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

5:10pm: Ten-minute break

5:08pm: Celina bids farewell

On the final hand before the break, we lost one of our PokerStars Team Asia Pros in Celina Lin.

Lin was battling with a short stack for most of the last level, but finally succumbed when her last chips went in on a flop of 5♠2♦4♦. Lin tabled 9♣9♦ but, not for the first time today, she ran into an opponent's set as Max Bloom tabled 5♦5♥.

The turn was the A♥ and river the A♠ to eliminate Lin from the tournament.

4:58pm: Aiyah!

Bryan Huang's day got much better after his tough starting table was broken early on, but he's slipped a bit as we approach the second break. Huang acted first on an all-diamond flop, 8♦6♦K♦, and bet 700. One player called before the button made a small raise to 1,600. Only Huang called.

Huang checked and called another 3,000 when the turn came the 9♣. Both players checked the 2♠ river. Huang heaved a little sigh as his opponent showed 9♦9♥ for a turned set of 9s. That was the winning hand.

Huang is down to about 33,000.

4:55pm: Noh rebuilds

Tae Joon Noh has found life a little difficult over this past level or two, as he slipped well below starting stack but the PokerStars Team Asia Pro been able to slowly recover and now has a couple stacks of green 25-denomination chips in front of him to indicate he's winning plenty of pots and pulling in plenty of antes.

We just caught him win a small pot when he put in a squeezy three-bet to 2,300 following a raise to 800 and flat call in front of him. The cutoff player called and the flop was 2♠8♥3♦. Action checked to Noh on the button and he bet just 1,500. It seemed like a very small bet but it was enough to take it down and get his stack back up to 18,000 chips.


Tae Joon Noh in action at the APPT Cebu

4:50pm: Paulsen runs into the nuts

Kai Paulsen's day just became a lot sunnier as he left the poker tent to enjoy the final hours of sunshine here in Cebu. The reason is that his last chips were shipped the way of Belgium player Caroline De Weerdt on a cooler flop of Q♣T♣9♥.

Paulsen didn't have a lot of chip in front of him so he was committed to go with Q♠T♠ for top two pair but De Weerdt was sitting there with K♠J♥ for the stone-cold nuts. The turn was the 4♣ and river an equally brick-like 2♣ to eliminate Paulsen and jump De Weerdt up to 50,000 chips.

4:41pm: It helps that it's free

For the 2010 iteration of the APPT Cebu poker festival, organizers have teamed with a local Filipino beer company to provide free refreshments to the players during the tournament. Manila Light proclaims itself "The new taste of light" and says it is "All malt, all light, alright!" The company provided free beer at the welcome party last night, dished out by two alluring models who aggressively accosted anyone that came with ten feet of the bar. Players can also chug-a-lug while they sling cards and chips in the poker tent.

It must be a decent beer, because I had about half a dozen bottles of it last night.


"All Malt, All Light, Alright!"

4:35pm: Elementary, my dear Watson

Andrew Watson's been telling his mates some stories of frustration today. He may have another one to add to the tally. Sitting in position, Watson called a bet of 800 from his only opponent on a flop of J♠4♠[10h]. That player checked the K♦ turn, giving Watson space to try to end the hand with a bet of 1,650. His opponent called to the A♠ river, then fired out 3,500. Watson snap-folded, preserving his diminished stack at 21,000.

4:28pm: Raj exits

After winning the side event last night, Raj Ramakrishnan was looking to grab a second trophy here in Cebu, but his Main Event has just come to an abrupt end.

Ramakrishnan decided to get frisky with his short stack holding K♦J♥ only to run into an opponent's A♦A♥ with the chips in preflop. The board ran out 2♥A♣6♦4♦T♥ to leave Ramakrishnan to make an early exit.


Raj Ramakrishnan has been eliminated from the APPT Cebu Main Event

4:20pm: Wu runs into rockets

Raymond Wu has been absolutely terrorizing his table near the front of the room but even Wu is not immune from running into strong hands. He had position on a flop of Q♥8♠K♦ and called a bet of two blue chips -- 2,000 -- from his lone opponent one seat to his right. That player bet another 3,000 on the 7♣ turn. Wu called again.

The river card was the 3♦. Wu's opponent didn't slow down. She tossed a yellow (T5,000) chip into the pot. Wu, his back being kneaded by the elbows of a petite Filipina massage therapist, stuck his tongue out between his teeth before open-folding K♠J♠, a pair of kings. His opponent rewarded Wu's discipline by showing A♥A♣.

Wu is down to about 28,000.

4:10pm: Level up, blinds 150-300, ante 25

4:05pm: Choi shuts down

Korean In Wook Choi has been running below our radar for the first three levels. To be fair, he hasn't been mixing it up very much. He's got just less than his starting stack after a three-way pot that Choi raised pre-flop to 550. All three players checked the 9♥J♥Q♣ flop. Choi took a stab with a bet of 1,150 when action checked to him on the 9♠ turn. One player called in position.

Both players checked through the 2♥. Choi tabled A♠J♣ for jacks and nines, but he lost the pot to his opponent's [10c]9♣, trip nines.

4:00pm: It's a long way from Romania

They have come far and wide to take part in the APPT Cebu Main Event, but few have come as far as Romanian PokerStars qualifier Robert Schneider. And he's making the trip worthwhile after capturing a recent pot to eliminate Kiwi Paul Pedersen.

The action flop was T♣9♥Q♣ with Pedersen and Schneider both moving all in to send a third player into the tank.

"Are you sure you want to gamble in this spot man?" chirped Schneider as his opponent decided to save his last 11,000 for a better spot. It was a good decision as Pedersen opened 9♣9♦ and Schneider showed T♠T♦ as both players had flopped sets!

The turn was the 5♥ and river 2♠ as the miracle one-outer faded Pedersen to send him to the rail as Schneider is now up to 45,000.

3:44pm: Mariakis not willing to fight

It's been a frustrating few levels for Michael Mariakis so far today. The PokerStars qualifier is down to 8,500 from his starting stack of 20,000. A recent hand typifies what he's been saying. Sitting with position, he called a bet of 850 on a [10c]7♦7♣K♥. When the river came a third club, the 4♣, Mariakis' opponent moved all in for more than 12,000, a massive over-bet.

"If you want it that bad..." Mariakis trailed off. He paused just a moment before mucking his cards.

3:35pm: Lin continues to slide

The slide of Celina Lin continues as she's slipped back to around 11,000 after being raised off a recent pot. We caught the action on the turn on a board of Q♥7♠9♦8♠ where action checked to Lin who bet 1,200. Her opponent in position raised to 3,700 and it folded back to Lin who thought briefly before also giving it up.

Lin won't be too fazed by the short-stacked situation as its one she is familiar with. Just last week at the Macau Poker Cup Championship Main Event, Lin managed to scrape through day one with just 8,000 in chips, but when she returned on day two she was able to run that up to 90,000 in a matter of minutes. Unfortunately Lin just missed in the money in that event, so she'll be keen for another deep run here in Cebu.

During the last break, the PokerStars video team caught up with Lin for an update on how her day has been going. She talks about her tough starting table, but thankfully for her, it has now broken and Lin has joined the table of fellow Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem.

3:26pm: Marcus making junk hands work

Two years ago at APPT Manila, Van Marcus stole the show with an epic run-good performance that was worthy of legends. He's at it again today, making some really weak holdings work for him out of the big blind. He was at it again, betting 1,275 on the turn of a ten-high board, 4♠[10s]6♣5♦. His lone opponent called, with both players checked the A♣ river. Marcus' [10d]3♦, a pair of tens, took down the pot.


Van Marcus mixing it up at the APPT Cebu

3:17pm: Blumenthal doubles a small stack

As we were snaking our way around the room grabbing counts, a short-stacked Ira Blumenthal moved all in from early position for about 2,500. Luke Edwards was in the big blind with A♦9♠ and called the raise. Blumenthal shrugged and turned up Q♥J♦, a slight underdog to Edwards' hand. This round went to Blumenthal, making two pair on a board of J♥6♠7♣Q♠[10d].

"It's not very much," he said as we eyeballed his stack. But 5,000 is twice as many chips as he had the previous hand.

3:10pm: Play resumes

The players are back in action as the 2010 APPT Cebu Main Event continues. The big screen tells us that 153 of the original 158 starters are still in contention with Thomas Spegar and John Maklouf out in front with around 50,000.

Tony Hachem managed to double his stack up as soon as he sat down midway through that last level to be the best-placed of the Team PokerStars Pros, with Raymond Wu (30,000) and Tae Joon Noh (25,000) both increasing their stacks. Bryan Huang (18,000) was relieved to get himself back towards his start stack, while Celina Lin has slipped to (14,000) after losing some change with set over set early in the day.

We are still yet to see 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem who is still unwell and tucked away upstairs in bed. We won't expect his arrival until the last possible opportunity today.

APPT Cebu reporting comes courtesy of bloggers Heath "TassieDevil" Chick and Dave "F-Train" Behr.