Rast Playing to Win, Hellmuth Through to Day 2

Brian Rast

Brian Rast in the mix for another WSOP bracelet (Photos courtesy of Poker Asia Pacific)

The feature event of Day 8 of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific was the final table of the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Event where six players headed to the studio final table area to crown the fifth bracelet winner of the series.

It has been a series dominated by the locals and this final table shaped to go the same way when Sam Higgs arrived to the final table with over half of the chips in play.

Higgs managed to navigate through international stars Ismael Bojang and Jonathan Duhamel and two of Australia’s best in Jeff Rossiter and Jamie Pickering.

It left Higgs to take on Canadian Mike Watson for the bracelet. It would be the third time that Watson would reach this stage at a WSOP event but once again the bracelet would slip through his grasp.

Sam Higgs

Sam Higgs

After betting on the flop of 5JQ, Watson moved all in on the 4 turn. Higgs decided to gamble and tabled 4689 for a pair with flush and straight draws for plenty of outs to get past Watson’s KK67. The dealer revealed the T on the river to complete Higgs’ straight to claim an emphatic victory and the fourth Australian bracelet this WSOP APAC series.

Click here for a complete wrap of the final table action.

Event #5: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Results

1st Sam Higgs – $127,843
2nd Mike Watson – $79,099
3rd Jonathan Duhamel – $52,068
4th Jamie Pickering – $36,449
5th Jeff Rossiter – $27,011
6th Ismael Bojang – $21,123
7th Kahle Burns – $17,386
8th Richard Johnston – $15,021

The second event of the day was the continuation of the $1,650 Dealer’s Choice 8-Game Event where 19 players returned to strive to reach the money for the top nine and the WSOP final table.

Overnight chip leader Gary Benson wouldn’t have things go his way on Day 2 as he became an early casualty after losing a couple of coin flips in No Limit Holdem. He was joined on the rail by the likes of Jeff Madsen, Jeff Gross and Frank Kassela before Srdjan Brkic lost back-to-back Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo hands to Sam Khouiss to become the unfortunate bubble boy.

Safely in the money, Shivan Abdine (9th) was unfortunate to see his eight-perfect wasn’t enough to beat the number one of Rory Young in 2-7 Triple Draw, before Michael Wang (8th) made two pair in Seven-Card Stud Hi-Lo but that wasn’t enough to rake in any chips against the better two pair of George Danzer.

With seven left, the players redrew for the final table but it wouldn’t take long before Samuel Ngai would fall to bring the day to a close. Once again, the game was 2-7 Triple Draw with Ngai making a jack-low and David Zhao needing to draw one to improve. He squeezed his final card and produced an eight-low which was good to eliminate Ngai in seventh place and end the day’s play.

Aussie youngster Rory Young is the chip leader and has the chance to become Australia’s youngest-ever bracelet winner on Friday. However close behind Young is a man with a little more experience at this level, two-time bracelet winner Brian Rast.

“I feel good,” said Rast following the day’s play. “I started today below average in chips and I went on a monster run. I actually won most of the chips that I ended the day with in just the first level.”

Of course Rast is best-known for his victory in the WSOP $50,000 Player’s Championship in 2011 for over $1.7 million in prize money. He also cashed in the Dealer’s Choice event at the WSOP in Las Vegas this year to make it a unique cash double in this discipline.

“I like the Dealer’s Choice format,” said Rast. “It was different in Vegas as there were so many other games. It’s fun picking the game. There’s a little bit of strategy to it depending on who is on your table.”

Rast went on to explain that his game selection strategy was also based largely on his sole focus. Victory.

Brian Rast

Brian Rast

“I’m playing to win,” declared Rast confidently. “I couldn’t care less about laddering. It’s a pretty small prize pool to be honest. I have zero ICM considerations. I just play to win. So I just pick big bet games.”

“I think the big bet games are probably my best games. I mean there have been some limit games that I have liked when they were picked, and to be honest, most of my chips that were won today came in 2-7 Triple Draw and Stud Eight-or-Better, which I didn’t pick once. I don’t really mind, but when it’s my pick, I’m likely going to just go with No Limit Hold’em and just try to ‘beast it’.”

Rast also feels that his confidence and experience will hold him in good stead on the final table on Friday.

“When it’s your first time or second time on a WSOP final table, it’s pretty natural to get nervous. I’m not nervous. I’ve been in this situation a bunch of times, I’ve had wins before. Monetarily speaking, this is very small for me, so I’m not stressing that at all. There’s zero pressure on me right now. But a bracelet, is a bracelet.”

There are a couple of other interesting stories on this final table. Jason Gray has made his second WSOP APAC final table in as many events, and will be keen to grab that elusive first bracelet, while a lot of attention will be on George Danzer. A fourth place finish or better will see Danzer reclaim top spot on the WSOP Player of the Year race in what has been an enthralling duel with Brandon Shack-Harris. There aren’t too many more events left to grab points, so this result could be crucial to the final WSOP POY outcome.

$1,650 Dealer’s Choice 8-Game Final Table Counts

Rory Young – 102,300
Brian Rast – 96,400
David Zhao – 89,000
Sam Khouiss – 58,300
George Danzer – 34,100
Jason Gray – 23,400

Short-handed action

The final event of the day saw a field of 243 players take to the field for the $2,200 No Limit Holdem Six-Handed Event. A popular format of poker anywhere in the world, the juicy prize pool of $486,000 would be divided among the top 27 players with a top prize determined at $128,784.

Once again the big names were in action, some of which were looking for their first cash of the series, while a host of locals jumped head first into the action. There were also a few new faces as some more big names slowly trickle into Melbourne to play the big events and of course, the Main Event which starts on Sunday.

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth

A full ten levels would be played which would reduce the field to just 31 players and just four places from the money bubble.

November Niner Bruno Politano was prominent from the get-go, with Jesse Sylvia, Brendon Rubie, Ami Barer and Steven Zhou also progressing well to reach Day 2.

Also making his first Day 2 of the series is 13-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth. After being short-stacked for most of the day, Hellmuth found a fortunate double up with king-queen against ace-king, and from there he surged in the last level of the day to end among the chip leaders.

$2,200 No Limit Holdem Top Ten Counts

Alexander Antonios – 138,200
Steven Zhou – 92,000
Aik-Chuan Nee – 88,500
Phil Hellmuth – 82,500
Bruno Politano – 82,500
Jackson Zheng – 72,900
Kris Nestorovic – 72,400
Ashley Mason – 63,100
Ami Barer – 61,400
Michael Tran – 61,200


Thank God it’s Friday because that means that it’s time for the final table of the $1,650 Dealer’s Choice 8-Game Event. There are many stories that may unfold in this one with all six remaining players extremely talented and well-credentialed. The action kicks off at 12:10pm local time.

Meanwhile Day 2 of the $2,200 No Limit Hold’em Six-Handed Event will play down to a final table of six from 12:30pm, while the new event of the day is the $5,000 Mixed Event which will attract a highly-talented field at 2:10pm.

The other event on the schedule is the 7th Annual Joe Hachem & Shane Warne Charity Event which will be held at JJ’s at Crown Melbourne. The dress code is “Lounge Suit” but if you can dust off the old jacket, then $1,000 will get you a seat for that event from 6:15pm local time.

The 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific runs from October 2-18 in the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, Australia.

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