ANZPT Melbourne: Final Table Player Profiles

Two long days of play has seen our ANZPT Melbourne field of 345 reduced to the final table of nine. It was a long road to get to this point, but the journey has only just begun as the $172,500 first-place prize awaits. Our final table is interesting mix with a couple of runaway chip leaders, a previous ANZPT champion, a few newcomers and some of the best young players in the AU/NZ region.

Let's take a closer look at the players of the Season 5 ANZPT Melbourne final table:

Seat 1: Paul Hockin (Hamilton, New Zealand) - 801,000 chips


Paul Hockin is another of the ultra-aggressive players to have come from the Land of the Long White Cloud, and it's a style of play that has brought great success. Hockin has been playing poker for six years and has achieved many impressive results both live and online. Hockin has several major online poker scores to his credit under the handle "KingPaulie" including a 3rd place in the PokerStars Sunday Million and win in the Sunday 2nd Chance.

This is Hockin's second ANZPT final table, after finishing 5th on the Gold Coast in 2011, interestingly an event won by Peter Matusik who is also on this final table.

Away from poker, Hockin enjoys cricket and rugby league.

Seat 2: Michael Lo Giudice (Melbourne, Australia) - 1,071,000 chips


Michael Lo Giudice is a 64-year old local who has been playing poker recreationally for five years after seeing it on television. He enjoys the social side of the game and playing with a diverse group of players at the tables.

This is Lo Giudice's first major final table and largest score, with his previous best result coming from a min-cash in the 2011 Aussie Millions Main Event.

Seat 3: Michael Guzzardi (Melbourne, Australia) - 509,000 chips


Michael Guzzardi is a 28-year old from Melbourne who has plied his trade in the Crown Poker Room, both as a dealer and now as a player. Guzzardi quickly rose to prominence with a final table at the 2007 World Series of Poker which remains his biggest live result among cashes worth US$180,000.

Guzzardi enjoys playing high-stakes Pot Limit Omaha cash games, and away from poker you'll find him playing basketball, video games and spending time with his family.

Guzzardi says that he has most enjoyed the quality structure provided in this event which allowed him to nurse a short stack for much of Day 2 before making a run for the final table.

Seat 4: Peter Matusik (Brisbane, Australia) - 1,058,000 chips


Peter Matusik, better known in poker circles as "Chewing Gum Pete", will be looking to make history at this final table as the first player to win two ANZPT trophies. The 2011 ANZPT Gold Coast champion was dominant late on Day 2 to accumulate a healthy stack to make a run for the title.

Matusik is usually found on the $5/5 and $5/10 NLHE cash game tables, but also enjoys spending time with his family, playing tennis and working for his family business.

Matusik says that he loves playing at Crown as it's the best venue in the country for poker.

Seat 5: Anthony Aston (Canberra, Australia) - 680,000 chips


After coming from a cash-game background, Anthony Aston burst onto the local MTT scene with a successful debut ANZPT season in Season 4 where he finished runner-up in the Player of the Year after back-to-back final tables in Sydney and Perth. Aston finished in 3rd place on both occasions, and now on his 3rd ANZPT final table, he'll be looking to go a few places further.

Aston entered Day 2 with barely his starting stack of 20,000 but picked up chips at the right times to surge towards the final table where he sits in the middle of the pack. A highly dangerous and talented young player, Aston will be one to watch!

Seat 6: Igal Augarten (Sydney, Australia) - 473,000 chips


Igal Augarten is a 63-year old who is a Doctor from Sydney who has been playing poker for most of his life in one form or another. Augarten has two previous results on his poker resume - one from 2006 from a Caribbean poker cruise while the other was at an EPT event in Loutraki. Not the usual background for a player on the ANZPT as Augarten will be seeking the biggest score of his career.

Away from the tables, Augarten enjoys carpentry and dog walking.

Seat 7: Karan Punjabi (Melbourne, Australia) - 235,000 chips


27-year old Karan Punjabi is an Export Manager with five years of experience in poker. Punjabi plays mostly tournaments but also enjoys dabbling in the $2/5 cash games.
Punjabi clearly has a liking for the felt of the Crown Casino as this is his third ANZPT cash at this venue. He finished 4th during Season 3 and 11th in Season 4. He'll be looking to go a few places further on this final table.

Punjabi credits his wife as his biggest influence and she has been on the rail supporting throughout this event.

Seat 8: Ashley Warner (Perth, Australia) - 1,565,000 chips


Ashley Warner is a 24-year old Student who has come all the way from Perth for this event. He's been playing poker for three years and has seen some success with a cash at the ANZPT Grand Final in August and a win in the $550 6-Max event at the Western Classic last week.

Warner leapt to the top of the leaderboard after his flopped set improved to quads to better Hugh Cohen's straight. Warner then carried that momentum throughout the evening with some power poker to ensure that he is the one to beat when the final table kicks off.

Warner also wanted us to send a shout out to his brother who is celebrating his 21st birthday.

Seat 9: Ismail Ismail (Sydney, Australia) - 350,000 chips


Ismail Ismail is a professional poker player from Sydney with eight years experience in the game. He says one of his biggest influences is Toothpick Tony which is sure to inspire him to greatness!

Ismail bubbled the ANZPT Melbourne final table in August when he finished 10th, so he's already improved on that mark before the final table event starts.

Despite being from Sydney, Ismail confesses to a love of the Crown Poker Room where he enjoys the PLO or NLHE cash games up to $5/5.


@PokerStars in Melbourne