APPT Sydney Day 4: Levels 23 & 24 (20000-40000, ante 4000)

7:25pm: Level up, blinds 25,000-50,000, ante 5,000

7:20pm: Limp backfires for Stojanovski

Peco Stojanovski decided to try something different with a limp from the button, but Tom Rafferty was having none of it as he raised to 120,000 from the small blind. Jonathan Karamalikis folded his big blind but Stojanovski made the call to see a flop of 3♣2♥4♥.

Rafferty thought for a moment before announcing a bet of 170,000. Stojanovski beat him into the pot with a call as the 8♥ hit the turn. Rafferty again took his time and then bet out 350,000. It was going to be almost half of Stojanovski's stack to call as he looked down as his chips before making a frustrated fold. Rafferty is now up to 2.374 million.

7:05pm: One for Stojanovski

Peco Stojanovski raised to 120,000 from the button and Jonathan Karamalikis made the call in the big blind to see a flop of 2♦9♠7♥.

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Stojanvoski's starting to find some form

Both players checked and the Q♦ hit the turn. Karamalikis led out with a bet of 80,000 but Stojanovski responded with a raise to 200,000. Karamalikis matched the bet before the J♥ hit the river. It was a little scary for both players as they checked it down.

Stojanovski showed K♣Q♠ for top pair to take it down. He's up to 1.308 million with Karamalikis falling to 2.148 million.

6:50pm: Stojanovski starting to weave some magic

2010 APPT Grand Final bubble boy Ali "The Peppermint Hippo" Khalil may be a smooth operator in the commentary booth beside Paul "The Voice" Khoury, but Sydney's Peco Stojanovski has been entertaining the PokerStars TV webcast viewers with some neat sleight-of-hand tricks. He's also sending a message to the others that's not just here to fool around as he starts to change up his game and take down some pots.

Tom Rafferty came in with a raise to 82,000 from under the gun and the action folded around to Ben McLean who called from the small blind before Stojanovski reraised to 300,000 from the big blind. Rafferty and McLean quickly threw their hands away.

In the very next hand, Jonathan Karamalikis raised to 90,000 from under the gun and Stojanovski called from the small blind to see a flop of 6♠2♥7♣. Stojanovski led out for 90,000 and Karamalikis raised to 270,000, but Stojanovski reraised all-in. Karamalikis let his hand go and he's now sitting second behind Australian PokerStars Qualifier Ben McLean, who now holds the chip lead with 3.2 million!

6:35pm: McLean's plays the rush into chip lead

We've just seen the biggest pot of the tournament and a massive swing in chips as Ben McLean has played the rush on his way to the chip lead!

The action started with Jonathan Karamalikis raising it up to 80,000 and picking up callers in McLean on the button and Tom Rafferty in the big blind.

The flop can down 4♥5♥2♣ and that's when things got crazy. Rafferty checked to Karamalikis who bet 125,000. McLean announced a raise to 270,000 which forced Rafferty out of the way, before Karamalikis announced a re-raise to 1,000,000!

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McLean: if the suit fits ...

McLean went into the tank for several minutes before deciding to move all in with Karamalikis calling it off with A♥8♥ for nut flush draw, straight draw and overcard against McLean's 8♣8♠.

The turn was the 2♦ and river the J♣ to miss Karamalikis and double up McLean to 3.24 million in chips. Ali Khalil is currently in the commentary booth on the PokerStars.tv webcast and prior to the hand described Karamalikis as a certainty to win from this position. We'll he's now got a fight on his hands as he's back in the pack with 2.6 million.

6:30pm: Antoine Amourette eliminated in 5th place

Having just mortally wounded French PokerStars Qualifier Antoine Amourette, Ben McLean has just finished him off, sending him to the rail in sixth place.

Amourette jammed his last 151,000 from early position with [10h]9♥ before McLean iso-shoved from the button holding A♠J♣. Amourette was looking for a miracle but nothing changed after the dealer spread a flop of 4♠8♦8♠. The A♥ confirmed the win for McLean, but if that wasn't enough, a repeat A♣ appeared on the river to give him the full house.

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All the love is lost for Amourette as he bows out in fifth place

With Amourette having departed the stage to collect his AUD $97,970 payday, the Australian PokerStars Qualifier is looking a lot sharper in that seat, now up to 1.227 million in chips. We can now confirm that the 2010 APPT Grand Final trophy is staying on home soil for the fourth year running!

6:15pm: McLean flops the nuts

It didn't take long after the break, it was in fact the very first hand back, that we saw Ben McLean move all in over the top of the opening raise of Antoine Amourette who was quick to make the call.

McLean: A♣7♣
Amourette: A♦Q♠

Amourette was in dominant shape but the flop of T♣Q♣8♣ changed everything as McLean flopped the stone-cold nuts! The turn was the Q♥ which gave Amourette some hope with a redraw to a full house, but it wasn't to be on the 5♥ river.

McLean doubled up to 1.074 million to leave the unlucky Frenchman licking his wounds with just 155,000 in chips.

6:10pm: Play resumes

6:00pm: 10-minute break

5:35pm: Eddy Sabat eliminated in 6th place (AUD $79,765)

Jonathan Karamalikis opened with a raise to 65,000 from the cutoff and action folded to Eddy Sabat who three-bet to 164,000 in the small blind. Action folded back to Karamalikis who announced himself all in. Sabat stood from his chair, took a deep breath and announced a call.

Karamalikis: 9♠9♦
Sabat: A♦K♠

With the Aussie railbirds calling for a nine and the Sabat's American crew calling for an ace or king, the board missed both as it ran out Q♥6♠Q♣3♥Q♦.

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Sabat is off with Negreanu and his entourage to check out the beaches after finishing sixth

Sabat misses out on becoming the first dual APPT champion as he departs in 6th place for AU$79,765 in prize money.

5:25pm: Sabat mixes it up

Eddy Sabat has been quiet on his short stack for long periods of this final table, and he entered a recent pot with an unusual limp. Tom Rafferty completed from the small blind and Antoine Amourette checked his option in the big blind.

The flop came down 6♦7♦7♥ and Rafferty led out with a bet of 85,000. Amourette folded but Sabat made the call as the 5♦ hit the turn. It slowed both players down as they checked to see the 4♣ hit the board on the river.

Rafferty checked and Sabat took a stab for 215,000. It was a healthy bet and Rafferty raised his eyebrows and released as Sabat chipped up towards one million in chips.

5:05pm: Rafferty gets revenge

The Star City Sports Theatre gallery has clearly been split into two, with Jonathan Karamalikis' crew on one side upstairs and Eddy Sabat's on the other cheering on their horses loudly, but they were all on the edge of the seats after some huge action unfolded between Sydney's Tom Rafferty and French PokerStars Qualifier Antoine Amourette.

The action folded around to Rafferty who raised to 78,000 from the small blind before Amourette three-bet it from the big blind, making it 180,000 to go. Rafferty four-bet shoved and Amourette snap-called, rolling up J♥J♣ against Rafftery, who reluctantly showed [10s]9♠.

There was some life for Rafferty on the flop of A♠[10d]2♦, but even he was shocked when a repeat [10c] spiked on the turn. Just to rub it in, the river 9♦ completed the board to give Rafferty a full house and an even fuller stack worth more than 2.7 million. Amourette is down to around 750,000.

4:45pm: Manuel Hansimikali eliminated in 7th place

Manuel Hansimikali has lost his battle with his short stack to be eliminated in 7th place. Hansimikali open-shipped from early position for 233,000 chips and the table folded around to Peco Stojanovski in the big blind who snap-called.

Hansimikali: 8♠8♥
Stojanovski: Q♠Q♥

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Hansimikali never gained any traction and has bowed out in 7th place

The board ran out K♦9♦6♦2♣Q♦ and Hansimikali couldn't find a lucky eight and was sent to the rail in 7th place for a nice collect of AU$65,025 in prize money.

Live updates brought to you courtesy of Landon Blackhall and Heath "TassieDevil" Chick

Landon Blackhall
@PokerStars in Sydney