The final day on the latest stop of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour saw 34 players return to the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, Australia. Eyes were on the AU$253,000 top prize and the 2014 ANZPT Melbourne title. But as always, there can be only one winner and on this occasion it was Edison "GooGieMonA" Nguyen who outlasted all others to be crowned the champion of the largest ANZPT in history.
Nguyen is widely considered one of Australia's finest poker talents, both live and online. Earlier this year Nguyen won the $2,500 Pot-Limit Omaha event at the Aussie Millions and he has now added an ANZPT title, and after a heads-up deal, a massive AU$217,500 to his résumé.
Final Table Payouts
*Denotes heads-up deal
For Nguyen to get to the top, 33 others had to hit the rail. The first of those, and the player to have the shortest final day at the felt, was Michael Chrisanthopoulos (34th - AU$4,600). From there, players like Anthony Aston (30th - AU$5,150), Phillip Willcocks (27th - AU$5,700), Henry Tran (24th - AU$6,250), Luke Brabin (23rd - AU$6,250), Luke Edwards (21st - AU$7,200), Anthony Legg (15th - AU$9,300), Joe Reina (12th - AU$11,400), and Roberto Damelian (11th - AU$11,400) all hit the rail with some cash for their time.
When Michael Caruana was eliminated in 10th place, collecting AU$11,400, the final table was set.
It was just a few minutes after the final table began that Cameron Bryce would hit the rail. He three-bet all in for 405,000 from the cutoff seat after Dennis Huntly had opened it up from under the gun plus one. Vincent Chua then flat-called from the small blind before Huntly put his big stack all in. Chua eventually opted to fold, and it was Huntly’s against Bryce’s . No help came for Bryce and with that, he was eliminated in ninth place, collecting AU$18,550.
Eight-handed action would last quite a while as the chips were somewhat shared around the table. Then, all of a sudden, four players hit the rail in quick succession.
First Gabriel Messo hit the rail in eighth place when his couldn’t improve against Luke Spano’s . Then, there was a massive double elimination.
Dylan Honeyman was the short stack in the three-way all-in clash and found himself at risk with the . Chua was also all in with his . This big stack in this situation was Corey Kempson, who held the . The board ran out a dramatic , giving Kempson the flush on the turn and enough to send Honeyman home in seventh place for AU$33,500 and Chua home in sixth place for AU$43,800.
Just a short while after the double bust-out, Wayde Rickhuss found the rail in fifth place, collecting AU$54,200. Rickhuss had been the short stack pretty much the entire day and ultimately couldn’t claim one final all in when he had the against Nguyen’s .
Four-handed play didn’t last long, as Luke Spano quickly followed Rickhuss out the door. He was short stacked and all in preflop holding the against the of Kempson. No help came for Spano and he was eliminated in fourth place, taking home AU$69,700.
When only three players remained, the tempo changed completely as it would take almost four hours to reach heads-up. In the end it was Huntly who hit the rail in third place. Huntly was short stacked and in the big blind when Nguyen shoved from the small blind. Huntly found a call with his and was looking good against Nguyen’s . Then the dealer spread out a board and despite Huntly hitting a pair of aces, Nguyen made two pair and send Huntly home with AU$87,800.
As soon as heads-up play began, Nguyen and Kempson decided to discuss a deal. Depsite having 5.4 million in chips to Nguyen’s 4.9 million, Kempson agreed to let Nguyen lock up AU$210,000 and leave himself with a guaranteed AU$195,500. These amounts meant AU$7,500 was left over for the eventual champion.
Once the cards were back in the air following the deal, there was some strange heads-up play that made APPT President Danny McDonagh and Crown Poker TD Joel Williams pause the action. The reason was because of a hand that saw Nguyen limp the button, Kempson then raise to four million, Nguyen move all in and Kempson fold and leave himself with just 400,000 behind. McDonagh and Williams discussed what was occurring and had reason to believe that some sort of deal for Nguyen to take home the trophy may have been made. McDonagh implored the two players to rethink that deal in respect to the integrity of the game. Both Nguyen and Kempson seemed to understand what was being asked of them and so the cards started being dealt again.
Then, just a few minutes after that hullabaloo, Kempson and Nguyen decided to go all in blind. Nguyen had Kempson covered and it was his against Kempson’s . The board ran out and it was all over as Kempson was the runner-up and Nguyen had been crowned the champion.
Congratulations to all the final table players, but especially to Edison Nguyen who will now go down in the record books as having won the largest ANZPT in history. The next event on the tour will be ANZPT Auckland which takes place from November 15-23.
We must also take this opportunity to congratulate APPT President Danny McDonagh and all the team at the ANZPT, along with Crown Poker's TD Joel Williams for hosting a record-breaking event.
*Lead photo courtesy of Poker Asia Pacific.