APPT Auckland: Final table (level 23)

Live updates from the final table & level 23 (blinds 15,000-30,000, ante 5000) of the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event brought to you by Sean Callander and Landon Blackhall from SKYCITY Casino in Auckland, New Zealand. Click refresh to see the latest updates below, while the latest selected chip counts can be found by clicking here.

6.20pm: Simon Watt wins, Gerome Guitteau eliminated in second place, NZD $142,020

We were expecting an epic heads-up stoush between two PokerStars Qualifiers, France's Gerome Guitteau and Auckland's own Simon Watt but the battle lasted only a few hands and for the second consecutive year, the APPT Auckland Main Event championship title stays on home soil.

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2009 PokerStars.net APPT Auckland champion Simon Watt

Watt raised to 75,000 from the button, Guitteau re-raised to 200,000 from the big blind and then called after Watt's three-bet to 450,000. On the flop of 7♣ [10h] 8♠, Guitteau moved all-in; Watt snap-called and rolled up A♦ 4♠ but was trailing the Frenchman's J♥ 8♣.

The Kiwi crowd rose out of their seats in anticipation, then the roar went up when the A♠ spiked on turn. The Q♠ blanked out on the river and when the chips were cut down, Guitteau was left with just 540,000.

Two hands later Guitteau moved it all in with K♣ 7♣ but found himself in a race against Watt's 5♥ 5♣. The flop of Q♥ 6♦ J♠ kept the Kiwi ahead, but the almost scripted sweat came when the dealer produced the 9♦ on the turn.

Needing any king or 10 to double through, a repeat J♣ fell on the river, eliminating Guitteau in second place. The Kiwis are already gearing up for a big celebration as Simon Watt pockets the first place prize of NZD $209,085 and the 2009 PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event champion's trophy.

6pm: Jason Brown eliminated in third place, NZD $82,845

The aggressive play of New Zealand's Jason Brown aggressive play has finally brought him undone as he was eliminated in two hands from the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event.

PokerStars Qualifier Simon Watt raised to 80,000 from the button, Gerome Guitteau folded from the small blind and Brown announced that he was all in. Watt didn't hesitate, snap-calling with K♣ K♦, well ahead of his compatriot's 5♥ 5♣.

There was no help for Brown as the board was spread 4♦ K♦ A♥ 6♥ 6♦, leaving him with just 200,000 which he moved into the middle on the next hand holding K♣ 4♣ after Guitteau raised from the button to 75,000.

Guitteau called, tabling J♥ 9♦; the flop of 7♥ 9♣ 3♣ put the Frenchman ahead, but gave Brown the nut flush draw. The outs for the straight draw were added when the dealer produced the 6♠ on the turn, but Brown would be eliminated when the river spiked 9♠ giving trips to Guitteau.

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Jason Brown's decimated stack just after shipping most of his chips to Simon Watt

We're now set for an intriguing heads-up battle as Guitteau is now on 2.6 million in chips, but Watt is hot on his heels with 2.3 million and in with a great chance to keep the APPT Auckland Main Event title on home soil two years in a row.

5.30pm: Ke Sijia eliminated in fourth place, NZD $55,230

French PokerStars Qualifier Gerome Guitteau has gained the outright chip lead after eliminating Ke Sijia. The Chinese player limped in from under the gun, New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Simon Watt folded while Guitteau and Jason Brown called from the small and big blind respectively.

The dealer produced the flop of J♥ 2♦ [10d]; Guitteau and Brown checked to Sijia who opened for 70,000. Guitteau then reached for two stacks of orange 5000 chips and made it 200,000 to go. Brown said adios, Sijia made the call and it was heads-up to the turn 3♥.
Guitteau shoved all-in and Sijiya snap-called, tabling [10h] 9♥ for middle pair and a flush draw but was behind Guitteau's J♦ 7♦. Needing any nine, 10 or heart, the dealer produced red paint, but it was in the form of the Q♦, sending Sijia to the rail.

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For the second APPT event in a row, a Chinese player has finished third - this time, it was Ke Sijia

With only three players remaining, Guitteau is back in the chip lead with 2,240,000, but the two Kiwis are hot on his heels. Brown is in second place with 1,460,000 and Watt is third with 1,197,000 in chips. The trio have discussed and reached a deal.

5pm: Kiwi quinella at head of count

Players are taking their second break of the day with the clock just ticking past 5pm local time here at SKYCITY Casino in Auckland. There's still a big crowd packed around the final table, although there's plenty of interest in the teams event at the other end of the room where PokerStars.net Team Australia Pros Tony Hachem, Eric Assadourian and Grant Levy are keeping the field on their toes.

Heading into level 23, Jason Brown leads narrowly on 1.52 million from fellow Kiwi Simon Watt (1.5 million), Gerome Guitteau (1.33 million) and Ke Sijia (550,000).