Levy finds some grunt in Perth
Australians love nothing more than cheering their own team onto victory. It doesn't matter if it's the Olympic Games, the World Cup or the local Curling Division 2 championships - just attach some form of allegiance and we'll happily sit and cheer. The rule counts for double if the local hope is an underdog (which is probably likely in Curling). We love nothing more than an underdog, defying the odds to claim a stunning come-from-behind victory.
Well, the Aussies are out of the cricket and the local AFL teams are probably in for a long season ahead, so we're expecting plenty of fans to flock to the grandstands of the Burswood Poker Room tomorrow to cheer on their local hopes on the ANZPT Perth Main Event final table.
Perhaps calling the locals underdogs would be a little unfair, but without a doubt favouritism for tomorrow lays with one of Australia's premier players in PokerStars qualifier Grant "grunter" Levy.
The first Australian to win one million dollars on home soil when he captured the 2007 APPT Sydney crown, Levy has enjoyed many years of success on the felt across multiple countries. As remarkable as his success, is the fact that this is Levy's very first cash on the ANZPT after 13 fruitless attempts. It's not a record he's happy with, and you could tell from his fearless aggression today, that Levy is not just playing to cash, but he's playing to win. His bet/three-bet with queen-high against Mikael Rosen was super impressive, and if the stacks get deep tomorrow, then expect Levy to put maximum pressure on his opponents with his big stack.
The locals do have plenty to cheer for however as five WA boys have reached the final frontier. Peter Parsons, Han Luu and John Corr have all made it through, while Ted Nguyen fought back from virtually a chip and a chair to sneak onto the final table as the short stack. The fifth local is young gun Aaron Lim who carried his overnight chip lead all the way to reach the final table second in chips. This could be a career-defining tournament for Lim if he can go all the way.
Tim Marsters and Irishman Patrick Kearns round out the final eight, after a dramatic simultaneous elimination saw Ricky Kroesen and Mikael Rosen split 9th place prize money and leave us a player short for our official final table.
Earlier in the day, eight players left the ANZPT Perth Main Event empty-handed as Trish Dewy experienced the pain of bubble girl. Dewy ran her pocket tens into Patrick Kearns' pocket jacks and will now have to return tomorrow in her official role as final table photographer rather than final table player.
Once the cash was reached we lost Kyle Cheong (24th - $4,550), Danny Chevalier (20th - $5,050), Ash Cartwright (19th - $5,050), David Gorr (18th - $6,300) and Vekso Zmukic (17th - $6,300). Chevalier became the only player to cash in both ANZPT events this season and will now assume top place in the Season 3 ANZ Player of the Year race.
As the tension built and the final table loomed, Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem found a big double up with pocket kings and looked a chance to reach the final stage in the defence of his ANZPT crown. However just as quickly, the dream of back-to-back titles was gone as he ran pocket kings into Peter Gilbert's pocket aces and was eliminated in 13th place for $7,600. Hachem was left in a state of shock and disappointment but will be comforted by the fact that it was one cooler that not even he could have escaped.
Liam O'Rourke (13th - $7,600) and Richard Lancaster (12th - $8,900) were next to go, followed by Peter Gilbert (11th - $8,900) before the double KO saw our final table of eight formed.
Here's how they will line up on tomorrow's final table:
Seat 1: Han Luu (Australia) - 639,000
Seat 2: John Corr (Australia) - 481,000
Seat 3: Patrick Kearns (Australia) - 480,000
Seat 4: Tim Marsters (Australia) - PokerStars Qualifier - 702,000
Seat 5: Ted Nguyen (Australia) - 204,000
Seat 6: Grant Levy (Australia) - PokerStars Qualifier - 849,000
Seat 7: Aaron Lim (Australia) - 748,000
Seat 8: Peter Parsons (Australia) - 242,000
Click here for the ANZPT Perth final table player profiles.
Play will recommence in the Burswood Poker Room at 12:30pm local time (GMT+8) tomorrow as they play it out for the trophy and $131,500 in prize money.
As the sun sets and the city of Perth is lit up by the Saturday night lights, we thank you for your company today, and look forward to you joining us again tomorrow for what should be an epic final table. See you then!