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APPT Melbourne Day 1: Levels 5-6 (blinds 300-600, ante 50)

6:35pm: Ten-minute break

6:30pm: Huge laydowns leave Anunu in shock

We usually get a little worried when players rush to our reporting desk and tell us, "You have to blog this hand!" It's often not as exciting as they might think, but in this particular case, we have to admit that Ben Savage and Jeff Rossiter were right. This hand is pretty good.

The details were sketchy at best as the two hurriedly recalled the details but from what we could make of it, Rossiter had raised preflop and picked up calls from Savage and Mishel Anunu.

Rossiter made a continuation bet on the flop before things got busy on the turn. When the action got heavy and Anunu moved all in, Rossiter was able to get away from his ace-king, while Savage made an amazing laydown with pocket fives for bottom set. They were both right as Anunu tabled pocket eights for a bigger set! Nice read by both players as Anunu was left to just shake his head in dismay.

6:20pm: Youssef swingin'

Having been as high as 140,000, Sammy Youssef has been riding the roller-coaster since being moved to the feature table. However, he has managed to double up through an opponent with the final break of the day looming.

All the money was in the middle on a flop of 9♥A♣5♥, with Youssef risking his last 24,475 with K♥J♥, but needed some help against his adversary's 9♠5♣. The Q♣ on the turn gave Youssef a few more outs to the straight, but the 4♥ on the river was just that little bit sweeter. Youssef's stack is now back up to 50,000.

6:05pm: Woe is Joe

Having nursed a short stack for most of this evening session, Australian Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem got his last 10,000 into the middle before the flop holding , but ran into the A♣K♣ of fellow Aussie Liam Moffett and the pocket tens of another opponent.

However, Moffett caught the nut flush on the board of 4♣2♣9♣ to take the pot down. With Hachem now out of the picture, America's Chris Moneymaker is the only remaining WSOP Main Event champion in the field.

6:00pm: McKenzie ready to defend his ANZ POTY lead

We should also make mention of the ANZ Player of the Year race which awards approximately AUD$80,000 in prizes to the top three players who achieve the highest points at all PokerStars sponsored events in Australia and New Zealand in 2011.

The current leader is Jesse McKenzie after a runner-up result at the ANZPT Adelaide and several other solid results on the tour. McKenzie only actually arrived in the country this morning after enjoying himself on a European vacation for several weeks. Of course, for most of us, that means a little downtime, but McKenzie couldn't resist the online poker urge and netted himself a lazy $179,678 by winning the PokerStars Sunday Million while playing from his hotel in Portugal. Nice life.

Keen to defend his ANZ POTY lead, McKenzie has rolled off the plane and straight into the Main Event here today.

"So how many levels are we playing today?" sighed a slightly fatigued McKenzie. Eight levels, Jesse. Only a few more hours to go before a little shut-eye! McKenzie currently sits with 22,000 chips.

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Jesse McKenzie is in Melbourne chasing those valuable POTY points

5:50pm: Number crunchin'

The all-important numbers are in! 260 players ponied up the dough for the inaugural PokerStars.net APPT Melbourne Main Event, generating a prize pool of AUD $1,220,000.
The top 28 players will be paid, with the winner to receive AUD $330,000. The full breakdown of the prize pool is listed below:

1st place: $330,000
2nd place: $207,600
3rd place: $116,000
4th place: $88,600
5th place: $73,300
6th place: $58,000
7th place: $45,800
8th place: $36,700
9th place: $27,500
10th-12th place: $18,300
13th-16th place: $15,300
17th-20th place: $12,200
21st-24th place: $9,800
25th-28th place: $8,600

5:35pm: Level up, blinds 300-600, ante 50

5:30pm: Rossiter running hot

It's been a stellar year for Adelaide's Jeff Rossiter - having picked up a third place finish worth AUD$700,000 in the Aussie Millions Main Event earlier this year, as well as making the final table at the ANZPT Adelaide Main Event less than a month later, he's now cruising in this APPT Melbourne Main Event after eliminating Ben De'laney.

As Rossiter recalled to us, De'laney got the last of his chips in with A-K after some heavy pre-flop raising action, but Rossiter snapped him off with pocket aces. Easy game.

De'laney's seat has now been filled by 2009 APPT Sydney Main Event champion Aaron Benton, but with only 8,000 in chips at the moment, he'll have some work to do if he wants to catch Rossiter, who's now on more than 75,000!

5:20pm: You don't wanna sit there ...

It appears that seat six on table 48 is not the best place to be in the Crown Poker Room right about now. Tom Grigg was originally drawn to that seat, but after he was eliminated, he was replaced by Billy Jordanou. As you've probably guessed by now, Jordanou is busto as well.

On a flop that read 5♣K♣9♦, Jordanou moved the last of his stack into the middle with A♣Q♣ after Malaysian PokerStars Qualifier Marcus Lau led out, with Con Kamaras already all-in before the flop. Lau called, tabling A♠K♦ for top-top ahead of both Jordanou's nut flush and Kamaras, who showed 9♣8♣ for middle pair.

However, Kamaras was thrilled to see the 9♠ spike on the turn to give him trips, which held up after the dealer peeled off the river of the J♠. Kamaras tripled up, but Lau picked up the side pot to send Jordanou to the rail.

5:05pm: Sammy slashes two

Sam Youssef doesn't do things by halves. Youssef applies an all-or-nothing approach to poker, so when he's hot, he's damn hot!

While that was a friendly warning for his table, they will be relieved to now see their table break, thanks largely to the recent double elimination by Youssef.

With a raise to 1,500 from a player under the gun, Roman Pesochinsky flat called in the small blind before Youssef tossed out a virtual min-raise from the big blind to 3,000. This was met with a succession of all-ins from his opponents, and Youssef was happy to call it off with K♥K♦. Pesochinsky showed Q♥Q♦ while the UTG-player opened A♥K♠.

The board bricked out to send two to the rail and climb Youssef up to a commanding 145,000 chips and into a new seat on the feature table.

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The chips are always flying when Sammy Y is at the table!

4:55pm: Minh maxed out

In one of the first hands after the break over on table 14, Minh Nguyen and Sammy Youssef went heads-up to a flop that read 5♣K♥2♣. Youssef led out for 3,200 from the small blind position, but Nguyen quickly raised to 7,000 from the cutoff.

Youssef returned fire, making it 15,500 to go and Nguyen shoved before Youssef snap-called, rolling up 5♠5♥ for the set against Nguyen's 5♦2♦ for bottom two pair.

The turn and river ran out Q♥, A♣ and Youssef had Nguyen well-covered. With Nguyen now out of the picture, Youssef is now up to almost 60,000 in chips.

4:45pm: Mo' Money

Shortly after the resumption of play and Chris Moneymaker has shot towards to pointy end of our chip count leaderboard after a huge clash with Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt.

In a three-bet pot, the two players got it all in on a flop of 8♦5♥2♣, with Putt tabling pocket kings but Moneymaker had flopped a set with his pocket fives. The turn was the 6♥ and river the T♠ to jump Moneymaker up to 80,000 with Putt sent crashing to the rail.

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Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker is now with the chip leaders

4:35pm: Play resumes

The players are back in action with Van Marcus and David Steicke our likely chip leaders at the half way mark of Day 1. The plan this evening is to play a maximum of eight levels before we bag and tag.

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