Seat 1: Manny Stavropoulos, 50 (Australia) – 1,570,000 in chips
Melbourne local Manny Stavropoulos is the current reigning Aussie Millions Main Event champion and has guaranteed himself another great run with this final table appearance at Crown Melbourne. Stavropoulos has been playing poker for 10 years and can usually be found at the $5/$10 cash tables.
He says the defining moment in his tournament so far was flopping the nut flush against the second nut flush of fellow final tablist George Balandinos for a big double up. With his efforts here this week Stavropoulos has already locked up the ANZPT Player of the Year honours.
Seat 2: Kenny Langcake, 42 (Australia) – 650,000 in chips
This 42 year-old accountant hails from Avoca Beach in New South Wales and his trip to Melbourne has proved profitable here this week. Langcake has played poker for a decade and says that the biggest influence to his game has been Jesse McKenzie.
While he usually plays cash games, away from the felt Langcake enjoys surfing. He said the most enjoyable thing about the tournament this week was the talented dealers and friendly staff.
Seat 3: Mile ‘The Shadow’ Krstanoski, 35 (Australia) – 525,000 in chips
Mile Krstanoski is a director from Perth and has been playing poker for five years now. He claims his biggest influence is Australian Poker Hall of Famer and ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh.
Krstanoski’s career highlight came when he finished third in the 2012 Aussie Millions Main Event. After starting Day 2 with only nine big blinds this week Krstanoski has done well to make a final table appearance. Outside of poker he’s a car enthusiast and revealed he loved this trip to Melbourne as he got to see his poker idol McDonagh.
Seat 4: Carl Knox, 33 (New Zealand) – 860,000 in chips
One of two New Zealanders at the final table, Carl Knox says he got his start in poker playing home games with friends. His favourite moment so far in his poker career was taking down the 2013 New Zealand Poker Open in 2013.
The 33 year-old has been playing poker for eight of those and says the defining moment in this tournament was shoving with Q♦6♦ and cracking Kenn Langcake’s pocket tens. A doctor by trade, Knox enjoys spending time with his family and running his new beekeeping business.
Seat 5: George Balandinos, 53 (Australia) – 990,000 in chips
This 53 year-old retired Brisbane local is a $2/$5 cash game player and has been into poker for eight years now. Balandinos tells us his biggest poker highlight was finishing third in the Aussie Millions Mix Max event this year.
The best moment in Balandinos’s tournament this week came when he spiked a set on the river holding pocket deuces to eliminate an opponent who had pocket kings. When he’s not playing poker, Balandinos enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.
Seat 6: Erich Stadler, 43 (New Zealand) – 490,000 in chips
Erich Stadler is a 43 year-old manager from Queenstown New Zealand and has been playing poker for eight years. He got his start in home games with buddies who he says are his biggest poker influences.
Stadler told us he mostly playes tournaments and making the final table this week is his greatest poker accomplishment. His biggest tournament moment this week saw him win a big flip with ace-king against an opponent’s pocket queens. Off the felt Stadler loves skiing, motorcycling and having a drink.
Seat 7: Peter Matusik, 73 (Australia) – 2,430,000 in chips
The 73 year-old Peter Matusik is now retired and tells us he’s been playing poker for 30 years. He can’t remember how he got his start in poker but he said his biggest influence is fellow final tablist Manny Stavropoulos.
Matusik can usually be found on the $5/$5 or $5/$10 tables but his biggest poker highlight so far was winning ANZPT Gold Coast in 2011. He starts the final table as chip leader this week but outside of poker Matusik enjoys reading, travel and gardening.
Seat 8: Lin Shi, 27 (Australia) – 1,865,000 in chips
Lin Shi or Lenny as he calls himself is a Melbourne local who works as a sales representative. Shi has been playing the game for five years now and said he got started watching poker on television. The $2/$4 cash game regular had his favourite poker moment when he finished sixth in a Macau Baby Dragon event.
The defining moment in Shi’s tournament this week was flopping a flush for a big pot and he told us he really liked the structure of the blinds levels. Shi clearly has some poker chops but his main hobby is music.
Seat 9: Nikolce Trajkovski (Australia) – 800,000 in chips
Australian Nikolce Trajkovski has seven cashes to his name so far with a total live earning tally of $13,409. His biggest cash to date came in 2013 when he placed fifth in an APPT Six Max side event for $9,165. By locking up at least a ninth place finish here this week Trajkovski has earned himself his biggest score yet.
A big moment for Trajkovski came today when he eliminated Brett McGrath in the later stages, holding ace-queen against his opponent’s ace-ten and fading danger to deal the knock out.