After three days of toil, the ANZPT Perth Main Event has been reduced from a starting field of 256 players to our final table of nine. Just one of these men will walk away with the $131,900 top prize and title of champion. Let’s take a closer look at our final table participants:
Seat 1: Paul Murray (Perth, Western Australia) – 1,206,000 chips
The pink cap of Paul Murray made him easy to spot in our Main Event field, but by the end of play it was his chip stack that was most notable. The 41-year old Builder from Perth picked off a huge bluff on the final hand of the day to now carry the chip lead into our ANZPT Perth final table.
Murray has been playing poker for five years with his best result coming with a 4th place finish for $27,000 at the 2013 Perth Sapphire Series Main Event. He’ll be hoping to top that figure with a big result today.
Seat 2: Scott Davies (Las Vegas, Nevada, USA) – 767,000 chips
Scott Davies is one of two American representatives and brings an impressive record to this final table. Davies has nine WSOP cashes to his credit, including six last year, and broke the single season WSOP-Circuit record with 18 cashes in 2012.
Even more remarkable was that Davies entered Day 3 of the ANZPT Perth Main Event as the second shortest stack of the 48 survivors, but he managed to turn that around to be one of the contenders when the chips were bagged at the end of the day.
Davies says that he enjoys travelling and he loved spending a day on Rottnest Island on his day off here in Perth.
Seat 3: Sal Fazzino (Perth, Western Australia) – 495,000 chips
Sal Fazzino is a 34-year old Scaffold Supervisor but is well known for being one of the most successful poker players to come out of Western Australia. Fazzino has almost $100,000 in live tournament earnings but even more in online winnings, thanks largely to a 3rd place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-up.
Fazzino finished in 14th place at the recent Aussie Millions Main Event for $70,000 and another big result here in Perth will see him contend for the lead in the ANZ Player of the Year race.
Fazzino credits his dad as his biggest influence and he has enjoyed having good mates Mile Krstanoski and Tony Tartaglia on the rail to cheer him on this week.
Seat 4: Patrick Mahoney (Winona, Minnesota, USA) – 891,000 chips
Patrick Mahoney is the second international on this final table but has spent some time living down under over the past year or two, so he’s well known in the local poker community. The 29-year old has impressive record with over $400,000 in live earnings including a 5th place at the 2011 WPT Biloxi Championship and a runner-up result at the 2012 LAPT Panama Main Event.
Mahoney was a little fortunate to get this far after, in his words, he “spew monkey four-bet jammed” pocket fives into pocket aces, only to bink a five on the flop with 25 players left. From there, Mahoney was able to navigate to the final table in strong shape.
Mahoney says that he enjoyed his time in the beautiful city of Perth with the friendly locals and staff, and he’s very excited to have made a final table down under.
Seat 5: Justin Walch (Brisbane, Queensland) – 202,000 chips
Justin Walch is a 27-year old poker pro from sunny Queensland who is enjoying his biggest success on the live tournament scene. Walch’s previous best live result was a 12th place in the 2011 ANZPT Sydney Main Event.
Don’t let Walch’s modest live record fool you, he’s a bit of an online crusher. Walch specializes in high-stakes, heads-up sit and go’s where he is known as one of the best, and most profitable, players in the world. Watch out if he gets to heads-up in this event!
Walch’s key moment in this tournament was fading a straight-flush draw holding top pair against Patrick Mahoney. From there, Walch stayed out of trouble, but he has some work ahead of him as the final table short stack.
Seat 6: Vesko Zmukic (Perth, Western Australia) – 253,000 chips
46-year old Vesko Zmukic is a former professional soccer player and current coach who also enjoys the competitiveness of multi-table poker tournaments. Zmukic has been a regular on the circuit over the years, and has reached his third ANZPT final table with this result. Zmukic has two previous third place finishes to his credit, so he’d like to go a couple of places further this time around.
Zmukic actually came very close to bubbling this event when all in for around five big blinds with pocket threes against jack-ten. A ten on the flop left Zmukic in trouble, but a two-outer three on the turn brought new life and he was able to carry that momentum all the way to the final table.
Seat 7: Brian McAllister (Perth, Western Australia) – 616,000 chips
Brian McAllister is another of the locals looking to keep the ANZPT Perth title on home soil. McAllister was the chip leader after the first day of play in this event, and he credits the fact that he got “many aces” for his success so far in this event.
McAllister has a string of small cashes in Australia and also in Macau, but he’s clearly a man in form. Last week McAllister won one of the Crown Perth weekly events, before he took second place in the Six-Max side event during the week. McAllister has followed that up with a final table in the Main Event to secure the biggest result of his career.
Seat 8: Dean Blatt (Melbourne, Victoria) – 219,000 chips
At 25 years of age, Dean Blatt is an emerging young player on the Australian poker scene, but has results dating all the way back to 2008. Blatt has a previous WSOP and ANZPT cash to his credit, but his biggest result came last month when he finished in third place in the Aussie Millions Bounty Event for a $36,000 score.
Blatt credits ANZPT Auckland runner-up Nathan Gubieski as his biggest poker influence. Blatt was the bubble boy in Auckland, but he’s reached the money in Perth and will be hoping to better Nathan’s result here today.
Seat 9: Matt Rolfe (Sydney, New South Wales) – 249,000 chips
The lone representative of Sydney, Matt Rolfe is a Sales Manager with seven years of experience in the game after starting out in pub poker leagues.
Rolfe has a solid $250,000 in live earnings over his career including a number of five-figure scores. His biggest cash was a 5th place in the 2009 Victorian Championships Main Event for $51,300 but Rolfe also has one APPT, one WSOP and two previous ANZPT cashes to his credit.
Rolfe says some good table draws helped him get to the final table, and he’s enjoyed the fast dealers here in the Crown Perth Poker Room.
Heath “TassieDevil” Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.