The second season of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT), sponsored by PokerStars.net has gotten off to an amazing start. After a 538-player turnout for its launch in Macau and a successful stop in Seoul, both in September, the third of five tour stops just wrapped in the beautiful city of Auckland, New Zealand.
On October 9th, the APPT kicked off the biggest poker tournament in New Zealand’s history. Day 1A began with 164 players at the SKYCITY Hotel and Casino, and the room was buzzing with excitement. Greg Raymer was in the field, along with Tony Hachem, Eric Assodourian, APPT Macau champion Edward Sabat, and 2007 Manila winner David Saab.
One player who made a name for himself quickly by jumping into the chip lead was Nathanael Ren Hao Seet. The cards seemed to be falling his way, especially when he had the chance to eliminate Saab with a full house. Joining Saab on the rail was Raymer, who was sent there by Jeff Dunbar at the end of the day. Dunbar also sent Sabat packing.
At the end of the day, Seet sat with 75,500 and the top spot on the leaderboard, and Dunbar was not far behind with 70,600. The rest of the top five included, in order, Andrew Pantling, Wang Che Jung, and Michael Mariakis. Surviving the day were 59 players, amongst them Tony Hachem, Celia Lin, and 11 PokerStars online qualifiers.
Day 1B began the following day by bringing 142 more players to the tables, creating an entire field of 306 and a payout schedule in which the 32 finalists would get paid and the first prize was set at $257,040. Defending champion Eric Assadourian was amongst those playing on the second day one, along with Joe Hachem, Lee Nelson, and Mark Vos.
Assadourian was one of the early eliminations of the day, courtesy of the rivered set of Raymond Walker that took down the pocket kings of Assadourian. Vos also left the field early in the day’s action. Hachem, however, was one of the survivors with a reasonable stack after eliminating two opponents late in the day to head to Day 2 comfortably. In the end, 47 players survived with Amant Nauhria in the lead with 94,000 chips, followed by Bryan Huang with 93,500. The remainder of the top five on the leaderboard included Michael Rasmussen, Jerome Dyer, and Grant Levy, all of whom had less than 40,000 each.
The remaining 106 players came back for Day 2 of the APPT Auckland main event to attempt to make it through the money bubble and gain a seat at the final table. The action was quick, and Joe Hachem was one of the early casualties when his K-10 suited couldn’t beat the A-Q offsuit of Paul Hocken who ended up with a club flush.
As the field thinned in only a few hours, 33 players remained but the one to take the position of bubble boy was finally Alex Bond. He pushed his short stack of 18,000 with , and Wang Che Jung called from the big blind with . The board came out , and those tens knocked Bond out of the tournament in 33rd place.
When the rest of the players returned from a well-deserved dinner break, the eliminations in the money began. Jeff Dunbar took 32nd place and the accompanying $5,141 payout and was followed by Assadour Assadourian. Others finishing with cash in hand were Grant Levy, Tony Hachem, and Bryan Huang. And with the elimination of Andrew Pantling in 12th place, which was worth $10,281, play ended for the day.
The final 11 players to come back on October 12th to play down to the final table and the subsequent winner were:
Luke Stanford 575,000
Nathanael Seet 400,000
Wang Che Jung 400,000
Daniel Craker 335,000
Michael Miriakis 210,000
Eric Mutrie 170,000
Wai Yuen 160,000
Edward Holdcroft 140,000
Matthew Konnecke 115,000
Dan Sing 73,000
Jani Karke 70,000
Day 3 began with Edward Holdcroft’s elimination not long after play began, when his queens were beat by the aces of Luke Stanford. His 11th place finish was good for $10,281.
And all the while, Eric Mutrie hadn’t yet appeared at the table, as he did not hear the staff’s message the night before about the earlier starting time for Day 3. After a short pause in the action to allow him to get to the table from his hotel room, play resumed but Mutrie couldn’t shake the bad start to the day. He lost most of his chips to Dan Sing on one hand, then moved his last 11,000 into the pot with . After a flop of , Konnecke folded while Mariakis stayed in the pot with . The turn and river were and , and Mutrie was out quickly in 10th place with $10,281 and the distinction of being the final table bubble boy.
The final table was set as follows:
Seat 1: Daniel Craker 447,000
Seat 2: Nathanael Seet 348,000
Seat 3: Wai Yuen 162,000
Seat 4: Matthew Konnecke 80,000
Seat 5: Wang Jung 373,000
Seat 6: Luke Stanford 860,000
Seat 7: Jani Karke 49,000
Seat 8: Dan Sing 198,000
Seat 9: Michael Mariakis 262,000
The double-ups began almost as soon as seats were taken at the final table. Matthew Konnecke doubled through Luke Stanford, and Jani Karke doubled through Daniel Craker. Both short stacks needed it to survive and got it.
It took 22 hands before seeing the first elimination. Wai Yuen was the last woman standing in the field, and she took her into battle with Wang Jung’s . The board came , and Yuen had to accept a 9th place finish and the $14,565 that came with it.
Only two hands later, a raising battle ensued and ended with Mariakis all-in with versus the pocket sevens of Wang Jung. Another 7 came on the flop, and nothing else came on the board of , giving the pot to the trips of Jung and sending Mariakis home in 8th place with $19,706.
While Jung climbed the leaderboard and made it over the one million chip mark, others were having the opposite experience. Karke was down to 112,000 and pushed it all-in with versus the pocket nines of Craker. The board blanked with , and Karke became the 7th place finisher, which was worth $25,704.
Nathaniel Seet took a rough tumble. He was on the wrong side of the cards when Konnecke, Sing, and Stanford all looked to double up, and Seet suddenly became the short stack. After pushing his last 79K into the pot with , Jung called with . The board brought a straight for Jung with , and Seet was out in 6th place with $34,272.
There would be thirty more hands and many double-ups before another player would leave the table. During that time, Stanford allowed Craker and Sing to double through him, and though he came back to double through Jung, it wasn’t enough. Stanford put the remainder of his chips in with , and Sing called with after the flop. The last two cards out were the and , and Stanford was gone in 5th place with $46,267.
Sing lost a hand to Konnecke in which the latter doubled through, but Sing came back to double-up via Jung. He then tangled with Jung again, and after a flop, more betting ensued. The came on the turn, which prompted a bet from Sing and check-raise all-in from Jung. Sing called immediately with for the nut straight. Jung showed for two pair, and the on the river gave him a full house. Sing was out in a painful way in 4th place for $59,976.
Jung looked strong but then lost a big pot to Craker, who doubled through him. Jung then got involved in a rather large pot in which Konnecke got out preflop and Craker and Jung saw the flop of . Jung pushed all-in with , and Craker check-called with pocket eights. The turn and river were and , respectively, and Craker’s eights held up. Wang Jung became the 3rd place finisher and left with $85,680.
Heads-up play began between Matthew Konnecke and Daniel Craker, and it only took two hands for the match to be decided. On the 195th hand of the night, Craker initiated action with a raise to 120K. Konnecke reraised to 500K, Craker reraised all-in, and Konnecke called. Craker held , and Konnecke showed . The dealer slowly brought them , and the pocket deuces held up. Konnecke was forced to accept a second place finish and the $162,791 that came with it.
Daniel Craker, a long-time player from New Zealand, won the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland main event. He was awarded the trophy, an entry into the APPT Grand Final in Sydney in December, and the $257,040 first prize.
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour continues on to Manila in the Philippines and Sydney, Australia. Check with PokerStars for chances to win seats into the APPT live events through numerous satellites opportunities by downloading PokerStars now. Use the bonus code “First2008” and marketing code “POKERWORKS” where indicated, and $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.)