It’s fair to say that Australia has had a pretty good run at the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific. Six bracelet winners and domination of several final tables was more than anyone would’ve dreamed coming into the series. However on Thursday evening, Australian poker copped a bad beat.
Day 3 of the WSOP APAC Main Event has come to a close and the story of the day would only surface in the dying minutes of play as Australian cricket legend Shane Warne was cruelly eliminated from the Main Event.
In 2003 there was Moneymaker. In 2005 there was Hachem. And it’s fair to say there has been some tough times since. If Shane Warne won the 2014 WSOP APAC Main Event, or even reached the final table, there is no doubt that poker would’ve received incredible nationwide exposure in the mainstream media. Exposure of the positive kind for change. It may not have been the boom of 2005, but it would’ve certainly been a welcome boost to the game of poker in Australia.
Sadly it just wasn’t meant to be.
In a clash with rampant chip leader Victor Teng, Warne three-bet from the small blind with AK and then called it off when Teng shipped. Teng opened AQ and the queen that landed on the flop sent shudders through the Australian poker community.
Warne was out in 22nd place. There would be no boom.
Warne’s story wasn’t the only tale of heartbreak on Day 3 of the WSOP APAC Main Event as 70 players returned to the Crown Poker Room but only the top 36 players would be paid.
The likes of Jonathan Duhamel, Jeff Gross, Kyle Cheong, Jeff Rossiter, David Balkin, Jonathan Karamalikis, Harry Demetriou, Dennis Huntly, Eddy Sabat, Kahle Burns, Byron Kaverman and Van Marcus would all fall short as their two days of effort would go unrewarded.
Also missing the money was Ivan Zhou. An eccentric character at the table, Zhou was wearing a soft toy elephant hat at the table, and he couldn’t be stopped in the early levels of play. His crazy plays entertained the rail birds but tilted the hell out of his table. Zhou was recklessly going all in preflop with massive overbets, and even blindly all in on the flop on a few occasions. He showed up with a couple of big hands and the one time he ran into pocket aces, held by Jeff Gross, Zhou proceeded to spike two pair.
Zhou shot up the chip counts, but such was the nature of his recklessness, it eventually caught up with him as Zhou, rather incredibly, was eliminated short of the money.
It wouldn’t take long for the bubble to burst with Kasra Bakhshaee the unlucky one to feel the bubble pain. He was all in preflop with AK against Angie Italiano’s JJ and was looking good to double when the first four community cards fell 3KQA but a brutal T on the river gave Italiano a straight as see the surviving 36 players were pretty happy to have locked up at least AU$20,003.
Yu Kurita (36th), Michael O’Grady (33rd), Sam Higgs (32nd), Xuan Liu (31st) and Jamie Pickering (30th) were some of the first to the cashier as 29 players would make it to the dinner break.
At the top of the counts was Victor Teng who was simply crushing everything before him. He had amassed 1.6 million in chips by the dinner break when the next best was still below 700,000.
“I got gifted stacks three different times,” recalled Teng when we spoke to him at the break. “They literally went ‘Here Victor, have my chips. Have 200k’ and I gladly took it.”
It’s only Teng’s second WSOP event after qualifying for the Main Event just a few days ago in a satellite held in the Crown Poker Room. Now he was chip leader and within sight of a gold bracelet.
“I feel pretty good,” said Teng. “I had a really soft table. I’ve just been raising every single hand and they’ve just been folding to me. Life is good!”
Besides Teng’s monstrous towers of chips, and his hyper-aggressive play, Teng stands out in the crowd due to the fact he’s wearing sunglasses with one of the lenses missing. Does he have a lazy eye? Is he training to be a pirate perhaps?
“Let’s just say that I didn’t really want to put them on,” said Teng reluctantly. “I put them on because I had to. I can’t really say why, but let’s just say that I may or may not have lost a side bet!”
The one-eyed approach certainly threw off his opponents as Teng would bag up a commanding 1,854,000 chips at the end of the day’s play, thanks largely to the million chip collision with Shane Warne.
Another to make it through to Day 4 of the WSOP APAC Main Event is American JJ Liu.
No stranger to the World Series of Poker, this is in fact Liu’s 30th WSOP cash dating back almost two decades. With a seventh, fifth, fourth, third and runner-up result already on her WSOP resume, this could be the event for Liu to break through for that elusive piece of jewellery.
Liu was in fact one of the handful of players to late register at the start of play on Day 2.
“I barely made it. I flew in on Day 1b and I was so tired, I had to sleep for 16 hours!” said Liu. “It was a good thing that we could sign up until the start of Day 2, so I made it! I planned to play the Main Event and the High Rollers, but luckily I don’t have to play the High Rollers as I’m still in the Main Event.”
As Liu made a deep run in the WSOP APAC Main Event, we couldn’t help but notice she has some support on the rail.
“I flew out with my mother, my sister and my son. We plan to do a tour,” explained Liu. “My sister and my son have never been to Australia, so it’s a good chance for them to come along and enjoy some sightseeing.”
However before the sightseeing, Liu is focussed on making a run towards the WSOP APAC final table as she bagged up 431,000 chips for a top ten stack.
Others in contention among the 18 survivors include former WSOP POY Frank Kassela, Australian Poker Hall of Famer Gary Benson, Australian poker Queen Jackie Glazier and WSOP APAC bracelet winner AJ Antonios.
Also still alive in Brandon Shack-Harris who can still snatch the WSOP Player of the Year honours from George Danzer with a top-two finish in the Main Event.
WSOP APAC Main Event Top Ten
Victor Teng – 1,854,000
Jason Giuliano – 1,203,000
Kyle Montgomery – 1,196,000
Frank Kassela – 783,000
Henry Szmelcer – 663,000
Brandon Shack-Harris – 648,000
Gary Benson – 458,000
JJ Liu – 431,000
Henry Wang – 378,000
Scott Davies – 322,000
High Rollers kicks off
The second event of the day was the $25,000 High Rollers Event – the final bracelet event of the WSOP APAC schedule. Play got under way at 6:10pm on Wednesday evening and the field quickly filled out to plenty of local shot-takers mixing it up with the world’s best.
Ryan Riess, George Danzer, Vanessa Rousso, Dan Heimiller, Jonathan Duhamel, Brian Roberts, Mike Leah and Greg Merson were just some of the internationals at the start of the day, and they were later joined by a group that included Daniel Negreanu, Jeff Gross, Brian Rast, Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari.
The locals were well represented with Jonathan Karamalikis, Andy Hinrichsen, Kahle Burns, Sam Khouiss, Joe Reina, Geoff Mooney, Michael Egan, Andy Lee, Jeff Rossiter, Daniel Neilson and recent WSOP APAC bracelet winners Sam Higgs and Rory Young among those to hand over twenty-five large.
Ten levels would be played on Day 1 with the field of 63 players reduced to 31 by the end of play. Registration is open until Day 2, so there’s a chance for a couple more latecomers before the official prize pool is announced.
Leading the way is WSOPE bracelet winner Andrew Hinrichsen who won a chunk of his chips with ace-king against Kahle Burns’ pocket kings when an ace fell on the river. Greg Merson, Phil Hellmuth, Jonathan Duhamel, Brian Roberts and Eddy Sabat are just some of those to make it through to Day 2 action.
$25,000 High Rollers Top Ten
Andrew Hinrichsen – 346,000
Mike Leah – 320,500
David Yan – 319,800
Andy Lee – 279,000
Sam Higgs – 223,500
Danny Hunyh – 218,900
Rory Young – 215,100
David Steicke – 199,200
Geoffrey Mooney – 189,900
Joe Reina – 187,000
Hitting the final tables
We’re getting closer and closer to crowning the final two champions of the WSOP Asia Pacific. Thursday will be a huge day as the two remaining events both play down to a final table of just six players. It could be a long day before that final six is decided. The Main Event recommences at 12:30pm while the High Rollers will get a bit more of a rest after their late-night finish. They’ll restart at 2:30pm local time.
Friday will be a rest day for the Main Event while the High Rollers final table plays out, before the WSOP APAC series concludes on Saturday.
The 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific runs from October 2-18 live from the Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, Australia.
Latest posts by Heath Chick (see all)
- Scott Davies Crowned WSOP APAC Champion - October 18, 2014
- Mike Leah Wins First Bracelet in WSOP APAC High Rollers - October 17, 2014
- Salter and Leah Lead WSOP APAC Final Tables - October 16, 2014
- Teng Dominates ME Day 3, Hinrichsen Tops HR - October 15, 2014
- Montgomery Leads Day 2, Glazier and Kassela In Contention - October 14, 2014