ANZPT7 Sydney: Final Table Player Profiles
After three days of play, the ANZPT Sydney Main Event is down to a final table of nine. One of these men will capture the title of champion and top prize of $225,000.
Let's learn a little more about our final table line up!
Seat 1: Shaneel Chand (Sydney, New South Wales) - 595,000 chips
Shaneel Chand is a 24-year old local with six years of experience in the game. One day he wandered into a pub, jumped into a pub poker tournament and from there was hooked!
Chand doesn't have any live results but he regularly plays MTTs online with his poker highlight coming when he won the weekly Hi/Low No Limit event on PokerStars.
Chand says that his defining moment of the tournament when he was all in with pocket jacks against pocket kings when another player had already folded a jack. Chand found the case jack on the board to stay alive and from there, navigated his way to his first major final table appearance.
Seat 2: Tom Rafferty (Sydney, New South Wales) - 400,000 chips
Tom Rafferty may be a player who flies under the guard of a lot of players but the 30-year old Sydneysider is arguably the best-credentialed player at this final table.
Rafferty has over US$400,000 in live tournament earnings including a ninth, third and runner-up finish in major championships here in Sydney. He's also an accomplished cash game player, regularly found in the $10/20 No Limit Holdem games.
Rafferty has come close to tasting the gold several times before and would love nothing more than to grab his first trophy here in the ANZPT Sydney Main Event.
Seat 3: Emanuel "Curly" Seal (Adelaide, South Australia) - 810,000 chips
The man better known as "Curly", Emanuel Seal is a Bookmaker by trade, but has an impressive poker record dating back the best part of a decade.
Seal has accumulated over US$330,000 in tournament earnings in that time, with results throughout Australia and Macau as well as a cash at the World Series of Poker. Seal's career highlight came in 2007 when he finished 10th in the Aussie Millions Main Event for $120,000.
One of the popular guys on the circuit, Curly will have plenty of fans, both on the rail in Sydney and the virtual rail back in his home town of Adelaide.
Seat 4: Murray Roach (Sydney, New South Wales) - 1,495,000 chips
Murray Roach is a 36-year old Electrician with ten years experience in the game. He is usually found playing online where he says he's landed a few five-figure cashes, but this final table will be his best live score regardless of the result.
In fact Roach finished in 16th place in the ANZPT Sydney Main Event last year, so he's already improved on that mark this time around.
Roach really got the table talking late on Day 3 when he folded ace-king in the big blind to a short-stacked shove with two tables to go, but his tight play certainly paid dividends in the end as he will enter the final table as one of the bigger stacks.
Seat 5: Jim Psaros (Newcastle, New South Wales) - 2,640,000 chips
Our clear chip leader entering the final table is 56-year old Jim Psaros. This Professor of Accounting certainly had the numbers add up in his favour late on Day 3 as he amassed over one million chips more than his nearest opponent.
Psaros has been playing poker for six years after first exposed to the game at a local pub poker event. He describes himself as a small stakes cash grinder, and has a few small results in weekly tournaments at The Star, but this final table will be the biggest result of his poker career so far.
Psaros is another player who has proven that "tight is right". Late on Day 2, Psarros made a big fold with pocket kings on a nine-high flop which he says was he defining moment of his tournament so far. We'll have to see if that decision will carry him all the way to the title.
Seat 6: Zhi Hong Ma (Sydney, New South Wales) - 625,000 chips
Zhi Hong Ma has been on the poker scene for nine years in Australia but first started out in poker in his homeland of China where he would play Five-Card Stud with his friends.
Ma usually enjoys playing mixed cash games, but his tournament record is sound with over US$150,000 in career earnings including a runner-up finish in an Aussie Millions side event in 2007 worth $85,479.
This is Ma's first cash on the ANZPT as he chases his first major poker championship.
Seat 7: Li-ta "Leon" Hsu (Taiwan) - 605,000 chips
Our lone international on the final table is Taiwanese player Li-ta "Leon" Hsu. 28 year-old Hsu is a regular on the Macau poker scene but this is his first big impression on the ANZPT.
Hsu made a last-minute decision to fly straight to Sydney off the back of a successful Macau Poker Cup series where he made four final tables in side events to boost his total career earnings to just under US$100,000.
Hsu enjoys exercise and going to the movies, and says that he has really enjoyed playing with the friendly people here in Australia.
Seat 8: Denis Sekuloski (Sydney, New South Wales) - 1,580,000 chips
27-year old Denis Sekuloski is another one of our big stacks on this final table after playing the role of enforcer for large periods of play late on Day 3.
Judging from the branding on his sidewards-facing cap, Sekuloski works in the Concreting business, but he does find time to play plenty of poker with his US$30,000 in previous career earnings comprised of weekly tournament results here at The Star. However this is the first major result for Sekuloski.
Away from poker, Sekuloski enjoys boxing and he says he has enjoyed the opportunity to play a major tournament in his home town of Sydney.
Seat 9: Chung Liew (Perth, Western Australia) - 155,000 chips
Chung Liew will be the lone representative of Western Australia on this final table. This 28-year old Croupier has six years of experience in the game but this is his first major tournament result.
Liew credits his wife as his biggest influence, saying that she has been a huge financial and moral support in his pursuits in poker.
Liew says he has really enjoyed the structure of this tournament which helped him hang on late on Day 3 as the absolute short stack. He'll start this final table with under four big blinds so has some work ahead of him to get back into contention.