ANZPT Darwin Day 1b: Levels 1-2 (blinds 75-150)

2:35pm: Ten-minute break

2:30pm: Furniture John lands the limp-raise

John Apostolidis limped in from under the gun before PokerStars qualifier Ryan McKay announced a raise to 500. Play folded back around to Apostolidis who announced a re-raise to 2,150. After a quick look at his opponent's stack, McKay popped it up to 5,000 which was enough to put Apostolidis all in. He made the call and opened A♦K♥ and was in good shape against McKay's A♥J♠.

The board ran out 7♥K♣9♥J♦2♦ to give Apostolidis the double up to around 10,500 with McKay slipping back to 21,000.

2:20pm: Levy slides

Grant Levy's stack is now half of where it started after losing a recent pot. Levy check-called for 650 on the flop and 1,350 on the turn before he and his opponent both checked down the river. The board read T♥3♣T♣8♥J♠ as Levy showed A♥K♥ for overcards and busted flush draw as his opponent's 5♣5♥ held to collect the pot.

Levy is down to 10,000 in chips.

2:10pm: Schreiner sticks it in

APPT Queenstown champion Marcel Schreiner has provided a little International flavour to this event as the German looks to add an ANZPT title to his resume.

It's been a slow start so far for Schreiner, but there's obviously a fair bit of psychological warfare going down on his table.

Liam O'Rourke opened to 400 from the cutoff before Marcel Schreiner three-bet to 1,225 from the small blind. O'Rourke didn't take too long before me made it 2,550 to go to send Schreiner into the tank. After a few minutes he emerged by moving all of his chips into the middle, which saw O'Rourke quickly toss his cards into the muck.

Schreiner is back up to 16,000 with O'Rourke on 25,000.

1:50pm: Missed opportunity for Levy

Grant Levy is currently ruing a missed opportunity after he was pushed out of a pot that would've resulted in him scooping a big pot.

Levy started with a raise to 350 from middle position and picked up two callers before Leo Boxell raised it up to 1,350 from the small blind. Action was then with Mario Ljubicic in the big blind who cold called the raise.

Levy rocked back in his chair and raised his eyebrows before folding as the other two players also got out of the way.

The flop fell 9♣K♦7♥ and Boxell led out for 3,500 which forced a fold from Ljubicic. Boxell flashed A♣K♣ for top pair to rake in the chips.

"There were only two cards I didn't want to see," said Ljubicic, perhaps alluding to the fact that he held pocket queens.

"Well, your call cost me a big pot!" exclaimed Levy who said that he had folded pocket nines. "Once you called, I knew my nines were no good," he added.

Boxell is back up to 21,000 with Ljubicic slipping to 14,000.

1:35pm: Level up, blinds 75-150

1:15pm: Good call Waa

Catching the action on the turn, the board read 6♦5♥5♦2♠ when Ricky Kroesen tossed out a bet of 1,100. His opponent was Tim English who made the call in position to see the 7♥ complete the board.

Kroesen quickly checked and English thought for a moment before picking up 1,800 and tossing them into the middle. Kroesen deliberated for several minutes before making the call.

"Good call Waa," sighed English as he flashed T♦9♦ for a busted flush draw as Kroesen opened J♥J♠ for easily the best hand.

A good start for two of our ANZ Player of the Year contenders with McKenzie and Kroesen chipping up early.


Ricky Kroesen and Tim English cuddle up in Darwin

12:55pm: Set over set gives McKenzie a flying start

Well that didn't take long. We've had our first elimination of the day with a rather brutal cooler of a flop that has left Song Yu shaking his head in disbelief while Jesse McKenzie is off to a perfect start.

We rushed to the table as both players were on their feet with all their chips in the middle on the 6♥Q♠8♥ flop.

Yu held 8♦8♠ for middle set but incredibly McKenzie tabled Q♣Q♥ for top set!

"Please hold..." laughed McKenzie, but he didn't have to worry as the Q♠ appeared on the turn to improve him to quads and leave Yu drawing dead. The river was the 9♦ and Yu departs as McKenzie is our early chip leader with a stack of 40,000.

"What a life," chirped tablemate Ricky Kroesen.


Jesse McKenzie is off to a dream start in Darwin

12:45pm: It's not the size that counts

It's a solid lineup today for Day 1b with a couple of very interesting spots throughout the room.

Some of those here today include Liam O'Rourke, John Apostolidis, Charles Caris, Tim English, Mario Ljubicic and Ryan McKay as well as ANZ Player of the Year contenders Jesse McKenzie, Ricky Kroesen and Leo Boxell who has delayed his trip to the WSOPE just to play in this event.

We also have several previous champions in the field with ANZPT Perth winner Grant Levy, 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton and the APPT Queenstown champion in Germany's Marcel Schreiner.

12:35pm: Last chance in Darwin

We're back in the International Room of the SKYCITY Darwin Casino for Day 1b of the ANZPT Darwin Main Event. It's another scorching day in the Top End and we're looking for the action on the felt to be just as hot.

Once again we're expecting to have four tables in action with several well known pros in the thick of it this afternoon.

The players have been welcomed by SKYCITY Darwin Poker Manager Tony Jackson and the final instructions have been given. With that, the cards are now in the air!

Once again we'll be playing five levels today with play scheduled to wrap up close to 6pm local time.