A perfect summer day with sunny rays and a light breeze blessed those that were looking forward to spending the weekend strolling around the beautiful harbour-side just beyond the boundaries of the Star City Casino. However, for 32 players, being outside was the last thing on their minds as they prepared to battle down to just a final table of nine at the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Sydney Grand Final.
The feature table was webcast around the world, and viewers got to see all the great plays and eliminations. Aussie Millions Champion Tyron Krost was one of the early eliminations and Grant Levy started to rocket up the leaderboard as many believed a fairytale result for the local might be on the cards.
Jarred Graham’s tournament ended short of where everyone expected, and although it may because of a sleepness night on the cash game tables, it was more due to a short-stacked race losing with . Jonathan Karamalikis’ domination at the top of the leaderboard was run down by Tom Rafferty, who called Mitchell Carle’s triple-barrel all-in bluff with on a final board of against Carle’s ace-high. Rafferty then became one of the most hated men in the room (for only a limited time) when he three-outed the 2007 Champion Levy eliminating him in 18th place and Karamalikis became the first player to soar into the seven-figure club.
Five hours into the tournament the field had been trimmed by half, then a quick flow of eliminations – including Inwook Choi and Brendon Rubie – saw just twelve remain with Karamalikis being joined by overnight chip leader Reza Vakili in the million-chip club.
PokerStars.net Team Pro Canada member Daniel Negreanu had been under the lights and cameras of the feature table for the whole day, but that didn’t stop him working hard to grind his way to his first APPT Final Table. He cracked aces with a flopped set early on, but from then on, Negreanu stayed aggressive before finding a huge double with on a board against . The river landed the and Negreanu managed to use the momentum of that hand to make it to hand-for-hand bubble play.
That hand-for-hand bubble period lasted just shy of two hours with countless short-stacks continuously doubling whether they had the best or worst of it. Inevitably it was overnight chip leader and local tournament regular Vakili who opted to shove holding , but Roland de Wolfe found and the board bricked out, we arrived at our final table after nearly ten hours of play.
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||BBs||Chip %|
|5||Roland de Wolfe||United Kingdom||1,663,000||83.2||19.2%|
Following his elimination of Vakili and some aggressive play beforehand, de Wolfe had accumulated over nineteen-percent of chips in play, or 1,663,000 in chips. Two other players not only sat in the seven-figure club, but also in the 1.6 million club, as Antoine Amourette (1,640,000) and Peco Stojanovski (1,608,000) rounded out the top three.
Sitting in fourth place is 2008 APPT Macau Champion Eddy Sabat who grinded the short stack for nearly all of Day 3 before crawling up the leaderboard to reach his second APPT Final Table. Amazingly, Tom Rafferty (482,000) is also reaching his second APPT Final Table after reaching this very one back in 2008. Unfortunately for both Sabat and Rafferty, they aren’t the first to achieve this feat as Van Marcus (2007 Manila, 2008 Manila), Charles Chua (2008 Macau, 2010 Manila), Leo Boxell (2009 Sydney, 2010 Auckland) and Tom Grigg (2009 Sydney, 2010 Auckland) have all done so previously. Sabat however is the first champion to make a secondary final table.
The story of the tournament however is the fact that one of poker’s most popular personalities is still alive in the final nine. Negreanu may be short-stacked with his 13.5 big blind stack, but with his experience and countless energy he still has a pretty good chance at claiming his first PokerStars sponsored event and the AU$459,510 first prize.
With not only the AU$459,510 first prize and title of champion on the line, but also the bragging rights of being one of the best players in the Australasia region, one of the last tournaments of the year is going to see one of the most intense and star-studded final tables the Southern Hemisphere has seen!
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be providing continuous live updates of all the action from 2:00 p.m. local time as we play down till just the 2010 PokerStars.net APPT Sydney Grand Final Champion remains!