ANZPT Sydney: Our final table is set
The official ANZPT Sydney final table of nine have been formed after we went from 16 to nine with a series of pretty rapid bustouts.
Kristina Griffiths and Steve Lindeblad lost the battle with their short stacks, before Mishel Anunu's tournament came unstuck in unlucky 13th place. Anunu fell when his pocket nines couldn't hold against the A♣Q♥ of Martin Rowe - the exact same cards that Rowe won the APPT Sydney title with back in 2008.
Overnight chip leader Nick Heather lost a race with pocket sevens against king-ten to fall in 12th before Liam O'Rourke continued his dominating assault on his opponents.
Erich Stadler was out in 11th when O'Rourke called the all-in bet with A♣Q♣ and caught a river queen to better Stadler's 8♠8♦. It was ace-queen which did the damage again moments later when O'Rourke again won the race against Alec Smith's pocket fives. The board of 7♠3♥7♥Q♥8♦ left Smith as the final table bubble boy in 10th place.
It's an interesting final table with a mix of youth and experience with a couple of new faces set to make their first impression on the Australian poker scene.
Liam O'Rourke will enter as the chip leader, and as we've already mentioned, he's one of Australia's finest young players. There's already been a little bit of chat on the rail about his bad beat on the final table of the ANZPT Gold Coast in 2010. With 3.4 million chips, and over a third of the chips in play, it really is O'Rourke's tournament to win.
Anthony Aston is next best with a stack of 1.9 million, which is impressive, but still a long way from the chip lead. We don't know a lot about Aston, and he has no previous tournament record to speak of, but he's showed some great form this afternoon and will be a genuine contender.
Jason O'Brien (800,000) and Scotsman Gordon Huntly (715,000) are in the middle of the pack but have Aussie Millions champion Oliver Speidel (710,000) breathing down their neck. If Speidel can add an ANZPT title to his resume, just months after winning the big one in Melbourne, it would be one of the great achievements seen in this country.
Craig Blight (425,000) from Melbourne has a couple of previous cashes to his credit, but with under twenty big blinds, he has a little work to do along with relative unknown Bradley Lancken (370,000).
Another short stack belongs to 2008 APPT Sydney champion Martin Rowe (360,000) who will join Grant Levy and Brotha D as the only players to even win both APPT and ANZPT titles if he can salute this evening.
The final player of this final table, and the short stack of the field, is Stewart Ballard (325,000). Ballard caught a two-outer just moments ago to stay alive in this tournament, but with several previous cashes in Australia and Macau, including a cash in the 2010 ANZPT Perth event, Ballard shouldn't be written off just yet!
And with that, the cards have been launched into the air as the ANZPT Sydney Main Event final table is now underway!