There were 207 players hoping to make it the final table of the ANZPT Auckland Main Event, but now only nine remain. The players will be fighting it out for a big piece of the $414,000 prize pool, while NZ$107,640 is reserved for the eventual champion.
Lets take a look at how the final nine stack up:
Seat 1: Geoff Smith (Christchurch, New Zealand) - 347,000 chips
Hailing from Christchurch in New Zealand, Geoff Smith is 39 years old and has been playing poker ever since he saw it on TV six years ago. In fact, Smith won the first tournament he played down in the Christchurch Casino. Usually only playing 1-2 rotation cash games, Geoff Smith only needs to finish in 8th place to pick up his largest tournament cash to date.
Outisde of poker Smith loves to go shooting and says that "being patient" is how he got to the final table. We are sure he will be gunning for a victory in Auckland. Smith has the sixth largest chip stack heading into the final nine.
Seat 2: Patrick Healy (Perth, Australia) - 255,000 chips
Patrick Healy is a 38-year old Company Director who has been playing poker for four years starting at the WAPL, a pub poker league which regularly sees player's graduate to bigger tournaments in Australia and at PokerStars Macau. Patrick's biggest result to date was when he made the final table of this year's Aussie Millions. He finished in 5th place for $308,842.
Patrick likes playing soccer when he is not at the tables and he will need all his guile and competitive skill after an up and down day where he held the chip lead for a while before conceding it to Jamie Mulligan in a couple of crucial hands.
Seat 3: Miroslav Sheynin (Auckland, New Zealand) - 510,000 chips
Miroslav Sheynin's biggest highlight in poker is winning money and that's exactly what he is set to do when he takes to the final table of ANZPT Auckland. Usually playing MTT's, Sheynin plays under the screen name "slav0uchka" on PokerStars where he has bagged several five-figure scores. Sheynin owes his poker game to Jackson "Hav0cLOL" Zheng who he claims is his biggest influence.
Sheynin says he plays football in his spare time and claims that the most enjoyable aspect of ANZPT Auckland is that he doesn't have to travel. At the age of 23, Sheynin is the second youngest player at the final table, while he has the third largest chip stack.
Seat 4: Sebastian Martineau (Quebec City, Canada) - 454,000 chips
Travelling all the way from Quebec City, Canada, Sebastian Martineau is a 24 years old Event's Coordinator and has been playing poker for ten years. Mertineau claims that his mum is the biggest influence to his poker game. Apparently Mrs Martineau is "the best... and the luckiest."
The defining moment in the tournament for Martineau was the first level of Day 2 when he "ran like God, hitting sets." In his spare time, Martineau likes to snow board, go to concerts and travel. Martineau has the fifth largest chip stack of the final nine.
Seat 5: Pravin Harji (Palmerston North, New Zealand) - 597,000 chips
Pravin Harji is a Chef by day, but has been playing poker for three years. Harji primarily learned to play via Pub Poker and he sites that as the biggest influence to his poker game. Usually playing online no-limit cash games. The biggest highlight in Harji's poker career was when he won the "South Island Champs" earlier this year, while he enjoys to play football in his spare time.
Harji has most enjoyed meeting great players and great people here in the ANZPT Auckland Main Event. Harji starts the final table with the second largest chip stack.
Seat 6: Jamie Mulligan (Gisborne, New Zealand) - 987,000 chips
Jamie Mulligan says that "right now" is the biggest highlight in his poker career and we don't blame him. The chip leader of the final table, Mulligan heads into the final nine with a substantial lead over his nearest opponent and is in with a chance to pick up a huge six-figure score. Interestingly, Mulligan sights his Grandmother as being the biggest influence to his poker game and he has clearly been taught well. Mulligan is also the youngest player of the final nine, coming in at 22 years old.
Working as a roadie setting up concerts, Mulligan is already set to post his largest live tournament score and with his monster chip stack is looking to be hard to beat at the final table.
Seat 7: Xiaodong 'Taylor' Xia (Auckland, New Zealand) - 169,000 chips
Taylor Xia will be looking to become the hometown hero tomorrow; he is 31 years old and is self-employed. Taylor only started playing poker a year and half ago after getting into home games with his friends. His best result was last year down at ANZPT Queenstown when he finished 7th. This year he made the trip up to Macau in September where he had a deep run in the Main Event and was unlucky not to cash.
Xia was a big chip leader on Day 1C but found today harder going and so he will be hoping to pick up some big hands early on the final day.
Seat 8: Monica Eastick (Wellington, New Zealand) - 458,000 chips
Monica Eastick is our only woman at the final table; she is 34 years old and has travelled up from Wellington to play here this week. She has been playing poker for six years and started playing poker after a trip to India where she found herself in a poker tournament with some of Australia and New Zealand's best poker players including Lee Nelson, Martin Comer and a man who will be joining her on the final table, Graeme Putt. Monica is far and away the most talkative and animated player at the table this week.
Eastick certainly knows when to use her feminine charm to her advantage against her awe struck opponents. She has approached the whole experience with excitement while building an impressive chip stack.
Seat 9: Graeme Putt (Christchurch, New Zealand) - 130,000 chips
Graeme has listed his age as 105, we know this may be a little bit of a liberty but he has certainly been on the poker scene for many years. He is one New Zealand's most popular poker players and has results from all over the world. He lives primarily in Sydney and can be found at the poker tables of all the casinos in Australia and New Zealand whenever there are good tournaments to be played. He is a long time supporter of the ANZPT, with his best result in this tour coming in 2011 when he finished 19th at ANZPT Adelaide.
The defining moment of his tournament was the two times he decided to fold his pair of kings pre-flop only to be shown the aces of his opponents on both occasions. Graeme will be very dangerous if he picks up some early chips as he certainly would love to win one here in New Zealand and he is clearly the most experienced player at the final table.