ANZPT Sydney day 3: Level 20 (6000/12,000, ante 1000) & 21 (8000/16,000, ante 2000) updates
7pm: What's the score?
The number of spectators engaged in the rugby league match being televised on the Star City Poker Room's TVs would indicate there's not a whole lot of action to report from the tournament floor. Since Paul Pederson's elimination more than 30 minutes ago, few hands have progressed past the flop. The clock is ticking down to the next break, which will be a 20-minute breather before blinds pop up to 10,000/20,000 with an ante of 2000.
6.30pm: Pederson's persistence pays off
We're catching our breath after a frenetic run of four eliminations in quick succession since the field was reduced to the final two tables. Michael O'Grady (1.4 million) and Angelo Hanataj (1.2 million) are the men to catch, while Jimmy Tran is the next player in the firing line, holding just 160,000 in chips.
Paul Pederson turned in a masterful display of short-stack poker today. He nursed a miserly pile of chips into 15th place where Mike Ivin's pocket fours stayed ahead of the Kiwi's A♠ 7♣ after the board flowed 9♥ [10s] 3♦ Q♥ 2♣. Pederson's patience earned him a handsome reward of $8920 for 15th.
5.55pm: O'Grady leads
Michael O'Grady and Angelo Hanataj have broken clear of the rest of the field late in level 20 of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. O'Grady is the first player to crack one million in chips, while Hanataj took down a massive pot against Ka Ming Fang to climb to 880,000.
5.35pm: Down to two tables
David Rodwell picked the wrong time to jam with pocket nines with Bernard Gabriel holding pocket 10s. Rodwell takes home $6244 for 21st placing.
Others who've made their way to the cage in the past few minutes have been Alan Wilson, who's Q-J hit the flop of 8-J-3 against the A-8 of Cale McLean, but the board ran out A-3 to eliminate him in 20th spot. Then David Lloyd bowed out in 19th after his Q♥ [10c] failed to hit on a board of A♠ 5♥ J♣ 3♣ 8♥ against Con Karamas' A♠ 2♣.
The remaining 18 players have just been redrawn for the final two tables. There's just over 12 minutes remaining in level 20, with blinds at 6000/12,000 with an ante of 1000. The chip average is 490,000.
Seat 1: Bernard Gabriel
Seat 2: Michael O'Grady
Seat 3: Jimmy Tran
Seat 4: John Maklouf
Seat 5: Paul Pedersen
Seat 6: Ka Ming Fang
Seat 7: Danny Mikhail
Seat 8: Quoc Nguyen
Seat 9: Mike Ivin
Seat 1: David Byrne
Seat 2: Omer Silajdzija
Seat 3: Danny Yeung
Seat 4: Cale MacLean
Seat 5: Tom Pongrass
Seat 6: Bradley Bower
Seat 7: Tri Nguyen
Seat 8: Con Kamaras
Seat 9: Angelo Hanataj
5.20pm: Cale claims two
Cale McLean was only too happy to follow Shannon Chapman and Danie Touma to the flop after his two rivals had declared all-in. Touma showed A♠ J♣, Chapman held J♠ J♦ while McLean revealed K♣ K♦. The board came K♥ 3♥ 5♥ 9♣ 9♦ to send Touma and Chapman on their way while McLean glowed over his newly acquired stack of 600,000. John Maklouf is the chip leader on 880,000, followed by Angelo Hanataj in on 780,000 with Omer Silajdzija holding 710,000.
5pm: Tri-ing times for last 23
Players have just returned from the second break of the day just 14 spots short of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event final table. Following the departure of Tony Hachem, George Tzakis bowed out in 28th after his pocket nines ran into Tri Nguyen's pocket kings.
Next out was Michael Vanderhorst, who shoved all-in on a flop of 4♣ K♦ 6♦ with A♦ [10d], and Tri Nguyen was again in the action with A♥ K♣. The turn 4♦ made Vanderhorst's flush, but the river 4♠ gave Nguyen a full house.
Shaun Elliot's tournament ended after Mike Ivin's pocket kings prevailed over A-6, then Qi Xu's A-K found John Maklouf waiting with pocket aces. The board of Q-J-2-5-9 flirted with Xu, but he was out in 25th. Michael O'Grady's A-J then held up against the K-J of Sam Ioannou to leave 23 players in the hunt for a spot in the last nine.