APPT Queenstown Day 1b: Levels 1 & 2 (blinds 75-150)

2:30pm: 15-minute break

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2:25pm: Andy is still King

Daniel Laidlaw and Andy Hinrichsen have tangled recently with the honours pretty much even.  On a hand that ran into the break, Laidlaw opened to 400 from middle position and Hinrichsen flat called in the big blind.

The flop landed 3♣J♥J♦ and Hinrichsen decided to lead out for 450.  Laidlaw made the call and the turn was the 6♠.  Again Hinrichsen fired again for 900 and Laidlaw quickly called before the 5♣ fell on the river.

Hinrichsen released a third barrel worth 1,750 and Laidlaw instantly called.  Hinrichsen opened K♥K♣ for a deceptive monster as Laidlaw raised his eyebrows and mucked.   Laidlaw slips to 21,000 with Hinrichsen up to 26,000 at the first break of the day.

2:20pm: Philip's kings smack Smith's jacks

PokerStars Team Online's Dale Philip has found himself on the right end of a set-over-set situation to chip back up to 24,500, crippling New Zealand's Steven Smith in the process.

We picked up the action three-handed between Philip, Smith and Jesse McKenzie three-handed into a flop of J♠K♦8♣; McKenzie checked his option from the small blind and Philip opened for 900 from under the gun before Smith raised to 2,400 from the button.

McKenzie got out of the way and Philip went deep into the tank before re-raising to 5,500. Smith insta-shoved and Philip snap-called all-in for 11,575.

Philip: K♠K♣
Smith: J♥J♦

The turn and river bricked out 4♣, 3♣ and Philip scored the much-needed double-up, leaving Smith with just 8,500 in chips.

2:10pm: Neilson busto

The first high-profile crash of the day (and our first elimination of the day) has seen Daniel Neilson surrender all of his chips to Russian PokerStars qualifier Artur Prokhorov.

Following a preflop limp, Prokhorov bumped it up to 600 with Neilson calling in position in the cutoff.  The limper came along and we were three-way to a Q♠5♦3♦ flop.

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Daniel Neilson is the first player to bow out of APPT Queenstown Day 1b

Action checked to Prokhorov who bet 700 with Neilson the lone caller as the 8♥ hit the turn.  Prokhorov fired again for 1,600 but Neilson announced a raise to 4,500.  Prokhorov called and the river fell the J♣.  Prokhorov checked and Neilson moved all in for his last 11,900.  Prokhorov committed to the call with his K♣K♦ overpair and he was right as Neilson showed up with 9♦6♦ for busted straight and flush draws.

Neilson is off to enjoy the sights of Queenstown as Prokhorov is our early chip leader with 48,000 chips.

2:00pm: Hugh Cohen makes a huge play

Reigning ANZPT Queenstown champion Julian Cohen has been sweating his brother Hugh on the rail since the start of Day 1b here in the Summit Room, but he must have had his heart in his mouth as this action unfolded between Cohen and New Zealand's Joshua Langford on table three.

From UTG +1, Cohen raised to 400 and the action folded around to Langford who called before checking his option on the flop of 9♦6♥4♦. Cohen led out for 525 and Langford smooth-called and then both players checked down the turn of the 9♣.

Langford then bet out 775 on the river J♥, only to see Cohen return fire with a raise to 3,000 total. Langford wasn't about to give up, re-raising to 7,200, but once Cohen shoved all-in for 11,350, Langford let his hand go.

Cohen is now back up to 20,200 in chips, while Langford is down to 15,800.

1:50pm: A little Dutch courage

In our years of covering poker tournaments around the world, one thing we've learnt about players from the Netherlands is that they know how to play some poker!  The Dutch have produced some super talented players and they enjoy the highly aggressive European style of play.  We don't see too many on the Asian circuit but Arjen Witteveen is a Dutch PokerStars qualifier in today's field, and he's very quickly made his presence known to the table.

Jesse McKenzie had been fairly active and he opened once again to 350 from middle position.  PokerStars Team Online player Dale Philip called on the button and Witteveen came along in the small blind to see a flop of T♥2♣3♦.

Action checked to McKenzie who bet 450.  Philip called but Witteveen decided to come over the top with a raise to 1,700.  McKenzie thought for a moment before re-raising to a total of 4,150.  Philip quickly scurried for cover but Witteveen decided to come along to see the 6♦ hit the turn.

Both players slowed down and checked to see the 8♣ fall on the river.  Witteveen reached for chips and tossed out a bet of 5,525.  McKenzie didn't think for long before resigning his cards to the muck as Witteveen flashed K♥J♥ for a rather sick bluff!

1:40pm: PokerStars.tv with Andrew Hinrichsen

Before Day 1b of the APPT Queenstown Snowfest Main Event got underway, PokerStars.tv's Lynn Gilmartin got the chance to catch with Aussie online phenom Andrew Hinrichsen. Check out the video below:



1:30pm: Level up, blinds 75-150

1:20pm: McKenzie surrenders to McCarthy

It hasn't been the best start to Jesse McKenzie's day, having slipped to 17,250 in this level after losing a pot to New Zealand PokerStars Qualifier Raymond McCarthy.

The action folded around to McCarthy who raised to 250 from the hijack position; McKenzie called from the button, as did PokerStars Team Online Pro Dale Philip from the big blind, making it three-handed into a flop that read 8♠A♠5♠.

Philip checked to McCarthy who opened for 500 and McKenzie snap-called, forcing Philip out of the way and making it heads-up to the turn of the J♣, where McCarthy fired out 1,100. McKenzie called, only to fold after McCarthy made it 2,200 to go on the river of the Q♠. McCarthy's now up to 23,000 after that hand.

1:10pm: Grigg out of the gates

One player off to a fast start today is Australian Tom Grigg.  Perhaps it's because he's acclimatized to the local conditions after arriving a week early to spend some time on the ski slopes with a group of mates.

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Tom Grigg is out of the blocks early

Grigg can be excused for having a little recreational time after a huge month which saw him net a massive six-figure score in the PokerStars Sunday Million. He's looking to bring that form to the live felt, and is off to a solid start.

After Simon Watt opened to 300 from middle position, Grigg and the big blind called to see a 6♠6♣2♠ flop.  Action checked around before Grigg tossed out 750 on the 3♠ turn.  The big blind called as Watt got out of the way before the A♠ completed the board.  Grigg thought for a moment before deciding 750 was the right amount.  His opponent made the call but couldn't better Grigg's 9♠8♠ for a flush.  Grigg is up to 23,000.

1:00pm: Levy lifts

Inaugural APPT Sydney champion Grant Levy has come out on top in another one of the early hands here in the Summit Room, clashing in a recent pot on table five with Jonathan Karamalikis and Leanne Haas, the only female in today's field.

From UTG +1, Levy raised to 350 and the action folded to Haas in the cutoff who called, as did Karamalikis from the big blind before the dealer spread the flop of 7♦T♥7♣. Karamalikis checked to Levy who opened for 400; Haas called and Karamalikis folded, making it heads-up to the turn of the 6♦, where Levy bet 675.

Again, Haas called, as well as calling Levy's bet of 2,625 on the river of the 6♣, only to muck after Levy showed J♥7♥ for the full house. As a result, Levy's up to 25,000 in chips.

12:50pm: Chevalier gets things going

2009 ANZPT Queenstown champion Danny Chevalier has already chipped up to 32,000 in one of the first hands here on Day 1b.

Our reporter caught the action heads-up between Chevalier and a player in the hijack position in a raised pot on a flop that read 5♣4♠K♦; Chevalier checked to his opponent who led out for 675 and called before check-raising to 4,000 after the hijack's bet of 1,125 on the turn of the 5♠.

Chevalier then opened for 7,000 on the river of the T♦ and the hijack called, but soon mucked after Chevalier showed 4♥4♣ for the full house. Nice way to start the day!

12:40pm: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

Unlike yesterday's Day 1a flight, the action is a little slow to begin with here in the Summit Room, and another trek around the tables has revealed a few more notables - but the bad news for the locals is that they're all Australian.

Seasoned Aussies Daniel Laidlaw, Michael Pedley, Daniel Neilson, Martin Cardno, Ryan McKay and Ben McLean are amongst those to have taken their seats, as well as Jesse McKenzie, who has shot to prominence in the Australasian poker scene, posting some impressive results, the most recent of which have been three deep runs in this year's Season 3 of the ANZPT, his best result being a runner-up finish to Octavian Voegele in the ANZPT Adelaide event in February.

McKenzie currently sits in second place on the Australia New Zealand Player of the Year leaderboard behind APPT Melbourne champion Leo Boxell and he'll definitely be one of the ones to watch today, but at present, his chair at table five is empty - we hope he'll be back soon though, as we're only here until 7pm tonight!

12:30pm: Shuffle up and deal!

After a brief introduction from SKYCITY Queenstown Casino Shift Manager Andrew Gray, the cards are now in the air! At present, there are 43 entries in today's PokerStars.net APPT Queenstown Snowfest Day 1b flight and the field is already stacked big-name players, but while 2011 APPT Auckland champion Simon Watt is leading the charge for the locals, the tables are stacked with Aussies!

appt_queenstown_andrew_gray.jpgSKYCITY Queenstown Casino Shift Manager Andrew Gray gets the action underway

Just some of the trans-Tasman invaders to have taken to the felt today include online phenoms Jonathan Karamalikis, David Allan, Tom Grigg and Andrew Hinrichsen, as well as Danny Chevalier, the first-ever ANZPT Queenstown winner. And while defending champion Julian Cohen is not playing today, his brother Hugh is here and with the intimate starting fields in these Day 1 flights, there's a great chance of making it a true family affair with a rare brotherly double, should he take down the title!

Here's the structure for today's play:

Level 1: 50-100
Level 2: 75-150
Level 3: 100-200
Level 4: 100-200 (ante 25)
Level 5: 150-300 (ante 25)
Level 6: 200-400 (ante 50)

A nice short day, leaving plenty of time for dinner and of course, the APPT Queenstown Snowfest Welcome Party, starting at 9pm tonight. Sweet as!

Landon Blackhall
@PokerStars in Queenstown