“A bracelet is my number one goal in life right now. It would mean everything to me.”
Those were the words of Mike Leah late on Thursday evening when he reached the final table of the $25,000 High Rollers Event at the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific. Less than 24 hours later and that goal had become reality as Leah overcame a tough final six players to capture the elusive bracelet and top prize of $600,000.
The second last day of the WSOP APAC would see attention turn from the Crown Poker Room to upstairs at Studio 3 at Crown Melbourne where a final table TV set had been built for the last two final tables of the series.
The $25,000 High Rollers Event attracted a field of 68 runners, and on Friday afternoon, the final six assembled to play it out for the gold. It was time for the big time as the ESPN cameras were rolling to broadcast the final table action live on ESPN around the world on a 30-minute delay.
After dominating around the bubble period, Mike Leah carried more than half the chips in play into the final table and was always going to be tough to stop. Leah’s huge chip stack also meant there were a number of short stacks and they were going to have to get busy in the early stages of play.
Sam Khouiss found a quick double up but Brian Roberts would be unable to do likewise. He got his chips in good with AJ against the QJ of David Yan but trip queens on the flop for Yan would leave Roberts to depart in sixth place.
Sylvia opened with a raise before Khouiss moved all in with A8. Duhamel tried to isolate with his pocket nines, but Sylvia wasn’t going anywhere as he insta-called with pocket queens. If that wasn’t dramatic enough, the board was spread A728Q to tease Khouiss with two pair before Sylvia spiked a two-outer river for the double knockout! Khouiss would take fifth place as the short stack, while Duhamel would have to be content with fourth place.
Play was quickly three-handed but Jesse Sylvia would find himself squashed in the middle of the relentless aggression of both Mike Leah and David Yan. Sylvia would take a few blows to his stack before he committed with pocket fives. Leah made the call with K3 and got the required help on the board of 424KK to eliminate Sylvia in third place.
Mike Leah would take a two-to-one chip advantage into heads-up play with David Yan and managed to chip away to extend that lead.
Yan was getting short and although he would find one double up, he couldn’t make it two. Leah would open-shove from the button with K7 and Yan called off a stack of around twelve big blinds with a dominated K4. The final board would run out 95T3A to crown Mike Leah as the 2014 WSOP APAC High Rollers champion. He captures his first bracelet along with a very handsome AU$600,000 in prize money.
“I feel very relieved and obviously very happy,” said Leah following his victory. “I don’t know if it has sunk in yet. I’ve been trying to accomplish this goal for so long!”
“It’s been such a goal of mine, I don’t think it would have mattered what tournament it is. Just having my first bracelet means a lot because when I get to six, seven, eight, it’s not going to matter where they came from, just how many.”
WSOP APAC $25,000 High Rollers Results
1st Mike Leah (Canada) – $600,000
2nd David Yan (New Zealand) – $360,025
3rd Jesse Sylvia (USA) – $216,811
4th Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) – $145,003
5th Sam Khouiss (Australia) – $110,078
6th Brian Roberts (USA) – $85,027
7th Sam Higgs (Australia) – $65,035
8th Andrew Hinrichsen (Australia) – $50,021
The final day of the 2014 WSOP APAC series on Saturday will see conclusion of the WSOP APAC Main Event with the final table of six returning at 3:30pm local time.
The 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific runs from October 2-18 live from the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, Austraila.
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