APPT Sydney Day 1a: Levels 1 & 2 (blinds 100-200)
2:30pm: Ten-minute break
2:25pm: Any takers for the High Rollers event?
As the players in the APPT Grand Final are about to take their first break of the day, the PokerStars Blog team headed downstairs to check out the action in the Sports Theatre, where the APPT Sydney High Rollers has just gotten underway.
Amongst the players who feature in today's event include 2010 PokerStars WCOOP Player of the Series James "Andy_McLEOD" Obst and fellow Aussie young guns Jonathan Karamalikis, Brendon Rubie, Aleks Brkovic and Daniel Neilson, as well as veterans Antonis "Toothpick Tony" Kambouroglou, Emanuel "Curly" Seal and Hong Kong-based Australian David Steicke.
The 13 entries are currently stretched across three tables, with plenty of empty stacks being blinded away. So if you've got a spare $15,300 lying around, grab those pennies and head to the cage as there's still time to buy in!
2:10pm: Ivin's leavin'
Australia's Mike Ivin scored a runner-up finish in the ANZPT Sydney Main Event earlier this year, but unfortunately his run in the APPT Grand Final Main Event was cut off very early today, courtesy of Canadian Brent Bibby.
On a flop of 7♣Q♠A♠, Ivin moved all-in holding A♦9♦, only to see Bibby snap-call with Q♥Q♦ for a flopped set, which improved to a full house on the turn with the 7♦. The dealer produced a loud "Star City snap", but the river [10d] was a rather dull result and with that, Ivin headed home.
2:00pm: Kemp eliminates Rotar
We've just lost young gun Sam Rotar in a huge clash with fellow Australian Jai Kemp. We arrived at the table on a flop of 6♠T♠3♣ with four players in the hand. Action checked to Rotar who bet 1,250 into the 2,100-chip pot and Jai Kemp was the lone caller to see the 3♠ hit the turn.
Rotar fired again for another 2,750. Kemp took a moment before making the call as the Q♥ completed the board. Rotar didn't slow down as he let rip with a third barrel worth 5,250. Kemp immediately responded by declaring himself all in to send Rotar into the tank. After several minutes of deliberation, Rotar committed his last 13,000 chips but mucked when Kemp opened 6♥6♣ for a full house. Rotar departed the Star City Poker Room as Kemp, who finished 5th in this event back in 2007, climbed up to 66,000 chips.
1:50pm: Coolers are not cool, man
As we approach the halfway mark of the second level of the day, we've lost two more players in the form of Thai PokerStars Qualifier Ian Prevost and 2010 APPT Auckland sixth-place finisher Nathanael Seet.
Prevost was the first to hit the rail on table 23 after he got the last of his money into the middle on the turn with a board that showed 3♥3♦4♦Q♥[10d] with pocket kings, only to discover that David Saab had woken up with pocket aces.
Moments later over on table 25, Kristina Jeney and Seet went toe-to-toe and after some crafty checking and betting in-the-dark action on the flop of K-10-8, Seet moved all in when a nine appeared on the turn holding pocket aces. Jeney snap-called with her pocket nines, which improved to quads on the river. Ouch.
1:30pm: Level up, blinds 100-200
1:25pm: Moose jumps out of the blocks
Melbourne-based Raemin Alexander has had some mixed fortunes in Sydney in the past, but he's off to a bright start so far today as one of our early movers.
"If I run this good at the end of the tournament I'd win the thing!" exclaimed Alexander, better known as "Jake The Moose", as he wandered past our desk. He's up to around 50,000 in the first level but won't have it easy on a table that includes Roger Spets, Gordon Huntly, Joel Dodds and 2009 ANZPT Melbourne champion Chris Levick.
1:15pm: Ba-zing! Zheng scores quads!
New Zealand's Jackson Zheng is now on top of the chip counts with more than 55,000 after sending fellow Aussie Chris Pisani to the rail in dramatic fashion.
As Zheng recalled to us, all of their money ended up in the middle on a board that read 7♦J♥6♠5♥7♣. Pisani rolled up J♠J♦ for the full house, but Zheng showed 7♠7♥ for rivered quads, confirming Pisani as the first elimination of the day.
A short time later, Sergio Forte found himself all-in on the flop for his short stack with a board that showed Q♣5♦[10c]. Forte held K♣9♥ for a gutshot straight draw, but Adam Light called with A♠Q♥ for top-top, which held when the 3♣ turn and 5♠ river bricked out the board. Farewell, Mr. Forte.
APPT tournament director Danny McDonagh has just advised the players that late registrations will be taken until the end of the fourth level. At present, there are 66 players remaining from our original 68 entrants.
1:05pm: Taking the back Seet
Nathanael Seet is one of Asia's most talented young players and is a man in form after a final table at the Macau Poker Cup Championship and a deep run in the recent APPT Cebu Main Event.
Here's here in Sydney looking to continue that form, but he's off to a rocky start after losing a multi-way pot. Seet raised it up to 300 from under the gun and found two callers to see a flop of 5♠4♦6♠.
The player in the small blind led out for 600 before Seet popped it up to 1,500. That wasn't enough to scare the player in position who cold-called as the small blind came along as well to see a 2♠ turn card. Check, check, check and the river was snapped as the 2♥. Again play was checked to the late position player who tossed out 1,700. The small blind quickly called as Seet cringed, deliberated and also made a crying call.
The late position player opened J♦J♥ which was too good for the small blind's 9♦9♣ as Seet's cards hit the muck.
12:55pm: Saab's still standing
Australia's David Saab has provided us with plenty of colour and life throughout the APPT events he's played over the years, but he's been taking it easy in recent times after breaking his arm in an accident at his home in Melbourne.
"We have a steep driveway and it was raining," Saab said. "I slipped and fell, breaking my humerus bone. The doctor said it will take between 12 and 16 weeks to heal."
Though he's still feeling a little ginger, Saab is still laughing and joking with his tablemates, but at the same time he's philosophical about his predicament: "I'm grateful for two things - one, it wasn't my skull, and two, it's a great opportunity now to improve my health." We wish him all the best in his recovery.
12:40pm: A few names
It's a small field for the opening flight of the APPT Sydney Grand Final with many of the big names absent due to the clash with the High Rollers Event which kicks off later this afternoon.
There are around nine tables in action, with many kicking off short-handed. Some of those notables spotted amongst the sea of players include Gordon Huntly, Mike Ivin, Phil Willcocks, Raemin Alexander, Chris Levick, Rennie Carnevale, Roger Spets, Tom Grigg, Kristian Lunardi, Ricky Kroesen, Greg Cook, Brad Bower, Joel Dodds, Jai Kemp, David Saab and Kristina Jeney.
12:30pm: We're underway in Sydney
The morning after the night before has seen the players slowly make their way into the Star City Poker Room for Day 1a of the 2010 PokerStars.net APPT Sydney Grand Final.
The players will be able to enjoy the comforts of a deep 30,000-chip start bank with seven 60-minute levels expected for each of the three day one flights.
Star City Poker Room Manager Deb Rillo welcomed the players to Sydney before the microphone was handed to 2009 APPT Sydney champ Aaron Benton.
"I hope you all run as well as I did, because I ran really good!" said Benton. "You need to run good, and need to play good to win tournaments," he added before uttering the immortal words, "Shuffle up and deal!"
If you're looking for a taste of Sydney, the PokerStars team were out and about yesterday (they call it work!) exploring the sun, sand and surf that Sydney will be offering us for the next week.
APPT Sydney Grand Final live updates brought to you courtesy of Heath "TassieDevil" Chick and Landon Blackhall.