Kanaan claims lightning victory at ANZPT Sydney

The term "run good" in poker can mean a few different things. For the poker player, it means having some luck, catching the right cards at the right times, and enjoying some win. However for the humble tournament reporter, when we talk about run good, we're talking about a final table that wraps up at 5:02pm.

Ok, so that's a little selfish of us, but we can't help but enjoy a short day at the office. And it's not just about having the opportunity to grab a meal or a drink after work, or in this case, perhaps even the chance to see some sunlight. A short finish means that we've seen some exciting poker, and that's exactly what unfolded for us on a whirlwind ANZPT Sydney Main Event final table this afternoon.

At 12:30pm we started out with nine of the best who all clearly had eyes on the trophy as they adopted an aggressive strategy from the get-go. Jay Kinkade was the most experienced, and arguably, the most talented player at the final table, but his short stack was always going to be tough to overcome. So the table breathed a collective sigh of relief when the beast was tamed by young gun Andy Lee.

Lee opened with an under-the-gun raise to 40,000 before Kinkade moved all in over the top for his last 332,000. Lee snap-called with K♣K♥ as Kinkade was in trouble holding 9♣9♠. However this is a tough beast to kill as Kinkade spiked a set on the T♦9♦J♠ flop to take the lead in the hand. The 3♥ hit the turn and it looked like Kinkade was about to get back into contention, but the Q♣ fell on the river to send Kinkade home as our first casualty of the day.


The cracking pace didn't slow as Mike Stecker was out moments later when he lost a race with A♥K♥ against Andy Lee's 7♥7♣, before AJ Bertenshaw made a move with A♥J♠ but ran into Michael Kanaan's Q♥Q♦ to be eliminated in 7th place.

John Karroobee started to get things moving in the right direction, Andy Lee remained in control out in front while Stevan Chew just couldn't get things going. Chew tried a squeeze play with 5♣5♠ but he ran into the K♣K♦ of Andy Lee to be sent to the cashier in 6th place.


Throughout the final table, the theme was aggression, especially when Andy Lee and Michael Kanaan were involved. Kanaan in particular was ruthless preflop, with six-bet shoves on two separate occasions earning folds from his opponents.

After the first break of the day it was Alex Lee who was next to go after first being crippled by Andy Lee's set of sevens, before Alex pushed his short stack with a flush draw into Andy's middle pair. He was soon followed by John Karroobee as the pace of play didn't relent for a minute. Karroobee went with K♥T♥ preflop against Luis Arrilucea's 7♥7♠ but a third seven on the flop was enough to end Karroobee's run in 4th place.

Three-handed play saw our players fairly even in chips, after Luis Arrilucea doubled up with pocket eights against Andy Lee's A♦Q♥ as the big pots continued to swing back and forth. Lee got some revenge when his J♦2♦ flush draw managed to river another diamond to crack Arrilucea's pocket kings, but the very next hand Arrilucea got his chips back with his A♥J♣ holding against Lee's K♠9♠.

Eventually Lee couldn't hold on any longer and was eliminated in 3rd place in a rare post-flop play. The board read 7♣9♠4♥9♣6♠ with Lee betting every street until he was raised all in by Michael Kanaan on the river. Lee made the call but mucked when Kanaan opened 9♦7♦ for a full house.


Michael Kanaan held a two-to-one chip lead entering heads-up play but only required two hands to get the job done. However it was a true cooler of a hand, that would have put a stop to any poker tournament in the world.

Once again all the action was preflop, with a mad series of raises resulting in Luis Arrilucea's last chips moving into the middle holding A♥K♠ but Michael Kanaan found a monster K♣K♦. The flop was equally brutal as it landed 3♠A♦K♥ to give Arrilucea two pair, but Kanaan a set of kings to leave Arrilucea with just two outs to survive. It wasn't to be as the 8♥ turn and 6♥ river completed the board.


Luis Arrilucea was eliminated in 2nd place after a fine tournament to leave Michael Kanaan as our 2011 ANZPT Sydney champion!

Michael played a wonderfully aggressive game, especially late on Day 3 and throughout the final table today and is thoroughly deserving of the title and $195,714 pay day!


Final Table Results

1st Michael Kanaan (Australia) - $195,714
2nd Luis Arrilucea (Australia) - $124,581
3rd Andy Lee (Australia) - $69,168
4th John Karroobee (Australia) - $54,234
5th Alex Lee (Australia) - $43,230
6th Stevan Chew (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - $35,370
7th AJ Bertenshaw (New Zealand) (PokerStars Qualifier) - $27,510
8th Mike Stecker (United States) (PokerStars Qualifier) - $21,615
9th Jay Kinkade (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - $15,720

That wraps things up for us from Sydney, but it's been a great week as usual. Sydney is a truly world-class city that caters to every tourists delights as our PokerStars qualifiers have discovered throughout the week.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at Star City for their wonderful hospitality and efforts to run this tournament, and we look forward to returning for the Sydney Championships and PokerStars.net APPT Sydney events later in the year.

Also many thanks to Tom Van for his assistance on the floor throughout the week and to Kirsty Chick for her final table photography.

The next stop of the ANZPT sees us head north for the $2,500 ANZPT Gold Coast Main Event which runs at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast from May 17-22 2011. Get your satellite skates on and qualify on PokerStars today so we can see you there!