APPT Sydney Day 2: Levels 14 & 15 (blinds 2500-5000, ante 500)

11:10pm: That's a bubble hand

While everyone was watching Con Angelakis move his short stack all in over on table 24, a brutal cooler was going down as the cry of "ALL IN! CALL!" grabbed our attention.

We rushed to the table to see the ultimate bubble horror story. Ali Khalil had his chips in the middle with K♦K♣ and was receiving a consolation hug from good friend Brendon Rubie who had him covered with his A♦A♥. OMG.

Before the board was run, play was paused while Angelakis' life was spared as his opponents folded. It was then left to Khalil to find a king to stay alive and avoid bubble brutality.

The flop was J♠4♥8♠. No help. The 6♠ hit the turn and a double-take revealed no spades anywhere. Khalil was left needing a king and while most of Sydney wanted to see the lovable "Peppermint Hippo" spike a miracle, it wasn't to be, as the A♣ rubbed salt into a massive wound.

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Ali Khalil ... so close and yet so far ...

Khalil played a great tournament, no doubt about it, and there was nothing he could do to avoid the most unwanted title in poker - that of the bubble boy.

With that elimination, our day's play has come to a sensationally dramatic end. There's some mixed emotions in the air as Jonathan Karamalikis, Reza Vakili, Roland de Wolfe and Brendon Rubie are thrilled to end up in front of the final 32, but as the players bag, tag and depart the Star City Poker Room, we spare a thought for Mr. Khalil.

That wraps up our coverage but we'll be back with a complete wrap of the day's action and end-of-day chip counts for you shortly.

11:00pm: Bubble fun

The bubble is one of the most exciting times of a poker tournament. It's such a fine line between success and failure. There's no doubt that everyone wants to reach the money, it's a great achievement, however AU$12,145 prize money means different things to different people.

For some, who have qualified online for a few dollars on PokerStars, it's significant money. The credit card debt will be wiped out and there'll be a few more presents under the tree this Christmas. For others, that amount of money is almost insignificant as the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Grant Levy, Roland de Wolfe and Jonathan Karamalikis have no other goal than to win.

It also means some of the big stacks, and shall we say "big wallets", can put the maximum pressure on those looking to squeak into the money.

We recently saw Jonathan Karamalikis three-bet shove over the top of Ben McLean preflop, who thought long and hard before finally giving up his cards.

On a nearby table it was Roland de Wolfe who waited until the river to move all in on George Moussa. The board read 4♦K♥8♣Q♠3♦ and Moussa was pained by the decision, resting his head in his cap for several minutes before finally making a fold.

The bubble pain (or pleasure) continues, but in the meantime, check out the latest video update from PokerStars TV as yours truly recaps the action:

10:55pm: Rubie takes Toni down

Aussie online phenom Brendon "Brendooor" Rubie has had a stellar year, scoring some huge bank online as well as a breakthrough live tournament victory in this year's Melbourne Poker Championship down at Crown Casino.

Rubie has been flying under the radar today, but has amassed a massive amount of chips and now we're on the bubble as he's just eliminated fellow Aussie Ben Toni. Once again, the railbirds made it extremely difficult to get through to observe the action, but as it was recalled to us, the action folded around to Toni who open-shoved with K-Q, only to be snapped off by Rubie who showed A-8.

Neither hand improved on the board of 4-10-4-6-J and with that, we are on the bubble! Star City Casino Tournament Director Jason Wicks has just given the order to start dealing hand-for-hand. Sit tight people, the end of Day 2 is nigh!

10:45pm: Level up, blinds 2500-5000 (ante 500)

10:40pm: Streifender strikes gold!

Australia's Stefan Streifender has just scored a huge hand against Jonathan Karamalikis to move up to more than 380,000 as we approach the bubble.

The action folded around to Streifender who limped in from the button before Karamalikis raised it to 12,000 from the big blind. Streifender called and Karamalikis led out for 16,000 on the flop of [10d]9♦J♦. Streifender called and then opened for 13,000 after the turn of the 5♥.

On the river of the 8♣, Karamalikis checked to Streifender, only to fold after he fired out 50,000. "Do you want to see?" Streifender asked. He didn't need need an answer because he was only too happy to reveal he had flopped a straight flush with 8♦7♦!

Streifender is up to 380,000 while Karamalikis is still in great shape on 635,000 in chips.

10:35pm: Misclick for Khalil

Action folded around to Ali Khalil in the small blind who raised it up to 12,000. Manuel Hansimikali was in the big blind and he instantly plonked 60,000 into the middle but that didn't deter Khalil as he moved all in with Hansimikali calling it off.

Hansimikali showed K♣K♠ as Khalil was gambling with the T♣7♣. The board ran out T♥A♥4♦6♠Q♥ and Hansimikali doubled to around 250,000 with Khalil slipping to 230,000.

"Yeah, that was a misclick," sighed Khalil.

10:30pm: Tran tumbles out

One-time chip leader Aaron Tran copped a stunning bad beat from Jonathan Karamalikis earlier, but quickly earned the respect from his tablemates after handling the situation with good grace. Sadly, it was only a matter of time before Tran's elimination and he's just been mercifully eliminated at the hands of Tom Rafferty.

The action folded around to Tran who raised all-in from late postion for about 40,000 3♠3♦ before Rafferty called with A♠[10h]. Tran stayed ahead on the flop of 2♠J♦9♦ and improved to two pair on the turn on the 2♣, but Tran simply shrugged his shoulders and shook hands with all the other players when Rafferty jagged the A♣ on the river. Well played, sir.

With Tran's elimination, only 34 players remain. Time to start burning the midnight oil ladies and gentlemen, we could be in for a long one!

10:20pm: Kanaan KO'ed

Only 35 players remain in the 2010 APPT Grand Final after Anthony Kanaan was busted at the hands of Australian PokerStars Qualifer Craig Bourke.

Bourke raised to 10,000 before the flop and Kanaan was the only caller, so it was heads-up to a flop of 4♦J♠J♣. Bourke led out for 17,000 and Kanaan called before the dealer produced the 7♣ on the turn. Bourke check-called Kanaan's all-in bet, tabling K♠K♦ against Kanaan's 9♠9♥.

10:10pm: Spite call works for Sabat

Eddy Sabat has found a much needed double up, but it came with a little bit of spice attached.

Sabat moved all in from the button for 42,100 and Ben McLean was in the tank in the big blind. After a few minutes of thought it was Tom Rafferty who called the clock, but McLean mistook it for Sabat calling the clock.

"Just for that," said McLean and he slid out calling chips.

"I didn't call time!" defended Sabat but it didn't matter as he opened A♠Q♦ against McLean's Q♠J♥. The board ran out 7♥K♣4♦A♦K♦ and Sabat doubled up to around 90,000.

10:00pm: Play resumes

We're only four spots away from the money! APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh has advised us that should we get to 36 players, play will cease for the day.

9:50pm: 10-minute break

9:40pm: Dong is cruising along

We didn't think anyone would catch up to Reza Vakili this evening, let alone pass him, but there's a new chip leader in town and he goes by the name "xMONSTERxDONGx".

It was a crazy hand that started with Jonathan Karamalikis opening with a standard raise to 9,000. Enh Phengsavanh moved all in for 115,100 from the button - something he'd done on several occasions prior. The small blind folded and Aaron Tran announced a flat call from the big blind. Action was then back with Karamalikis who announced himself all in for 299,700 and Tran snap-called!

Phengsavanh: 8♠8♦
Karamalikis: K♣K♠
Tran: A♦A♠

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A huge ding for "The Dong"

Karamalikis threw his head back in disgust as the cooler situation left his tournament life hanging by a thread. There were 750,000 chips in the middle as the flop was spread J♦4♠5♥. No help for anyone, but the crowd roared when the dealer produced the K♥ on the turn. Suddenly Karamalikis was in front and Tran was left needing a two-outer ace on the river. It wasn't to be as the 7♣ completed the board. Phengsavanh was eliminated, Tran was crippled to just 85,000, while Karamalikis is now up to nearly 750,000!

9:35pm: Callaway's in the rough

Roland De Wolfe looks as though he'll have to hold off his trip to Perth for the third Ashes Test, moving up to more than 420,000 after sending PokerStars Qualifier Cale Callaway to the rail.

Callaway moved the last of his short stack into the middle before the flop with 8♥7♥ and Wolfe called with A♣Q♠. Callaway picked up an open-ended straight flush draw on the flop of [10h]3♣9♥, but he couldn't catch one of his eleventy billion outs as the turn and river of 3♦, Q♣ improved De Wolfe to two pair.

9:20pm: Khalil takes two bullets from Rubie

Brendon Rubie opened with a raise to 6,500 before Ali Khalil three-bet to 16,000 on the button. Rubie responded with a four-bet of an additional 26,000 and Khalil called to see a flop of 3♣A♦8♣.

Rubie led out with a bet of 40,000 and Khalil quickly called, with the same procedure going down on the 2♥ turn. Rubie gave up on the Q♣ river and checked to Khalil who checked behind and showed A♠J♠. It was the best hand as Rubie mucked.

Khalil is up to 345,000 with Rubie down to 235,000.

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

Landon Blackhall
@PokerStars in Sydney