APPT Auckland Day 1a: Levels 5 & 6 (blinds 250-500, ante 50)

7:00pm: Ten-minute break

6:50pm: Neilson scratched by the ladies

It's certainly been a dramatic hour of poker, and the drama has continued with the recent elimination of PokerStars qualifier Daniel Neilson.

Neilson opened under the gun to 1,200 before Noah Vogelman made it 5,300 in late position. The blinds folded and Neilson popped it to 9,700 before Vogelman moved all in. Neilson made the call.

Neilson: K♠K♥
Vogelman: Q♠Q♣

Neilson was in a commanding position and it remained that way on the 5♠2♣7♥ flop. However the Q♥ on the turn was not the lady that Neilson wanted to see tonight as Vogelman had caught a miraculous two-outer in the biggest pot of the tournament to date. The river bricked the 8♠ and Neilson was sent crashing to the rail.

"Sorry..." was all Vogelman could offer as Neilson brushed it off in his usual care-free manner.

"No worries. I don't care..." replied Neilson. "It just sucks because I'm the first one out so now I've got nothing to do!"

Vogelman is now our runaway tournament chip leader with a stack of 110,000.

6:40pm: Zheng finds some bite

Jackson Zheng was crippled to just 2,000 in chips after running his A♣2♣ into an opponent's A♦K♦ to leave him on the verge of elimination. However he's turned things around in remarkable fashion with a series of double ups to get himself back into contention.

Firstly, Zheng doubled up with K♠9♠ against Daniel Neilson's T♦T♠ when he was able to spike a king on the turn on the board of 8♣8♥A♥K♦4♠.

A few moments later he did it again, with his A♥K♦ holding against the K♣Q♠ of Michael O'Grady when the board ran out 4♠6♥K♠T♠J♣. Zheng is now back to 15,000.


Jackson Zheng in the thick of the action at the APPT Auckland Main Event

6:33pm: It's all over for Benton

It's been one helluva level for Aaron Benton. It's seemed that every second hand we've reported has involved the 2009 APPT Sydney champ, but that trend is now over as he had gone from hero to zero in a matter of minutes to be eliminated from the tournament.
Ahskay Nauhria started things off with a raise to 1,200 before Danny Silk made it 3,900 to play. Benton flat called in the big blind as did Nauhria, as the flop came down K♠J♦4♠.

Play checked to Silk who fired 7,500 with just Benton making the call as Nauhria got out of the way. The turn was the 7♣ and again Benton checked to Silk who declared himself all in, covering Benton, who deliberated before putting his tournament on the line.

Benton: A♠A♦
Silk: 7♠7♦

Benton held the rockets but Silk had spiked a set on the turn which held through the 2♥ river. Benton is now out as Silk is our new chip leader with 91,000.

6:25pm: Short-stacked sorrow

Jackson Zheng is one of New Zealand's most talented young players, but talent is not enough to overcome a massive cooler like kings versus aces. Zheng held K♥K♠ but ran them head first into the A♠A♥ of Bernhard Perner with the board running out 7♠6♠4♣T♦3♦. Zheng is down to 8,500.

Joining him on the short stack is Tom Grigg who got tangled in a battle of the blinds with K♦J♣ against the dominant A♣K♠ of his opponent. Grigg took the lead on the 7♣J♠T♦ flop and improved to two pair on the K♥ turn but the river was the Q♥ to give his opponent a straight and leave Grigg with just 6,500 in change.

6:18pm: My house is bigger than your house

Meanwhile Aaron Benton is still in the thick of the action as his stack took a hit against Ahskay "Notebook Guy" Nauhria. Benton check-called for 1,800 on the flop of 8♣A♦8♥ before both players checked the 7♥ turn. The river was the A♠ and Benton checked for a third time to Nauhria who moved all in for his last 7,400. Benton made a crying call with T♦8♦ for a full house but Nauhria had taken it on the river with A♣2♥ for a bigger full house.

Benton is down to 37,000 with Nauhria up to 22,000.

6:06pm: Dapena stops Grigg

With a raise to 1,050 and a call from Julian Dapena in front of him, Tom Grigg decided to pop it up to 3,250 with just Dapena coming along to the flop of 4♦2♣5♠. Dapena checked and Grigg fired 4,200. Dapena called before leading for 7,300 on the 6♠ turn. Grigg gave it up as Dapena showed 6♣6♥ for a set of sixes. Our hockey champ is up to 44,000 with Grigg back to 22,000.

6:00pm: Level up, blinds 250-500, ante 50

5:55pm: Mixed fortunes for Benton

Aaron Benton has had a lively couple of minutes after eliminating one opponent before doubling up another. In the first hand it was Benton's A♦Q♣ that flipped good against an opponent's pocket eights. The board was spread 4♥K♠T♣J♥7♦ to give Benton Broadway and the pot.

However just a few moments later those chips were shipped to PokerStars qualifier Julian Cohen who was all in with his tournament on the line holding pocket threes against Benton's pocket sixes. The board of 4♦T♥7♠3♥K♦ hit Cohen for the two-outer to survive and double up to 17,000. Benton is back to 57,000.

5:49pm: Honeybone and Hinrichsen moving up

James Honeybone is developing a fondness of pocket fours. Earlier in the day, Honeybone flopped a set of fours and he's done it once again to find a much-needed double up. Honeybone was all in preflop with 4♠4♦ against an opponent's J♣Q♠. A jack in the window was not what Honeybone wanted to see but he liked what followed as the board was spread J♠4♥3♣T♠A♠. Honeybone is up to 12,000.

Another to increase his stack recently is Andrew Hinrichsen. After struggling through the early levels today, Hinrichsen is now looking dangerous with around 60,000. When we asked him about his new-found wealth he replied, "I'll tell you about the less-bad one..."

Hinrichsen then recalled to us that he raised A♠Q♠ and the big blind called to see a Q♦J♦3♦ flop. The big blind led out with a bet and Hinrichsen called, before jamming over the top of his opponent's bet on the repeat three on the turn. His opponent called with T♦4♦ for a flopped flush, but a third three completed the board on the river. Hinrichsen's opponent celebrated until it was pointed out that Hinrichsen had made a running full house to take down the 30,000-chip pot!


Andrew Hinrichsen enjoying himself at the APPT Auckland

5:35pm: Benton busts Brooke

One of New Zealand poker's most popular personalities and SKYCITY Poker Ambassador, Brooke Howard-Smith, has just been eliminated from the tournament at the hands of Australian Aaron Benton.

Howard-Smith opened with a raise to 1,100 from under the gun, before Benton added 2,700 to the bet from middle position. The table folded back to Howard-Smith who instantly moved all in. Benton asked for a count and called off the total of 20,700.

Benton: K♥K♦
Howard-Smith: A♥J♣

The flop of T♠Q♦7♠ gave Howard-Smith two more outs but the Q♠ turn and 7♦ river bricked out to end his tournament. Benton is now up to 59,000.


Brooke Howard-Smith during more jovial times

5:25pm: Torres gets caught

Tom Grigg raised to 1,000 from the cutoff before Peter Guan from China popped it to 2,400 in the small blind. Victorino Torres made the call in the big blind as Grigg stepped out of the way.

The two players saw a flop of 2♠A♦5♦ and both checked as the free 3♠ fell on the turn. Guan led out for 3,000 with Torres making the call. The river was the K♣ and Guan fired again for 4,200 but Torres responded with a raise to 14,200. Guan snapped him off with a call as Torres flipped over Q♠J♠ for just queen high. Guan tabled A♣T♣ for top pair which was good to scoop the healthy pot. Guan is up to 42,000 with the APPT Macau champ slipping to 27,000.

5:10pm: Hinrichsen dines with Kings

Andrew Hinrichsen opened with a raise from early position to 1,000 with Oliver Schaffman making the call on the button. Both checked the A♥5♣K♠ flop before Hinrichsen led for 2,100 on the 6♣ turn. Schaffman came along and the 2♥ completed the board on the river. Hinrichsen checked and Schaffman put out a modest bet of 1,500. Hinrichsen replied by moving all in with a check-raise for his last 7,575.

Schaffman went into the tank and eventually mustered up a call but mucked when Hinrichsen showed K♣K♥ for a deceptive set of kings.

After being on the short stack for most of the day, Hinrichsen is now up to 23,000 with Schaffman slipping to 43,000.

5:00pm: Play resumes

The players are back in action with three more levels until we bag and tag for the day. Danny Silk, Ricky Kroesen and Victorino Torres remain our chip leaders as around 65 remain from our original 89 starters.


The beautiful SKYCITY Auckland Poker Room is buzzing for the APPT Main Event