After a Saturday evening party of presidential proportions, the final nine players arrived at the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel and Casino for the conclusion of the 2009 Asian Poker Tour Macau Main Event.
Play started three days ago with 326 of the finest players in the world, with young gun Inwook Choi entering today’s play with the chip lead over one of the more intriguing final table lineups in recent memory. Starting the day with five short stacks, there was always going to be early fireworks and we didn’t have to wait long for our first bustout.
Casey Kastle became the first player to make three consecutive APT final tables, but his final table experience was short-lived as he was eliminated in 9th place after a cruel bad beat. His last chips were in the middle in good shape with his pocket kings up against the pocket nines of Adrien Allain, however the board was spread making a straight for Allain in what would turn out be a memorable day for the young Frenchman.
With Wilfred Yu departed in 8th, Allain started to take control of the table after another big pot saw the elimination of Crister Hallbrook in 7th. The chips went into the middle on a flop of with Hallbrook in front with his against Allain’s for a pair and straight draw. When a deuce spiked on the turn it was all over for Hallbrook as Allain surged up the leaderboard.
Allain joined the leaders moments later when he woke up with pocket kings against the of Michael Woo with the board bricking out to eliminate Woo in 6th place. The final table was suddenly down to five players within twenty minutes of play!
With the elimination of Chris Chau in 5th place, J.C. Tran and David Steicke started to get a little busier. Allain maintained his aggression and held the chip lead four-handed, and Steicke found himself in the unfamiliar spot of the short stack.
At the break, Steicke commented that he thought the tournament wouldn’t last another level, and he was half right, as his tournament was over a few short hands later. Steicke couldn’t get much going today and struggled, having the tough J.C. Tran directly to his left, and eventually committed his last chips with pocket nines only to have Choi insta-call with his pocket kings. Steicke couldn’t find a nine to save him and departed in 4th place.
With the elimination of Steicke, the table dynamic changed immediately from big ball to small ball, as Allain, Choi and Tran were content to limp into pots and see cheap flops. While this was expected to benefit the experienced Tran, he was unable to get any momentum against his two talented opponents.
Tran found a much needed double up with a dominated against Allain’s when a seven spiked on the turn, but couldn’t defy elimination a second time around. Tran’s last chips were in the middle with with both opponents making the call. The board ran out giving Tran two pair, but Allain a queen-high straight with his eliminating the Poker Pack Pro in 3rd place.
Allain carried a two-to-one chip advantage into heads up play and we didn’t have to wait long for our final hand. After a series of preflop raises, Choi called off the last of his chips with to find himself in great shape against Allain’s . However it was destiny for the 23-year old Frenchman as he spiked a three on the board to eliminate Choi as our runner-up.
Adrien Allain qualified for the APT Macau Main Event in a US $5 online satellite at PKR.com and is now the toast of Asian poker as he collected US $391,556, and a beautiful trophy for the fine victory.
Congratulations to Adrien and to the Asian Poker Tour for another truly memorable event. We are already counting down the days until the next APT event in Manila, Philippines in January 2010.
Final Table Payouts:
1st Adrien Allain - $391,556
2nd Inwook Choi - $214,158
3rd JC Tran - $117,470
4th David Steicke - $91,378
5th Chris Chau - $65,279
6th Michael Woo - $52,223
7th Crister Hallbrook - $39,167
8th Winfred Yu - $26,112
9th Casey Kastle - $16,996
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