APPT8 Auckland Day 2: Swings and roundabouts

Poker is a game of extreme ebbs and flows. Some days it all comes so easily. The cards just fall your way and you just sit there on cruise control. Others you have to fight and scrap for every pot you can, just to keep your head above water. Then there are the days were just nothing goes right.

The beauty of the game is that we're seeing the complete range of those experiences, and everything in between, all mixed together at once in our tournament field. It's those who can adapt to their situations the best who will emerge from the pack.

As we tick down to our final 50 players, entering into the third level of the day, we've already seen some extreme examples of being able to hand whatever the poker Gods throw at you.

Firstly, we should start with our current chip leader, Australian pro and former ANZPT Adelaide runner-up Jesse "On The Mac" McKenzie.

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McKenzie was down to less than 5,000 in chips yesterday on day one of play. His tournament was down on the canvas and the ref had started the ten count. But McKenzie found pocket aces just in the nick of time to land a life-saving double up. Then a strange thing happened. He got dealt pocket aces the very next hand and doubled up again. Easy game!

The tide has continued to turn in McKenzie's direction here on Day 2 as he won a huge pot in the early goings when he was all in with a pair and flush draw against an overpair. The turn gave McKenzie a flush and his opponent a set, but McKenzie was able to fade the river to double through and climb into the chip lead.

While it's been smooth sailing for McKenzie, over on Table 8, Norwegian Simen Romslo has been forced to work for his chips. In a recent pot, we witnessed Romslo faced with a decision for his tournament life on a board of 5♠2♥9♦3♠T♦. Romslo only held A♥Q♣ for ace-high but his spidey-senses were tingling as he called it off, only for his opponent to show jack-high.

"If you're going to report on that hand, you have to say I'm from Norway," laughed Romslo. Those sicko Scandis!

At the other end of the scale is the tournament fan favourite Brotha D. Yesterday the former APPT Auckland champ ran pocket kings into pocket aces to cripple his stack, yet he hung tough and survived the day.

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On Day 2, Brotha D has been able to run up his stack in the early stages before a similar situation unfolded. This time it was Brotha D with the aces against an opponent's pocket kings, but unfortunately an evil king landed on board. Aces versus kings twice and Brotha D was on the losing side both times! Sometimes there's just nothing you can do! Yet Brotha D is still in contention with a little less than an average stack and fighting like a true champion.

Some days the cards go your way, and some days they don't. It who handles the swings the best will usually come out on top.

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