In a marathon heads-up match that capped an exciting final table, Australian native Grant Levy took down the first-ever PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final at Sydney's Star City Hotel and Casino, keeping the trophy home in Sydney for the next year. Levy's win capped off a great fall, following his third-place finish in the PokerNews Cup Main Event this November.
Lei He took the chip lead into the final table, narrowly ahead of Sol Bergren, with eventual champion Levy firmly in the middle of the pack. As the final nine players settled in around the table, the seating assignments and chip counts looked like this:
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
Larry Wright started off the day on the short stack, and he took his shot at doubling up early. After Lei He raised preflop, Wright moved all in over the top with . Lei He thought for a moment before making the call with . The board came down , and the king on the river sent Wright home in ninth place after just five hands at the final table. Wright earned $46,040 for his finish. Soon after, Jeremiah Vinsant raised from the small blind with , only to find Vijayan Nagarajan coming all in over the top of him from the big blind. Vinsant made the call and Nagarajan tabled . The flop left Nagarajan drawing to two outs, and when no seven came on the turn or river, he was eliminated in eighth place ($69,060).
Barry Kolhoff started off the next wild hand by pushing all in preflop. Vinsant went over the top for all of his chips, and then John Matwey put all of his chips in the middle for a three-way all in: With action over for the hand, the players tabled:
The flop came down and Kohlhoff took the lead with a pair of nines. The on the river gave Matwey outs to the flush draw, but the on the river triples up Kohlhoff. Vinsant's pocket fives took down the side pot and Matwey was eliminated in seventh place ($92,080). Kohlhoff's good fortune ws short-lived, as he busted out in sixth place when his couldn't run down Sol Bergren's . Bergren picked up a set of nines on the flop, and Kohlhoff was eliminated in sixth place ($115,100). Jai Kemp got all his chips in the middle in the very next hand with and found one caller in Grant Levy, with . A flop of put the hometown favorite in the lead, and when the rest of the board ran out , Kemp was eliminated in fifth place, parlaying his $11 online entry fee into $158,830.
Action slowed considerably once play became four-handed, as it took longer to eliminate the next player than it took to eliminate spots nine through five. Another 70 hands of play passed before Bergren called off the last of his chips in a big pot with Vinsant, holding to Vinsant's . who connected for the knockout. Bergren was eliminated in fourth place ($230,200).
After a few orbits of testing the waters three-handed, Levy opened for a raise from the button. Jeremiah Vinsant re-raised with , and Lei He announced all in. Levy folded and Vinsant called to see He's . No help on the board for He, and Vinsant's Jacks held up to eliminate Lei He in third place ($322,280).
Heads-up play lasted over 60 hands with Vinsant, a Tennessee native, battling back and forth with Sydney's own Grant Levy. It ended when Levy raised preflop with , and Vinsant called to see a flop of . Levey led out on the flop with his two pair, and Vinsant raised all in with . Levy called instantly. The on the turn left Vinsant drawing to the case queen for a chop, but the on the river sent him home in second place with $621,540.
Grant Levy became the first Australian to win a million-dollar prize on his home soil, taking down the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final and its winner's share of AU $1,000,000.