The last APT event had been in February, so when the 2009 Asian Poker Tour Macau series of tournaments was announced for August, players from all over the world made their travel arrangements. There were several events listed for the series, including a high rollers tournament, but it was the main event that drew in more than 300 players at the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel and Casino.
In the first of two starting days, the $4,400 buy-in brought 133 players to the tables, of which many were locals from the region and those who flew in from Australia. The number was an increase over the previous year’s Macau event and looked to set up a successful event. By the end of the evening, though, only 37 players were still seated, as the field saw names like Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Young Phan, Mel Judah, Tony Dunst, and Mansour Matloubi ousted during the first day of play. It was David Steicke who held the chip lead when action stopped.
The second starting day found itself with 193 players, making the total number for the event 326. The structure established payouts for the final 40 finishers, and the winner would receive more than $390K for a Macau win. Day 1B saw a number of recognizable names exit the tournament, including Chino Rheem, Steve Yeh, Quinn Do, Amnon Filippi, John Juanda, Liz Lieu, Liv Boeree, and James Akenhead. Only 51 remained at the end of play, and Eugene Teh was the chip leader.
Day 2 of the APT Macau main event was a long one, though the remaining 88 players quickly pushed toward the money. With 41 players on the felt, it was Lee Jae Do pushing all-in for his last 7,100 chips, and Jay Kinkade reraised to isolate with . Do showed pocket deuces, and the race was on…until Kinkade hit the flop. The entire board showed J-10-8-9-5, and Do was out on the money bubble. DF Yu became the first player to cash, taking home $5,225 for the effort. And during the rest of the nine levels it took to reach the final table, names like Everest Poker’s Wooka Kim finished in 30th place, Ian Frazer ended in 27th, Stewart Scott in 25th, and Johnny Chan in 23rd.
Finally, the action ended when Kentaro Araki made the all-in move with pocket deuces, and Chris Chau called with from the big blind. The dealer produced a board, and that ended Araki’s run in tenth place, with was worth $16,966. And the final table was then set as follows:
Seat 1: Casey Kastle 130,000
Seat 2: Winfred Yu 61,000
Seat 3: David Steicke 876,000
Seat 4: J.C. Tran 444,000
Seat 5: Adrien Allain 482,000
Seat 6: Michael Woo 64,000
Seat 7: Inwook Choi 934,000
Seat 8: Chris Chau 143,000
Seat 9: Crister Hallbrook 132,000
When play started on Day 3, no one could have anticipated the speed at which the action would proceed. There were four eliminations within the first 20 minutes of play, after which time the players settled a bit and played more than all-in poker.
It began on the third hand of the day with Kastle moving all-in with pocket kings. Allain called with pocket nines, but the board came 8-10-7-A-J to give Allain the straight and leave Casey Kastle out in ninth place with $16,966.
Then it was Yu making a move preflop with A-7 against the K-Q of Choi. The board produced the best cards for the latter with A-K-10-Q-2, and Winfred Yu was quickly gone in eighth place with $26,112.
Very shortly thereafter, Hallbrook and Allain went to see a flop of , after which Hallbrook pushed his last 79K into the pot with pocket eights. Allain called quickly with , and he had outs. Hallbrook could do nothing when the 2 came on the turn to give Allain the straight, and the 3 on the river ended the tournament for Crister Hallbrook, who took home $39,167 for the seventh place finish.
Within moments, another player was at risk when Woo made his all-in move holding only . Allain had the cards this time and called with pocket kings. The board came 6-J-7-3-8, and Michael Woo was eliminated in sixth place with $52,223.
From there, it seemed to be a battle between Tran and Steicke, both of whom attempted to dominate the five-handed table. Allain stepped in when needed, especially when there was an all-in to be called.
That happened when Chau decided to put his last 81K at risk, though Allain and Choi both called the preflop raise. They checked down the board of , and Choi turned over a ten for two pair. Allain lost the pot, and Chris Chau was gone from the table in fifth place with $65,279.
It took some time for another elimination, as Allain ran over the table and the other three players battled for position. Finally, one of them made a move. It was Steicke who pushed after his raise was reraised by Choi. Steicke was all-in with pocket nines, but Choi quickly called with pocket kings, and the board came 3-3-A-3-K. That sent David Steicke out in fourth place with $91,378.
Tran was ready to get aggressive again, and his short stack was able to find the opportunity for a double-up when his A-7 found a 7 on the turn to beat Allain’s A-10 hand. But the other players continued to chip away at Tran, finally leaving him with about 160K as his two opponents sat above the million-chip mark.
With exactly 166K, Tran pushed all-in preflop with A-8, and Allain and Choi both called. The A-J-10-9-8 board was checked down. Tran’s two pair was trumped by Allain’s A-Q for the straight, and J.C. Tran was gone in third place, which was worth $117,470.
Heads-up action began with the following chip counts:
Adrien Allain 2,182,000
Inwook Choi 1,078,000
Allain came out swinging, but Choi was not going to let it end so easily. A series of small pots allowed him to chip up, though he stayed in second chip position throughout the two-handed action. Finally, Choi decided to attempt the double-up with , and Allain called with . But despite the percentages, Allain had final table luck and a sick run of cards on his side, which made the no real surprise. Jacks fell on the turn and the river, which left Inwook Choi with a second place finish and the corresponding $214,158 prize.
Adrien Allain, who won his APT Macau seat in an online satellite, won the main event and took home $391,556 and a trophy for the accomplishment.