APPT Auckland: Tahtouh hungers for debut title

Brilliant sunshine bathes the "City of Sails" this morning as players arrive for day two of the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event, known locally as the NZPT SKYCITY Festival of Poker Main Event, here at SKYCITY Casino in Auckland.

In a rarity for many tournament poker players, some of that sunlight is making its way into the poker room, which faces north from the third floor of the property towards the sprawling Auckland Harbour Bridge.

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Pay no attention to the man on the billboard ... Emad Tahtouh keeps an eye on the day two field

PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Emad Tahtouh leads the field of 130 players into day two in pursuit of his first-ever tournament win and third in-the-money finish on the APPT. He leads local PokerStars qualifier Lance Climo with Michael Shinzaki (USA) and James Ciurlionis (NZ) the only other players holding more than 100,000 in chips.

The challenges are already being out to Tahtouh, as he finds himself drawn on the same table as fellow PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Grant Levy at the start of today's play. Climo also drew a tough spot with PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Eric Assadourian joining him on table seven, along with last year's winner Daniel Craker and 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event fourth-place finisher Raj Ramakrishnan.

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Lance Climo couldn't keep up with his stacking duties yesterday, but faces a tougher task on day two

We're expecting to play down to the bubble (32 players today), which should take around six or seven levels. The structure available for today's play is:

Level 8: 500/1000 (ante 100)
Level 9: 600/1200 (ante 200)
Level 10: 800/1600 (ante 200)
Level 11: 1000/2000 (ante 300)
Level 12: 1200/2400 (ante 400)
Level 13: 1500/3000 (ante 500)
Level 14: 2000/4000 (ante 500)
Level 15: 2500/5000 (ante 500)
Level 16: 3000/6000 (ante 1000)
Level 17: 4000/8000 (ante 1000)
Level 18: 5000/10,000 (ante 1000)
Level 19: 6000/12,000 (ante 2000)
Level 20: 8000/16,000 (ante 2000)

Top 10 chip count at the start of day 2

Emad Tahtouh (Australia) Team PokerStars Australia 162,900
Lance Climo (New Zealand) PokerStars Qualifier 134,400
Michael Shinzaki (USA) 109,800
James Ciurlionis (New Zealand) 105,600
Gerome Guitteau (France) PokerStars Qualifier 99300
Daniel Hall (Canada) 93,600
Soren Eriksen (New Zealand) PokerStars Qualifier 84,600
Tamas Lendvai (Hungary) PokerStars Qualifier 76,100
Jacky Tastavin (France) 73,300
Helmut Waicane (New Caledonia) 70,900

For something different to start the day, two of our PokerStars.net Team Australia Pros Tony Hachem and Eric Assadourian ... duelling microphones?


Watch APPT Auckland 09: Tony Hachem vs Eric Assadourian on PokerStars.tv