Lee Nelson writes new chapter with ANZPT Melbourne victory
It was one of the most gruelling tournaments that we've ever seen in three seasons of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour. A big field, talented players and very long days, not to mention the minefield of bad beats that lay in between. It was always going to prove to be a massive challenge to overcome. Three days ago, we said we expected to see the cream to rise to the top in this event, and indeed that's what happened with victory going the way of Lee Nelson.
Nelson is the most successful players of all time in the Australasian region. With results dating back decades, Nelson's reputation was so solid that he picked up the nickname "Final Table" in recognition of his incredible tournament strike rate. In recent years, Nelson has reduced his playing schedule a little, but has once again proven that he still has what it takes to compete with the whiz kids as he adds an ANZPT trophy to the cabinet.
It's a long way from the two-orbit penalty that Nelson was whacked yesterday when he acted out of turn. Like the true professional he is, Nelson maintained his composure and made it through to the final day in third chip position.
After we lost Erich Stadler (11th) and Seonglee Ang (10th) in the early stages of today, the scene was set for an exciting final table. However early on the play was very slow, with the short stacks waiting for the right spot and the tight players biding their time. New Zealand's Phil Willcocks and overnight chip leader Tom Wing were pushing the action, but it was tough going.
Justin Sanchez departed in 9th place but then it took over two more hours before Brett Chalhoub was the next player to fall. Chalhoub was pretty unlucky and it was a defining hand in the tournament when his ace-king was rivered by the ace-queen of Lee Nelson. That lucky lady would jump Nelson into the chip lead while Chalhoub was sent packing in 8th place.
From there the pace of play picked up as the short stacks did their best to double up or die trying. Stephen Eliesen got caught shoving light into Phil Willcocks to fall in 7th place before overnight chip leader Tom Wing crashed and burned when he called with ace-seven only to run into a dominant ace-jack held by Willcocks. Wing was crippled and couldn't recover to fall in 6th place.
Incredibly it was Willcocks who was next to go after a series of hands went against him.
First he doubled up Nick Georgoulas on a 9♣7♠3♠ flop when Willcocks shoved Q♣J♣ and Georgoulas made a huge call with A♥3♦ for bottom pair. Clearly rattled, Willcocks shoved all in moments later with T♣6♣ and Lee Nelson called with A♣8♥. Willcocks flopped a pair but Nelson ran him down with a backdoor straight to send Willcocks crashing out in 5th place just prior to the dinner break.
With hungers satisfied, the rapid eliminations continued with Karan Punjabi recovering from a short stack before eventually falling in 4th place before Danny Chevalier's run came to an end in 3rd. Lee Nelson was the man responsible for both bustouts as he couldn't put a foot wrong. Chevalier was looking not only for the title and cash, but valuable points in the ANZ Player of the Year race. He three-bet all in with pocket threes but Nelson made the call with ace-ten and won the race when he improved to a full house. With this result, Chevalier moves to second on the ANZ POTY and will be heading to Darwin confident of another big result.
That left us heads up with the unlikely duo of Lee Nelson and Nick Georgoulas. Nelson had the lead, but Georgoulas was quick to find a double up as the two players were prepared to play big ball and gamble for the title.
The final moment came when Nelson three-bet shoved all in with J♥T♥ and Georgoulas made the call with pocket fours. Nelson flopped a flush on the 8♥A♥K♥ flop and it was all but over. The 9♥ turn and 2♠ river sealed the deal as the Australian Poker Hall of Famer grabbed the title!
Final table results
1st Lee Nelson (New Zealand) - $156,550
2nd Nick Georgoulas (Australia) - $99,200
3rd Danny Chevalier (Australia) - $55,180
4th Karan Punjabi (Australia) - $43,090
5th Phil Willcocks (New Zealand) - $34,100
6th Tom Wing (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - $27,900
7th Stephen Eliesen (Australia) (PokerStars Player) - $22,320
8th Brett Chalhoub (Australia) (PokerStars Qualifier) - $17,670
9th Justin Sanchez (Australia) - $13,020
That just about wraps things up here in Melbourne. It's been a great few days as the Crown Poker Room has once again been a fantastic host running another world-class poker tournament. Many thanks to Christian Vaughan and his staff for all of their efforts this week.
I'd like to also thank the tireless efforts of Tom Van running the floor this week, as well as Shannon Morris for his superb final table photography.
The next event on the calendar is the ANZPT Darwin Main Event which will be held at the SKYCITY Darwin Casino from October 4th - 8th. If you'd like a trip up north to enjoy plenty of fun with a little poker then make sure you qualify now on PokerStars!
Until then, thanks for following along and we look forward to your company next time.