APPT Auckland Day 3: Level 15 & 16 (blinds 2500-5000, ante 500)

2:15pm: Ten-minute break

2:12pm: Two shorties lose the battle

Aaron Sue moved all in for his last 21,000 with 6♦6♥ and Leo Boxell made the call with A♥J♥ in the big blind. The board ran out 7♦A♦5♠K♠2♣ to end Sue's run in 19th place.

Shaun Gray was soon to follow in 18th place when he moved all in from under the gun for his last 28,500 with A♠4♠ and was called by Santi Soriano Ramos in the small blind with K♣T♠. The board fell T♥6♣4♦3♣6♠ to leave Gary heading to the cashier, as the remaining 17 players head out for a break.

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Shaun Gray eliminated in 18th place

2:02pm: King Kani

Leo Boxell raised to 16,500 from under the gun before Noah Vogelman made it 40,000 to go. Kani Edwards then moved all in, with Boxell folding and Vogelman making the call.

Vogelman: J♥J♠
Edwards: K♠K♥

The board fell 8♦K♦7♠8♣6♠ to more than double up Edwards to 150,000 with Vogelman down to 170,000.

2:00pm: Bullets claim Parmann

Santi Soriano Ramos started the action with a raise to 13,300 with Ian Parnell making the call on the button. Tamas Lendvai then put in the squeeze to 47,500 from the small blind before Julian Parmann moved all in for his last 54,500 from the big blind. Ramos and Parnell escaped but Lendvai made the call.

Lendvai: A♠A♣
Parmann: Q♣Q♥

The board ran out 2♠7♥9♦5♣J♦ to leave Lendvai's aces in front as Parnell claimed that he folded pocket fives! Parmann is eliminated from the tournament in 20th place for a collect of NZ$7,200.

1:54pm: Edwards Reads Strength

Luke Edwards raised the hijack position to 12,500 and Tao Luo made the call in the big blind to see a T♦9♥9♣ flop.

Both players checked and the 7♠ hit the turn. Luo checked and Edwards bet 16,000. Luo made the call and then led out for a hefty 55,000 on the A♠ river.

"I knew you had ace-high," sighed Edwards as he tossed his cards into the muck.

His read of strength was somewhat correct as Luo flashed T♣9♦ for a flopped full house!

"Wow! I dodged a bullet!" said a relieved Edwards as Luo collected the pot. Both players sit with around 140,000 chips.

1:40pm: It all goes Wong

Damien Wong opened with a raise to 12,000 from the small blind before John Harman popped it to 35,000 in the big blind. Wong moved all in and Harman made the call.

Wong: K♦8♦
Harman: J♠J♥

The board ran out A♠5♥Q♠7♦3♥ to eliminate Wong from the tournament in 21st place.

1:33pm: Parnell lands another cash

Following up from his cash at the recent ANZPT Gold Coast event, PokerStars qualifier Ian Parnell has safely navigated his way to another cash result here despite never building a large stack throughout the tournament.

Parnell wanted to give a shoutout to the "NPT boys", who he credits as teaching him how to play.

He's up to 75,000 chips now after three-bet shoving over the top of the aggressive Santi Soriano Ramos to collect some chips preflop without showdown.

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Ian Parnell in action on the APPT Auckland felt

1:22pm: Two more head to the cashier

We've lost two more players in rapid successful to be down to our last 21 players.

Julius Colman fell in 23rd place when his A♣K♠ lost the race against the pocket tens of Julian Parmann when the board ran out Q♦9♦3♠Q♥3♥. Parmann is up to 100,000.

He was soon followed by Lance Haysam in 22nd place when he found his K♦6♥ dominated by Tom Grigg's A♣6♣ when the board fell A♦K♠3♠T♦8♣.

1:15pm: Level up, blinds 2500-5000, ante 500

1:10pm: Twinkle Twinkle eliminated as Boxell doubles

Tom Grigg raised to 10,000 from middle position and found calls from Ardmore Vakalahi and Leo Boxell to see a flop of K♦7♥6♦. Boxell led out from the small blind for 35,000 which forced a fold from Grigg but Vakalahi made the call to see the 4♥ hit the turn.

Boxell moved all in and Vakalahi thought for a few moments before making a big call with A♥7♣ but he found himself drawing dead as Boxell opened 7♦7♠ for a set of sevens. The meaningless river was the Q♥ to give Boxell a massive double up to 350,000.

Vakalahi was crippled and all in moments later with pocket deuces, but couldn't win the race against Danny Silk's ace-queen, to be sent to the rail in 24th place for NZ$5,900 in prize money.

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Ardmore "Twinkle Twinkle" Vakalahi is eliminated

1:00pm: The bubble bursts - Tran eliminated

The bubble has burst here at the APPT Auckland Main Event and the unfortunate bubble boy is Linh Tran.

His final hand saw Tom Grigg raise the button to 10,000 and Tran calling out of the big blind. They saw a flop of 9♥5♦8♣ and Tran checked to Grigg who bet 10,000 into the middle. Tran then check-raised for 41,000 but Grigg called it off.

Grigg: A♥9♦
Tran: Q♣9♠

Tran was in bad shape and didn't improve on the 8♥ turn and 7♦ river. He is eliminated in 25th place as a round of applause broke out amongst the remaining 24 players as they are now all safely in the money.

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APPT Auckland bubble boy Linh Tran

12:55pm: Twinkle twinkle shining bright

The man known as "Twinkle Twinkle" is up to his old tricks here today, as there's always a few theatrics when Ardmore Vakalahi rakes in a pot.

In a recent hand, Vakalahi check-called on the flop and turn before checking down the river against Lance Haysam on a board of T♠4♠5♦Q♣4♠.

Haysam was first to show and opened A♣5♣ for a pair of fives, as Vakalahi built the drama before opening T♦9♥ for a pair of tens.

"You said you had me? I knew you didn't have me!" exclaimed Vakalahi.

"I had the best hand!" defended Haysam, referring to the preflop holdings.

"You didn't have the best hand. I had a ten, you had a five!" replied Vakalahi as he chipped up to 160,000. Haysam is down to 70,000.

12:50pm: Double double

After the recent double KO, we've just had two double ups as the short stacks stay alive and prolong the bubble bursting.

First it was Luke Edwards who doubled up in a battle of the blinds with Linh Tran. It was Edwards' A♣J♦ against the J♠2♠ of Tran which held on the 5♥K♦T♦Q♣2♥ board as Edwards made a Broadway straight to double to 108,000.

In the second hand Julian Parmann survived when his pocket jacks held to win the race against Julius Colman's A♥Q♣ on the board of 5♠T♦6♦2♣9♦. Parmann is back up to 53,000 with Colman down to 98,000.

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Australian Luke Edwards stays alive at the APPT Auckland

12:35pm: Double KO puts us on the bubble

A double elimination has seen Ropati Toleafoa knock out two players in one swift blow to now see the tournament sit nervously on the bubble!

Action folded around to Akshay Nauhria on the button who moved his short stack into the middle. Toleafoa called in the small blind, before AJ Bertenshaw decided he needed to triple up his desperately short stack as he called all in from the big blind.

Nauhria: Q♦7♠
Toleafoa: A♦Q♠
Bertenshaw: A♥9♣

The board fell Q♣J♣8♠4♣K♠ to pair up Toleafoa's queen to take the pot and send two to the rail. With that elimination, we're now re-balancing the tables and playing hand-for-hand until the bubble bursts. The next player eliminated will go home with nothing but a story to tell the folks back home as the remaining 24 players will have 5,900 reasons to celebrate.

12:25pm: Grigg sets up Courtenay

Tom Grigg opened with a raise to 10,000 before Sam Courtenay moved all in over the top for just over 100,000. After a count down of the chips, Grigg announced a call.

Grigg: T♥T♦
Courtenay: A♠K♠

Grigg's hot form continued where he left off yesterday as the flop landed 3♦T♣5♠ to spike Grigg a set for a stranglehold on the hand. The Q♥ turn did bring a sweat as Courtenay picked up a straight draw, but the river was the 4♥.

Courtenay is our first casualty of the day in 28th place as Grigg extends his chip stack to around 680,000.

12:15pm: We're underway!

The players have taken their seats, unbagged their chips and exchanged pleasantries, before the official word was given and the cards were launched into the air.

The word from APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh is that we're in for a shorter day today in order to crop our field from 28 to our final table of nine. Debate in media row has set the line at five levels with the smart money drifting towards the overs.

Before play kicked off we caught up with overnight chip leader Tom Grigg for his thoughts on the day ahead, while APPT Media Coordinator Garry Gates brings us the run down of the overnight news and chip count leaderboard.