PokerStars.com APPT Sydney, Day 2: International Stars Fall
The 217 players who made it through three separate Day 1 flights at the PokerStars.com Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final returned to the Star City Casino in Sydney for a grueling Day 2. Over a long day's play, the field thinned down to the final 48 competitors, who made their weary way to bed with the comfort of a guaranteed cash to their credit. The star-studded field began with Chris Moneymaker, John Juanda, Van Marcus, Carter Gill, Wooka Kim and Gavin Griffin. By the end of Day 2, all of those players were on the sidelines while Frank Saffioti, Brendan Edmonds, Phil Willcocks and Marlon Goonawardana were among the top names on the leader board.
Among the early casualties was Terrence "Not Johnny" Chan, who busted on the first hand of the day. Tony Dunst and John Juanda joined him soon after, and Chris Moneymaker also busted in the first few levels. Van Marcus' Manila magic didn't carry over to Sydney, as the APPT champ busted early on Day 2. Marcus moved the last of his chips in preflop with J♥J♠, only to find himself facing John Mendel's A♣A♠. Like so many times on the way to his APPT victory in Manila, Marcus caught his card on the J♦2♦K♦ flop, but this time the A♥ on the turn gave Mendel a bigger set. The K♣ on the river was not the out Marcus was looking for, and he was busted.
Other eliminations on Day 2 included Lee "Final Table" Nelson, Masaaki Kagawa, Mark Vos and Gavin Griffin. Griffin lost a big pot to Eric Assadourian, then raised preflop with A-8. Michael Whibley re-raised, then quickly called Griffin's all-in with A-Q. Griffin was behind preflop, but took the lead on the A♥8♦10♦ flop. The Q♥ on the turn made a bigger two pair for Whibley, and Griffin needed help on the river. The K♥ wasn't it, and the EPT, WPT and WSOP champ missed his shot to add an APPT trophy to his crowded mantle.
As the evening wore on and the bubble neared, Marlon Goonawardana continued to build a head of steam and a huge stack. In one key hand, Goonawardana re-raised Andrew Meldrum preflop with 9♠9♦. Meldrum shipped the last of his chips in and Goonawardana made the call only to see Meldrum flip over A♦A♥ for the bigger pocket pair. In a cruel way to end things, the board ran out 3♦Q♠8♥10♠9♣, giving Goonawardana a set on the river to bust Meldrum and move him up near the top of the leader board. Other notable survivors included Day 1a chip leader Phil Willcocks and Jamie Pickering, who put on a late surge to move into the lead as play concluded.
After several all-in moments on the bubble, David Sanis was the bubble boy, leaving the event at the hands of Tim English. Sanis built his stack back up from tiny to merely short, but when he moved all in with A♥8♣, English quickly called with Q♥Q♠. The flop hit both players, coming down 8♠Q♣9♣, but English's set left Sanis needing to draw nearly perfect to survive. The 10♠ on the turn left Sanis drawing dead, and the irrelevant 3♥ came on the river as the remaining 48 players were in the money.
Join PokerNews at 12:30 PM Sydney time on Saturday as the remaining 48 players make their way to the final table and the AUD $1,000,000 top prize. Preliminary chip counts showed these players among the top ten chip stacks entering Day 3 play:
Frank Saffioti - 619,000
Brendan Edmonds - 508,000
Phil Willcocks - 390,000
Marlon Goonawardana - 370,000
Jamie Pickering - 360,000
Tony Basile - 355,000
Antonio Fazzolari - 342,000
Ray Lapitan - 330,000
Mamouni Smain - 320,000
Timothy English - 310,000