When thinking of a story to write for my next piece here at the ANZPT Sydney Main Event, I turned to colleague Josh Bell who has been bringing you all of the live updates at this event. Without missing a beat, Josh said, "What about Oliver Speidel? He's a beast and goes deep in every tournament ever..."
Hmmm, I guess he had a point there...
The 2012 Aussie Millions champion is the hottest player on the tour over the last twelve months with success throughout Asia. After winning an Aussie Millions side event last year, Speidel went on to final table a Macau Poker Cup side event before winning another title in an event in Manila in the Philippines. He came to Melbourne full of confidence where he landed two Aussie Millions final table results before claiming victory in the big one.
We'd recently come back from Seoul where Speidel had put in another deep run at the APPT and looked particularly threatening before falling during Day 2 play. It's a similar story here today, so we decided to venture out into the Oasis Lounge to check on his progress.
Speidel entered today well-placed with an above-average stack of 70k but really got his day going when overnight chip leader Toby Ryall sat down to his direct right. Since then, the chips have slowly found their way to the stack of Speidel. Just as Josh had described earlier, Speidel was in beast mode.
We watched for a while and witnessed Speidel pretty much in control of his table. He twice raised it up preflop and found a single call, before taking down the pot without further resistance with a continuation bet on the flop. Next hand, his opponents gave him a walk in the big blind. It's the ideal formula for a tournament player, especially in the middle stages of the tournament where the antes are significant.
The antes are now up to a healthy 300 which means that every pot earns the winner more than a stack of black chips. Looking at Speidel's stack, it contained ten full stacks of blacks, as further evidence of his dominance.
The only recent hiccup came for Speidel when he called the all-in shove of Kristina Griffiths. Speidel held pocket fives as Griffiths had her tournament life on the line with pocket nines. The flop was bare but Speidel caught a five on the turn to take the lead, only to see a nine fall on the river in a classic suck, re-suck!
Speidel sits with 240,000 to be in the top five stacks in the tournament with 80 players to go. Liam O'Rourke is the current chip leader after snatching a big pot recently while Michael O'Grady, Gordon Huntly and Tam Truong are others in good shape as we head towards the dinner break.