ANZPT Queensland: Final table profiles
Seat 1: Paul Gibson, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (352,000 in chips): Down to just 30,000 in chips with 11 players remaining, this 35-year-old from Brisbane clawed his way back into contention for the title in dramatic fashion. Currently out of work, he's been playing poker for two years and elected to roll the dice by buying in for the full $2500. He's cashed in past events at Crown in Melbourne but this looms as his biggest ever tournament payday. "It's just awesome to have a tournament like this in Queensland, at last," he said.
Seat 2: Phillip Willcocks (PokerStars Qualifier), Auckland, New Zealand (536,000 in chips): One of only two internationals at the final table, this 26-year-old from Auckland qualified for ANZPT Queensland via PokerStars, as was the case when he placed 21st in the 2008 PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final in Sydney. A former molecular biologist, he now turn his microscope to the science of online poker after a friend "pushed" him into poker. He is third in chips heading into the final table and just one double-up away from being a serious threat.
Seat 3: Scott Smith, Kempsey, NSW, Australia (806,000 in chips): This quietly-spoken 24-year-old lives in the NSW country town of Kempsey but there's nothing understated about his poker game. Now a full-time pro, he cashed 15th in last year's PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final at Star City in Sydney. The former actuaries student, known through poker circles by the nickname "Punty", mainly plays online but has started playing more live events in recent months.
Seat 4: Scott Kerr (PokerStars Qualifier) Newcastle, NSW, Australia (532,000 in chips): This 21-year-old from Newcastle has been playing Hold'em for seven years but this is his first major poker tournament. There's a good reason too: he's normally dealing the cards instead of playing them in his job as a dealer at Star City Casino in Sydney. A PokerStars Qualifier, he started playing poker with his father Stephen, whose been on hand to watch his son's roller coaster ride to his first final table.
Seat 5: Lee Fraser (PokerStars Qualifier) Manchester, England (483,000 in chips): There promises to be a party atmosphere at tomorrow's final table with a big contingent of friends railing this 32-year-old electrician, who relocated to Surfers Paradise from Manchester in the UK earlier this year - "because of the weather". He started playing pub poker at home and has honed his skills playing online since moving to Australia. His motto for the final table: "Take a walk on the wild side!"
Seat 6: Shoshiro Karita (PokerStars Player) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (239,000 in chips): Born in Japan, raised in Brisbane and now residing in this Melbourne, this full-time poker player can be considered a young veteran at 24. He has several years of live cash-game experience and has recorded a respectable list of results playing online MTTs and in some of Australia's major events (he was 15th in the recent Melbourne Poker Championships Main Event). He enters his first major final table as the short stack.
Seat 7: Joel Dodds, Sydney, NSW, Australia (1,528,000 in chips): Fresh from his first full summer campaign in Las Vegas (where we hear his golf game came on a treat), this 25-year-old student is celebrating his second ANZPT final table after finishing seventh in his hometown of Sydney back in May. He is among the form players in the country, having cashed in the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event while he also took out the Pot-Limit Omaha title at the Melbourne Championships. He holds a massive chip lead and almost 30 per cent of the chips in play.
Seat 8: Danny Joukhadar, Sydney, NSW, Australia (431,000 in chips): One of the chip leaders throughout all three days of play so far, this 24-year-old poker pro from Sydney remains in contention for a top-three finish in the overall ANZPT points title after cashing 25th in the field of 496 at ANZPT Sydney. Now a full-time poker player, he has four years experiencing and is a regular on the cash tables at Star City. "This is the winner, right here," PokerStars.net Team Australia pro Eric Assadourian told us.