ANZPT Perth: Final table profiles
Seat 1: Jimmy Wong (Perth, Western Australia), 253,000 in chips: This gregarious and ultra-popular local has been playing poker for most of his life, starting with seven-card stud and Omaha before picking up on Hold'em. A restaurant owner and father of four, he cashed in the 2008 APPT Grand Final at Star City in Sydney but is hoping to secure his breakthrough victory in his home casino. He's been among the chip leaders at numerous points of the tournament but enters the final table among the short stacks. So Jimmy, are you excited? "Yes, but I'm late for a birthday party!"
Seat 2: Aleks Lackovic (Perth, Western Australia), 684,000 in chips: One of the most popular and respected players on this side of the Nullarbor, he burst onto the national poker landscape in 2006 with second to Eric Assadourian in the Melbourne Poker Championships Main Event. He's gone to cash in numerous events, including fourth in the 2008 Western Classic. Just days earlier, he combined with brother Nik to win the ANZPT Perth teams event, and was among the chip leaders at numerous points on day two. Away from the felt, the 40-year-old IT manager is married with one child.
Seat 3: Tony Hachem (Melbourne, Victoria), PokerStars.net Team Australia, 458,000 in chips: The younger brother of Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem has carved his own slice of poker history after winning the first ANZPT Player of the Year title. He cashed in four of the five events in the tour's first season, and started 2010 in equally impressive fashion with seventh in the ANZPT Adelaide Main Event. He has also compiled a respectable record on either side of the Pacific with three WSOP cashes (including the 2007 main event) and a runner-up finish in the 2008 NZ Poker Championships Main Event.
Seat 4: Dale Marsland (Perth, Western Australia), 651,000 in chips: A 31-year-old school teacher, he has six years of poker under his belt and enjoys playing poker with mates. In fact, he's known as Crackerjack in his regular home game due to his love of lawn bowls. After eliminating 2009 APPT Grand Final winner Aaron Benton early on day three, he endured a tough afternoon but met fire with fire in the final two levels to propel hi stack into third overall chip position, which should ensure him a serious shot at the biggest poker prize ever offered in his home state.
Seat 5: Zaffer Soemya (Perth, Western Australia), 1,016,000 in chips: This 40-year-old mining engineer who makes his home in the Swan Valley, just outside Perth, has been playing poker for almost three years. He was 10th in last year's Western Classic here at Burswood. One of the shorter stacks throughout day three, he won two crucial pots against chip leader Tu Le to ascend the chip count, where he stays leading into the final table. With two children and a third on the way, the AUD $132,750 first prize would be nicely timed.
Seat 6: Wade Beavis (Perth, Western Australia), 145,000 in chips: Another elite sportsman competing at the ANZPT Perth final table, this 24-year-old professional golfer just earned his tour card before making this deep run in the first ANZPT event held in his hometown. A poker player for the past six years, he looked destined to finish out of the money before and aggressive run elevated him to near the top of the chip count. However, he enters the final table as the outright short stack on 145,000 and will be looking to pick up some big hands in the opening level.
Seat 7: Eoin Kennedy (Tipperary, Ireland), 149,000 in chips: The sole international at the final table, this 27-year-old Irishman is decide to combine some poker with a trip to Australia - first at the Aussie Millions (where he cashed in the six-handed event) before trekking to WA. An IT consultant, he's been playing poker for the past eight years and showed plenty of steely determination to drag his short stack to the final table despite plenty of pressure late on day three. With less than 150,000, he'll be looking for an early double-up.
Seat 8: Vesko Zmukic (Perth, Western Australia), 583,000 in chips: Many argue that poker is a sport, and no-one is better qualified to make a call on this vexing question than this 42-year-old former professional soccer player. Indeed, his PokerStars ID sutjeska refers to the Montenegrin football club with which he made his professional debut (he now coaches in the top tier of WA soccer). The father of two is among the most respected players on this side of the country, having captured the Western Classic title late in 2009. He enters the final table in fourth chip position.
Seat 9: Tu Le (Perth, Western Australia), 371,000 in chips: He may be one of the youngest players at the final table, but this 24-year-old has some impressive poker experience under his belt, including a trip to the WSOP and many hours playing online. His most impressive result to date was second to Vesko Zmukic is last year's Western Classic. A student at the University of Western Australia where is studying engineering and commerce, he was chip leader with 11 players remaining but took big hits to his stack before recovering late in the day.