APPT Melbourne Day 3: Levels 18-19 (blinds 6,000-12,000, ante 1,000)

9:00pm: Final table is set

Our APPT Melbourne final table line up is now set! Here's how they will line up:

Seat 1: Eddie Mascardi - 335,000
Seat 2: Van Marcus - 346,000
Seat 3: Will Jones - 730,000
Seat 4: Phil Willcocks - 2,317,000
Seat 5: Michael Frydman - 741,000
Seat 6: Steve Bouya - 910,000
Seat 7: Julius Colman - 513,000
Seat 8: Leo Boxell - 1,170,000
Seat 9: Jackson Zheng - 640,000

New Zealand's Phil Willcocks will lead the way after maintaining his massive chip lead throughout the evening. The final table will recommence at 2:10pm (GMT+10) tomorrow, but before we'll have the full round-up of today's action, plus the final table profiles for you shortly.

8:55pm: BOOYAH!

With the clock at five minutes to 9pm local time, Steve Bouya has taken out Ronnie Shabtay in dramatic fashion to end the day's play and set the 2011 APPT Melbourne final table!

The action folded to Shabtay who open-shoved for 113,000 from the cutoff before Bouya double-fist-pump snap-called from the button. Van Marcus and Julius Colman got out of the way from the blinds and the cards were tabled:

Bouya: Q♠Q♥
Shabtay: A♣7♥

The railbirds hip-and-shouldered each other to get the best viewpoint as the dealer then burned pread a flop of J♦8♥6♣. No help to either player, but Shabtay was thrilled when the A♦ spiked on the turn, sending up a mixed reaction from the crowd.

"Queen!" Bouya yelled. The dealer burned, then turned up the river Q♦, which sent all and sundry into a frenzy! What a way to go - suck-re-suck!

Shabtay has now collected his AU$18,300 for his 10th place finish and we're now about to wrap things up here in the Crown Casino Poker Room.


Ronnie Shabtay bubbles the final table at the APPT Melbourne

8:45pm: Obst falls to Van

The lucky eleven deadlock has been broken as Van Marcus has disposed of James Obst just shy of a final table berth.

Obst was down to his last 135,000 which he moved all in from under the gun. Action folded around to Marcus on the button who moved all in over the top, covering his opponent. The blinds folded and Obst found that his A♥T♦ was dominated by the A♦Q♦ of Marcus.

The flop of 8♣Q♠J♥ hit Marcus but actually improved Obst from three outs to eight clean outs with a double gutshot straight draw. Needing a king or nine to survive, Obst was already out of his chair as the 6♦ turn and J♠ river completed the board. Obst will collect AU$18,300 for his tournament as Marcus jumps up to 390,000 chips.

With that elimination we're now down to our final ten across two tables of five and one more bustout from our official APPT Melbourne final table.


James Obst has fallen just short of the APPT Melbourne final table

8:25pm: Welcome to the Trans-Tasman Millionaire's Club

With only two eliminations to go until our final table is set, the action between the last 11 players has been few and far between, but we did catch one hand between Australia's Leo Boxell and New Zealanders Phil Willcocks and Jackson Zheng.

From under the gun, Zheng raised to 25,000 and Willcocks called from the button before Boxell re-raised to 100,000 straight from the small blind. Eddie Mascardi folded his big blind and Zheng also mucked before Willcocks called, making it heads-up to the flop of 5♦K♣J♣.

Both players checked after the flop, as well as the turn of the J♦ before Boxell tossed out a bet of 50,000 on the river of the 6♠. Willcocks mucked his hand.

Boxell is now up to 1.024 million in chips, with Zheng down to 1.016 million. However, Willcocks is still the overwhelming chip leader with 2.06 million.

8:20pm: Jones turns up the heat

Will Jones is kicking it up a gear with play now five-handed on his table. After raising for the third hand in a row, Jones found a caller in Phil Willcocks in position to see a K♣5♥Q♠ flop.

Jones fired a continuation bet of 32,000 and Willcocks made the call as a repeat K♥ found its way onto the turn. Jones checked and Willcocks decided 32,000 was the right number. Jones made the call and the river was an interesting K♦.

Jones checked it over to Willcocks who couldn't resist betting 100,000. Jones came back with a check-raise all in for a total of 390,000. Willcocks have it some quick thought before releasing as Jones added to his stack.

Jones is up to 650,000 with Willcocks slipping to 2.2 million.

8:05pm: Edwards expires

New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Jackson Zheng has now officially completed the Kiwi chip count quinella, moving up 1.01 million in chips after sending Australian PokerStars Qualifier Luke Edwards to the rail.

Edwards open-shoved for his last 158,000 from under the gun with J♠T♠, but Zheng snap-called from the cutoff holding K♠K♣. Edwards picked up a pair on the flop of 5♠T♦A♦, but that was as good as it got, with Zheng's bullets holding all the way as the turn and river ran out 9♥, 5♥.

For his 12th place finish, Edwards picks up a healthy AU$18,300.


Luke Edwards' run comes to an end in 12th place

8:00pm: Level up, blinds 6,000-12,000, ante 1,000

7:50pm: Craib goes back to the grind

From under the gun, Leo Boxell raised to 25,000 before the flop and the action folded around to Fabian Craib, who shipped his last 195,000 into the middle from the button. Both blinds folded and Boxell snap-called. Craib showed down A♦9♥, but couldn't help but laugh when Boxell tabled A♠A♥!

From there, Boxell improved to top set with the case ace on the flop of A♣9♦Q♦ and had Craib drawing dead after the turn of the K♠. The river 3♣ was merely a formality and Craib now takes home AU$15,300 for his 13th place finish. 

At least Craib won't have to ask for a raise from his boss anytime soon, as we did discover why he was away from the tournament during the last couple of hours: "I had to go back to work!"

Boxell is now up to 952,000 in chips.

7:45pm: Calder crippled and eliminated

PokerStars qualifier Steve Calder is next to be eliminated in 14th place. Calder was crippled in a blind on blind battle with Fabian Craib, when Calder open-shipped for 112,000 with 2♠9♣ and Craib called off his last 95,000 with K♠5♥.

The board ran out J♦5♦7♠2♥3♥ to leave Calder with just 17,000 in change.

Those chips were all in following an open raise to 27,000 from Leo Boxell and an all-in shove from Luke Edwards for around 47,000 more. Most Internet kids would've called based on math alone, but Boxell decided to read the situation as he flashed the A♥ and folded.

Edwards showed J♥J♦ as Calder opened 5♠6♥. The board fell 8♥4♠T♦5♣2♠ to give Edwards the pot and eliminate Calder from the tournament.

7:40pm: Guzzardi gutted

With play having just resumed here in the APPT Melbourne Main Event, Fabian Craib has rejoined the field on table 29 after his two-hour sabbatical. Fortunately for Craib, the Crown Casino floor staff had elected to schedule in a one-hour dinner break during his time away, thus stopping his stack from being completely blinded out.

He was quickly back to work though, open-shoving in the very first hand after the break and picking up the blinds and antes before Eddie Mascardi moved all-in from under the gun for 236,000. Steve Calder folded, but then Michael Guzzardi called all-in from next door and the others got out of the way before the cards were revealed:

Mascardi: K♠K♥
Guzzardi: Q♠Q♥

The flop of 7♥J♠9♥ was of no help to either player, but Mascardi soared further ahead with the K♦ on the turn for a set. Needing a ten to survive, Guzzardi was eliminated in 15th place when the 4♣ bricked out on the river.

Mascardi's up to more than 420,000 in chips, while Guzzardi now collects AU$15,300 for three days' work. Well played, sir!


It just didn't go Michael Guzzardi's way as he departs us in 15th place

7:30pm: Play resumes

The fifteen players are back in their seats with appetites well satisfied as play continues in the APPT Melbourne Main Event. There's thirty more minutes left to play in this level with the blinds at 5,000-10,000 with a 1,000 ante.

6:30pm: One-hour dinner break

Approximate chip counts at the dinner break:

Phillip Willcocks (New Zealand) - 2,400,000
Michael Frydman (Australia) - 930,000
Jackson Zheng (New Zealand) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 805,000
Leo Boxell (Australia) - 780,000
Steve Bouya (Australia) - 625,000
Will Jones (Australia) - 509,000
Julius Colman (Australia) - 395,000
Ronnie Shabtay (Australia) - 227,000
Eddie Mascardi (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 198,000
Van Marcus (Australia) - 185,000
Michael Guzzardi (Australia) - 184,500
James Obst (Australia) - 135,000
Steven Calder (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 100,000
Luke Edwards (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 95,000
Fabian Craib (Australia) 70,000


6:30pm: Boxell's in the box seat!

In the last hand before the break, Leo Boxell scored a massive double KO to increase his stack to 775,000, taking out Aaron Lim and AustraIian PokerStars Qualifier Ivan Zalac!

The action folded to Zalac who moved all-in for his last 86,500 from the button before the flop; Lim called from the small blind, as did Boxell from the big blind, making it heads-up to the sidepot on a flop that read 3♦8♠J♣.

Lim reached for his chips slowly, then pushed out three stacks of grey and one yellow chip, worth 65,000. Boxell snap-shoved and Lim insta-called, which caught the attention of everyone walking past the table as they made their way out the room to dinner.

All the players gathered around and gasped as the cards were tabled:

Lim: A♥A♣
Boxell: 8♥8♦
Zalac: 7♠7♥

Boxell's grin stretched from ear to ear as the others began to chat excitedly amongst themselves. What a time to flop a set - and it only got better for "The Mechanic" as he improved to a full house with the repeat J♥ on the turn. With Zalac drawing dead, Lim's only hope was one of the two aces left in the deck.

No dice - the river was a meaningless 5♣ and with Zalac the shorter of the two all-in stacks, he was declared the 17th place finisher ($12,200) while Lim was awarded 16th place ($15,300).

6:25pm: Edwards runs into the rockets

Luke Edwards is going to dinner with a little sour taste in his mouth after being crippled in a clash with Eddie Mascardi in a battle of the blinds. The chips were in preflop with Edwards holding 6♣6♣ but Mascardi showed up with A♦A♠ as the pocket aces continue to be passed around on this table.

The board ran out K♦4♦J♣T♥Q♦ and Mascardi doubled up to 250,000 to leave Edwards with just 43,500 in change.

6:20pm: Colman sets up a double

Ronnie Shabtay opened with a raise to 21,000 from under the gun before Julius Colman declared himself all in from the small blind. Action was then with James Obst in the big blind who asked for a count. Colman was all in for 185,500 and that price sounded right for Obst as he moved all in over the top. Shabtay was forced to fold his pocket nines, although he wasn't thrilled to see what his opponents turned over.

Colman held 3♥3♠ and Obst was racing with his A♥J♥. The flop landed T♦3♣K♥ and Colman improved to a set but Obst picked up a straight draw. The turn was the 7♠ and river the 4♠ and Colman doubled up.

"Nice call man," chirped Colman, perhaps digging in the needle a little as Obst was left with just 120,000 following the hand. Colman is now up to 400,000.

6:18pm: Zalac gets overzealous

Another ill-timed bluff from Australian PokerStars Qualifier Ivan Zalac has seen him slip to just 81,500 in chips after giving up most of his stack to fellow Aussie Michael Frydman.

The action folded around to Frydman who raised to 20,000 from the small blind and Zalac called the big blind to go heads-up to the flop of K♦4♥5♣. Frydman led out for 17,000 and Zalac called, then both players checked the turn of the J♦ before Frydman check-called Zalac's bet of 35,000 on the river of the T♣.

Frydman called and Zalac showed 8♣6♥ for nothing but a busted straight draw against Frydman, who had paired up on the river with his T♥7♠. "How do you call me there?" Zalac exclaimed.

"Mate, I was ahead the whole way!" Frydman replied as he raked in the pot. Frydman's now in good shape, his stack now worth 436,000 while Zalac is down to 86,500.


PokerStars qualifier Ivan Zalac shows off his reading glasses

6:15pm: Willcocks wins round two

Round two has gone to New Zealand in the Michael Guzzardi versus Phil Willcocks battle. The Kiwi opened to 20,000 from under the gun before Guzzardi three-bet to 60,000 in the small blind. Willcocks made the call and the flop arrived T♦9♣3♣.

Guzzardi led out with a bet of 105,000 and Willcocks made the call as the 5♦ hit the turn. Guzzardi slowed down and checked it over and Willcocks checked behind to see the free 9♥ hit the river. Guzzardi checked it again and Willcocks fired a hefty 300,000. Guzzardi made the call with his A♣A♥ but he'd been rivered by Willcocks who tabled K♠9♠.

Guzzardi was left ruing the free card as the pocket rockets fail him the second time around. He slips back to 220,000 with Willcocks extending his empire to a whopping 2.3 million.

6:10pm: Cheong's swansong

Kyle Cheong's exit from the APPT Melbourne Main Event was a very quiet one. Normally, the dealers will alert the media by announcing "All in, call," but the catchcry didn't go up from table 29 this time around.

Fortunately, we caught Cheong on the rail and he was able to share with us the details of his 18th place finish. After monster chip leader Phillip Willcocks raised, he shoved from next door for the last of his stack with [A][T], but Willcocks called with [4][4].

The board ran out queen-high and Cheong's now AU$12,200 richer. Willcocks is now back up to 1.95 million in chips.

5:55pm: 'Tis but a scratch!

New Zealand's Phil Willcocks has just doubled up Australian online phenom Michael "TheBigSickO" Guzzardi as the action continues here in the APPT Melbourne Main Event with 18 players remaining.

The action folded around to Willcocks who raised to 20,000 from the hijack preflop, before Guzzardi three-bet it from the big blind, making it 53,000 to go. Willcocks stood up and leaned across the table to get a rough count of Guzzardi's stack, but then shoved it in anyway. Guzzardi snap-called.

Guzzardi: A♥A♣
Willcocks: 9♣8♦

The flop of 4♥8♣5♣ kept Guzzardi ahead, but the 7♥ on the turn opened up a few more outs for Willcocks. However, there would be no suck-out this time, as Guzzardi doubled up after the 2♥ bricked out on the river.

Guzzardi's now up to 673,000, while Willcocks took a relatively small hit down to 1.76 million. As the Black Knight said in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, "It's just a flesh wound!"

6:00pm: Bouya inflicts pain on Obst

"Double up!" yelled Steve Bouya in delight towards his supporters on the rail after the board fell his way to give him a big double up at the expense of James Obst.

We caught it from the flop of 8♥4♠2♥ with Bouya leading out from the big blind with a bet of 30,000. Obst raised it up to 69,000 but Bouya made a defiant call as the 6♦ hit the turn. Bouya checked to Obst who bet 77,000 and again Bouya matched the bet as the 3♣ completed the board on the river.

Bouya rocked back in his chair and waved his arms, declaring himself all in. Obst shrugged and announced a call but mucked at the sight of Bouya's 4♣5♣ for a straight.
Obst slips back to 220,000 with Bouya now up to 600,000.


Steve Bouya is delighted with that big double up

5:45pm: Level up, blinds 5,000-10,000, ante 1,000

With 18 players still in contention for the APPT Melbourne title, we've been informed that we'll be playing another 45 minutes of this level before taking a one-hour dinner break at 6:30pm.

@PokerStars in Melbourne