APPT8 Auckland Day 1A: Rendall dominates the locals

The final stop of Season 8 of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour would see us venture to Auckland in New Zealand with a field of 53 players taking to the felt for Day 1a of the NZ$2,500 APPT Auckland Main Event.

The early 10:15am start time would require a strong coffee from most before jumping into the action with eight levels reducing the field to just 19 by the end of the day.

The field was mostly full of locals but included the likes of Oliver Gill, Angie Fitzgerald, Dean Francis, James Honeybone, Cole Swannack, Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell and last year's bubble boy Dean Blatt.

Honeybone was excited to be part of the APPT Auckland Main Event after prior commitments in his second home of São Paulo forced him to miss last year's event. However the Brazilian-Kiwi was one of the first to be eliminated with a straight over straight.

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Leo Boxell, Dean Francis and Oliver Gill would also meet their demise, while at the other end of the counts, the big stacks started to emerge in Qiang Fu and Ben Rendall.

Fu would win a huge pot in a battle of the blinds against local Angie Fitzgerald. The two saw a board of 8♦T♥K♣K♥2♥ with the action erupting on the river Fitzgerald's K♦2♦ trumped by Fu's K♠8♣ for a bigger full house.

That hand would see Fu become the first players into six figures, but it wasn't enough to grab the end-of-day chip lead as Ben Rendall had a day out.

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Everything Rendall touched turned to gold before a huge pot in the final level saw Rendall call a check-raise on the flop, a bet on the turn and then another big bet on the river on a board of 9♠J♣8♠3♥3♦. Rendall showed Q♦9♥ for just second pair and that was good as his opponent revealed T♦9♦.

Rendall would bag up a monstrous 179,600 in chips which is over 16% of the total chips in play for the day! It's a huge number and sets Rendall up to make a deep run at the title.

APPT Auckland Day 1a Top Ten Chip Counts

Ben Rendall (New Zealand) - 179,600
Qiang Fu (New Zealand) - 114,600
Tae Hoon Han (New Zealand) - 83,000
Brett Unkovich (New Zealand) - 75,900
Ryan Shiffman (New Zealand) - 72,100
Jun Huh (New Zealand) - 65,600
Daryl Hussey (New Zealand) - 64,500
Cory Fransham (New Zealand) - 56,100
Rachel Bellard (New Zealand) - 52,200
Simen Romslo (New Zealand) - 44,600

18 of the 19 survivors were locals with former ANZPT Perth runner up Dean Blatt the only Australian to make it through to Day 2 as one of the short stacks. Head to the live reporting section for the full chip counts.

The 19 survivors will be able to enjoy a couple of days off around Auckland before returning for Day 2 on Saturday. Before then, we have two more opening flights to get through. Plenty of PokerStars qualifiers are expected on Thursday for Day 1b while the biggest flight will be full of internationals on Day 1c on Friday. Play will once again commence at the bright and early time slot of 10:15am (GMT+12). We look forward to you joining us then!

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.