We expected a day of furious action when we set up our laptops earlier this morning, but we had no idea just how furious it would be. The field started with 320 runners spread over forty eight-handed tables. It ended with just more than a quarter of those players still in the running for the AUD 2,000,000 first prize.
We bid adieu to several local favorites today. Steve Topakas, Mark Vos, Eric Assadourian, PokerNews chairman Tony G, and Billy "the Croc" Argyros were all among the early departures. They were soon joined by young guns like Michael Guzzardi, James Obst and WSOP Main Event runner-up Ivan Demidov.
In mid-afternoon, we started to realize that the key to poker success is to be a teenage girl with Scandinavian origins. A formidable one-two punch emerged, with Swedish-born Japanese local Annica Ivert and Norwegian phenom Annette "Annette_15" Obrestad battling for the chip lead. We were also inspired by the play of young David Docherty, who started the day with fewer than 10,000 chips and ended the day in the top five of the counts.
Never count out the old-school professionals, however. One dangerous tiger is still in the mix, prowling the tables in search of chips. Patrik Antonius would love to pad his bankroll by AUD 2,000,000 before sitting down to play the AUD 1,000,000 cash game next week. He is in the top ten in the counts, within striking distance of the top. Official counts for all of the remaining players will be made available once they have been confirmed by tournament staff.
Tomorrow we play another five levels. The money bubble will come well before dinner. By the end of the day we expect to have between thirty-five and forty players left in the hunt. Action kicks off at 12:30pm local time.
Marwan Nassif busted. He moved in for less than 30,000 chips with and was called by . A flop of gave him chop outs, but the board blanked out.
John Paul Kelly made a late charge on the feature table, netting himself 40,000 chips in a three-way pot with Patrik Antonius and one other player by taking the pot down on the turn of a board with a bet of 31,000.
Today has been a tough grind for 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion Joe Hachem. He saw his stack dwindle to a dire amount, and then triple with Aces. Earning his chips today has not come easily.
In the final two hands, Hachem decided to blow off a little steam. With a scotch in one hand, Hachem proceeded to open shove from under the gun on the second to last hand of the night. It folded back to the big blind, Martin Comer, who open mucked . Hachem flipped over .
On the final hand of the night and with Hachem in the big blind, he rallied his table for a walk. "Come on walk me, one time!" shouted Hachem after the table folded around to the cut off. The cut off then fired out a raise, with action folding around to Hachem in the big blind. Hachem began poking his tounge out and making faces at the cut off in an attempt to make the stoney faced player smile. Finally Hachem folded his hand, and the cut off shot a quick grin at Hachem before flicking up .
Hachem finished the day with 45,100 as he continues to chase his elusive home title.
Grant Levy is still alive in the tournament, but it hasn't been easy for the 2007 APPT Sydney champion. He opened from the button preflop, then called a reraise to 15,000 that was made by the big blind. That player led out for 38,000 on a flop of . Levy had only 61,800 chips remaining in his stack and put them all in the middle. His opponent would have been priced in with a wide range of hands. He was definitely priced in with , the nut flush draw. He called and saw the bad news -- Levy had flopped a set of kings, .
The turn was neither a repeater nor a diamond. It fell the . With a floor announcing the action and a large crowd gathered on the rail to watch, the dealer burned and turned... the . Levy survived to double up to 165,000.
Now here's something you don't see every day: Will Zemljaric was forced to play a pot with his hand open and he won! Zemljaric opened the pot for 7,000 chips. Action folded to Joel Dodds, who raised to 26,000. Zemljaric was only too happy put his chips in the middle, announcing a call and proudly turning over . There was only one problem -- Dodds still had chips!
A floor supervisor was summoned to the table to determine the appropriate action. He ruled that play would continue with Zemljaric's hand open and Dodds' hand closed. At the conclusion of the hand, Zemljaric would have to serve a one-orbit penalty for exposing his hand.
The flop came dow . Zemljaric was first to act. Upon seeing that he had flopped a set, and that Dodds knew that he had flopped a set, he decided to move all in right there. Dodds folded, leaving his stack intact with 62,000 chips. Zemljaric is on 308,000 and cooling his heels on the rail for a few minutes.
John Dalessandri, one of the few Australian players sitting around the top of the chip counts earlier today, has taken a hit. On a flop of , Dalessandri raised enough to put most of his opponent's remaining 49,000 chips into the middle. The opponent came over the top all in and Dalessandri had little choice but to call the all in bet.
Dalessandri had work to do, tabling to be up against the of his opponent. The board ran out , taking a solid 60,000 chip bite out of his stack.
We came to the table to see a three-way pot building. The under-the-gun player had moved his short stack all in and was called in one spot before Stewart Scott made a large reraise for more than 50,000 chips. The player in between, who had called the initial raise, tanked for about a minute before folding.
"Do you have a pair?" Scott asked the all-in player. He opened . His opponent did have a pair, but it was smaller -- . Neither player improved on the flop, but Scott's opponent spiked a set when the turn fell . Scott initially thought he had won the hand, and his opponent initially thought he had lost, when the river fell a fourth club, the , but closer inspection revealed that it was a repeater that gave his opponent a full house.
Mario Doria has been eliminated after getting into a battle of the blinds. The small blind raised enough to put the short-stacked Doria all in and he made the call.
The dealer dealt out the flop , before being asked to hold up for the television crew. This added to Doria's agony, as he sat staring at a board that had left him in a lot of trouble. It didn't get better for him, as the board ran out to send him packing.