The APPT is all about providing world-class poker tournaments in exciting travel destinations. It's the best of both worlds. A win-win for players who can potentially share in hundreds of thousands of dollars, or, if the cards don't fall their way then they can experience the local sights. We've already mentioned how many great things there are to do in Queenstown so we were a little bit excited when it was announced that today's start time would be pushed back to 4pm to allow players, fans and media alike, to get out and enjoy yet another magical day in Queenstown.
It was a wise decision as we all knew we were in for a rather short day of poker today. Our task was simple. 21 players. Lose six and reach the money. Lose six more and reach the final table. And in a little over three hours of play, we achieved that goal.
Wayne Bell and Brian Biggs were early casualties before ANZPT Adelaide champ Octavian Voegele and Andy Hinrichsen also busted short of the money. While the others were short stacked overnight, Hinrichsen will be disappointed to have missed out after he cold four-bet shoved with A♦5♦ into the dominant A♥K♦ of Hugh Cohen.
Kiwi Emerson Rewi lost a race to fall in 17th place while Russian PokerStars qualifier Artur Prokhorov was our unfortunate bubble boy when his A♥5♣ was out-flopped by Hugh Cohen's J♣7♣.
The final fifteen were relieved to be in the cash, but the job was only half done.
Cole Swannack pulled a move right out of the Kiwi handbook of hyper-aggression as he four-bet shoved 6♠5♣ into the K♦K♣ of Matty Yates, and found himself first to the cashier in 15th place.
Ben Paurini soon followed in 14th place before PokerStars qualifier Ryan McKay was out in unlucky 13th. Again the man responsible was Hugh Cohen as his T♥T♠ were too good for McKay's 3♣3♠. Queenstown seems to be a fruitful hunting ground for the family, and if Hugh can replicate the achievements of his brother Julian from last year, they will become the first set of brothers to win ANZPT/APPT titles.
PokerStars qualifier Gavin Vickers turned a freeroll entry into NZ$7,720 score when he finished in 12th while Charles Caris will improve his ranking in the ANZ Player of the Year race with his 11th place.
This put us on the final table bubble, and it was burst in rather brutal fashion as local Jackson Zheng narrowly missed out on the rare achievement of back-to-back APPT final tables.
The action unfolded on a board of T♥K♠4♦Q♠ when Zheng fired a bet of 24,000. His opponent was Matty Yates who check-raised all in and Zheng snap-called off his last chips with K♣Q♣ for top two pair. Yates tabled A♠Q♥ for a pair, overcard and an inside straight draw, one if which he'd have to hit to bring the day to an end.
While the rail were on edge and calling for all sorts of cards, it was Zheng himself who called for a "jack" well before the dealer burned and tabled the J♥ on the river. Yates made his straight and Zheng made a disappointed exit in 10th place.
With that elimination we'd reached our official final table of nine. Germany's Marcel Schreiner was in full control throughout the day today and managed to maintain his spot as top dog for the third day in a row. Can he go coast-to-coast? It won't be easy with Tom Grigg reaching his third APPT final table, Jonathan Karamalikis striving to become the first two-time APPT champion and Hugh Cohen looking to keep the trophy in the family cabinet.
Final Table Lineup
Seat 1: Hugh Cohen (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 146,500
Seat 2: Marcel Schreiner (Germany) - 591,500
Seat 3: Daniel Laidlaw (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 193,000
Seat 4: Jonathan Karamalikis (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 174,000
Seat 5: Carl Knox (New Zealand) - 180,500
Seat 6: Tom Grigg (Australia) - 296,000
Seat 7: Matty Yates (New Zealand) - 523,500
Seat 8: John Waterman (New Zealand) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 153,500
Seat 9: Xiao Dong Xia (New Zealand) - 107,500
The town of Queenstown is buzzing tonight with the eagerly anticipated Australia versus New Zealand rugby match filling every bar in town (and frustrating a few AFL fans!). However it seems a fitting way to spend an evening before our own trans-Tasman rivalry reaches fever-pitch tomorrow at 12:30pm (GMT+12) in the SKYCITY Queenstown Casino as we crown a champion of the PokerStars.net APPT Queenstown Snowfest!
Photography © Joe Giron | Joe Giron Photography | PokerStars.net