APPT Queenstown Day 1a: Levels 5-6 (blinds 200-400, ante 50)
6:50pm: That's a wrap! Sweet as!
Day 1a of the APPT Queenstown Snowfest Main Event has come and gone with half of the starting field of 40 players surviving the avalanche of elimination to reach day two action on Friday.
The Kiwis were relentless this afternoon and thoroughly deserved to hold the big stacks in the room when the players bagged and tagged. Koray Turker, Jackson Zheng and Cole Swannack are likely to bag up the chip lead and they will be hard to stop in this tournament.
That concludes our live coverage from the SKYCITY Casino here in Queenstown, but we'll have a full wrap of the day's action including chip counts for the entire field for you shortly.
6:45pm: Wang hanging tough
Australian PokerStars Qualifier Jacky Wang has just doubled up to 35,300 in chips with only minutes to go until we bag and tag for the night.
The action folded around to New Zealand kamikaze kid Koray Turker who raised to 900 before the flop. Wang then re-raised to 2,000, Turker shoved and Wang snap-called all-in with 17,200, tabling A♦Q♣ against Turker's J♦9♥.
Neither hand improved after the flop of 2♦4♣T♦, but the sweat came on the turn in the form of the K♥. Needing a nine or queen, the Turker run-good didn't kick in this time, as the river bricked out with the 2♥ to give Wang the double-up. Turker's still the chipleader though, holding more than 90,000 in chips.
The clock has now been paused and the tournament director has instructed the dealers to deal five more hands before bringing play to an end.
6:35pm: Edwards increases, but Charnock still strong
With the field now down to just 20 players, the action has slowed a little, but we did pick up a sizeable pot between Luke Edwards and fellow Australian PokerStars Qualifier Daniel Charnock within the last 30 minutes of the day.
The action folded around to Charnock who limped in from the cutoff before Edwards raised to 1,500 from the button. Both blinds folded and Edwards called, then led out for 1,500 after Charnock checked to him on the flop of A♥9♠K♥.
Charnock called, only to then check-fold after Edwards' bet of 2,600 on the turn of the 5♠. With the action complete, Edwards moved up to 17,000, but Charnock is faring much better with 36,500 in chips.
6:30pm: Turker straightens Lui
Patrick Lui's entertaining tournament run has come to an end as half of the players have been eliminated from today's field.
It was a battle of the blinds that was Lui's undoing as Koray Turker has struck once again. We arrived on a flop of 2♦5♥3♥ to see Lui check to Turker who bet 800. Lui check-raised to 1,800 but Turker came back over the top to 4,800. Lui wasn't going to back down as he made it 14,800 which was called by Turker as the T♦ hit the turn.
Lui announced himself all in but Turker snap-called with A♥4♠ for the flopped straight as Lui found his J♦J♥ overpair drawing dead. The meaningless river was the 4♦ to eliminate Lui and climb Turker up to 105,000 - a staggering chip count from such a small day one field and a clear chip lead.
6:20pm: Air Cole
Cole Swannack continues to prove that these Kiwis know how to play some hyper-aggressive poker as he got away with a huge bluff against Semesa Brown.
Catching the action on the turn on a board of 2♣K♥4♣9♣, Swannack bet 3,700 and Brown called before the K♦ paired the board on the river. Swannack checked and Brown casually tossed out a single 5,000-denomination chip.
Swannack thought for a moment before declaring himself all in. Brown thought briefly before folding as Swannack tabled J♦8♥ for complete air! He's up to 77,000.
6:15pm: Lights out for Worch
Antony Worch has hit the rail when he got his short stack in the middle preflop with K♣J♣ to find himself racing with Patrick Lui's T♣T♥.
The board ran out A♥8♦3♠A♣A♦ to leave Lui's pair in front and eliminate Worch from the tournament. Lui is up to 35,000.
6:10pm: Feldman felted
Australian PokerStars Qualifier Joel Feldman has just been sent to the rail at the hands of Cole Swannack.
All the money was in the middle before the flop, Feldman was risking the last of his chips with A♣6♥, but found himself ahead of Swannack's K♦9♣. Feldman kept the lead down the board of 5♦4♥J♣2♦, however the 9♠ spiked on the river and sealed his fate.
Swannack is now up to 71,000 in chips as we edge ever closer to the end of play in today's Day 1a flight with 22 players remaining.
5:50pm: Level up, blinds 200-400, ante 50
If you're looking for something to fill your time as we enter the last level of the day, then why not check out the following interview with local young gun Jackson Zheng from earlier in the day:
5:45pm: Soames takes a hit
UK PokerStars Qualifier Werner Soames is down to 32,700 in chips, losing a pot to New Caledonia's Joel Douaglin as we approach the final level of the day.
The action folded to Soames who raised to 1,200 from middle position before the flop; Allis called from the cutoff, as did Douaglin from the big blind, to go three ways into a flop that read J♠8♠K♣, which all three players checked before Douaglin led out for 1,200 on the turn of the A♠.
Soames called and Allis folded, making it heads-up to the river of the A♠, which both players checked. Soames showed down T♠T♣, but Douaglin had spiked Broadway on the river with his Q♦T♥ to take it down. Douaglin's now up to 41,500 in chips.
5:40pm: Seglem's done
New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Rachel Bellard is now the last remaining female in today's APPT Queenstown Snowfest Day 1a flight after American PokerStars Player Kirsten Seglem was busted by Cole Swannack.
As Swannack recalled to us, Seglem moved the last of her money into the middle before the flop with [A][J] (suited), but was unable to improve against Swannack's pocket jacks. Swannack is now up to 88,000 in chips, with Bellard holding firm on 36,000.
5:30pm: Worch crunched
New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Antony Worch has been crippled down to just 8,800 in chips after a brutal beat at the hands of Australian PokerStars Qualifier Patrick Lui.
It was three-way action on a flop of 3♠8♦T♦ when our reporter stopped by to pick up the action. Lui and Worch checked to Richard Docherty who opened for 2,300 from the button and Lui went deep into the tank before announcing that he was all-in. Worch snap-called and Docherty folded before the cards were tabled:
There was a collective "Ooh!" from the table as the dealer peeled off the K♥ for the turn, which saw a few more players from nearby tables jump out of their seats to watch the river, with Worch silently praying to the poker gods for a miracle. Close, but no cigar - the river was the 9♥ - and Lui is now up to 34,000 in chips.
5:25pm: Tran flushed by Swannack
Joel Feldman opened with a raise to 600 and found calls from three players to see a multi-way flop of 4♦6♥T♥. Action checked around to the player in the hijack position who bet 1,500 with Trung Tran and Cole Swannack calling out of the blinds as Feldman got out of the way before the 3♥ hit the turn.
Tran checked it again to Swannack who bet 3,700. The player in the hijack folded but Tran called as the 2♦ completed the board. Tran checked and Swannack splashed out 35,000 which was enough to put Tran to a decision for his last 14,000.
Tran went into the tank and eventually emerged with a call but his tournament was over when Swannack tabled Q♥5♥ for a flush. Swannack is now up to 85,000.
5:20pm: Douaglin down
New Caledonia's Joel Douaglin has been reduced to 22,800 after an ill-timed bluff attempt against New Zealand's Joseph Allis as the action continues here in the Summit Room of Queenstown's SKYCITY Casino.
From under the gun, Douaglin limped in and the action folded around to Allis who raised to 1,000. Wayne Bell called from the big blind, as did Douaglin to make it three-handed to the flop of 2♦9♦9♥.
Bell and Douaglin checked to Allis who bet 1,600. Bell folded and Douaglin called, making it head-up to the turn of the 6♦, which both players checked before Douaglin led out for 1,600 on the river of the A♣.
Allis sat up and looked over, but it appeared that his Spidey-sense was tingling, because he quickly called and confidently turned up A♥T♥ for two pair. Douaglin tapped the table and showed K♥Q♥. Allis is now back up to 67,000 in chips.
5:00pm: Ellis reduced
New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Wayne Bell is up to 25,000 in chips after having taken a big pot off fellow countryman Joseph Allis in the last hand before the break.
Our reporter caught the action heads-up between Allis and Bell on a flop of 9♦7♣4♠. Allis check-called Bell's bet of 900 after the flop, then check-called again after Bell opened for 3,300 on the turn of the 5♦ before the action repeated after Bell's third shell worth 5,300 on the river of the 6♥. Bell showed 9♥9♣ for a flopped set and Allis angrily mucked his hand. With that, Allis is down to 65,000 in chips.
4:50pm: Play resumes
The 25 remaining players are back with two more levels to play until we wrap things up for the day. It's been a day of dominance by the locals with Kiwis Joe Allis, Koray Turker, Jackson Zheng and Cole Swannack at the top of the leaderboard. Can they stay there?