Macau has been buzzing with the presence of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) for the past couple of weeks. The gaming mecca, part of the People’s Republic of China, was the home to the kick-off event of the APPT’s second season on September 1st with the main event won by Edward Sabat. Players, including numerous Team PokerStars Pros, traveled from all over the world to take part in the well-run and highly-anticipated tournament.
Upon the conclusion of that record-breaking event with 538 players, many people stayed, not only as tourists but as competitors in the APPT High Rollers event on September 7th. The buy-in was $19,200, and a total of 61 players invested that large amount to play in the prestigious event. The resulting prize pool was $1,282,051 to be divvied up between the nine finalists, with the first place prize set at an impressive $474,358.
As expected, the field was heavy with top names from the poker tournament circuit – Barry Greenstein, John Juanda, Joe Hachem, Johnny Chan, Hevad Khan, Bertrand Grospellier, Shaun Deeb, Liz Lieu, Terrence Chan, David Steicke, Isabelle Mercier, David Chiu, Tony Dunst, Lee Nelson, Danny Wong, Nam Le, Quinn Do, Mike McDonald, and 2007 APPT High Rollers champion Eric Assadourian. The rail was full of fans who came out to see their favorite pros in high-stakes action.
Action was what they got. The tables were stacked, and the players were enjoying themselves, well, until they were eliminated from the event. So went the day for a number of the players, such as Lieu, Dunst, Juanda, Grospellier, Chiu, and Mercier. In the end, only 28 survived with David Steicke far ahead of the pack and Mike McDonald, Eric Assadourian, Danny Wong, and Ivan Tan rounding out the top five.
Day 2 saw some of the biggest names go down in flames, including Greenstein and Terrence Chan early in the day. And after quite a long second day of action – no one giving up on final table aspirations without a fight – it was the former champion Assadourian who was eliminated as the final table bubble player. When the chips settled, the final table line-up saw David Steicke maintaining his top spot on the leader board. All of the seating assignments and chip counts for Day 3 were as follows:
Seat 1: Nam Le 107,000
Seat 2: Quinn Do 105,000
Seat 3: David Steicke 391,000
Seat 4: Wei Will Ma 186,500
Seat 5: Johnny Chan 60,500
Seat 6: Charles Chua 47,000
Seat 7: Ivan Tan 61,000
Seat 8: Andrew Scott 226,000
Seat 9: Van Marcus 43,000
The final table began with the players getting comfortable and seemingly planning strategies. But once things got moving, there was nothing but action. Charles Chua pushed his short-stack early and doubled through David Steicke. And that was only the beginning of the roller coaster that would prove to be this final table.
The original of the short stacks, Van Marcus, put himself at risk pre-flop with pocket nines, and Andrew Scott happily made the call with pocket Kings. The board presented a pair of Queens but no nine for the all-in player, and Marcus was out in 9th place for $25,641.
Next it was Ivan Tan, who had been unable to chip up as planned. After a raise by the formerly short-stacked Chua, Tan pushed all-in with , and Chua called with . The dealer gave them , and a double-up was not meant to be. Tan was sent away from the table in 8th place for $38,461.
Steicke had come to the table as the clear chip leader, though, and consistently chipped up to near the 500,000 chip mark. However, it was Steicke through whom Quinn Do doubled up shortly thereafter. Even so, Steicke continued to climb, next at the expense of one of the game’s greats. Steicke raised a hand, as he was prone to do, but this time Johnny Chan came over the top for his last 54,000. Steicke called with A-Q, and he was in a classic race against Chan, who turned over pocket sixes. But the board came out beautifully for Steicke with 2-3-10-K-J, and that straight sent Chan straight to the rail in 7th place with $51,282 in prize money.
Wei Will Ma wasn’t having an easy time at the final table, and it got even tougher when he allowed Charles Chua to double through him. As the new short stack, Ma pushed from the next small blind for 34,500 and was called by Chua and Steicke. The board was checked down as it ran out . Steicke showed for only King high, and though Ma turned over for a pair of Queens, it was trumped by the of Chua who scooped the pot and sent Ma away in 6th place with $64,102.
Quite a bit of action came before the next elimination wherein the table was turned on several players. Andrew Scott was left short-stacked when Nam Lee doubled through him, and Le went on to score some sizeable pots from there on out to leave him in a comfortable position. Scott then doubled through Le, and the fight was on.
Chua doubled through Steicke, causing the latter to lose the lead for the first time at the final table. Scott stayed on his run to stay alive by doubling through Chua, while Steicke went on a freefall downward to lose chips at an amazing rate of speed.
Steicke then made an attempt to reverse the trend, and after Le made an initial raise, Steicke reraised. Le reraised, Steicke pushed all-in, and Le called immediately. Steicke turned over pocket tens, but Le had him dominated with pocket Kings. The board came J-9-8-8-4, and that was all the dealer could do. Steicke was out of the tournament in 5th place with $89,743 for his rough ride.
While Steicke had been spiraling downward, Quinn Do had quietly been going the other way. He moved all the way to the chip lead, though, Chua put a dent in that stack by doubling through him. And Chua wasn’t stopping; he doubled through Do again! Though Do came back soon after and doubled back through Chua. (Don’t worry, even I’m confused.)
Finally, the luck of Charles Chua ran out. He got it all in the pot after a challenge raise from Le, and Chua turned over pocket Jacks. Le turned over pocket Queens, and the board let that be when it brought 3-A-7-A-2. Chua, who came off a second place finish in the APPT main event only days before, finished 4th in this event for $115,384.
The next key hand would take out a player who has been on quite a tournament run over the past year. Quinn Do limped in from the small blind, but Andrew Scott threw in 25,000 more from the big blind. Do raised again but had only 62,000 behind. Scott pushed all-in with , and Do called all-in with . The dealer gave them , and it was over for Do in 3rd place, for which he received $153,384.
Heads-up play began with the following chip counts:
Nam Le 817,000
Andrew Scott 411,000
Quinn Do remained close to the final table after his elimination, though, to root for his good friend, Nam Le. And Le put on the pressure with his naturally aggressive style to chip away at Andrew Scott, pushing him down to 300,000 versus the dominating 928,000 of Le.
Finally, Scott was down to only 82,000 chips and put it in the pot pre-flop with , claiming it was the best hand he’d seen. Le called with . The board came and the tournament was completed. Andrew Scott was eliminated in 2nd place for a $269,230 payday.
Seasoned pro Nam Le won the APPT High Rollers tournament in Macau and was awarded the amazing $474,358 first prize.
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour continues on to Seoul, Korea on September 26th, then to New Zealand, the Philippines, and Australia, wrapping up Season 2 by the end of the year. There is still time to win a seat into one of these tournaments by logging on to PokerStars and competing in the numerous satellites running now. Download PokerStars now, using the bonus code “First2008” and marketing code “POKERWORKS” where indicated, $25 extra will be awarded new customers in addition to a 100% bonus on deposits up to $50.
(Thanks to PokerStars blog updates and PokerNews live updates for hand and chip count information.)