From 18 players to 15 was very slow. From 15 to 9, was very quick. It's just how these things work sometimes. Now, the final table of the ANZPT Auckland has been set and it is Jamie Mulligan who leads the way and is in the best shape to make a run at the NZ$107,640 title.
The day started with 76 players returning to the SKYCITY Auckland Casino to try their hand at making it to the final nine. It was the final event of 2012 and so the players were ready to play their hearts out to try and become the king of Auckland poker.
For much of the day it was two ladies who were dominating the felt, with Monica Eastick and Angie Fitzgerald taking it to the men and proving they had what it takes to play tough poker. It didn't take long for half of Day 2 to be over as plenty of familiar faces were still in contention to make it to the 24 money-paying positions.
The players continued hitting the rail one-by-one as the dinner break and bubble were both looming. It ended up being a dramatic bubble burst as Paul "KingPaulie" Hockin was eliminated two spots off the money before play went hand-for-hand. At this point Souny Fredrick only had a single 1,000 chip and that's what he would head to the dinner break with.
Fredrick was hoping for the best after he came back from the dinner break refreshed, but somewhat inevitably his last 1,000 in chips would be committed over two antes and he would become the official "bubble boy".
With the remaining 24 players guaranteed some cash for their time, the players started hitting the rail in quick succession. The recent ANZPT Melbourne third-place finisher Michael Guzzardi was one of the players who slipped into the money and apart from some cash, had earned some ANZ Player of the Year points to see himself move to the top of the leader board.
Eventually Guzzardi was eliminated, along with many other players as less than two tables remained and the final table was beginning to draw near. Orbit after orbit play dragged on as the bust-out began to slow down. This is when the personalities of the players started to shine through and eventually 15 became 14 and then within a flash four players had hit the rail and there was only one more elimination needed to end the night.
The unfortunate player to go home having come so close to being part of the final nine was Andre Nunes-Carreira. The final hand of the night was a classic race, with Nunes-Carreira holding K♦Q♣ and having to come up against Jamie Mulligan's J♠J♣. The board was not friendly to Nunes-Carreira and it was all over in 10th place.
Following the above hand it was clearly Mulligan who was going to head into the final table with the chip lead and that is certainly the case with his 987,000-chip stack towering over the 597,000 of Pravin Harji. The final table draw can be seen below.
ANZPT Auckland Final Table Draw
Seat 1: Geoff Smith - 347,000
Seat 2: Patrick Healy - 255,000
Seat 5: Slav Sheynin - 510,000
Seat 4: Sebastian Martineau - 454,000
Seat 5: Pravin Harji - 597,000
Seat 6: Jamie Mulligan - 987,000
Seat 7: Xiaodong Xia - 169,000
Seat 8: Monica Eastick - 458,000
Seat 9: Graeme Putt - 130,000
The final table is set to begin at 12.30 pm tomorrow, so off to bed we go. Watch out for final table profiles of all the remaining nine players. They will appear on the PokerStars Blog shortly, but in the meantime, check out Lynn Gilmartin's 'Nightly Notables' with Mateusz Pater.