APPT Auckland: Shi left four-lorn as Brown bursts bubble

The final 32 players have been decided after a tense and fiercely contested day two in the APPT Auckland Main Event. SKYCITY Casino was packed with a wine o'clock crowd for the latter stages of play, which added plenty of atmosphere to the race for the money.

The line-up was decided when the last of Helmut Waicane's chips were committed with A♣ J♠ against the 6♠ 6♥ of Rob Toleafoa. The dealer showed 7♠ 2♦ 8♠ 7♥ 7♣, propelling the local to more than 230,000 and sending the New Caledonian out in 34th.

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That's bull ... Hong Kai Shi watches his hopes of an APPT Auckland cash disappear down the river

The unlucky title of bubble boy went to China's Hong Kai Shi, in brutal circumstances. His last 19,600 went into the pot with K♣ Q♠ and he started ahead of chip leader Jason Brown's K♦ 4♥. But the board came 7♦ 5♣ 9♥ 3♥ 6♥ giving Brown an unlikely straight and Shi nothing for his two days' effort.

All players returning tomorrow are guaranteed a minimum payout of NZD $5523, although all eyes are on the first prize of NZD $209,085. And the man in the box seat to claim that prize and the title of SKYCITY Festival of Poker Main Event winner is local player Jason Brown. He takes a stack of 634,000 into tomorrow's day three.

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That's some stack ... Jason Brown takes 634,000 into day three

The other big stacks belong to NZ PokerStars Qualifier Simon Watt (430,500), fellow PokerStars Qualifier Germany's Jens Walther (349,500), American Michael Shinzaki (346,500) and Gerome Guitteau (317,500), who stormed back into contention after leading earlier in the day.

Notables who'll also return tomorrow include the father-son combo of Team Australia Pro Eric Assadourian and his father, PokerStars Player Assadour, while last year's APPT Auckland winner, Daniel Craker, is in good shape for an amazing repeat victory.

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Eric Assadourian is hoping to add a second APPT title in the next two days

New Zealand comedian Mike King, who's gaining an international reputation for his skill at the poker table rather than his comic talents, will also be back for a shot at the title after his third-place finish in the 2009 NZ Poker Champs Main Event at Christchurch Casino.

With directions in hand to the nearby Angus Steak House and expectations of eating a slab of meat the size of a hubcap, it's farewell from SKYCITY Casino in Auckland. Join us from 12.15pm (local time) as the 32 remaining players chase a spot at the APPT Auckland Main Event final table.

Last word of the night goes to Dan Craker, the 2008 APPT Auckland champ who is already assured of a successive cash in this year's event:

Watch APPT Auckland 09 : Daniel Craker on