PokerStars.net APPT Sydney, Day 2: Lei He Leads Final
Action was fast-paced early from the outset on Day 2 of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final in Sydney, with 40 of the 116 players that started the day heading to the rail within the first 45 minutes. The field of 116 had consolidated from three days of play at the Star City Hotel and Casino and included former World Series of Poker Main Event Champions Scotty Nguyen and Joe Hachem, as well as other international stars such as Terrence Chan and Lee 'Final Table' Nelson.
Australian Kenny Ng was one of the players active early, doubling through Michael Zowie in one of the first hands of the day. Ng got all his money in preflop with pocket queens, and was drawing to two outs when Zowie tabled pocket aces. The on the flop gave Ng a new lease on life as he flopped a set and the turn made him a full house which put him back in contention. Ng, though, was unable to parlay his early success into a spot at the final table, busting out in the middle of the pack.
The breakneck pace of the early rounds slowed to a crawl as the bubble neared, but local favorite and 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem stayed active until exiting just outside the money. The PokerStars-sponsored champ limped into a five-way pot with to see a flop of . Barry Kohlhoff fired at the flop and Hachem was the lone caller. The on the turn gave Hachem a flush draw with his two pair, and he again called Kohlhoff's bet. The river gave Hachem a full house, and he called Kohlhoff's all-in bet only to see Kohlhoff table for a bigger full house. Hachem was all in on the ante on the next hand with against Guillaume Patry's . The board of gave Patry a full house and sent Hachem to the rail just short of the money.
Karib Karib finally burst the bubble at the expense of Steve Wise. After Karib raised preflop, Wise went all-in with pocket kings. Karib called with and flopped the nut straight on a board of , and Wise needed help to catch up. The on the turn gave Wise outs to a full house, but the on the river sent him packing in 57th place, bursting the money bubble.
In a big hand after the dinner break, Lei He took over the chip lead at the expense of former leader Henrik Gwinner. Gwinner opened with a big raise preflop from the button, and He called from the big blind to see a flop of . He checked the flop, then check-raised Gwinner. Gwinner moved all in over the top, and He thought for a moment before calling with . Gwinner was drawing to the nut flush with , but no help came on the turn or river, and Gwinner was left with a short stack. Gwinner got the last of his chips in the middle shortly afterwards with to Gary Diamond's pocket kings and the former chip leader busted in 30th place. Lei He rode his big stack all the way to the final table, where he finished the day as the chip leader.
Terrence Chan had a strong showing at the APPT Sydney, finishing his Day 1 flight near the chip lead, but ran into kicker trouble against Julious Colman to bust in 29th place on Day 2. On a board of , Colman check-raised Chan all in, and Chan eventually made the call with . Colman's dominated Chan, and the turn and river brought no help as Chan was eliminated.
Scotty Nguyen put on a great show for his fans in Sydney, but was unable to parlay that into a final-table appearance. Nguyen raised preflop with and found one caller in Larry Wright. Wright fired at the flop of , and Nguyen raised all in over the top. Wright called instantly with for the nut straight, and Nguyen was drawing to runner-runner help. The on the turn gave Nguyen outs, but the on the river sent the 'Prince of Poker' to the rail.
Lee Nelson followed Nguyen to the rail in 18th place after being crippled by a two-outer for Mark Ericksen. Ericksen raised preflop and Nelson re-raised. Ericksen made the call, then pushed all in on a flop of . Nelson thought for a moment before calling with . Ericksen tabled and needed one of the two remaining eights to eliminate Nelson. The river brought just that as the Team PokerStars player was on the ropes. Nelson got his last few chips in the middle with pocket eights against Lei He, who made the call with from the big stack. The came on the flop, and Nelson couldn't catch a two-outer of his own to save his tournament.
After players consolidated to two tables, the play stayed fast-paced until the end of the night, when Mitchell Price became the final-table bubble boy, busting in tenth. After Price pushed all in with , Barry Kohlhoff only looked at one card before making the call. The was the card he saw, and the was the card underneath, and Kohlhoff's aces held up to set the final table. Here are the chip counts and seating assignments for the final table at Sunday's PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final in Sydney:
Seat 1: Lei He – 2,623,000
Seat 2: Grant Levy – 1,052,000
Seat 3: Larry Wright – 376,000
Seat 4: Jeremiah Vinsant – 1,649,000
Seat 5: Vijayan Nagarajan – 641,000
Seat 6: John Matwey – 498,000
Seat 7: Jai Kemp – 461,000
Seat 8: Sol Bergren – 2,601,000
Seat 9: Barry Kohlhoff – 647,000