ANZPT Melbourne Day 2: Levels 16 & 17 (blinds 3,000-6,000, ante 500)
9:30pm: Ten-minute break
9:25pm: Matusik doubles through Apostolidis
ANZPT Gold Coast champ Peter Matusik has just doubled up at the expense of John Apostolidis to leave the dream of multiple ANZPT titles well and truly alive.
Apostolidis opened to 16,000 from under the gun before Matusik re-raised to 35,000 in the big blind, leaving himself 45,000 behind. Apostolidis called and the flop landed 5♠Q♠5♥.
Matusik was happy enough to move all in and Apostolidis decided to make the call with A♣9♣ for ace-high, to find himself in deep trouble against Matusik's A♠A♦. Needing runner-runner, Apostolidis still had a chance when the 9♦ hit the turn but the 5♦ river sealed the deal.
Matusik is now up to 170,000 with Apostolidis slipping to 190,000.
9:15pm: Chalhoub rivers McKay out the door
It's been a while between eliminations as the play seems to have slowed considerably. However he recently lost Paul McKay who three-bet shoved for an additional 55,000 following a late-position open from Brett Chalhoub to 12,500. Chalhoub decided to gamble and make the call with Q♦J♦ and found himself with live cards against McKay's A♣K♥.
Both paired up on the Q♣5♦K♣ flop before McKay improved to trips on the K♦ turn. However it was actually a bad card as Chalhoub picked up a flush draw.
As if it was scripted, the dealer burned and revealed the 2♦ to give Chalhoub a backdoor flush to send McKay to an unfortunate exit in 29th place. Chalhoub moves up to 440,000.
9:00pm: Benton continues to bully
Incredibly, Aaron Benton has just made another player lay down a monster overpair. This time the victim was Karan Punjabi as three players put in 13,000 each to see a 6♣7♦8♥ flop.
Action checked to Punjabi who bet 40,000 to force a fold from the small blind before Benton check raised all in.
Punjabi deliberated as Benton chirped, "Pretty sure you got an overpair..."
Instead his hunch was right as Punjabi folded A♣A♠! Benton flased 7♥9♠ for a pair and straight draw. Punjabi saves his last 84,000 for a better spot as Benton bulldozes his way to 240,000.
8:50pm: Quyet making some noise
The momentum of Stephen Eliesen has been slowed a little as Quyet Pham starts to make a little noise in this tournament.
The hand started with Eliesen opening to 15,000 from under the gun. Pham called and they saw a flop of 2♦9♠J♦. It would be as far as they would get as Pham checked and Eliesen bet 20,000. Pham check-raised to 45,000 before Eliesen came back with a re-raise to 95,000. It didn't end there as Pham moved al in for another 132,000 on top. Eliesen eventually gave it up to slip to 258,000 with Pham now up to 320,000.
8:35pm: Back to the grind for Skender
It's back to the online grind for Benn "risk2dupside" Skender after his run in the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event has come to an end.
With a raise to 12,000 from under the gun, Skender moved all in from the cutoff with 8♣8♠ but he ran into a monster as Jesse McKenzie made the call in the big blind with Q♦Q♥.
The board ran out 4♣9♣2♥J♥9♥ to send a disappointed Skender to the cashier in 31st for a collect of $4,030. Meanwhile McKenzie is now up to 570,000 and back into the chip lead.
8:30pm: Level up, blinds 3,000-6,000, ante 500
8:15pm: Wu first to the cashier
PokerStars qualifier Henry Wu is first to visit the cashier in 36th place after he lost a preflop race holding A♥Q♣ against the T♣T♥ of Robert Nowak.
The board ran out 4♣5♣K♠9♣2♥ to leave Nowak in front to collect the pot to move up to 225,000 as Wu collects $3,410 in prize money.
8:10pm: Chalhoub stuns Graham as bubble bursts!
We had one eye on Peng Khoo and another on Karan Punjabi, so we were a little surprised to hear whispers from the far corner table that Jarred Graham had busted. Surely not?
Indeed it was true, and the man responsible was Brett Chalhoub who recalled the details to us. Graham opened with a raise to 10,500 before Chalhoub three-bet to 23,500. Graham tried to apply max-pressure by moving all in for about 140,000 but Chalhoub made the call with pocket tens as Graham was racing for his tournament life with ace-jack.
The board bricked out safely for Chalhoub to collect the massive pot as Graham quietly exited the poker room. With that we're now in the money!
8:00pm: A couple of massive bubble hands
Hand-for-hand play can often be a slow, drawn out affair but we've just seen two rather incredible hands that haven't resulted in any eliminations.
First Benn Skender and Jesse McKenzie went to war preflop. Skender opened to 10,000 from the cutoff, and McKenzie three-bet to 27,000 in the small blind. Skender came back with a four-bet to 52,000 but McKenzie wasn't having a bar of it as he moved all in. Skender quickly released as McKenzie flashed Q♣5♣!
At the very same time Aaron Benton and Aun Lim went to war on the adjacent table. Benton opened to 13,000 before Lim raised to 35,000 from the big blind. Benton made the call and the flop landed T♦7♣9♥.
Lim checked and Benton immediately announced himself all in.
"Why did you do that?!?!?" exclaimed Lim as he couldn't believe he'd put himself in this tough spot. It was 83,500 to call which would've left Lim with around 35,000 if he called and was wrong. He went into the tank for several long minutes as the players from the other tables and the railbirds gathered around.
"Have you got jacks?" quizzed Lim but Benton was motionless.
After several more minutes of think time, Lim eventually folded his hand face up - K♣K♠! There were cries of "ohhhhh" from the rail and they only got louder when Benton flashed J♠J♦. Oh dear!
Benton somehow survives the bubble as we play on!
7:40pm: We're on the bubble
It didn't take long for our first post-dinner elimination as Martyn Poytress has been eliminated. He open-shoved for around 48,000 from the small blind with 3♥3♦ but Seong Lee Ang made the call in the big blind with T♥T♣.
The board fell 5♥5♠9♥K♠J♦ to eliminate Poytress on the bubble bubble as Ang climbs to 245,000.
We're now hand-for-hand across our five tables with Peng Khoo looking like the shortest stack in the room with about nine big blinds. Of course the next player eliminated is going home empty-handed while everyone else will be guaranteed a $3,410 pay day.
7:30pm: Play resumes
The players are back with two more eliminations required until we reach the money for our final 36 players. Two players are about to taste a rather unpleasant dessert - the taste of the bubble!