APPT Sydney Day 2: Levels 8 & 9 (blinds 600-1200, ante 100)
3:10pm: Watt running low
Simon Watt is on the short stack after losing a big flip with pocket jacks against ace-queen. The board ran out 2♦K♥9♠Q♦9♦ to pair up the queen and leave Watt with just 2,500 in chips.
They were in moments later with Q♠J♥ and once again he'd run into two opponents who both held the dreaded ace-queen. This time Watt rivered a three-outer jack on the board of 4♥2♦7♦9♠J♠ to triple up and stay alive. He's at 8,000 chips.
3:05pm: Level up, blinds 800-1600 (ante 200)
3:00pm: Recent eliminations
2009 APPT third-place finisher Leo Boxell, Andrew Hinrichsen and Michael Tran have been amongst the latest to have hit the rail as the player count stands at 110 with only minutes to go until the next level.
Leo Boxell found himself all-in before the flop with A♣5♠ before the flop before Tyron Krost and fellow Aussie Angelo Schicchitano called before they checked all the way down a board of 6♣4♠7♦[10h]2♥. Schicchitano revealed Q♥J♥ for a busted flush draw but Krost's A♥K♥ was good enough to take down the pot and send Boxell packing.
"Tigger" Tran was bounced out shortly after when he ran his 4♠4♣ into an opponent's K♣[10s] on a [10h]2♦2♥ flop and Mark Rebeira ended Hinrichsen's run when his A♠K♠ held against Hinrichsen, whose hand was unable to improve on a Q♠3♦2♥8♥Q♥ board.
2:55pm: Graham bullies Fazzino
We've seen the overbet used with great effect so far today. Sometimes it's been called and the player has shown the nuts, other times, like this recent hand with APPT Grand Final 10th place finisher Jarred Graham, it's been a stone-cold bluff.
We arrived at the table with around 50,000 in the middle and Graham declaring himself all in for 88,500 against Sal Fazzino to send him deep into the tank.
The board read 7♥A♦8♠3♦8♦ and Fazzino had about as many chips in front of him. He deliberated for a long time before finally releasing. Graham gave a smirk and then proudly shared his Q♠T♦ bluff with the table. He's up to 140,000.
2.40pm: Play resumes
Play is back underway and we are playing another 30 minutes of this level before the blinds increase. As of today, all levels are 75 minutes long and at this stage, we are still playing a minimum of seven levels.
2:30pm: 10-minute break
2:25pm: Sabat crippled
Just prior to the break we caught the end of a massive pot between George Moussa and 2008 APPT Macau champion Eddy Sabat.
The board read 8♣J♥K♣Q♦ and Moussa had moved all in with a huge overbet of 58,300. Sabat was in the tank, clearly confused by the same of the bet, but eventually committed to a call with K♦Q♣ for two pair. However he was in trouble as Moussa opened T♣9♣ for the straight.
Needing a king or queen to take the huge pot, Sabat watched as the 6♠ bricked off to give Moussa a huge double up to around 140,000, leaving Sabat with just 15,000.
2:20pm: Ghobrial the giant-killer?
Sydney's Jimmy Ghobrial was the perpetrator behind the demise of Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker's demise and has just taken a huge chunk of change off Daniel Negreanu to leave him with around 30,000 in chips.
The action folded around to Slovenian PokerStars Player Kasey Castle who raised to 3000 from middle position before Negreanu flat-called. Ghobrial then reraised to 9500 from the cutoff and the others got out of the way before Negreanu four-bet shoved for around 80,000. Ghobrial instantly called all-in for 60,900 and revealed K♠K♦, well ahead of the Q♠Q♣ of Negreanu.
Players from other tables were quick to rush over to catch the flop, which to Ghobrial's horror fell 6♣5♦Q♦. Negreanu kept the lead when a blank 4♣ on the turn, but Ghobrial erupted when the K♣ appeared on the river.
"Yes!" Ghobrial cried. As he sat back down to rake in the pot, he was still in disbelief at what just happened. "What's going on?" he asked everyone within earshot. "First it was Joe, now it was almost Daniel!" Ghobrial is now in great shape with more than 140,000 in chips.
2:10pm: Yann shows no fear of the four-bet
Jackie Glazier opened with a raise to 2,500 from middle position and play folded around to Yann Pauchon in the big blind who raised it up another 6,000. Glazier responded with four-bet of another 11,000 on top and Pauchon was quick to call to see a flop of Q♣Q♥4♠.
Pauchon checked and Glazier fired 15,000, however immediately moved all in over the top. Just as quickly, Glazier's cards were in the muck.
"Ace-king?" questioned Pauchon as he flashed T♥T♣.
"No," replied Glazier. "I'm surprised you loved your tens preflop though. I'm not four-betting with nothing."
Glazier is down to 28,000 with Pauchon up to 105,000.
2:05pm: Negreanu chips up
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu has manged to chip to 90,000 after a recent hand against Sydney's Jimmy Ghobrial on table nine.
New Zealand's Jackson Zheng raised from middle position to 2500 and the action folded around to Negreanu who reraised to 7200 from the cutoff. Jimmy Ghobrial flat-called from the button and Zheng folded to make it heads-up to a flop of A♥A♣4♣, which Negreanu and Ghobrial both checked.
Negreanu check-called Ghobrial's bet of 10,500 on the turn of the 3♣ before both players checked again on the river of the [10s]. "Kings," said Negreanu as he rolled up K♥K♣. Ghobrial tapped the table and sent his hand into the muck.
1:55pm: Watt stumbles
It hasn't been a great end to the level for WSOP bracelet winner Simon Watt as a couple of late position moves have gone against him just before the new level ticked over.
In the first hand, he raised a cutoff limper and made it 3,000 from the button. Heinz Kamutzki called from the small blind as the limper came along to a flop of A♣4♥8♣. Action checked to Watt who took a stab of 5,000 with Kamutzki the lone caller, before both players checked down the 8♥ turn and 5♦ river.
Watt showed T♥5♥ but Kamutzki was good with his A♦J♦.
"We could've got it in pre!" laughed Watt, but he wasn't chuckling after losing the very next hand.
Again Watt raised preflop, this time from the cutoff with the blinds making the call to see a flop of K♦5♦4♠. Watt's continuation bet of 3,500 found one call in Stanley Wu before both checked the 7♦ turn. The A♠ hit the river and Wu led out with a bet of 6,000.
Watt rolled his eyes and thought for barely a minute before one player at the table called for the clock.
"Seriously?" questioned Watt, as Aleks Brkovic also came to Watt's defence. It didn't matter, as Watt tossed out calling chips. Wu showed J♦T♦ for a flush as Watt flashed the A♥ and mucked. Watt slips to 55,000.
1:45pm: Level up, blinds 600-1200 (ante 100)
1:30pm: Stewart Scott eliminated
The past two Aussie Millions champions, Stewart Scott (2009) and Tyron Krost (2010) were both seated on table 11 together, but Krost is the only one left after Scott was sent to the rail at the hands of Miray Badaoui.
As Krost and Badaoui recalled to us, Badaoui limped in with A-J from early position before Scott shoved over the top for a further 11,000 with A-K. Badaoui called and caught a jack in the window, which was enough to take the pot and Scott down.
APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh has advised us that at least seven levels will be played today and that we also expect to reach the money. Depending on the rate of attrition, we may even continue even further, so we'll be sure to bring you updates on this throughout the afternoon.
1:20pm: Rafferty rules
As we wandered past the table of Tom Rafferty we noticed him stacking up a monster stack while the next hand was already unfolding.
While stacking chips, Rafferty fired a bet of 7,200 into three opponents on a flop of 6♥A♣9♠. He found one caller in the small blind as the Q♣ hit the turn. Action checked to Rafferty who bet another 16,000 which was again called as the K♦ completed the board on the river. Again it was checked to Rafferty and he didn't slow down, making it 32,000 to go. This was enough to force a fold from his opponent as Rafferty jumped up to 180,000 and the chip lead.
After final tabling this event back in 2008, Rafferty will be looking to improve on that ninth place finish.
1:10pm: Hachem driven out by Callaway
Daniel Negreanu is now the lone Team PokerStars Pro in the field after Joe Hachem was sent to the rail at the hands of Australian PokerStars Qualifier Cale Callaway.
Callaway raised from early position to 2500 before Hachem reraised to 5300. The action folded around to Ali Khalil who called from late position to make it three-handed on a flop which read J♦2♦8♥. Callaway checked, Hachem shoved for around 35,000 and Khalil folded before Callaway snap-called with pocket eights for middle set, streets ahead of Hachem's flush draw with 9♦7♦.
No help came on either the turn or the river and a clearly devastated Hachem departed the Star City Poker Room. Callaway is well over par (which in this case is a good thing) with more than 118,000 in chips.
1:00pm: Jackie G moving up
Kamyar Ekrami moved all in from middle position for his last 15,200 chips but Jackie Glazier isolated by moving all in over the top. The table folded around and Ekrami found that his A♥T♥ was dominated by Glazier's A♠Q♥.
The board ran out 3♠Q♠3♣2♥9♣ to pair up Glazier and leave Ekrami heading for the exit. Glazier is now up to 70,000.
12:50pm: Bas Brens busto
The Netherlands' Bas Brens has just been sent to the rail at the hands of fellow PokerStars Qualifier Francois Fannierei in brutal fashion.
The action folded around to Fannierei who raised to 3200 before Brens reraised all-in for a further 14,000. Fannierei called and revealed 9♠9♣ and found himself flipping against Brens' A♥J♦. The flop of K♠2♦A♠ put Brens in the lead, but Fannierei freerolled him out the door when he caught a runner-runner flush after the dealer completed the board with Q♠, [10s].
12:50pm: Rowe's a no go, bro
We entered today with all three of our previous APPT Sydney champions still in the hunt for a second APPT crown. As one intelligent observer pointed out, it was the first time in the event's history that had happened.
However we've just lost our first previous champ as 2008 APPT Grand Final winner Martin Rowe has been sent to the rail. Rowe was all in with K♦Q♠ against both A♥6♥ and 9♦9♥ but failed to connect with the board of 2♠3♦5♦9♠8♣.
12:40pm: Nelson no more
Five players saw a flop of A♦Q♣7♣ and that's when all hell broke loose. Ali Khalil checked from the blinds to Team PokerStars Pro Lee Nelson who moved all in for his last 12,400 in chips. He was probably hoping to take it down right there but Bassam Habib moved all in for his last 30,200 next to act.
Two folds and action was then with Khalil who sighed, "This is so sick, but I call!" Khalil opened A♥7♦ for two pair and the lead as Nelson showed Q♥T♥ and Habib held A♣J♦.
It looked like Khalil was set for a double KO, but it wasn't to be as the J♣ spiked the turn for a three-outer to give Habib the lead. The river bricked the 5♥ and Habib more than doubled up, dropping Khalil to 50,000 and sending Nelson to the rail.
12.30pm: Shuffle up and deal!
Day 2 of the PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final has just kicked off and it's already shaping up to be a long but action-packed day. We should note that all three past champions of the APPT Grand Final are still in today's field - 2007 champion Grant Levy is on table 14 with 92,900, while 2008 champion Martin Rowe is on table 13 nearby, but he's going up against Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem.
Spare a thought though for defending champion Aaron Benton - the PokerStars Sponsored Player may have a stack worth 59,400, but he's seated to the right of Tony G and Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, as well as sharing space with 2010 APPT Auckland champion Danny "Brotha D" Leaosavaii!
Meanwhile, the other big Daniel (that's overall chip leader Daniel Neilson) is also up against a star-studded table, including PokerStars Sponsored Players Mishel Anunu and Eddy Sabat, as well as Jonathan Karamalikis.
Live updates courtesy of Landon Blackhall and Heath "TassieDevil" Chick