ANZPT Perth Day 2: Levels 10 & 11 (blinds 800-1600, ante 200)
4:40pm: Ten-minute break
4:35pm: O'Rourke rockets ahead
Liam O'Rourke is one of Australia's finest young talents with a super-impressive online poker resume and he's quickly accumulating a live resume to match. After a third place finish in the ANZPT Gold Coast event last year, O'Rourke is heading towards another ANZPT result after a massive 160,000-chip pot was just shipped his way.
The chips were in preflop with O'Rourke holding A♥A♦ against his opponent's A♣K♠ in a cutoff versus big blind duel. The board fell A♠Q♥5♦2♦T♣ to leave O'Rourke with all the biscuits and an impressive stack of around 180,000.
4:30pm: Lunardi legged
Action folded around to Kristian Lunardi on the button who moved all in for his last 25,800. The small blind folded but Hugh Cohen deliberated for a few moments before making the call with 5♣5♠ as Lunardi found himself racing for his tournament with J♣9♦.
The board ran out 2♣2♠6♣6♠4♠ to leave Cohen with sixes and fives for the best hand. He's up to 110,000 as Lunardi hits the rail.
4:15pm: Vesko flushed with chips
Vesko Zmukic is back on track to make a repeat ANZPT Perth final table after a recent double up. As he recalled to us, Zmukic held K♣Q♣ and turned the nut flush on a board of J♠4♣3♣A♣-X. Zmukic is now up to 90,000.
4:05pm: Huge race goes Hachem's way
A huge preflop clash has just seen Tony Hachem rocket into contention after winning a race with Paul Spies.
It was Hachem's J♣J♠ with a mathematical edge against Spies' A♥K♥ and the board bricked out 7♠Q♣6♣Q♦8♣. Hachem gave a fist pump of delight as Spies graciously shook his opponent's hand before exiting the poker room.
Hachem is now up to 160,000 and looking good for another ANZPT cash.
3:50pm: Kahl doubles through Luu
Han Luu is another of our big stacks in the room but he's just taken a hit after doubling up the short-stacked Greg Kahl. Luu opened to 4,000 before Kahl moved all in for 23,700. Luu made the call with pocket nines but Kahl was in great shape with pocket tens, and it only improved from there as a third ten spiked on the flop. Kahl is up to 50,000 with Luu back to 120,000.
3:40pm: Level up, blinds 800-1600, ante 200
3:35pm: Hachem flops the joint
Tony Hachem hasn't had much go his way today, but he's just pulled off a remarkable double KO of the short-stacked Wade Beavis and Vince Larosa.
All the chips were in preflop with Hachem holding A♣5♣, the same hand as Larosa's A♦5♦, while Beavis was looking good for a triple up with his dominant A♠9♦.
However the rail roared when the flop landed 7♣Q♣3♣ to give Hachem the nut flush and leave both opponents drawing stone-cold dead!
"What are the chances of that?!?" chucked Hachem as the J♥ turn and J♠ river completed the board. Beavis and Larosa are out as Hachem is back up over 55,000.
3:30pm: All together now
We're down to the last 72 players and the final eight tables which means that the last of the tables have broken from inside the main poker room and all remaining players are in the main area on the gaming floor, together for the very first time.
3:20pm: One bet we hope doesn't get paid off
Trish Dewy is well known in these parts for her usual role as photographer extraordinaire. However she's passed over the lens in exchange for chips as she mixes it up on the poker felt with the big boys... and she's more than holding her own, despite the lack of faith of ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh.
At the start of the tournament, McDonagh said that he would run around Burswood Casino naked if Dewy made the final table. Well, as much as none of us want to see that bet paid off, we're quietly cheering on Dewy as she has progressed her stack to a comfortable 80,000 after being short-stacked earlier today.
In fact, Dewy should be even further up the chip counts if a favourable river had gone her way recently. The flop was 9♠9♥T♣ when Dewy made the call in an 80,000-chip pot with 9♦8♦ to have her opponent's 9♣4♣ well and truly crushed. The 5♦ was a good card, but the T♠ on the river gave both players a full house and Dewy had to be content to chop it up.
3:10pm: Kiwi soars ahead
Since being shifted to the table of fellow big stacks Billy Jordanou and Ferenc Riech, Richard Lancaster has flexed his muscle and extended his chip advantage.
In fact, Lancaster recently became the first player to surpass the 200,000-chip mark after collecting a nice multi-way pot. Lancaster's preflop raise to 3,600 found three callers to see a 7♥4♣5♥ flop. Action checked to Lancaster who released 6,600 into the middle with Jordanou the lone caller from the small blind.
The turn brought the K♥ and Jordanou checked again but this time gave it up when Lancaster tossed out another 12,600. Jordanou is down to 80,000 with Lancaster soaring with 220,000.
2:55pm: Falling star
The room has become a little dimmer after we recently lost "The Poker Star" Amanda De Cesare. She was on a very short stack and on our most recent pass of her table we discovered nothing but her empty seat.
2:40pm: Play resumes
The players are back following the break with 82 players still in the hunt for ANZPT Perth glory. Hugh Cohen has jumped to the chip lead late in the last level, with Mikael Rosen, Richard Lancaster and Ferenc Riech all progressing well.