APPT Auckland: Bryan busts, Raj on the rise

By Landon Blackhall

That's the problem with chips ... here one second, gone the next. That was certainly the case for Ralf Westphal during level five on day 1B of the APPT Auckland Main Event at SKYCITY Casino.

Leading after the first four hours of play, the stack of the German PokerStars qualifier disappeared quicker that French fries down a seagull's throat. Westphal's chips now reside in the stack of Sydney's Raj Ramakrishnan.


Raj Rakakrishnan has bolted to more than 100,000 and is the new day 1B chip leader

It was a battle of the big stacks with the flop reading 3♠ J♥ 9♦; Westphal moved all-in and Ramakrishnan beat him into the pot, rolling up J-9 and well ahead of his pocket queens. The 8♠ on the turn gave him some hope, but the river produced a meaningless 6♥ and the German was out.

Meanwhile the New Zealand ladies are leading from the front and keeping the international visitors in check. Wendy Cook was responsible for the elimination of PokerStars Team Asia Pro Bryan Huang, when he moved all-in for the last of his chips holding 9♠ 9♥ and found himself in a race against Cook's A♠ J♣.


Bryan Huang became the first Team Pro KOed in the APPT Auckland Main Event

Though Huang was in good shape to double up, the board ran out 3♠ A♥ Q♥ A♣ [10d] to give Cook trips and give Huang an early end to this tournament.

Fellow Kiwi Angie Fitzgerald (currently on 31,000) claimed the scalp of Australian Bruno Portaro, after she called his all-in bet of 5750 on a 9♣ J♥ [10s] flop. Portaro was looking for a lot of help with his A♥ 7♥ but was in strife when Fitzgerald tabled the "All Blacks" - A♠ A♣. Drawing thin to runners, Portaro would head out the door when the turn and river ran out K♣ A♦.


Angie Fitzgerald's pocket aces were enough to send Bruno Portaro to the rail

Early in level six, Ramakrishnan is on 100,000 and leads from Spanish PokerStars qualifier Nil Echeverria (65,000), Frenchman Gerome Guitteau (60,000) and Aussie George Mousa (55,000).