APPT Auckland: Last-chance Lance leaps to lead

Lance Climo has signalled that the locals are not a spent force after clawing to within reach of overall chip leader Emad Tahtouh during the final level on day 1B of the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event at SKYCITY Casino.

He claimed the chip lead after eliminating Tony Dunst when he his pocket jacks hit a set and held up against the Australian-based American's pocket sevens.

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Day 1B Lance Climo leads the local charge into day two

The PokerStars qualifier - he won a Last Chance Seat Only satellite on Monday - from Hamilton, south of Auckland, then bolted further ahead. On the final hand of the day when Justin Skelton moved all in for around 20,000 holding Q♠ J♦, only to have Climo call him down with A♠ Q♥. The flop of A♦ 9♣ 2♠ saw Skelton fall further behind and he was sent to the rail when the turn and river ran out 5♦ Q♣.

Another PokerStars qualifier, Frenchman Gerome Guitteau, finished the day on 99,300 while Soren Eriksen signalled his intentions of making a serious run at an unprecedented double of wins.

The 2009 NZ Poker Championships Main Event champion Soren Eriksen had a rocky start to the day but soared up the chip count to almost 90,000 after the last hand before the final break of the day. Eriksen raised pre-flop from under the gun to 1700, only to see his opponent on the button make it another 3,000 to go. Eriksen called and they went heads up to a flop of 9♠ 9♣ 3♣.

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2009 NZ champion Soren Eriksen is ominously placed heading into day two

The New Zealand-based Dane led out for 4000 and the opponent deliberated for some time before making the call. They would then check down the rest of the board, which ran out 6♠, 2♣. The opponent mucked after Eriksen rolled up 8♠ 8♥. He finished with 84,600.

New Zealand's hip-hop icon Danny "Brotha D" Leaoasavaii had a tough run, but found a timely double-up late in the session when his A♥ A♥ went to battle against an opponent's 7♦ 7♣, which held up on a board of A♠ [10h] Q♥ 7♥ 6♠.

Other players to progress from day 1B included PokerStars.net Team Australia duo Tony Hachem and Eric Assadourian, Raj Ramakrishnan, Garry Gates, Dennis Huntly, Aaron Benton, James Honeybone, Emma Grace, Michael Pedley and Terry Gardiner.

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Eric Assadourian joins fellow PokerStars Team Pros Tony Hachem, Emad Tahtouh, Cleina Lin and Grant Levy in tomorrow's field

That's a wrap from SKYCITY Auckland on a cool Thursday evening - we'll be back from 12.15pm tomorrow as the remaining 130 players chase a spot in the top 32. We farewell you for the evening with highlights of the dramatic opening ceremony, with thanks to some of our local Maori friends:


Watch APPT Auckland 09: Mauri Tradition on PokerStars.tv