APPT Melbourne Day 3: Levels 14-15 (blinds 2,500-5,000, ante 500)

2:50pm: Level up, blinds 3,000-6,000 ante 500

Coverage of the new level will commence on a new page.

2:50pm: Double for Russia

Anatoly Parshenkov may be the lone Russian remaining in our field but he's flying the flag very high right now after a big double up that has left Jeff Garrett on the verge of elimination.

We caught the action on the turn with the board reading 5♦8♣J♥6♠. Parshenkov tossed out 15,000 from the small blind and Aaron Lim called before Garrett raised to 55,000. Parshenkov moved all in over the top to force a fold from Lim, but Garrett made the call and opened 6♣6♦ for a turned set. However it was the worst card in the deck for Garrett as Parshenkov held 7♥4♥ for a straight.

The river bricked the T♠ to double Parshenkov up to 430,000 and leave Garrett with just 31,500 in change.

2:45pm: Boxell delivers crippling blow to Hachem

Tony Hachem is now running on fumes, down to just 52,000 in chips after Leo "The Mechanic" Boxell doubled through him on table 29.

The action folded around to Hachem who raised from the hijack position before the flop. Boxell flat-called out of the small blind, then open-shoved his last 58,500 after the flop of 5♣7♠4♦. Hachem snap-called and Boxell showed down 3♠3♦, but would need some divine intervention from the poker gods as Hachem tabled T♠T♦.

Boxell's prayers were answered, as the 6♠ was delivered on the turn to give him the straight! Hachem slapped the table out of frustration, but could only look on as the 9♦ bricked out on the river. There was certainly no love lost between the two though, as Boxell was quick to move around to Hachem to give him a friendly hug.

Boxell is now up to more than 155,000 in chips.

2:40pm: Guzzardi puts the brakes on Greer

Michael Guzzardi has just picked up a nice pot against Norah Greer to move up to 317,000 in chips.

The action folded to Greer who completed the small blind before Guzzardi raised to 13,500 from the big blind. Greer called, then checked her option after the dealer spread the flop of J♥9♦. Guzzardi opened for 16,500 and Greer called before she checked again on the turn of the 4♥.

Guzzardi fired out 28,500, but Greer wanted nothing of it, electing to lay her hand down. Greer is now down to 244,000 in chips.

2:40pm: Turker bullies Lau

Koray Turker is back in control with a big stack and bullying the hell out of the table. He collected a nice pot off Phil Willcocks when his pocket queens got plenty of value, before applying the pressure on Marcus Lau.

Lau opened to 11,500 before Turker three-bet to 30,000. Lau quickly called and the flop landed T♠T♥8♠. Lau checked to Turker who bet 32,000. Lau check-raised to 84,000 but that just angered the beast as Turker moved all in. Lau held 125,000 behind and deliberated for a long time before letting it go.

Turker flashed the 6♣. Ouch! Turker is up to 800,000 and into the chip lead.

2:30pm: Calder gets motoring

With only two bustouts until the money, the action has slowed considerably here in the Crown Casino Poker Room, but Australian PokerStars Qualifier Steven Calder has come out firing against James Obst in a recent hand on table 28.

The PokerStars Blog team picked up the action three-handed between Calder, Van Marcus and Obst on a flop that read 6♣7♦5♦. Calder checked from the big blind, as did Marcus from under the gun before Obst led out for 15,000 from the button.

Calder check-called and Obst mucked his hand, making it heads-up to the turn of the 6♦. This time, Calder threw out a bet worth 30,000, but that was enough to see Obst tap the table before throwing hand away.

Calder is now up to 141,000, while Obst is still cruising along nicely, sitting on a stack worth 577,000.

2:20pm: Play resumes

2:10pm: Ten-minute break

2:05pm: Carle crunched

Mitch Carle is now down to 271,000 in chips after Ronnie Shabtay scored another double-up on the feature table.

All the money was in the middle before the flop; Shabtay was at risk with A♦T♥, but was well ahead of Carle, who had tried to make a move with a creative J♦5♥. There was no love for Motown as Shabtay improved to two pair on the board of 3♦6♥A♠3♥8♦ to double up to 174,000.

1:55pm: When Kiwis collide

Koray Turker and Phil Willcocks may be friends off the felt, but at the moment the two are going at it hammer and tongs on the felt. And it's great to watch.

Catching this one on a flop of 5♥A♠2♥, Turker led out for 24,000 before Willcocks popped it up to 80,000.

"I want to min-raise you, I know you have nothing!" said Turker as he calculated the min-raise to be an additional 56,000. Yet somehow when he made it 125,000 to go, the bet was allowed to stand, even though it was less than the minimum he'd just calculated.

Willcocks matched the bet and the turn brought the 6♥. Turker checked and Willcocks bet 125,000. Turker cringed and made a crying fold as Willcocks extended his stack to a massive 990,000.

"That hurt," sighed Turker as he's now down to just 400,000.

1:45pm: Hachem hit

Michael Frydman has just doubled through 2011 ANZPT Perth Main Event champion Tony Hachem, leaving him with 138,000 in chips as our remaining 30 players continue their quest for APPT glory.

The action folded around to Frydman who raised to 10,000 from the small blind before Hachem slammed out a stack of yellow T5,000 chips from the big blind. Frydman called all-in for his last 78,500 and the cards were tabled:

Hachem: A♦J♠
Frydman: K♦Q♣

"Nothing stupid dealer, keep it low," Hachem barked. The flop of T♠8♥4♦ was just what the doctor ordered, but that prescription was soon torn up after the dealer peeled the K♣ off the deck for the turn. Needing an ace or queen to take Frydman out, Hachem shipped the chips over after the river J♠ completed the board.

Frydman is now up to 168,500 in chips.


Tony Hachem takes a hit as he looks to grab another major tournament cash in Australia

1:35pm: King-high is enough against Koray

Koray Turker opened with a raise from the button to 8,500 and picked up callers in the blinds in Ivan Zalac and Will Jones.

The flop landed J♠5♣T♦ and action checked around. The turn was the 3♠ and Zalac checked to Jones who took a stab for 11,500. Turker called as Zalac got out of the way.
The river brought a repeat J♥ and both players checked it down.

"You got it," sighed Jones as he opened K♣8♣.

"Nah, you're good," replied Turker as his cards hit the muck. "I thought you were a nit, but you played it like a fish and won somehow," he added sharply.

Jones just smiled and added to his stack to move up to 175,000 chips.

1:30pm: Level up, blinds 2,500-5,000, ante 500

1:25pm: Mercaldi bows out

Australian PokerStars Qualifier Andrew Mercaldi's run in the 2011 APPT Melbourne Main Event has come to a merciful end at the hands of Melbourne's own Ronnie Shabtay.

From under the gun, Mercaldi open-shoved for 26,200 and the action then folded around to Shabtay in the big blind who made the call. Mercaldi showed [A][J], only to find himself trailing Shabtay's A♦Q♣.

Both players paired up on the flop of A♠5♣6♣ flop, but the turn of the 2♣ and the river 3♣ saw Mercaldi out-kicked all the way down, and as such, he was kicked out of the tournament. Shabtay is now up to 144,000 in chips.

1:15pm: Turker takes one down

New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Koray Turker hasn't been afraid to get trigger-happy out there on the felt during the last two days, not even against his fellow Kiwis, as we saw in a recent hand over on table 32.

Turker and Phil Willocks and Australian PokerStars Qualifier Ivan Zalac were three-handed into a raised pot on flop that read 9♠2♣J♣ when we picked up the action; Willcocks checked to Turker who bet out 22,500 and Zalac quickly folded before Willcocks called, making it heads-up to the turn of the Q♣.

Willcocks checked again, but folded after Turker pushed out a bet worth 58,500. Turker's now up to 561,000, while Willcocks slips to 694,000.

1:10pm: Turker crushes Vakili

Every time we walk past Koray Turker he's either raising, or re-raising. It's relentless. But apparently he sometimes gets real hands too.

Reza Vakili just found that out the hard way as he crashed into a monster. Turker opened to 8,500 and Vakili popped it to 21,000 from the blinds. Turker called and the flop landed 3♠4♣9♣. Vakili checked it over to Turker who bet 20,000. Vakili check-raised to 60,000 but that didn't stop Turker who moved all in. Vakili snapped it off with Q♣Q♥ but Turker held K♦K♥.

The turn was the A♦ and river the A♠ to eliminate Vakili from the tournament just short of the money as Turker climbs to a commanding 600,000 chips.


Koray Turker is in the thick of the action here at the APPT Melbourne

1:05pm: Tran taken out as Peel slips

The APPT Melbourne Main Event is now down to 34 players after Vinh Tran was sent to the rail by Aaron Lim.

Over on table 30, Tran moved the last of his short stack into the middle before the flop with A♣4♣, but Lim had him covered with A♠Q♦, which held after the board ran out ten-high, giving Lim the scalp and a stack now worth 184,000 in chips.

However, fellow Aussie and reigning Melbourne Poker Championship Main Event winner Scott Peel is now down to 50,000 in chips after Fabian Craib doubled through him over on the feature table. The action folded around to Craib who open-shoved for 77,800 with K♥Q♠, only to see Peel ship his stack in over the top from the button with J♠J♦.
 Unfortunately for Peel, Craib paired up on the flop of 8♠7♠Q♣, which held after the turn and river bricked out 5♠, 2♥. Craib is now up to 165,000 in chips as a result.

1:00pm: Easy come, easy go for Cheong

Kyle Cheong's recently acquired wealth is no more, as he is now back in the pack after doubling up New Zealand's Jackson Zheng.

After Cheong opened from the cutoff, Zheng three-bet to 19,600 in the small blind. Cheong responded with a four-bet to 42,200 but Zheng moved all in over the top. Cheong didn't tank this time around as he snap-called with A♦K♣ to find himself in great shape against Zheng's dominated A♥5♥.

However Zheng found a will and a way as the board arrived with three hearts to give Zheng the nut flush and a double up to 355,000. Cheong is back down to 220,000.

12:50pm: More nightmares for Mercaldi

The horror start to Day 3 of the APPT Melbourne Main Event has continued for Australia's Andrew Mercaldi, who is down to 49,000 after fellow Aussie PokerStars Qualifier Simon Taberham doubled through him on the feature table.

From under the gun, Taberham open-shoved for 36,100 before Mercaldi re-raised all-in over the top before the others got out of the way. Taberham revealed K♠Q♥, but found himself flipping for his tournament life against the T♠T♥ of Mercaldi.

Mercaldi stayed ahead both after the flop of 2♦9♦5♥ and the turn of the 7♥, but he cursed the poker gods loudly after the K♣ spiked on the river. As Mercaldi quickly walked away from the table to cool off, Taberham called out to him "Hang on, you've still got chips mate!" Taberham's also got a decent amount of chips too - he's now up to 81,500.

12:45pm: Chalhoub and the ladies no match for Harris

Brett Chalhoub only started the day with 71,200, so when he looked down at Q♦Q♣ it looked like a good spot to double up. Only problem was that PokerStars Team Online player Keiran Harris held K♥K♠ which held on the board of 4♣6♦T♣4♦7♣.

Chalhoub's run comes to an end as Harris climbs up towards a half million chips.

12:30pm: Farewell Ferguson, sayonara Minagar

We've just had our first two eliminations of the day, with Amir Minagar and Andrew Ferguson having just hit the rail.

Over on table 28, the action folded to Mitch Carle who raised from late position before the flop; Luke Edwards flat-called from the button, but then Minagar shoved from the small blind.

Carle quickly called and Edwards got out of the way before Minagar showed down 7♠7♥, but found himself well behind Carle's 8♠8♣. Neither hand improved on the board of Q♦5♣K♣4♦J♠ and thus Minagar was our first elimination on Day 3. He's now been replaced by Aussie online phenom James Obst.

A short time later on table 30, Ferguson got the last of his money in with pocket fives, but was smashed by Kyle Cheong who woke up with pocket aces. And that, as they say, was that.

12:25pm: Cheong tanks and doubles

Kyle Cheong has found an early double up, but boy, did he make us wait long and hard for it! Aaron Lim had opened the button to 9,000 before Cheong three-bet to 24,000 from the small blind. Lim then announced himself all in and Cheong went deep into the tank with a decision for his tournament life. And when we say "deep", we mean it! We timed it as very close to ten minutes before Cheong could muster up a call with his A♣K♥ and he found himself in great shape against Lim's A♠Q♣.

The board was also kind as it ran out K♦2♣7♠K♠2♦ to double Cheong up to 300,000 and leave Lim with 130,000.


Kyle Cheong took his time, but made the right call to double through

12:20pm: Prepare for WWIII

There were many complaints about the random table draw that has left Phil Willcocks, James Obst and Koray Turker all seated next to each other, and it hasn't taken long for the war to erupt.

Willcocks opened with a button raise, and Turker did was he does best - he put in a three-bet. Willcocks made the call and there was 60,000 in the middle as the dealer spread the 6♥K♦7♥ flop.

Turker led out with a probing bet of 14,000 but Willcocks quickly raised that up to 50,000. Turker made the call and the T♥ appeared on the turn. Turker decided to lead once again, this time for 96,000. It was enough as Willcocks laid it down.

"I had it Phil," Turker said with a wry smile as he flashed the 2♦ and raked in the pot.

12:15pm: Marcus out of trouble, Shabtay doubles

Australia's Van Marcus and Ronnie Shabtay are already off to a good start here on Day 3 of the APPT Melbourne Main Event, scoring some much-needed chips during the first few hands of the afternoon.

Earlier, over on table 28, the action folded around to Antonis "Toothpick Tony" Kambouroglou who raised to 10,000 from the button before Marcus called from the big blind to go head-up to the flop of 8♥T♥7♠, which they both checked.

Marcus then led out for 13,500 on the turn of the 8♣ and Kambouroglou called before folding to Marcus' bet of 23,000 on the river of the 6♣. With that, the 2008 APPT Manila Main Event champion is now up to 141,500, while Kambouroglou slips to 242,000.

At the same time, over on the feature table, Andrew Mercaldi raised to 11,200 from under the gun before the action folded around to Ronnie Shabtay who shipped his stack of 42,000 from the small blind with 8♠8♣. Mercaldi called with his A♦K♠, but Shabtay won the flip after the dealer spread the board of 5♠7♣2♣2♥J♠.

Shabtay is now up to 91,000 in chips, with Mercaldi crippled to just 59,000.

12:10pm: The cards are in the air!

The players have found their way to their seats, unbagged their chips and exchange pleasantries as they settle in for a battle on the felt of epic proportions.

It's Day 3 of the APPT Melbourne Main Event and we're licking our chops at the prospects of a star-studded final table line up by the day's end.

Let's get the cards in the air!