pot.

8:33pm: Level 22 begins (blinds 10000-20000, ante 2000)

8:25pm: Watson starting to pull away

Chalk up another pot for Andrew Watson. He and Vesko Zmukic took a limped flop of 8♦7♣7♥. Zmukic led out for 30,000 and Watson called. Both players checked the 3♥ turn. When the river came the A♠, Zmukic checked again. He started shaking his head when Watson bet 42,000 but called anyway. Sure enough, Watson turned up A♦4♣ for a rivered two pair, aces and seven. Zmukic flashed queen-eight as he mucked.

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8:13pm: Michael Spilkin eliminated in 4th place

With Michael Spilkin playing so many post-dinner pots, he seemed assured of either amassing a massive stack or busting out. It turned out to be the latter. He and Andrew Watson took a raised flop of 2♣9♦9♥. Spilkin was first to speak and made it 70,000 to go. Watson called.

When the turn came J♥, Spilkin quickly slid a stack of orange chips (100,000 total) into the pot. Again Watson called. Spilkin repeated the same action on the river 3♦, betting a quick 100,000. Watson then raised all in. He had Spilkin covered. The raise was 240,000 back to Spilkin.

"I don't think I can fold," said Spilkin. After another thirty seconds, he called with A♠2♦, nines and deuces. Watson was pumped, popping out of his chair and pumping his fist as he showed [10c]9♠ for trip nines. The two men shook hands and then Spilkin beat a hasty exit.

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Michael Spilkin has been eliminated

8:07pm: Cohen and Spilkin again

Michael Spilkin and Julian Cohen are tangling quite a bit here in the post-dinner play. They played another raised pot, this one with Cohen in position. On a flop of 6♠5♣5♥, Spilkin opened for 60,000. Cohen put in a raise that was just bigger than the minimum, making it 130,000 to go. Spilking tanked for several minutes, staring Cohen down, before he finally mucked his cards.

8:01pm: Cohen returns the favor

Michael Spilkin tried opening a pot pre-flop to 35,000. He was called by small blind Andrew Watson, prompting Julian Cohen to three-bet the big blind to 130,000. Both of his opponents quickly folded, allowing Cohen to flash [10h]6♥.

"Now we're even," he told Spilkin.

7:57pm: Spilkin bluffs Cohen out

Julian Cohen started things pre-flop by raising his button, but it was the big blind Michael Spilkin who finished them off. Both players checked a 7♥5♠5♦ flop. When the turn came a jack, J♠, Spilkin led out for 45,000. Cohen considered that bet briefly and then called. At the river 5♣, Spilkin tried another bet of 55,000. This one induced a fold from Cohen, who claimed to have folded ace-high after Spilkin showed Q♣[10s].

7:53pm: Zmukic can't get action from Spilkin

Michael Spilkin opened from under the gun for 36,000 and was called only by big blind Vesko Zmukic. Zmukic led out for 70,000 on a flop of J♦4♠8♦, then showed unimproved A♥K♠ after Spilkin folded.

7:45pm: Watson hits the river

The small-ball style that characterized pre-dinner play has returned after dinner. Andrew Watson opened for 36,000 pre-flop and was called by Vesko Zmukic. Both players checked the 3♦3♥4♥ flop. Zmukic also checked the 9♥ turn, then called a bet of 41,000 from Watson. The action was similar on the K♠ river, where Watson opened K♣8♣ for a pair of kings after Zmukic called one last bet. Zmukic tapped the table "good hand" and mucked his hand.

7:35pm: Play resumes

Players have returned from dinner and cards are back in the air.