6:45pm: Ten-minute break
6:40pm: Grigg and Colman chop it up
Tim Grigg was one river card away from eliminating Julius Colman and padding his monstrous stack even further. But just to prove that the Poker Gods in fact do not play favourites, the luck went against Grigg to ensure Colman would stay alive in the tournament.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Grigg as the J♠K♥3♥4♠4♥ board brought a chop, with Grigg’s K♣3♦ two-pair counterfeited against Colman’s K♦10♠.
6:32pm: Short-stacked survival
“Notebook Guy” Akshay Nauhria continues to survive with his short stack with several double ups to stay alive in this event.
After finding himself all in with A♠J♠ against the A♣9♥ of Brian Chesnutt, Nauhria was disgusted to see a nine in the window, but equally thrilled by what followed behind it as the dealer spread the 9♠J♦Q♥ flop.
“YES! YES! YES!” yelled Nauhria in delight, before the 6♥ turn and 2♥ river completed the board.
“You had the best hand and still won,” commented one observant player at the table.
“Well I’m just the lucky one!” replied Nauhria as he doubled to around 75,000 and now has a real shot of reaching the money.
6:15pm: Grigg dominance continues
Tom Grigg started today with 16,400 chips. He now holds 520,000, or, around one-eighth of the total chips in play with 34 players left!
Grigg’s day has been one of relentless aggression and perfect timing, and that did stop in his latest victory. Grigg held A♠Q♠ and was in a dominant position against the A♥J♥ of Marc Wittkopf. The board ran out 9♥9♠3♥4♠J♠ and despite Wittkopf pairing his jack on the river, Grigg made a flush to collect the massive pot.
Who can stop him?
6:04pm: Two more miss the money
Ali Ghezelbash has been up and down with ace-king all day but it finally proved his downfall as he lost the race against the pocket queens of Lance Haysam. The board bricked out 3♦2♥2♦6♠9♠ and Ghelzelbash was eliminated.
Joining him on the rail is one of our chip leaders from the start of the day in Nauv Kashyap.
Kashyap three-bet shoved with A♣J♠ but was called by the A♦K♦ of Mike Tyler. The board landed Q♠Q♥10♦4♦5♣ to see Kashyap eliminated short of the money.
5:50pm: The satellite king
Santi Soriano Ramos has come all the way from Spain to be here today after qualifying online in a $16 rebuy tournament on PokerStars. In fact, Ramos tells us that he’s never had to buy into a major tournament in his life despite being a full time poker player. Ramos enjoys qualifying online in the PokerStars satellites and even won a satellite into this year’s WSOP. Following his trip down under, he’ll be heading over to London to play in the European Poker Tour event, which he also qualified for.
But before that he’ll be looking to progress a little deeper here in Auckland, however his quest to reach the money just took a hit after running into the flopped flush of Damien Wong. The board read A♠6♠K♠ when the chips went in, as Ramos showed A♣Q♥ for top pair but Wong opened J♠9♠ for the flush. The Q♦ gave Ramos some outs but the river bricked the 4♦. Ramos slips back to 70,000.
5:45pm: Level up, blinds 1200-2400, ante 300
5:33pm: It’s my life!
Catching the action on a flop of 2♦4♠9♣, Soren Smith-Hansen fired a bet of 5,800 with Tom Grigg making the call to see the J♦ hit the turn. Smith-Hansen fired again for 11,200 before the ever-aggressive Grigg put his big stack to work and moved all in. Smith-Hansen thought for a few moments before making the call.
“I got a draw,” shrugged Grigg and revealed Q♦10♦ for straight and flush draws, as Smith-Hansen tabled K♦J♣ for top pair.
“What are you waiting for?” queried one player on the table to Smith-Hansen.
“It’s my life!” replied Smith-Hansen, referring to putting his tournament life on the line.
He didn’t have to worry, as the river bricked the 4♣ for the double up to 100,000. Meanwhile it was merely a flesh wound to Grigg who is still comfortable on 290,000.
5:20pm: Kroesen cut
The run of PokerStars qualifier Ricky Kroesen has come to a halt short of his fourth consecutive Main Event cash. Lance Climo was getting pretty active so Kroesen decided to three-bet shove with A♥9♣ but his timing was off as Climo opened A♣A♠ for the rockets!
The board ran out Q♦Q♣3♣K♦2♦ to leave Kroesen heading for the exit.
5:15pm: Great call by Grigg
With a raise to 5,000 from Zack Lowrie from the button to 5,000, Tom Grigg re-popped it to 14,500. Lowrie made the call and the flop landed 4♥9♣Q♦.
Grigg checked and Lowrie fired 20,000. Grigg made the call and the turn brought the 2♦. Grigg checked and again called the bet from Lowrie, this time for 30,000. The river was the J♥ and once again Grigg checked and Lowrie fired a hefty 50,000 into the pot. Grigg thought long and hard before making the call in one of the biggest pots of the tournament.
It was both a courageous and correct call, as Lowrie showed A♣8♣ for just ace-high as Grigg’s K♣9♥ third pair was good. An incredible call jumps Grigg up to 355,000 and a commanding chip lead as Lowrie is down to 65,000.
5:08pm: Smith-Hansen hooks a double up
After running his pocket jacks into pocket kings earlier in the day, the hooks have been a little kinder to Soren Smith-Hansen this time around as he found a much needed double up.
Smith-Hansen’s J♥J♣ were up against the K♠Q♥ of Marc Wittkopf with all the chips in preflop. The board fell 7♠2♠5♣8♦9♥ to leave the pair of jacks in front to double Smith-Hansen to 50,000.
Soren’s brother Mads must’ve busted out early of today’s PokerStars WCOOP event as he was spotted on the rail of the SKYCITY Auckland Poker Room sweating the action.
5:02pm: Courtenay continues to roll
Sam Courtenay continues his “run good” in this tournament after chopping a pot with Brian Chesnutt in fortunate circumstances. After making a royal flush earlier in the tournament, Courtenay was all in with A♠K♣ against Chesnutt’s A♥A♣ with the board running out K♥J♠10♣8♠Q♦ to give both players a straight.
“That’s how I roll!” laughed Courtenay.
“I guess that’s how I roll too!” replied Chesnutt. Hailing from Missouri in the United States, Chesnutt is a full-time poker player who qualified for this tournament online on PokerStars, and he plans to make the most of his time down under. Following the tournament, he and his wife will be spending five days in Australia before heading over to London for the European poker circuit.
4:55pm: Ali G still in the house
Ali Ghezelbash has found a double up through Julius Colman. The chips were in preflop with Colman taking A♥5♥ into battle against the short-stacked Ghezelbash who held A♦K♥.
The board fell 10♣10♥6♦8♥A♠ to see Ghezelbash double up to 45,000. Colman is still in sound shape with 150,000.
4:45pm: Play Resumes
Play is back underway with about 45 players still remaining in the field. In that last level we lost our last female standing in Jessica Hu, as well as New Zealand’s Richard Lancaster. After reaching the final table last year, Lancaster wasn’t able to match that result when he pushed with king-ten and found himself racing against pocket fours. Lancaster flopped a straight draw, turned a flush draw, but bricked completely on the river to be sent to the rail.
Meanwhile Tom Grigg has surged the pack through to claim the chip lead. Grigg collected most of his chips just before the break when his pocket queens held against an opponent’s pocket nines to jump up to 280,000, for a narrow lead over Noah Vogelman who holds 275,000.
One man who didn’t survive day one action was Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem. Prior to play yesterday, Hachem spent some learning the traditional Maori Haka to get himself prepared for a big day on the felt, and luckily we had the cameras rolling!