ANZPT Adelaide Day 1a: Levels 7 & 8 (blinds 400-800, ante 75)
7:30pm: Day 1a is in the books
That wraps up play here on Day 1a of the ANZPT Adelaide Main Event. Approximately 50 players have made it safely through to Day 2 with Jesse McKenzie a runaway chip leader with 181,325 and nearly double that of the next best which is likely to be Craig Bourke on around 95,000.
Our apologies for the Internet difficulties we've suffered during the day, but we'll have a complete wrap of the day including chip counts for the field for you shortly.
7:25pm: McKenzie fires three barrels
With six hands drawn before the day would be wrapped up we weren't expecting too many fireworks. But no one told Jesse McKenzie who decided to put his big stack to work.
Alexander Zhidkov opened with a raise to 2,000 before McKenzie three-bet to 5,400 in the big blind. Zhidkov made the call and the flop landed 4♣7♣2♦.
McKenzie followed up with a continuation bet of 6,300, which Zhidkov quickly called to see the 2♥ hit the turn. It seemed an innocent card and it didn't stop McKenzie releasing barrel number two. He asked for a rough count of his opponent's stack before he slid 13,450 into the middle. Zhidkov matched the bet and a massive pot was brewing as the 2♠ completed the board on the river.
McKenzie fired the third bullet as he made it 18,500 to see a showdown. Zhidkov was pained by the decision and thought long and hard but eventually released his hand.
McKenzie now has a mountain of chips and will end the day as our clear chip leader.
7:20pm: Haddad races ahead
Michael Haddad has once again grabbed the attention of the entire room with a big call and a huge pot going his way.
Haddad raised to 1,650 before Matt Brown moved all in from the blinds for 18,850 in total.
"What do you want me to do?" quizzed Haddad. "If you want me to call, I'll call. If you want me to fold, I'll fold."
"I want you to put 18,850 into the middle and then muck your cards!" replied Brown sharply.
Haddad soaked up the attention before shouting "CALL!" and he slammed 4♥4♣ down onto the table. Brown opened A♠J♥ for overcards and the race was on.
The board landed 3♣8♣Q♥8♥7♦ and there was no help for Brown. He's out as Haddad jumps back to 75,000 to once again be with the chip leaders as the day heads towards a close.
7:10pm: Lunardi dominated by Benton
Kristian Lunardi has been aggressively three and four-betting relentlessly over the last few hours, trying to find a double up for his short stack. It didn't come as Lunardi has been recently eliminated at the hands of Aaron Benton.
Lunardi raised from early position before Benton shoved from the small blind. Lunardi made the call with K♥Q♠ but found himself dominated by Benton's A♦K♠.
The flop of 4♥T♦J♦ brought a sweat as Lunardi flopped a straight draw but the 3♠ turn and 7♦ river bricked. Lunardi is out as Benton moves up to 38,000.
7:00pm: It's Jesse's world
Jesse McKenzie is making big waves here at the ANZPT Adelaide. He's been steadily accumulating chips all day, and has recently dispatched of Michael Veigli to surge towards the top of the chip counts.
We arrived at the table to see the flop spread 8♥T♦9♣ and a bet of 1,975 in front of McKenzie. Veigli raised it up to 5,000 and McKenzie deliberated before making the call to see a repeat T♠ hit the turn. Again McKenzie took his time before checking, but Veigli didn't waste any time moving all in for a little over 10,000. McKenzie didn't hesitate in splashing a call into the middle as he opened K♦T♣ for trip tens, to leave Veigli drawing slim with his K♠Q♣.
It wasn't to be as the Q♥ on the river was just salt into the wound as Veigli hit the rail and McKenzie moved up to a healthy 90,000 in chips.
6:50pm: Bourke busts one
Fresh off a deep run at the season-ending APPT Sydney Grand Final, and a couple of Aussie Millions cashes, Craig Bourke has moved into a strong position here at the ANZPT in Adelaide after eliminating a short-stacked opponent.
It was Bourke's A♦Q♠ against his opponent's K♦T♣ which held on the board of 8♦9♠8♠5♥A♠. Bourke is now up to 75,000 in chips.
6:30pm: Level up, blinds 400-800, ante 75
6:25pm: Just quads for Neilson
Poker is a tough game for some people. For Daniel Neilson, it's pretty easy.
His chip stack has fluctuated wildly over the last hour or two, but he's just got very lucky to stay alive in another clash with his old sparring partner David Lloyd. It was a button versus big blind battle, with Neilson shipping 14,700 with 4♦4♣ but he ran into Lloyd's Q♣Q♥.
No worries for Neilson as the flop landed 4♠4♥9♠ to give Neilson quads! He shrugged shyly and raked in the pot as the turn 9♦ and 3♦ completed the board.
Neilson doubles to 30,000.
6:15pm: Haddad breaks the lull
Play has slowed considerably during this level as we inch towards the end of the day. Of course, there's never a dull moment in the life of Michael Haddad who seemed to sense the lull in action.
First he pulled the old "folding a coaster in half and pretending it's a mobile phone at the table" trick...
"Mate, I'm playing poker, I can't talk right now!" he yelled into the coaster, trying to attract the attention of the floorstaff, but they'd seen it all before and didn't fall for it.
"Ok, I have an idea," continued Haddad. "Everyone, let's start a wave! It can be the biggest wave in poker history!" he yelled across the room. "Who's with me?"
He got a few chuckles but no takers, so the quest for the world record for the longest poker wave in history remains safe for now.
5:50pm: Lloyd has the aces
David Lloyd has just doubled up at the expense of Daniel Neilson. It was Lloyd's A♦A♥ in command against Neilson's J♦J♥ with all the chips in preflop. With Lloyd holding the same suits, Neilson was left needing a jack or a straight to eliminate his opponent.
It wasn't to be as the board fell Q♦2♣2♥5♣6♥ to double Lloyd to 30,000 with Neilson back down to 25,000.
5:40pm: O'Rourke out
The latest casualty from today's field is young gun Liam O'Rourke.
O'Rourke has been dominating the online poker scene of late, but he couldn't bring that form to the live felt today after he lost a preflop race with his short stack against Ricky Kroesen.
It was O'Rourke's A♣Q♣ overcards against the T♣T♠ pair of Kroesen, and with both players below average it was a huge flip for both. The board bricked out 7♦5♠6♥K♦8♥ in Kroesen's favour to jump him back up over his starting stack as O'Rourke hit the rail.
5:30m: Play resumes
Around the room a few big stacks have emerged. Jay Houston has whipped up a storm on Table 7 to now sit with 85,000 to be our chip leader, while on a nearby table Alexander Zhidkov is moving well on 70,000. He's sitting on the same table as American Joe Serock who has progressed quietly to 45,000.
We're now onto our final two levels of the day with approximately 64 players remaining.