ANZPT Sydney: Huntly claims mighty win for Scotland
It didn't take long following the break for a one-two blow to finish off the ANZPT Sydney Main Event and crown Scotland's Gordon Huntly as our newest poker champion!
Three-handed, it took a bit of a cooler to finish off the determined Anthony Aston.
Liam O'Rourke opened with a raise before Aston moved all in. O'Rourke snap-called with A♣K♣ as Aston found himself dominated with A♥J♦.
The board ran out 3♦3♠2♠5♥T♥ to eliminate Aston in 3rd place. We believe that's worth $100,000 in the pocket after the recent deal discussions.
The dealing didn't end there as Gordon Huntly and Liam O'Rourke settled the remaining money pretty quickly. O'Rourke held a small lead, but agreed to chop it $160,000 apiece and play for the remaining $31,780 according to their own calculations.
Huntly gained the ascendency with several healthy pots before O'Rourke decided to make a stand preflop with K♠9♣. Huntly held a relative monster with J♦J♠ and was five community cards away from victory.
The flop was a dry 4♥3♦Q♦ and the 7♣ turn also changed nothing. O'Rourke was left clinging to a king to survive, but the 4♣ river sealed the deal. A second top-three finish for O'Rourke on the ANZPT but still no elusive title. Hopefully $160,000 will be some consolation and we're sure it won't be the last time we see O'Rourke going heads-up for a trophy.
For the likable Scot, it's his first major poker title after falling at the final hurdle at the 2010 APPT Manila Chairman's Cup event. Huntly remained completely composed throughout the final table and picked his spots perfectly against some tricky opposition.
They say that poker isn't a sport, but after a fourteen-hour final day, you have to say that Huntly showed superb stamina and concentration, and appeared the freshest player at the table when things got tough into the wee hours of the morning.
Well done Gordon on a fantastic victory. One for the good guys!
We knew we were in for another long day in the Star Poker Room today. Some would say it was karma for last year's lightning fast final table.
There was plenty of support on the rail for the final 27 players who were all jostling for a berth on that official ANZPT final table. They fell away rather quickly with Luke Edwards, Sam Capra, Kristina Griffiths, Mishel Anunu and Jim Collopy among the early casualties. Collopy in particular was distraught after his pocket kings were cracked by 4♣3♣ with two tables to go.
It was around this time that Liam O'Rourke started to surge and for most of the day, he looked the likely winner. O'Rourke amassed a huge chip lead and when he eliminated the dangerous Alec Smith in 10th place our final table was set with O'Rourke holding over a third of the chips in play.
2008 APPT champion Martin Rowe was looking to join a very exclusive club with both ANZPT and APPT titles, but both Rowe and Bradley Lancken were early eliminations from the final table.
The seven remaining players locked into an intense battle that couldn't be broken before the dinner break. Oliver Speidel found himself on the short stack after a crippling blow and it didn't take long post-dinner for something to crack. Speidel and Craig Blight were next to go with Blight losing a race against Liam O'Rourke before the Aussie Millions champ got his short stack in the middle with ten-seven. He was also racing against the pocket fours of Anthony Aston but failed to connect with the board.
Liam O'Rourke continued to press the action with some hyper-aggressive play that saw him climb into a big chip lead and tangle in some entertaining pots with Stewart Ballard. O'Rourke's aggression could've backfired when he four-bet shoved preflop with pocket deuces and Jason O'Brien insta-called, but O'Rourke was relieved to find that he was racing against ace-king. O'Rourke flopped a set, O'Brien turned a flush draw, but the river bricked to see O'Brien's great run end in 5th place.
The players tried to strike up a deal but the Star Poker staff refused to pause the clock which made deal discussions pretty tough. Play slowed up as the players fatigued into the wee hours of the morning, and at times we thought we had nothing to write about. But Stewart Ballard went from chip leader to short stack and was eliminated in 4th place after his pocket eights were no match for Gordon Huntly's pocket tens.
Huntly became an unlikely chip leader, and after Liam O'Rourke finished off a gallant Anthony Aston in third place, Huntly got ahead in the heads-up contest before grabbing a memorable win.
That concludes our coverage from the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. We'd like to thank the staff at The Star for their hospitality this week and to the PokerStars staff for hosting another sensational tournament. Also many thanks to my colleague Josh Bell for his updates throughout the week, and to Kirsty Chick for her final table photography.
The next event on the Asian poker calendar is the APPT Cebu event at the Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino in Cebu, Philippines from April 25-30. We look forward to seeing you there!