ANZPT Perth Day 1b: Levels 3 & 4 (blinds 100-200, ante 25)
4:50pm: Ten-minute break
4:50pm: It's good to be the Dong
On a hand that extended into the break, Jonathan "xMONSTERxDONGx" Karamalikis has disposed of ANZPT Melbourne champ Martin Kozlov.
Kozlov opened to 500 before Karamalikis three-bet to 1,200 in position. Kozlov came back with a small four-bet to 2,500 and Karamalikis called to see a flop of 6♥J♠6♣.
Kozlov fired 1,600 and Karamalikis called to see the Q♣ hit the turn. Kozlov checked it over to Karamalikis who made it 3,200 before Kozlov check-raised all in for 12,000. Karamalikis snap-called with 5♠6♠ for trips as Kozlov's K♥K♣ had been cracked wide open.
The river was the Q♠ and Kozlov hit the rail as Karamalikis stacks up 33,000.
4:45pm: Getting hot under the collar
A couple of spot fires have broken out around the poker room as several players will be looking forward to the upcoming break to cool off.
One player who is taking an early break is Tony Hachem after he was just slapped with a one orbit penalty. The details are sketchy at this stage but it appears that Hachem and Michael O'Grady exchanged some heated words, and when they didn't cease, Hachem was penalized.
The floor staff were being kept busy as another ruling was required for a hand with Kristian Lunardi. In a small pot that reached showdown, Lunardi dropped his cards face down assuming his nine-high was beat, but quickly turned them over when his opponent could only show six-high. Lunardi was awarded the pot and play continued as it appeared common sense had prevailed, but the floor staff decided to revisit the situation. A ruling here in Perth requires that players hold onto their cards, and any movement of the cards face down towards the dealer is considered a fold, even if the cards haven't been touched by the dealer or hit the muck.
Lunardi questioned this ruling and despite the table continuing to play on, Lunardi was forced to hand the estimated pot size of 1,800 in chips back to his opponent.
Online grinder Benn Skender qualified online for this event for a rare live poker appearance, but he's probably wishing he had twenty online tables in front of him to shake off this hit to his stack.
With a raise to 600 in front of him, Skender popped it to 1,600 before his opponent moved all in for around 13,000. Skender made the call with pocket kings to be in good shape against his opponent's ace-king.
Unfortunately for Skender, four spades on board left Skender's K♠ to be trumped by his opponent's A♠, as he slips to 18,000.
4:30pm: Hachem misses
"It's your big blind Tony!" called tablemate Brent Thomas as Tony Hachem scurried back to the table in time to get his cards. He liked what he saw as he squeezed a three-bet to 2,150 following an opening raise from Josh Barrett and one caller. Both players made the call and the flop landed 6♦5♦3♦.
Hachem checked and Barrett bet 4,000. The third player folded, as did Hachem, as he angrily open-mucked A♣K♣. Barrett showed 9♦8♦ for the flopped flush!
"No one folds in that corner!" exclaimed Hachem as he slips to 19,000. Barrett is now looking dangerous as he is up to 38,000.
4:20pm: Zmukic fades big draw but still loses
One of WA's finest players, and final tablist from last year's ANZPT Perth Main Event, Vesko Zmukic has just taken a hit as Martyn Ward found a big double up. The action went down on a flop of T♣J♣7♠ and when we approached the table, Ward had moved all in for 7,750 as Zmukic was in the tank.
Zmukic cut down his chips, re-looked at his cards, and then committed to a call with J♥T♦ for top two pair but Ward had plenty of outs with his K♣Q♣ for a Royal Flush draw!
As many outs as Ward had, he wasn't expected the win to come from a K♦ turn followed by a 7♦ river to improve him to a better two pair. Zmukic sunk back into his chair as he slips to around 13,000.
4:05pm: Lackovic on top
With three of them in the field, odds were in favour of us having a Lackovic leading the field at some stage. Stevan Lackovic is the one tearing it up inside the poker room as he extends his place at the top of our current chip count leader board. In a recent hand, Lackovic raised it up to 450 preflop and found two callers to a flop of 6♠4♥2♦.
Lackovic fired 775 and was met with a raise to 2,775. This was enough to force Dan Neilson from the hand but Lackovic called to see the T♠ hit the turn. Check, check and the river brought a rather scary looking 5♠. Lackovic went for the jugular as he moved all in to put his opponent to a decision for his 15,000-chip stack. He eventually folded as Lackovic collected the pot to move up to close to 50,000.
Joining him at the top, seated at an adjacent table, is "Furniture" John Apostolidis who recently collected a pot that was five-bet preflop before Apostolidis took it down with a bet on the flop. Apostolidis final tabled in Adelaide and will be looking for elusive back-to-back final tables as he moves up to 48,000.
3:50pm: Level up, blinds 100-200, ante 25
3:40pm: Lunardi sets up Pedley
Kristian Lunardi has just recalled to us the elimination of Michael Pedley from one of the tables inside the poker room. Pedley was on a short stack of around 5,000, when Lunardi opened to 525 from early position. Pedley made the call and the two checked a [k][q] flop. The turn was a  and Pedley check-called a bet before leading for 1,100 on the [a] river. Lunardi raised enough to put Pedley all in, and he obliged with a call.
Pedley opened ace-queen for two pair but Lunardi had flopped a set with his pocket kings. Pedley is out as Lunardi moves up to 28,000.
3:30pm: McKenzie claims one
By about this time at the ANZPT in Adelaide, Jesse McKenzie had about two billion chips. He's not quite reaching those lofty heights today, but he's heading in the right direction following the elimination of an opponent.
The chips were in preflop with McKenzie tabling J♦J♠ for the edge against his opponent's T♥T♠. McKenzie had the lead and it stayed that way on the board of 5♣4♦Q♠4♥K♦. McKenzie is back up to 23,000.
3:20pm: Bryan busts
Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang has been eliminated holding Q♦J♦ in a multi-way limped pot. He liked the look of the A♦Q♣9♦ flop with a pair and flush draw, but got into a raising war with Daniel Botta.
Huang fired 500, Botta popped it to 1,500, Huang came back to 4,700 and Botta made it 15,000 before Huang was all in for a few thousand more. Botta opened Q♠9♣ for two pair which held as the turn and river bricked out.
Huang is out as Botta is now up to a tournament-leading 38,000.
3:10pm: Brendoor out the door
Round two in the battle between Brendon Rubie and Josh Barrett has seen a knockout blow go the way of Barrett but he had to do it the hard way.
It was a battle of the blinds with Rubie raising from the small blind and Barrett defending his big blind. They saw a 4♠9♠9♣ flop and Rubie led out for 2,500. Barrett moved all in and Rubie was quick to call with pocket kings to have Barrett's pocket tens in bad shape. A six on the turn changed nothing, but a ten on the river was the two-outer for Barrett to end the tournament for Australia's number one online player.
3:00pm: Huang struggling
During the break Bryan Huang commented to us about his run of bad luck in ANZPT events. Huang didn't last too long in Adelaide and is struggling today in Perth.
Huang is down to around 17,000 after raising preflop to 525 and finding himself three-bet to 1,225. Huang called, but check-folded to a bet of 1,000 on the A♠3♥K♦ flop. Huang does find himself on a tough table that includes Kiwi Richard Lancaster, local phenom Jovo Scekic, previous Joe Hachem Deep Stack champ Daniel Botta and poker stalwart Leo Boxell.
2:50pm: Play resumes
The players are back following the break with 132 players remaining from our starting field of 139. Registration has now closed so we'll have the official numbers and prize pool information for you shortly.