APPT Auckland Day 1a: Level 7 (blinds 300-600, ante 75)
8:10pm: Play wraps up with Vogelman out in front
The last five hands were a little uneventful as Noah Vogelman cemented his place at the top of the chip count leaderboard following the elimination of Lucas Anderson.
With all the chips in preflop Anderson was going to need help with his K♥6♥ against Vogelman's pocket jacks.
"King?" quizzed Vogelman.
"I'd prefer a flush!" exclaimed Anderson, as the flop landed 3♦4♥9♥ to give him a flush draw and plenty of outs to win the pot. However the 9♦ turn and 5♣ river bricked the board to eliminate Anderson from the tournament and leave PokerStars qualifier Vogelman as our chip leader with 128,275.
Others towards the top of the tree include Danny Silk, John Harman, Tao Luo and Ricky Kroesen as 41 players survived the day. We'll have the complete chip counts of the field, including a wrap of the day's action for you shortly. In the meantime, you can catch up with all the latest as we spoke to APPT Macau champ Victorino Torres and APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh for their thoughts on the day's play.
8:02pm: Finally, some real poker!
We're getting late in the day, and that means a few players are starting to crack. Well, that's our explanation for it, but for some, the late hour and deep stacks provide a good opportunity to get creative.
Catching the action on a flop of 4♦K♥6♠, Zack Lowrie checked it over to Oliver Schaffman who bet 2,500. Lowrie made the call before both players checked the T♣ turn. The river was a repeat T♠ and Lowrie led out with a bet of 4,200. Schaffman responded by making it 12,500 but Lowrie came back over the top, raising it up another 20,000. Schaffman deliberated for a few moments but released as Lowrie decided to show 8♥7♠ for a pure bluff!
After the hand, Schaffman claimed he held five-high and that Lowrie was bluffing with the best hand!
"I enjoyed that!" laughed Lowrie. "Finally we can play some poker!"
8:00pm: Nigel Brine is living the dream
Ever wondered what it would be like to live the dream of being a professional poker player? Well one player in our field today is experiencing exactly that!
Nigel Brine was the winner of the PokerStars Live The Dream promotion in Australia where he freerolled his way to a massive prize package which includes sponsorship into a variety of events around the world.
Nigel has chosen to use some of his prize to enter the APPT Auckland Main Event and although he's been short-stacked for a lot of the day, Nigel is hanging in there and looking to reach day 2 action.
Earlier on today we caught up with Nigel to get his thoughts on what it's like to be living the dream!
7:53pm: Two more Kiwis eliminated
A couple more Kiwis have been eliminated as the locals try valiantly to hold onto their home title. Our champion this year won't be Jackson Zheng or James Honeybone as both have lost their battle with their short stacks.
Zheng was first to go when he open-shoved from the cutoff with A♥7♥ but was called by the dominant A♠T♣ of Tao Luo. The board fell 3♣8♦K♠8♣4♠ and Zheng was gone.
Honeybone tried to inspire a comeback with the "Doyle Brunson" holding T♣2♥ but he couldn't get past the A♠9♦ of Ricky Kroesen as the board ran out 6♥K♦4♠5♣Q♥. Kroesen quietly moved up to 85,000 as Honeybone made an early detour to the bar.
7:45pm: Fitzgerald farewelled
Oliver Schaffman and Angie Fitzgerald had been tangling for much of the day but Schaffman just won the battle as Fitzgerald was sent to the rail.
In a re-raised pot, Fitzgerald fired a bet on the flop, before check-calling the turn and river on a board of Q-8-9-T-8. The river bet put Fitzgerald to a decision for all of her chips but she couldn't better Schaffman's J♣T♣ for a flopped straight.
Fitzgerald was eliminated as Schaffman is now up to 108,000.
7:33pm: Honeybone hurting
James Honeybone has been crippled at the hands of Ardmore Vakalahi. It all started with Noah Vogelman opening with a raise to 1,600 before James Honeybone made it 3,600 to go. Vakalahi called on the button and Vogelman came along to see a 5♥9♣8♦ flop.
Play checked to Vakalahi who bet 3,600. Vogelman folded but Honeybone made the call as a repeat 8♥ hit the turn. Honeybone checked and Vakalahi tossed out another 3,600. Honeybone responded by moving all in but Vakalahi insta-called with pocket nines for a full house as Honeybone was in trouble with his A♠8♠. The river was the J♣ to leave Honeybone crippled to just 1,100 in chips.
He managed to stay alive with a chopped pot holding A♥7♥ versus a dominant A♠8♣ when both players made a straight, before doubling up in fortunate fashion.
Honeybone shoved under the gun for 1,750 without looking at his cards and the small blind made the call with pocket eights. Honeybone showed 6♣4♣ but pulled a flush on the J♦4♦2♣3♣Q♣ board. He's still alive and kicking with 4,500 in chips.
7:25pm: Vogelman increases his lead
Tao Luo opened with a raise to 1,700 from the cutoff with Ricky Kroesen making the call on the button and Noah Vogelman in the big blind.
The flop landed J♣7♣9♠ and action checked to Luo who bet 2,800. Kroesen and Vogelman called as the K♠ hit the turn. Again it was checked to Luo who fired another 6,500. That was too much for Kroesen but Vogelman came along to see the 7♦ on the river where both players checked it down.
Vogelman opened A♣Q♣ for just ace-high but incredibly Luo also was without a pair holding A♥4♣ as Kroesen was disgusted to have folded the best hand.
Luo slips to 60,000 with Vogelman increasing his chip lead to 125,000.
7:10pm: Play resumes without Damon Lum
Just prior to the break we lost Kiwi young gun Damon Lum. He moved all in on the turn for his last 18,000 with the board reading 5♥4♣Q♣8♥. His opponent made the call with K♦K♥ as Lum would have to improve holding Q♥J♥ for top pair and flush draw.
The river bricked off the 3♣ and the PokerStars qualifer was sent to the rail.
We have one more level remaining for the day before we bag them up, with 48 players remaining.