APPT Sydney Day 1b: Levels 3 & 4 (blinds 100-200, ante 25)

4:40pm: 10-minute break

4:35pm: Aaron Tran cracks a ton

The fast and furious action we witnessed in the early stages of this level has all but disappeared, however we have just discovered Sydney's Aaron Tran sitting behind a stack of more than 100,000, making him the first player to have made a century today. He's more than 30,000 clear of the next biggest stack in the room, Daniel Neilson, who is on 71,000.

The two Team PokerStars Pros in the field are still above the starting stack, with Celina Lin on 33,000 while Daniel Negreanu is still well in contention with 43,000. Other players who are faring well include Eddy Sabat (55,000), Stewart Scott (47,000), Mitchell Carle (65,000) Grant Levy (58,000) and Andrew Hinrichsen (40,000).

4:25pm: Rubie gets busy

Brendon Rubie hasn't wasted any time getting busy at the table. We recently saw him raise the button to 800 and find one caller in the big blind to a flop of 7♦9♥K♣. Check, check and the turn brought the Q♣. The big blind led out for 575, but Rubie raised it up to 1,775. His opponent quickly called and the river landed a dangerous looking J♣.

The big blind player led out again, this time with another small bet of 800. Rubie shrugged and matched the bet. The big blind opened K♦2♥ for top pair but Rubie showed Q♦9♦ for two pair to take it down.

"That river saved you money I think!" said Rubie as he moved up to 38,000.

4:20pm: APPT Sydney High Rollers Event update

Located downstairs at the Star City Sports Theatre, the final eight players of the $15,300 High Rollers Event are taking their seats as the final table is about to get underway. Only five of them will finish in the money and land a guaranteed AU$30,000 payday, while first place is set to collect AU$150,000 in prize money.

We'll have periodical updates throughout the afternoon, but here's how they will line up as play gets underway:

Seat 1: Jeffrey Lisandro - 56,500
Seat 2: Fabian Quoss - 99,200
Seat 3: In Wook Choi - 55,600
Seat 4: Antonis 'Toothpick Tony' Kambouroglou - 36,900
Seat 5: James 'Andy McLEOD' Obst - 129,400
Seat 6: Joe Marchal - 23,100
Seat 7: Jovo Skekic - 83,700
Seat 8: Steve 'stevoL' Leonard - 21,700

4.10pm: Levy gets chips, Anunu slips

Queenslander Mishel MISHELA Anunu has had a really good run in the recent PokerStars WCOOP and Asia Pacific COOP series, but he's been unable to find any form so far and is down to less than 11,000 after clashing with 2007 APPT Grand Final champion Grant Levy.

Levy, Anunu and Haibo Chu took a flop of 2♣[10d]K♣; Levy led out for 2400 and both Anunu and Chu called before Levy fired out a second shell worth 3200 on the turn of the 8♣. Anunu raised to 4700, Chu folded and Levy called before he checked the river of the J♠.

Anunu led out for 6000 and Levy pondered momentarily before calling and turning up A♣Q♥ for Broadway, crushing Anunu's [10h]9♥. Levy is now up to more than 58,000.

4pm: Rubie arrives

We've just spotted one late arrival and it's a rather notable one at that. Young gun Brendon Rubie has had a breakout year in 2010 with his first major live title at the Melbourne Poker Championships Main Event to coincide with an incredible surge up the online poker rankings that now sees him sit as the number one ranked online player in Australia.

Rubie has just taken his seat in today's APPT Sydney Main Event field and finds himself squished in between Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin and Simon "durrrrkiller" Watt.

3:50pm: One Wong right, the other Wong wrong

In a strange co-incidence, the PokerStars Blog team has just witnessed the mixed fortunes of two players who happen to have shared a table and a last name!

Just as the blinds ticked over into Level 4, the cry of "All in, call" went up from table 18, where we witnessed Mike Wong move the last of his short stack into the middle with J♠J♥, only to see Daniel Neilson wake up in the blinds with K♦K♣. Neither hand improved on the board of Q♣8♥2♣6♣Q♥ and Mike Wong was eliminated.

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Marcus is no more

Only moments later on the same table, Cook Wong (no relation) and 2008 APPT Manila champion Van Marcus got it all-in preflop; Marcus tabled A♦K♦ but found himself in a world of hurt against Cook Wong's K♠K♥, which stayed ahead on the flop of 6♥8♥2♠ and sealed Marcus' fate when the case K♣ fell on the turn to give Cook a set.

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

3:30pm: Great Scott! An elimination!

We've finally had our first elimination of the day, and it was a rather strange one. With a raise to 475 from under the gun, Stewart Scott three-bet to 1,650 in the cutoff. The big blind cold-called but the UTG player came back with a re-raise to 5,250. Scott flatted and now it was the big blind's turn to re-raise as he moved all in for an additional 1,525. It wasn't enough to re-open the betting as both players called.

The flop landed A♠7♥2♠ and the two live players checked. The turn brought the 3♥ and it was checked to Scott who bet 10,000 into the dry side pot. It was enough to force a fold from the UTG player as Scott opened A♣A♦. He felt pretty confident but one of the hands that he didn't want to see was the imaginative 4♠3♠ that the short stack proudly opened. With straight and flush outs, the river bricked the Q♣ to give Scott the big pot and send our first player to the rail. Scott is up to 45,000.

3:25pm: Star City going from strength to strength

Although the Star City Casino in Sydney is in a state of "undress" right now, the ongoing $640 million overhaul is set to transform it from what detractors call "an RSL on steroids" into a gambling mecca up there with the world's finest.

The poker room here is still in its temporary home upstairs, but already the Sports Theatre has been transformed into Australia's only poker "Colosseum", where the APPT Grand Final action will be held from Day 3 onwards, with the final up on the stage and broadcast on the big screens above, so the audience won't miss a minute of the action. As of next year, a brand new fully-dedicated poker room will be open, featuring 60 tables.

The entire Darling Harbour facade has also been transformed into a spacious outdoor gaming area, and amongst the future projects include a second hotel, installation of more gaming machines and tables, another 10 new restaurants, plus a massive convention and function centre which will feature the latest local and international acts. The entire project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2011.

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An artist's impression of the new Star City Casino

3:10pm: Van avoids elimination

As still look for our first elimination of the day, Van Marcus came very close to being that very person, but he's managed to double up through David Steicke to stay alive.

Marcus moved all in for an additional 4625 over the top of Steicke's opening raise but Steicke made the call with A♣K♥ to be racing with Marcus' Q♠Q♦.

"You got it Steicke!" said Marcus in resignation as he stood from his chair, but he had to sit back down when the board bricked out 5♦3♦4♣6♦4♥. Marcus is back to about 12,000.

2:55pm: Pijpers pushing the action

The action may be a little on the slow side in the early levels thanks to deep stacks, but Dutchman Roel Pijpers just showed that you can use the big stack to push the action and force your opponents to make big laydowns.

The board read 5♣Q♠7♥4♠ and with a bet of 5,300 in front of him, Pijpers responded by moving his stack all in. It was one of the first all-in moves of the day and it was enough to force his opponent to sigh and fold his ace-queen face up. Pijpers compounded his pain by showing 6-4 for pair and straight draw to get himself back to around 30,000.

2:40pm: Play resumes - blinds 100-200, ante 25

Live updates courtesy of Landon Blackhall and Heath "TassieDevil" Chick