There have been some exciting sweats and big stories emerge from the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific but arguably none were bigger than Phil Hellmuth’s quest on Saturday for WSOP bracelet number 14.
A man with an aura that few men can rival in the poker world, Phil Hellmuth is big news in Australia. Fans love to hang on the rail to watch him in action, and Hellmuth has been more than obliging when fans have asked him for pics or autographs, despite battling with Asthma throughout the week.
The “Poker Brat” is a fan favourite and everyone arrived to the Crown Poker Room on Saturday hoping to see Hellmuth make history.
In the end, it wasn’t to be. Hellmuth was unable to overcome the battles with Aussie duo AJ Antonios and Michael Tran. There were plenty of verbals exchange, and we were even treated to a quality Hellmuthian tantrum early on the final table when Antonios floated with ace-high and caught good on the turn.
A key blow would see Hellmuth lose a chunk of chips when he paid off Michael Tran’s quad jacks. Hellmuth slipped to the short stack and was unable to recover, eliminated a short time later with ace-seven against pocket fours in fourth place.
With Brazilian Bruno Politano first to be eliminated, followed by Japan’s Yu Kurita and then American Hellmuth, it would once again leave the Aussies to battle for the gold bracelet.
It was a dogged three-way battle between Michael Tran, Steven Zhou and AJ Antonios that was finally broken when Zhou pushed with top pair and Antonios gambled with the nut flush draw. Antonios missed the flush but spiked an ace on the river to claim the pot and take a monster chip lead into heads-up play.
Tran couldn’t get anything going heads-up and eventually had to make a move with T9. Antonios made the call with K4 with the board bricking out to crown our newest WSOP champion.
A bracelet was never even on the radar for 25-year old AJ Antonios, who is primarily a cash-game player. Following his win he said he merely “stumbled upon the bracelet”, describing his final table experience as fun rather than one filled with any pressure.
“Everyone was just having fun. I think poker needs to be about fun. Maybe it was originally about gambling, but when you combine the both, everyone has a good time. All my friends were watching on the live stream, so I wanted to make it entertaining for them.”
Australia now has six of the seven WSOP APAC bracelets this series with only three more events to go.
Check back a little later for a full wrap of the final table action.
$2,200 No Limit Hold’em Six-Max Results
1st Alexander “AJ” Antonios – $128,784
2nd Michael Tran – $79,646
3rd Steven Zhou – $55,365
4th Phil Hellmuth – $38,909
5th Yu Kurita – $27,624
6th Bruno Politano – $19,809
Mixed Event hits the final table
With no new event on Day 10 of the WSOP APAC, the only bracelet event in the main Crown Poker Room was the continuation of Event #8: $5,000 Mixed Event.
On Friday night 26 players bagged up chips, but they were joined on Day 2 by three late registrations – Tino Lechich, John Dalessandri and WSOP bracelet winner Jarrad Graham.
It would boost the total number of entrants to 48 – well down on last year’s total of 91 and only comparable with WSOP events such as the Big One For One Drop in terms of field size in recent years.
Overnight short stack Rob Campbell didn’t last long on Day 2, busting first hand of the day, and he was followed to the rail by Daniel Negreanu, Jeff Madsen, Dan Heimiller, Van Marcus, Shirley Rosario and the smack-talking Oliver Gill.
Brandon-Shack Harris started Day 2 well-placed, while fellow WSOP Player of the Year contender George Danzer was on the short stack, but that changed around 180 degrees during the day. Shack-Harris got short and was all in with KT during Limit Hold’em against the pocket sixes of Joe Hachem. The board bricked out to leave Shack-Harris to once again sweat the progress of Danzer, with a min-cash enough to see Danzer reclaim the WSOP POY lead.
Dylan Honeyman, Ami Barer and Mike Watson all fell short of the final table, before Joe Hachem’s quest for his second WSOP bracelet fell short in 12th place.
At the dinner break there were just ten players remaining with Tino Lechich holding the chip lead, despite only registering for this event at the start of Day 2.
Another in contention was Ismael Bojang. With twelve cashes at the WSOP this year (nine in Vegas and three in Melbourne), Bojang has already cashed in more WSOP events in a single year than anyone else in history, and he’s not finished yet!
“It’s nice to cash in all of those events, but I’d rather take first place in one of them!” chuckled Bojang. “Consistency is one thing, especially in the mixed games where there’s less variance compared to No Limit Hold’em where you can bust out at any time. But I just want to win one of them!”
When we caught up with Bojang on the dinner break, he was on the way towards WSOP cash number thirteen for the year after a solid day in the $5,000 Mixed Event.
“It’s been great. I started today pretty short with 12,000. I just won the important pots. The big three-bet pots that you get in mixed games. I’ve been pretty lucky I guess.”
So perhaps this was Bojang’s best opportunity yet to win that elusive bracelet?
“I thought that in the PLO event a few days ago, but I made a big mistake there with seven players to go. There’s still ten players left here so you never know what might happen.”
As it turned out Bojang was able to survive the final session of play to reach the top six players and the money. Jamie Pickering, Bruno Portaro and Richard Ashby failed to advance and when Brian Rast lost a coin flip in No Limit Hold’em he was out on the bubble to bring the evening to a close.
They’ve all locked up $13,310 in prize money but for George Danzer, he may have secured something that money can’t buy. By reaching the final six players and the money, Danzer also picked up enough points to reclaim the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race. In a see-sawing battle with Brandon Shack-Harris, Danzer survived as the short stack for most of the day, knowing that a cash result would be enough for him to take the lead once again. Now with that out of the way, he’ll turn his attention towards winning his third WSOP braclet.
Also looking for a third bracelet is chip leader Scott Clements. He had a strong finish to the day to bag up 179,200 chips, although he wasn’t entirely satisfied with his performance.
“I still feel bad because I made a bad lay down, so I probably could’ve had more chips,” explained Clements.
“I ran hot at the final table but could’ve had more. I always dwell on the mistakes and I know I should’ve called in that one spot and I didn’t.”
$5,000 Mixed Game Final Table
Seat 1: George Danzer – 26,800
Seat 2: Sam Khouiss – 169,500
Seat 3: Jonathan Duhamel – 175,200
Seat 4: Scott Clements – 179,200
Seat 5: Ismael Bojang – 79,700
Seat 6: Tino Lechich – 90,500
It’s time for the big one!
The 11th day of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific will finally bring the day that many have been waiting for – the $10,000 WSOP APAC Main Event! With two opening day flights, it’s expected that a big field will choose Day 1a on a Sunday to start their journey towards poker immortality. The action kicks off at 12:30pm local time.
There will also be a bracelet awarded on Sunday with the $5,000 Mixed Event producing a highly-talented line up that will be desperate to grab the gold. Play will restart at 12:10pm with a live stream available on wsop.com.
The 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) runs from October 2-18 in the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, Australia.
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