The fourth bracelet of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific was awarded on Day 7 of the series with Australia notching up win number three in the $1,650 Terminator Event.
In the end it would be Scott Calcagno who defeated Nelson Maccini in a dour heads-up battle to claim the WSOP bracelet, the top prize of AU$61,245 and a dozen terminator buttons worth an additional AU$6,000.
$1,650 No Limit Hold’em Terminator Event
1st Scott Calcagno – $61,245
2nd Nelson Maccini – $37,845
3rd Andrew Dales – $27,343
4th Duncan McKinnon – $20,123
5th Nick Piskopos – $15,075
6th Brandon Shack-Harris – $11,488
7th Henry Tran – $8,900
8th Tony Hachem – $7,008
9th Joe Cabret – $5,605
Higgs dominates the PLO
Just 19 players bagged up their chips following play on Day 1 of Event #5: $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha, however due to the underwhelming size of the field, it was decided to leave registration open until the start of Day 2 to offer some latecomers the chance to join the field.
The temptation of being within striking distance of the money and the bracelet was too much to resist for seven players who ponied up $5,000 to sit in a WSOP bracelet event with just 12.5 big blinds.
Kahle Burns, Brian Roberts, Mitch Carle, Vincent Wan, Nick Oiberman, Sean Winter and reigning World Champion Ryan Riess were those to join the field to flush it out to a total of 80 entrants. The top eight would finish in the money with the top prize determined as AU$127,843.
Dan Heimiller was probably wishing he’d just bought in on Day 2 as he started the day with even less chips and was unable to mount a comeback. He was joined on the rail by Kaz Jomeen, Billy “The Croc” Argyros, Mitch Carle and former WSOP APAC bracelet winner Aaron Lim.
At the other end of the scale it was local Sam Higgs doing a lot of the damage. Higgs disposed of John Dalessandri with his kings making a straight to crack Dalessandri’s aces to climb into the chip lead approaching the final two tables.
Richard Johnson achieved a rare feat by eliminating not one, but two World Champions on the very same hand. The action was preflop with Greg Merson going with a double-suited ace-king, while Ryan Riess also committed with kings, but it was Johnson’s aces which held to land the double champ KO.
Daniel Negreanu stormed into contention with a set over set, but almost as soon as the rail was getting excited of another “Kid Poker” final table in Australia, Negreanu had called off his stack with top set only to run into the straight of Jonathan Duhamel.
Brian Roberts, Richard Ashby and Jason Gray were bundled out, and when Vincent Wan’s aces were outflopped by the kings of Nathan Pan, the players formed for the unofficial final table of nine.
One more elimination would be required to burst the money bubble and it would be Pan who would be the one to miss out in a one-two blow. The second of which saw him commit all in on a board of A5A7 holding AJ86 for trip aces with a straight draw. However Sam Higgs showed AKT9 for a bigger kicker which proved to be important when the 2 blanked the river. Pan was out empty-handed while the remaining players had locked up $15,021.
Richard Johnston was first to the cashier as Mike Watson made a straight, before Kahle Burns ran kings into Watson’s aces to depart in seventh place. This was Burns’ second final table of the WSOP APAC series so far and he was the only player of the seven late registrations on Day 2 of this event to make it to the money.
“I didn’t play yesterday as I thought I’d rather play cash games if they were good,” explained Burns over his decision. “But then I saw there were only 19 players left, so I came in today and thought if not too many people register, it’s such a great chance as we’re so close to cashing.”
Burns was undeterred by the thought of starting the day with just 12.5 big blinds against such a high quality field.
“I know it’s really short, but at the same time, I thought it was okay, just because it was such a good chance to cash considering how many runners were left in the field, and if I could get an early double up, I would be okay.”
So was the decision to play all about the money or the lure of the bracelet?
“A bit of both. I thought it was an okay money spot but also for bracelet hunting,” said Burns. “I can’t be disappointed with the result. I made the money after coming into the day so short, so it’s not too bad, but when you get to a final table it’s obviously disappointing not to go further.”
While Burns went to collect $17,386 from the cashier for a nice little profit for a few hours’ work, the remaining six players bagged up their chips and called it a day.
It’s a stacked final table including international superstars Mike Watson, Ismael Bojang and Jonathan Duhamel, as well as local talents Jeff Rossiter and Jamie Pickering. However the man they have to stop is the giant-crushing Sam Higgs who managed to bag up more than half the total chips in play.
“I can’t complain. Very happy,” said Higgs at the end of the day’s play. “I had a few big swings today so it feels good to end up on top.”
A crucial hand for Higgs came towards the end of the day when he limped in with aces, flopped a set and managed to get three streets of value against fellow big stack Ismael Bojang. Higgs recalled the hand:
“I limped with aces and hit my set. I’ve been hitting sets with aces all day, so I was pretty lucky, and he must’ve had a set as it was a dry board. I like playing big pots. That’s my game!”
This isn’t the first taste of a WSOP APAC final table for Higgs who finished fifth in the $5,000 Six-Handed Event last year, and he hopes to use that experience to improve on that result this time around.
“Last year I was struggling with chips and just scraped through to the final table,” said Higgs. “This year it’s a bit different. I hope to use my stack to keep putting pressure on them!”
The final table will recommence at 12:10pm on Thursday.
$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Final Table
Seat 1: Mike Watson – 145,000
Seat 2: Ismael Bojang – 44,000
Seat 3: Sam Higgs – 667,000
Seat 4: Jeff Rossiter – 63,500
Seat 5: Jonathan Duhamel – 153,000
Seat 6: Jamie Pickering – 99,500
The freedom of choice
The final event of the day was the $1,650 Dealer’s Choice 8-Game Event where a field of 89 players would be reduced to just 19 by the end of the day.
For the second time this series it’s Australian Poker Hall of Famer Gary Benson who leads after Day 1 with a stack of 38,025. However close behind is 2010 WSOP Player of the Year Frank Kassela.
Interestingly, Kassela finished in sixth place in the equivalent Dealer’s Choice event at the WSOP in Las Vegas so it would be a unique double if he were to also cash in this event in Australia.
Other notables still in contention include Jeff Madsen, George Danzer, Brian Rast, Jason Gray and Jeff Gross.
$1,650 Dealer’s Choice 8-Game Top Ten
Gary Benson – 38,025
Frank Kassela – 36,225
Benjamin Benoit – 35,650
George Danzer – 32,275
Jeff Madsen – 32,075
Michael Wang – 29,175
Sam Khoiss – 24,875
Rory Young – 21,300
Samuel Ngai – 20,925
Stuart Rutter – 20,775
On the eighth day
Into the second week of the WSOP APAC as Day 8 will bring the conclusion of the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Event which should be a beauty. The $1,650 Dealer’s Choice will play down to a final table of six while the new event of the day will be the $2,200 No Limit Hold’em event which kicks off at 2:10pm 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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