APPT Auckland Day 1b: Levels 3 & 4 (blinds 150-300, ante 25)

4:40pm: Ten-minute break

4:34pm: Tony Hachem eliminated

Tony Hachem has lost the battle with his short stack to be eliminated from the tournament at the hands of Leo Boxell.

Boxell raised from early position to 800 before Hachem moved all in from the small blind for his last 3,700. Boxell made the call with A♣T♣ to be up against Hachem's Q♥Q♦.

Hachem tabled the best hand but the ladies weren't helpful as the board was spread J♣6♦K♣7♣4♣ to give Boxell a flush and the pot.

"It wasn't my day. It's just not meant to be," sighed the Team PokerStars Pro as he headed to the rail.

4:30pm: The numbers are in

The official numbers are in and our prize pool has been confirmed.

With 129 entrants today, combined with the 89 from yesterday, we have a field of 218 players for the 2010 PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event. This is a little down on last year's numbers, but with so many events on in this region and the recent earthquake disaster in Christchurch which prevented a number of players from participating, 218 is still a very impressive number

They have created a prize pool of NZ$654,000 with the top 24 players to finish in profit. A final table berth will earn $16,350 while first place will take home the gold and a cheque worth NZ$170,000.

4:25pm: Feeling boxed in

Leo Boxell has also run into giant-killing Dominique Chauliac as the New Caledonian native continues to smack Australia's best.

Catching the action on a flop of T♦J♦5♠ Boxell check-raised before leading for 3,000 on the 6♠ turn. Chauliac clicked it back to 6,000 which Boxell called before both players checked down the 7♥ river. Chauliac showed A♥T♠ which was enough as Boxell mucked.

Boxell's woes continued soon after he check-called on the turn and river against Damien Wong on the board of T♦6♣6♦4♥J♠. Wong opened 4♦6♠ for a full house as Boxell was again forced to muck as he slipped to just 7,000 chips.

4:10pm: Hachem hurting

Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem has been crippled after his pocket aces were cracked by Raj Ramakrishnan.

Ramakrishnan fired out a bet on a king-high flop before Hachem raised it up. Ramakrishnan made the call before check-raising a ten on the turn. Hachem called and a four hit the river. Ramakrishnan fired out a healthy bet of 8,000 and Hachem called with his rockets, only to find Ramakrishnan had outdrawn him with his king-ten.

Earlier on in the day Hachem's plays were getting some respect but it seems that image has now turned full circle as Ramakrishnan collected the pot to move up to 42,000.

Hachem lost another pot shortly after when he ran into the Broadway straight of Dominique Chauliac to leave Hachem on the verge of elimination.

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Tony Hachem will need something special to get himself back into contention

3:58pm: Nelson keeping them honest

Lee Nelson has recovered some chips after calling down his opponent's triple-barrel bluff.

In a limped pot, Nelson check-called from the big blind on all three streets on a board of K♣Q♠6♦3♥J♦. On the river Nelson was faced with a bet of 2,300 and studied his opponent carefully before committing to the call.

His opponent opened A♣5♠ for ace-high as Nelson's K♥8♠ top pair was good. Nelson is up to 15,300 chips.

3:44pm: Brown busto

Kiwi Jason Brown won't be repeating his third place finish from last year's APPT Auckland after his recent elimination from the tournament. But he certainly went down fighting.

Brown was crippled after running ace-king into the pocket aces of Richard Lancaster but never gave up hope. He doubled up with A♠J♦ against A♣T♠ before stealing two pots with consecutive shoves.

While watching his table, we joked with Brown about making a world record attempt for the number of double ups and the odds of him making a comeback to win.

We offered odds of 1500 to 1, but Brown laughed and replied, "I was going to say more like 8000 to 1!"

A few moments later Brown has committed his last 2,400 with 7♦5♣ but was called by the 8♥8♦ of Jordan Pearce. Incredibly the board ran out 7♥3♥6♥4♥5♥ to put a straight-flush on board, but the 8♥ of Pearce gave him the pot with an eight-high straight-flush to send Brown to the rail.

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No final table this year as Jason Brown busts from the APPT Auckland Main Event

3:40pm: Level up, blinds 150-300, ante 25

3:34pm: WCOOP Update

We're still keeping one eye on the progress of Mads "moumaife84" Smith-Hansen in the PokerStars WCOOP. Currently 6th of 18 players, he's guaranteed a payout of nearly $7,000 and well on the way to a final table berth.

After speaking to tournament director Danny McDonagh, he informed us that even if Smith doesn't make it downstairs to play today, he'll still make it safely through the day with roughly around 8,000 in chips and around ten big blinds to do some damage with on day two.

3:22pm: Colman gets creative

Julius Colman is one of Australian poker's veterans who receives plenty of respect on the felt for his tight, solid play. However sometimes reputations can be deceiving as Colman just collected a big pot with a rather deceptive hand.

Raising from under the gun, Colman made it 550 and found four callers to see a flop of Q♥J♥8♠. Colman led out for 1,400 and his only resistance came from Colin Morris-Denby on the button who made it 2,800 to go. Colman called and the 6♦ hit the turn. Colman checked and Morris-Denby fired 2,000. Colman called again and the 3♥ landed on the river. Colman then led out for 5,500 and Morris-Denby made the call.

Colman opened K♥4♥ for the flush which was good to scoop the pot and jump to 38,000 chips.

"Raise preflop, out of position and river a flush..." sighed one of Colman's tablemates. "Good game mate!"

3:10pm: Watt's woes

Another who is struggling today is the defending champion Simon Watt.

Watt just collected a small pot after raising preflop and taking it down with a bet of 1,050 on a flop of 9♥A♠7♦.

"It's the first hand I've won after seeing a flop!" laughed Watt who is now back up to 5,500.

3:01pm: Spilkin gets a walk

It hasn't been a great day so far for Aussie Michael Spilkin. He's down to 8,000 and just received a walk - not a bad thing, but not so good when you look down at pocket aces!

"It's my first walk in six months!" laughed Spilkin.

Spilkin has been a model of consistency in 2010 with six Main Event cashes including two in New Zealand this year, but he's got a long way to go to get himself back on track here as he's down to just 8,000 chips.

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Michael Spilkin at APPT Auckland

2:50pm: Ramos on the steal

Spanish PokerStars qualifier Santi Soriano Ramos has been an early mover in today's field as he chipped up to 30,000 but we just caught him take a small hit in a multi-way pot. Five players went to a flop of 8♥T♥4♠ and action checked to Ramos in the hijack position who fired 575 into the middle. Terry Brockhurst was the lone caller in the big blind as the A♠ hit the turn.

Brockhurst checked it over to Ramos who fired a second barrel worth 1,300. Brockhurst called again before both players checked down the 5♣ river.

Brockhurst showed 6♠5♠ for a busted flush and straight draw, that rivered a modest pair, but it was enough as Ramos was on the steal as he mucked his hand.

2:40pm: Play resumes

The players are back and with registrations now closed we should have an official word on total numbers and prize pool for you shortly.

In the meantime, if you want to catch up with what's been happening on Day 1a, Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson and PokerStars reporter James Bernard bring you up to speed on all the latest news.