Kanaan survives the rain to lead ANZPT Sydney final table
As the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours!
We've enjoyed beautiful sunshine all week here in Sydney, but those out-of-towners looking to spend their final days enjoying the sights of Sydney would've been a little frustrated as they were greeted with a torrential downpour that lasted most of today.
It was also symbolic of the day we endured inside the relative comfort of the Star City Casino. We started with 49 players and four eliminations from the money, but a drought set in during the early stages that saw hand-for-hand play on the money bubble extend for nearly two hours.
Jymmi Briggs flirted with elimination as a roar went up in the poker room on the bubble. We thought it was the sound of the bubble bursting, but in fact it was Briggs' support crew cheering their man as he spiked a two-outer with pocket queens to survive against Joey Lawrence's pocket aces. Timing is everything.
The nature of tournament poker dictates that it's impossible to sit back and hide from the rising blinds and antes, and eventually it was Peter Mathias who was caught in the wave and washed away as our unfortunate bubble boy.
That's when the rains set in. As expected, the short stacks gambled it up and fell away rapidly as there was no longer a need to fight for survival. The eliminations were pouring as Jimmy Wong (44th), Jarod Shawcross (42nd), Graeme Putt (36th), Michael O'Grady (35th), Jymmi Briggs (32nd) and Todor Kondevski (28th) were just some of those eliminated in quick succession as we powered towards the final table.
Sebastian Pagana (24th) followed up his deep run in Perth with another ANZPT cash, while Oliver Grujic (22nd) also added ANZPT cash number two after his final table in Adelaide. Both will move up the leaderboard with valuable bonus points in the ANZ Player of the Year race.
However our new lead in the ANZ POTY is none other than young gun Jesse McKenzie. The ANZPT Adelaide runner-up again showed incredible poise and well-timed aggression in this event, before bowing out in 16th place when his A♣K♣ couldn't connect to get past Michael Kanaan's pocket fives on a board of 9♥7♥7♦7♣T♦.
It was the start of an incredible run for Kanaan as he surged up the leaderboard. He disposed of both Alexander Antonios (14th) and the last female standing in Melanie Wohlers (13th) to jump up to around 1.4 million and into the chip lead.
It was a spot that Kanaan didn't relinquish as he held off the double Lee combination of Alex and Andy. At one point Alex held a mountain of small denomination chips in front of him, while Andy also enjoyed a rush with the double elimination of Justin Walch (12th) and Adam Cusenza (11th).
As the final table loomed it would be overnight chip leader Josh Barrett who would fall to bring our day to a close. Barrett and his Peking Duck appeared inspired to go all the way but his squeeze attempt with 5♥5♠ was snapped off by Luis Arrilucea's K♦K♠ and that was all she wrote. Our day was done as the ANZPT Sydney final table was set!
Seat 1: Mike Stecker (United States) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 320,000
Seat 2: AJ Bertenshaw (New Zealand) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 605,000
Seat 3: Abbas (John) Karroobee (Australia) - 356,000
Seat 4: Hun Wei (Andy) Lee (Australia) - 1,321,000
Seat 5: Alex Lee (Australia) - 1,443,000
Seat 6: Jay Kinkade (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 336,000
Seat 7: Michael Kanaan (Australia) - 1,712,000
Seat 8: Stevan Chew (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - 610,000
Seat 9: Luis Arrilucea (Australia) - 1,327,000
It's a diverse mix of players, with several amateurs and a few pros, that should provide an entertaining finale tomorrow afternoon. Play will recommence at 12:30pm local time (GMT+10) with all of your live updates exclusively on PokerStars Blog.
Whether you're spending your Saturday night in the Star City Sports Bar or venturing to the neon lights of King's Cross, make sure you get a few hours rest for a big day tomorrow as the ANZPT Sydney Main Event draws to a close. We look forward to your company then!