APPT Cebu: Day 2, Levels 7&8, blinds 400-800, ante 75

2:44pm: Break time
Players are on a ten-minute break. Enjoy the rain, guys and gals!

2:39pm: And now, a thunderstorm
As we've mentioned a few times, the tournament is being held in a tent in a back corner of the Shangri-La Mactan property. We're also in what is essentially a tropical island, and one thing that tropical islands are known for is rain. A thunderstorm has just made its way over our little corner of Cebu, and the sound of pouring rain drumming off the top of the tent mixes nicely with the clacking of chips at the tables.

We can't help but steal a few glances at the roof, however, wondering just how waterproof that fabric over our laptops really is.

2:35pm: Kiwi G on the rail
New Zealand poker icon Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt has fought tooth and nail today with his short stack, but his last 5,575 chips have just gone into the middle, never to return.

Putt moved in with A♦K♦ and looked good for a double up when Mikael Rozen called with a dominated A♣T♠. However the board ran out Q♣T♣6♥3♠A♥ to pair Rozen's kicker and eliminate Putt. Rozen is up to 105,000.

2:32pm: Bloom-ing force
"Respect the power of the big stack and fold to my blind," Max Bloom told his table. They heeded him all the way to the button, who raised to 2,500. After the small blind folded, Bloom surrendered his big blind. It was a very small dent for Bloom who, despite losing an early big pot to Victorino Torres, has re-grouped to well over 100,000 in chips.

2:25pm: Hinrichsen joins Graham
After a recent table break, two very dangerous players in Andrew Hinrichsen and Jarred Graham have found themselves seated on the same table, just two seats apart. We could see some fireworks!

Hinrichsen has arrived with 175,000 while Graham chipped up to 42,000 in a recent pot. Graham had raised the button but the big blind led out with a bet of 4,500 on the flop of 7♦3♣K♠. Graham called before both players checked the 4♣ turn. The river repeated the 4♦ and action checked to Graham who bet 4,500 which was enough to take it down.

2:13pm: Honeybone chipping up
We made a mistake at breakfast this morning, straying from our usual staple of 14 mangoes and trying one of the kiwis that had been placed out. It wasn't very good. A better Kiwi today is James Honeybone, who is aggressively springing up the chip counts. He recently took a flop of 2♦Q♦J♠ against one opponent. Honeybone led out for 3,600, a bet that was soon raised by his opponent to 8,500. Honeybone's response was to move all in, a raise back to his shorter-stacked opponent of about 20,000.

That player thought, and thought, and thought some more. After three or four minutes, Honeybone made a "T" motion with both of his hands and asked that time be called. With ten seconds remaining on the clock, his opponent folded.

2:10pm: Beeckz straight to the top
Our new chip leader is Belgium's Alexander Beeckx. Yesterday Beeckx impressed with some solid, aggressive play and the little bit of flare that is often required in tournaments to accumulate a big stack. He ended yesterday near the top of the tree and has extended even further today.

Beeckx is now up to 170,000 after his ace-deuce caught a perfect flop of 3-4-5 to eliminate an opponent who held pocket queens. With a monster stack in hand, Beeckx is going to be dangerous.

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New chip leader Alexander Beeckx

2:09pm: Huang over and out
"You're here to catch my bust-out hand," Bryan Huang told one of the bloggers standing over his table with a wry smile. It turned out, however, that the blogger watched Huang double up and so wandered off to watch action elsewhere. Maybe that was the kiss of death; a few moments later Huang was all in with Q-J against A-Q. The flop came jack-high, J-10-2, but an ace on turn vaulted Huang's opponent into the lead. When the river fell a 4, Huang stood up, grabbed his few possessions, and wandered off the tournament floor.

1:57pm: Huang in trouble
Since play resumed, Bryan Huang's chip stack has taken a beating worse than Antonio Margarito's face. First Huang was all in pre-flop with pocket kings against a player's pocket 9s but couldn't fade a 9 hitting the board. Shortly thereafter Huang was mixing it up again, this time in a flip with pocket 7s against A♦K♦. The board was clean until the river 4♣3♦Q♣5♠2♣, where Huang's opponent made a wheel to claim the pot.

Huang now has only 3,500.

1:51pm: Marvs flushed
After being crippled earlier in the day by Ivan Tan's straight, Michael Marvanek moved his last few thousand in with Q♦3♦ and made a straight on the board of 4♥5♦7♠6♥A♥ as two other live players checked down the board. However one player opened Q♥J♥ for the flush to take it down and eliminate Marvanek from the tournament.

1:49pm: Pacquiao wins, play resumes
Most of the poker tent was on its feet for the last two rounds of Manny Pacquiao's impressive, dominating win over Antonio Margarito. As the final bell sounded on the fight, applause thundered through the poker tent.

Cards are now back in the air.

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John Maklouf (foreground, right) was one of the few players not standing for the end of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight

1:34pm: Impromptu break
With 54 minutes left in the level, TD Danny McDonagh has called for a break. The whole tent is now watching the last two rounds of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight.

1:30pm: Level 8 begins, blinds 500-1,000, ante 100

1:27pm: If only there was a crazy river
APPT Auckland runner-up Tom Grigg has taken a hit after doubling up Czardy Rivera in a battle of the blinds. We caught the action on the river where Grigg fired a bet of 4,400 on a board of K♠Q♦9♠6♠Q♥. Rivera thought for a long time before eventually moving all in for an additional 11,450.

After some friendly banter, and a moment of thought, Rivera motioned to the dealer to call time, even though it appeared Grigg had taken less time than Rivera used to act. It didn't worry Grigg as he made the call but then mucked when shown J♣T♣ for a flopped straight. Grigg slips to 57,000.

1:22pm: Del Rosario done
Duel Filipino Poker Tour champion Kent Del Rosario has been sent to an early exit here on Day 2. Del Rosario is one of the most accomplished local players but he was unable to turn his short stack around as he ran pocket queens into an opponent's pocket kings.

De Rosario couldn't find another lady on the board and was eliminated.

1:19pm: Maklouf crippled
John Maklouf has made a name for himself on the ANZPT but he's hit a piece of bad luck here in Cebu. We arrived at his table to see Maklouf tangling with Koren Kim Gabyong. Approximately 55,000 chips were already in the pot by the river, K♦[10h]6♥9♦J♥. Kim fired a bet of 30,000 at Maklouf that represented almost the entirety of Maklouf's stack. Maklouf called with K♣Q♠, a hand that flopped top pair and turned into a king-high straight. Kim bested him with A♥Q♦, a Broadway straight.

Maklouf said nothing, but seemed disgusted to see Kim's hand. We're not sure what the action was before the river, but suffice it to say Kim got a lot of chips in the pot out-of-position and drawing very, very thin. The pot gave Kim 135,000 in chips and left Maklouf with just 2,400. He has since doubled up one time but remains severely short.

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A glum John Maklouf

1:13pm: God bless technology
TD Danny McDonagh, ever the enterprising individual, has found an internet stream of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight and is now projecting it onto one of the video screens reserved for the tournament clock. That's good news for anybody in the poker tent who has a vested interest in the fight (basically, everyone) and bad news for anybody trying to use the bandwidth in the poker tent for things like poker updates.

Still, we're not complaining.

1:01pm: Torres takes big chunk out of Bloom
Victorino Torres is coming off a strong win in Macau, looking to etch his name as the first player with back-to-back APPT wins. He's given himself a big boost courtesy of Max Bloom. Bloom bet every street of a 9♦J♥Q♠5♥3♥ board, making it 4,125 to go on the flop, 7,525 on the turn and 7,025 on the river. Each time the out-of-position Torres checked and called the bet. At showdown, Bloom simply mucked his hand. Torres turned over two aces, A♣A♦, to take another step towards the final table.

12:50pm: Woe for Wu
PokerStars Team Asia Pro Raymond Wu came into Day 2 with a short stack but he was unable to find the double up required to stay alive. His final chips went into the middle on a K-3-2 flop holding K-6 for top pair but the impressively named Andrey Alexandrovich Lobzhanidze held a dominant K-T. There was no six on the turn or river and Wu was sent to the rail.

We saw Wu doing some light sparring with his girlfriend on the beach a few days ago. It's a good bet that Wu will make his way now to the Marquee here at the resort in order to catch the rest of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight that is currently gripping this island nation.

12:44pm: Mixed fortunes for the short stackers
In the early stages of Day 2, the chips are usually flying as the short stacks launch themselves into either a remarkable comeback story or an early exit to enjoy the Cebu sunshine. New Zealand's Paul Hockin was one of the first to do so when he made a move with Q♣8♣ but ran into an opponent's pocket kings. Hockin flopped a gutshot but the turn and river bricked out to see him as an early casualty.

The overnight short stack was American Mike Stecker who came into today with just 2,600 in chips. He caught an early double-up by moving all in preflop with A♥K♥ as Wally Sombero called the 2,300 with A♦T♣. The board landed 2♥9♦A♠3♠Q♠ to give Stecker the pot and the double-up. He was still the short stack of the field, hwoever, and soon found himself all-in again with pocket 4s against a player's T♥7♦. A T♦ on the river ended Stecker's tournament.

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Shangri-La Mactan Resort

12:40pm: The long voyage of Alexander Beeckx
One of the Day 1b chip leaders was Alexander Beeckx, a PokerStars player who made the long journey to Cebu from Belgium. Beeckx quietly amassed a sizable stack yesterday, his first step on a somewhat shorter trip to the final table. He's in charge today to start Day 2, imposing his will on Table 8. In a recent pot, Beeckx was under the gun and first to act on a board of K♠K♥8♥. He checked to his lone opponent, then raised that player's bet from 2,500 to 6,500. The player snap-folded.

12:30pm: Shuffle up and deal!
After a few extra minutes to make sure players wound up at their correct seats, cards are in the air for Day 2 of the APPT Cebu Main Event.

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

Dave Behr
@PokerStars in Asia Pacific Poker Tour