ANZPT Sydney Day 1a: Levels 5 & 6 (blinds 200-400, ante 50)
6:50pm: Ten-minute break
6:45pm: "What's the chip leader got?"
When roaming the tournament floor, it's a question we often get asked by players. Funnily enough, it's never a short stack who is asking. It's always a big stack as they are curious if they are numero uno in the room.
"Carwash" George Cotaidis was the curious cat on this occasion, and yep, he had a healthy stack of 67,000. I'm afraid it's only good for number three George as Isaac Lau and Martin Drewe have snuck ahead.
6:30pm: Rock, paper, scissors?
Todor Kondevski opened with a raise from the hijack to 1,200 and Julian Cohen called in the cutoff. The small blind came along and we were three ways to a flop of 3♠5♠8♥.
Check, check and action was with Cohen. He made it 2,000 to go which got a quick fold from the small blind, but Kondevski wasn't so easy to budge.
After some indecipherable table banter, we heard Cohen say, "I assume you're folding unless this is a sick level".
Kondevski reached for chips but eventually decided to make a reluctant fold.
"Will you show?" asked Kondevski.
"I tell you what. Let's rock, paper scissors for it," said Cohen and held out his fist, but Kondevski didn't bite as both players' cards slid into the muck.
6:10pm: Moffo chips up with the check-raise
PokerStars qualifier Liam Moffett is up to 54,000 after collecting a small multi-way pot. Three players paid 1,200, including Moffett in the small blind to see a flop of 2♥Q♣J♦. Action checked around and the Q♦ hit the turn.
Action was checked to the preflop raiser who bet 2,400. Moffett then pulled out the check-raise to make it 5,200 which was enough to force his opponents to fold.
5:55pm: Easy game when you flop quads
If we told you that Isaac Lau had just hit quad tens to eliminate an opponent, we're sure you'd think we just copied the wrong hand history from about one hour ago.
Well it's no typo, he's done it again! It was Lau's T♠T♣ up against his opponent's A♠K♣ and the board ran out T♥5♥T♦2♦Q♥. Easy game for Lau as he's up to 80,000 and into the tournament chip lead.
5:50pm: Level up, blinds 200-400, ante 50
5:45pm: Graziano gutted
PokerStars Player Carlo Graziano has just copped a rough beat to leave himself on the short stack. After a raise and re-raise in front of him Graziano looked down at pocket jacks and popped it to 5,000. One player folded but the other moved all in. Graziano called and was in good shape against pocket sevens. That is, until the board ran out 3-6-T-4-5 to give his opponent a straight.
The Italian Graziano is down to just 4,000.
5:35pm: Call and raise does it for Comer
Julian Cohen opened to 725 from under the gun and Martin Comer made the call before Andrew Hinrichsen three-bet to 2,850 in the small blind. Cohen let it go, but Comer decided that it was a good spot to four-bet as he made it 7,850 to play.
Hinrichsen thought for several minutes before releasing his cards as Comer raked in a nice pot without seeing a flop. He's up to 52,000 with HInrichsen back to 36,000.
5:30pm: Tran's big draw shrivels up
Trung Tran is the latest to hit the rail as 110 players remain alive here on Day 1a. Tran committed his last chips on the turn on a board of 6♣2♥7♥5♦ holding 8♥T♥ for flush and straight possibilities but he found he had less outs than he thought as Maribel Caridad made the call with A♥3♥ for a superior flush draw.
The river bricked the 7♦ to leave Caridad's ace-high in front and eliminate Tran from the tournament. Caridad is up to 46,000 in chips.
5:20pm: Hungry, hungry hippos!
Well, it appears that we'll now be playing eight levels this evening, but there will be no dinner break, so there may be a few rumbling stomachs later on as play won't finish until around 9pm this evening.
5:10pm: Another KO for Lau
It's been a great level so far for Isaac Lau, after he's just eliminated James Sidebottom. The chips were in preflop with Lau's Q♦Q♣ in control against Sidebottom's T♥T♠.
The board ran out J♥7♦9♠3♦2♣ and Lau jumps to 52,000.
5:00pm: Quads for Lau
"Weeeeeeeeeee!" was all Isaac Lau could say after he just raked in very nice double up. It was pocket tens against king-queen, but the board was all Lau as he flopped a set and then turned quads!
Lau is now up to 30,000.
4:50pm: Play resumes
The players are back with around 120 players still alive in today's Day 1a flight. Our chip leaders include George Cotaidis, Jay Kinkade, Elliot Nicholls and Martin Comer.
There's a little confusion in the poker room at the moment over the number of levels and the scheduled breaks. We were told earlier that we would be playing seven levels today with no dinner break, which is the normal structure for the ANZPT. However Star City staff have been eluding to playing eight levels with a dinner break after Level 6. We'll have confirmation for you shortly.