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PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour Auckland: Simon Watt Keeps the Title In New Zealand

Simon Watt

The final day of the 2009 Asia Pacific Poker Tour Auckland Main Event saw the final nine competitors return to the SKYCITY Casino with Simon Watt locking up the title and the $209,085 NZD first-place prize.

The day started out rather slowly thanks to the APPT "40 Big Blinds Rule," which saw the clock wound back to the 6,000/12,000/1,000 level to ensure that the average chip stack would still have 40 big blinds when play commenced.

Ke Sijia found an early double-up while Richard Lancaster stormed to the early chip lead thanks to a triple-barrel bluff by the aggressive Michael Shinzaki.

Ultimately, Shinzaki's aggression was his downfall, though, as he ran his {K-Diamonds}{5-Hearts} into the {A-Clubs}{J-Diamonds} of Gerome Guitteau, and saw the board run out {7-Clubs}{A-Hearts}{10-Spades}{9-Hearts}{K-Hearts}, knocking him out in ninth place for $14,202 NZD.

Lance Climo, a popular local hope, was next to exit when he committed his short stack with {A-Clubs}{10-Spades} and found himself dominated by Watt's {A-Diamonds}{K-Clubs}. The board ran out {J-Hearts}{2-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{K-Spades}{2-Diamonds} and Climo collected $18,936 NZD for his eighth-place finish.

Assadour Assadourian, Eric's father, was next to be eliminated. He put in a great showing in this event but succumbed in seventh place when his {Q-Clubs}{J-Spades} for top pair on the {J-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{8-Diamonds} flop ran into Guitteau's flopped two pair with the {7-Clubs}{8-Clubs}. The turn was the {2-Clubs} and river the {4-Spades} and Assadourian collected $23,670 NZD for his tournament play.

The defiant short stack of German Jens Walther saw his demise in a classic preflop race against the Guitteau. In a battle of the blinds, Walther took a stand with {A-Spades}{Q-Hearts} against Guitteau's {5-Clubs}{5-Spades} but found no help from the {7-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{4-Clubs}{9-Spades}{9-Diamonds} board. He exited in sixth place for $31,560 NZD.

Lancaster, who was the chip leader at one point, became the short stack but looked set to double up when his last chips went into the middle preflop holding {A-Clubs}{K-Clubs} against Guitteau's {A-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}. The flop was safe, coming {3-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{8-Spades}, but the {10-Hearts} turn gave Guitteau a heap of outs. The {K-Diamonds} hit the river to complete his Broadway straight, much to the disappointment of locals on the rail, and Lancaster was eliminated in fifth, good for $42,606 NZD.

With the remaining players prepared to play big pots, the bustouts kept coming. In a rare limped pot, the players saw a flop of {J-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}, Sijia fired 70,000 before being check-raised to 200,000 by Guitteau. Sijia made the call and the {3-Hearts} hit the turn. Guitteau moved all in and Sijia made a quick call with {10-Hearts}{9-Hearts}; however, he needed to improve against Guitteau's {J-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}. Improvement wasn't meant to be, as the {Q-Diamonds} river gave Guitteau the flush and another scalp, leaving Sijia to collect $55,230 NZD for his fourth-place finish.

After a quick chat between the three remaining players, the pace kicked up even more when Jason Brown shoved all-in over the top of an opening raise by Watt, who insta-called with {K-Clubs}{K-Diamonds}. Brown's {5-Hearts}{5-Clubs} was in deep trouble and another king on the flop was more than enough to give the 2-million-chip pot to Watt and leave Brown crippled. Brown was eliminated soon after in third place for $82,845 NZD.

Guitteau held a narrow advantage over Watt and maintained his aggression with several three-bets preflop. It didn't take long for Watt to make a stand as he four-bet to 525,000 with Guitteau making the call out-of-position to see the {8-Spades}{10-Hearts}{7-Clubs} flop. Guitteau checked and with over one million chips already in the middle, Watt decided to move all-in. Guitteau insta-called with {J-Hearts}{8-Clubs} for a pair and straight draw to have Watt in a world of hurt with his {A-Diamonds}{4-Spades}. Incredibly, the {A-Spades} hit for Watt and gave him the lead. The river was the {Q-Spades} and Watt had most of the chips in play with Guitteau crippled with just 540,000 chips.

Moments later, the Guitteau moved them in preflop with {K-Clubs}{7-Clubs}, Watt made the call with {5-Clubs}{5-Hearts}, and the board ran out {Q-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}{J-Spades}{9-Diamonds}{J-Clubs} to eliminate Guitteau in second place for $142,020 NZD in prize money.

The cash and the trophy once again remain in New Zealand as the local 26-year-old software developer, Simon Watt, was crowned the 2009 APPT Auckland champion. After qualifying through a $22 rebuy tournament on PokerStars, Watt pockets a life-changing $209,085 NZD prize and established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the Australasian poker circuit!

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