By Sean Callander
The field for tomorrow’s APPT Seoul final table has been decided. Play wound up shortly after 12.30am when PokerStars qualifier Ulf Martensson was eliminated in 10th spot.
After a raise from Jozef Berec, Martensson pushed all-in from the big blind with Ah 5h. Berec showed Jh 10h, and made a straight when the board came Kd 9d 8s 2d Qs. The Swede departed, but was more than happy to collect $6557 for his $109 investment in a PokerStars qualifying tournament.
For the record, Kent Justice (USA) finished 11th, another American Michael Collins bowed out in 12th position, Norway’s Heige Vatne was 13th and Hong Kong player Elton Tsang was 14th. We also crowned the inaugural Chinese Poker champion, with PokerNews marketing director Gareth Edwards taking the chocolates over another Australian, James Potter.
Final table profiles
Seat 1: Ziv Bachar (ziviland on PokerStars, 415,000 in chips): For such a small nation, Israel has an impressive two-from-two record at APPT events. Following on from Maor Feldinger’s final table appearance in Manila (he finished fifth), his countryman Ziv Bachar has emulated that feat by making the last nine in Seoul. The 25-year-old from Tel Aviv, who works in the real estate industry, started his own business 18 months ago. He brings considerable poker experience to the final table, having finished ninth in the 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas (worth $95,000) and was victorious in the € 500 No Limit Hold'em Event at last year’s PokerStars EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo (worth €54,400). Bachar, who won a Sunday Warm-up on PokerStars just a fortnight ago, won his way into the APPT Seoul main event visa a $109 satellite on PokerStars. He is the chip leader heading into the final table.
Seat 2: James Honeybone (nzvr4poker on PokerStars, 171,500 in chips): This 23-year-old from Hamilton on New Zealand’s North Island is one of poker’s true believers. He’s a real student of the game, and loves talking hands and poker folklore at every opportunity. Just about to wrap-up a business management course, Honeybone’s poker education is also coming along in leaps and bounds. After cashing for more than $US80,000 in the 2006 Barcelona Poker Classic, he has continued that solid form with cashes in the 2007 NZ Poker Championships and the 2007 Victorian Poker Championships. He’s also etched a permanent mark in the APPT record books, by winning the first tournament ever held as part of the new tour: the PHP5000 Manila Cup at last month’s APPT event in the Philippines. His girlfriend Jacqui will be the first to congratulate him if he gets over the line.
Seat 3: Jozef Berec (jbjeoli on PokerStars, 350,000 in chips): Barely known outside his native Melbourne, the performance of Jo Berec in the APPT Seoul main event might make the poker world start to sit up and take notice. The 48-year-old pro player has been in a hot vein of form over the past 12 months. He won the $550 No Limit Hold’em title and $74,000 at the 2007 Aussie Millions, and backed-up with victory in the Victorian Poker Championships main event (worth just over $250,000) two months ago. Berec, who led the field for a significant part of day two, emigrated to Australia from Hungary more than 20 years ago and formerly ran a business with his brother before turning his full-time focus to poker.
Seat 4: Daniel Schreiber ("rekrul'member of Team PokerStars, 185,500 in chips): Having won the 2007 WSOP $5000 Heads-up event, at the age of 22, Daniel Schreiber became the fifth youngest WSOP bracelet winner ever. Schreiber, who had never cashed in a prior WSOP event, defeated Mark Muchnik by winning both matches in the finale to earn $425,594. The first match took 79 hands while the second lasted only 11. The field of 392 players was the largest heads-up hold 'em tournament in history. Formerly ranked #1 in the USA for the strategy video game Starcraft, Schreiber moved to South Korea in 2004 from Commack, New York, to compete as a professional gamer. Yet, he found his true calling as an online poker pro while playing on Pokerstars. Daniel Schreiber is a member of Team PokerStars.
Seat 5: Paul Adams (zadignose on PokerStars, 184,000 in chips): It’s been an unforgettable two days for 39-year-old Korean-based American Paul Adams. Originally from New York City (where he earned a degree in film and TV production from New York University), Adams has not only qualified for his first major final table, he found out during a break on day two that his wife is pregnant with their first child! Adams learned to play poker as a youngster and fondly remembers his first experience of Texas Hold’em at the Bullwhackers Casino in Blackhawk, Colorado. An English teacher at a private academy, he has lived in Korea for 18 months.
Seat 6: Roger Spets (titantilts on PokerStars, 168,000 in chips): This 40-year-old Swede burst onto the APPT scene with an impressive showing in the opening event in Manila. After leading at numerous times on day two, he eventually bowed out in sixth position (worth $26,966). Not bad for a player making his first live tournament appearance. Spets, who runs a wealth management company in Malaysia, joined the APPT Seoul field along with fellow final table participants from Manila, Japan’s Kazuhiro Sato and runner-up Ira Blumenthal. However, Spets enters the record books as the first player to feature at two APPT final tables. Spets has been playing poker for only two and a half years, starting out in home games before turning his focus to cash games and sit ‘n’ goes on PokerStars.
Seat 7: Shinhan Sid Kim (110,500 in chips): No Korean players are permitted to play in the Walker-hill Casino, but Shinhan Sid Kim comes as close to a local as anyone in the APPT Seoul field. Kim was born in Korea but moved to the USA as a four-year-old. After growing up in Ventura, California, he returned to Korea 10 years ago. Now 38, he’s turned more than 20 years of poker experience into a final table berth in his first major tournament appearance. Kim, who battled a short stack for much of the event but struck when it mattered, operates a chain of hagwons (or private schools) throughout Korea and also provides opportunities for Koreans to learn English through his own radio show and his own line of books.
Seat 8: Michel St Pierre (MSTP007 on PokerStars, 149,500 in chips): The sole North American to make the final table of the APPT Seoul main event, Michel St Pierre is originally from Repentigny in Quebec, Canada but now resides in Montreal. A contractor who works in property development, he has been playing poker for about three years and has considerable experience in a number of major Canadian poker tournaments. The 29-year-old qualified for the long trek from the east coast of Canada to East Asia via a $109 buy-in tournament on PokerStars, where he holds Goldstar status. St Pierre is hoping the “jouissance” (or enjoyment) he’s been experiencing in South Korea will continue all the way to the APPT Seoul title.
Seat 9: Seval Hægeland (Biffen 1 on PokerStars, 127,500 in chips): It’s been a massive month for Norwegian poker after 19-year-old Annette Obrestad won the 2007 WSOP Europe main event. Seval Hægeland is hoping to follow in her footsteps with victory in the APPT Seoul main event. A native of Lyngden in southern Norway, the father-of-two qualified for his trip to South Korea via a $1 buy-in tournament on PokerStars for Nordic players, outlasting a massive field of more than 800 players. The 40-year-old bricklayer has been a lifelong poker player, and first picked up on Texas Hold’em about four years ago. He’s hoping to use the experience he picked up in last year’s PokerStars EPT event in Barcelona to steer him to victory in Seoul.