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2014 WSOP APAC Day 5: Junzhong Loo Captures Malaysia's First Gold Bracelet

Junzhong Loo

Action continued at Crown Casino on Monday in Melbourne, Australia, for the fifth day of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific. It was a day that saw another gold bracelet awarded, and this one was historic as Junzhong Loo won the AU$2,200 No-Limit Hold'em to win Malaysia's first WSOP bracelet.

Elsewhere around the complex, the AU$1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha finished out Day 2 with only six players remaining, and the AU$1,650 No-Limit Hold'em Terminator got underway.

AU$2,200 No-Limit Hold'em

On Saturday, Event 2: AU$2,200 No-Limit Hold'em took center stage at Crown Melbourne as 215 players took to the felt to create a AU$430,000 prizepool.

Day 1 would be a fast-paced affair that saw just 31 players sneak into Day 2 that played all the way down to the final 10 when play was halted prior to the final table due to a health concern of Aik-Chuan Nee. Returning ton Monday, the final 10 competitors would all had their eyes locked onto the AU$107,500 first prize and coveted WSOP gold bracelet.

After doubling up early, Fred Chaptini became the official final-table bubble boy when his {A-Clubs}{A-Spades} was cracked by Nee's {8-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}.

Then, chips were passed back and forth for close to two hours before a quick flow of eliminations saw Michael O'Grady, Feng Zhou, and Sam Ruha all eliminated in three consecutive hands before Samuel Ngai joined them on the rail three hands later after losing a race.

One of the craziest hands of the tournament — if not the entire WSOP Asia-Pacific — then saw Peco Stojanovski on the rail when he battled blind-on-blind against Nee. Nee limped the small blind holding the {6-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}, and Stojanovski checked his {7-Spades}{2-Clubs} as the dealer fanned an {8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} flop. Nee bet, and Stojanovski called to see the {2-Hearts} fall on the turn. Nee bet again, with Stojanovski once again making the call. The river landed the {2-Spades}, and Nee bet out 48,000 before Stojanovski moved all in for 148,000. Nee snap-called holding a straight flush, and that demolished Stojanovski's full house.

After riding his luck multiple times, Martin Kozlov ran out of lives as he succumbed in fourth place when his {K-Clubs}{9-Clubs} couldn't outdraw Junzhong Loo's {K-Spades}{10-Spades}. The three remaining players then swirled chips between them before a short-stacked Luke Spano committed holding the {J-Clubs}{6-Spades} against Loo's {A-Clubs}{4-Hearts}. Although he turned a flush draw to be drawing against Loo's top pair, Spano was unable to spike a spade and exited in third place, leaving Malaysia's Loo (932,000) and Nee (358,000) to battle it out for the country's first bracelet.

Nee began the heads-up battle closing the gap before Loo pushed his lead out further. Chips continued to be exchanged between the two, but after a hand that saw Loo get value from two pair, the final hand played out that saw Nee all in holding the {2-Hearts}{2-Spades} against Loo's {6-Hearts}{6-Spades}. The {5-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}{4-Hearts} flop gave Nee some additional outs, but when the turn and river filled out the {8-Diamonds} and {8-Clubs}, Nee was eliminated in second place and Loo was crowned the champion.

Final Table Results

1Junzhong LooMalaysiaAU$107,500
2Aik-Chuan NeeMalaysiaAU$66,400
3Luke SpanoAustraliaAU$48,358
4Martin KozlovAustraliaAU$35,763
5Peco StojanovskiAustraliaAU$26,862
6Samuel NgaiCanadaAU$20,490
7Sam RuhaNew ZealandAU$15,867
8Feng ZhouSingaporeAU$12,470
9Michael O'GradyAustraliaAU$9,946

For Loo, this is not only his first WSOP bracelet, but also the first for his country as Malaysia had yet to claim a WSOP title. What makes it more memorable for Loo was that he defeated his good friend Nee heads-up — someone he actually taught how to play the game.

AU$1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha

For the second time this festival, a Day 3 of an event will be an all-Australian affair.

Six players will return on Tuesday to conclude the AU$1,650 Pot-Limit Omaha event and crown the third gold bracelet winner from Down Under this year. Leading the pack will be Zane Ly, who is appearing at his second final table this series. Earlier in the AU$1,100 No-Limit Hold'em Accumulator, Ly finished in sixth place and took home AU$25,234. He bagged up a field-leading 181,000 in chips.

Coming in places two, three, and four on the leaderboard are three Australian Poker Hall of Fame members — Jason Gray (160,000), Jeff Lisandro (69,000), and Gary Benson (68,000). Lisandro will be looking to earn his sixth WSOP gold bracelet, whereas Benson will aim for his second.

And then you have the two Pauls — Paul Sharbanee with 46,000, and Paul Mac with 34,000 — bringing up the rear.

At the start of Day 2, 22 players remained. Six of those needed to hit the rail before the money was reached, and Daniel Chevalier was the first to go. He was followed out the door by Ami Barer, Tam Truong, Darian Tan, and Michael Wang before Edison Nguyen was eliminated on the bubble in 17th place.

After Nguyen's finish just outside the money, Van Marus, David Lim, Mike Watson, Paul Elliott, Scott Davies, Ismael Bojang, and Mel Judah all headed to the payout desk. It was then that the remaining nine players formed around one table. Vadim Pinsky hit the rail in ninth place, and Oliver Gill headed out the door in eighth. That left just seven players and only one more needed to go home before play was ended for the night. That ended up being Stephen Woodhead in seventh place.

Each of the six remaining competitors has locked up a minimum of AU$9,282. Up top is AU$51,660 plus the coveted WSOP gold bracelet. Play will resume at 12:10 p.m. local time on Tuesday, and you can be sure to find all the live updates from start to finish right here on

AU$1,650 No-Limit Hold'em Terminator

The 2014 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific continued on Monday as 250 players turned out for Event #4 AU$1,650 No-Limit Hold’em Terminator, a tournament that put a $500 bounty on everyone’s head. Additionally, a prize pool of AU$250,000 was created with AU$61,250 reserved for the winner.

The plan for the day was to play 10 one-hour levels, but toward the end of the night just 28 players remained, and with all but one of them slated to make the money, the decision was made to play an extra level in the hope of bursting the bubble. It took a while, but eventually Nick Piskopos, who finished as the Day 1 chip leader, went runner-runner to eliminate 2013 WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Riess as the bubble boy.

1Nick Piskopos189,500
2David Bowen119,100
3Josh Barrett82,100
4Darian Tan70,500
5Nelson Maccini66,900
6Dylan Hortin62,000
7Yanji Ge51,800
8Daniel Neilson48,000
9Xue Wu47,100
10Tony Hachem41,900

Piskopos got most of his chips in Level 8 (200/400/50) when three players each put in 800 preflop and saw a flop of {7-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{q-Clubs}. From there, they each put in 2,675, the dealer burned and turned the {5-Clubs}, and Mario Doria bet 10,000 from the big blind. The third player folded, and then Piskopos raised all in for roughly 50,000. Doria called off for 38,000 and the cards were turned up.

Piskopos: {8-Spades}{9-Clubs}
Doria: {q-Spades}{10-Diamonds}

Piskopos decided to ride or die with his up-and-down straight draw, which he needed to his as Doria was sitting with top two pair. The dealer burned one last time and put out the {6-Clubs} on the river. Piskopos spiked his straight and Doria was sent to the rail.

Others who fell on Day 1 were reigning Aussie Millions champ Ami Barer; 13-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth; Australia’s own Jackie Glazier; 2006 WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen; birthday boy Winfred Yu; Big One for One Drop champ Antonio Esfandiari; reigning WSOP APAC champ Daniel Negreanu; and Luke Brabin, who was fresh off a bracelet win.

This past weekend, George Danzer passed Brandon Shack-Harris atop the 2014 World Series of Poker Player of the Year leaderboard, which is a race hotly contested between the two. Shack-Harris has exacted some revenge by eliminating Danzer for Event #4 and then going on to make the money, ensuring valuable POY points that will give him back the lead.

In what would be Danzer's final hand, which took place in Level 9 (300/600/75), the player on the button opened for 1,300 and Danzer three-bet to 3,400 from the small blind. Shack-Harris then four-bet to 8,200 from the big, the original raiser folded, and Danzer moved all in for 15,750. Shack-Harris called and it was off to the races.

Shack-Harris: {10-Spades}{10-Hearts}
Danzer: {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs}

Danzer needed to improve, but that proved easier said than done as the board ran out a clean {3-Spades}{5-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{8-Spades}. With that, Danzer sent his $500 bounty chip to Shack-Harris, who went on to bag 21,400.

Others who made it through to Day 2 are David Bowen (119,100), Dylan Hortin (62,000), Daniel Neilson (48,000), Tony Hachem (41,900), Mike Watson (40,600), and Ismael Bojang (26,100).

The remaining 27 players will return to action at 12:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday to play down to the final table of nine. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there every step of the way to bring you all the action and eliminations from the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, so be sure to check back then.

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