APPT Auckland: An introduction to our final nine

By James Potter and Eliot James

The final table has been decided and we have taken a chance to chat with all of our playes. We will be bringing you updates of critical hands and knockouts throughout the final table as they happen. Here is an introduction to our final nine:

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The PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event trophy.

Seat 1: Daniel Craker is a 30 yr old plasterer from Wellington. Well, in his own words, hopefully not a plasterer for much longer. He resides in the Lower Hutt in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, a beautiful city located at the bottom of the North Island. He flew up and won his way into the tournament in a single table satellite but plays a lot online. He has a ripper home game back at home and has asked the PokerStars Blogging team to mention the “Wainuiomata Boys”. Who were we to refuse? Cheer on your boy, he’s going strong.

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Daniel Craker

Seat 2: Nathanael Seet is a 24yr old poker pro who resides in Singapore. Nat is a high stakes cash player who can always be found in the biggest game in most card rooms. If experience counts for anything then Nat would be a short priced favorite over this field. He has made a name for himself online but he prefers the hard edge of live poker as it suits his style. He hasn’t played a lot of tournaments and says that this is his biggest result up to this point in time. He started playing 3 years ago and has never looked back. He lists his other interests as World of Warcraft and also loves soccer, especially Manchester United.

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Nathanael Seet

Seat 3: Wai Kwan Yuen, from Birmingham, United Kingdom, qualified for APPT Auckland on PokerStars for a minute $4 just one week ago. A full time poker player, Wai has been playing poker for the past few years. The only female to make the Final Table in Auckland, Wai heads into the Final Table positioned 6th with 162,000 in chips.

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Wai Kwan Yuen

Seat 4: Matthew Konnecke is a 27 year old from Sydney, Australia. An Office Administrator, Matthew has been a dedicated online poker player for the last four years. Deciding to cross the Pacific this month and try his skills offline, the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland is Matthew’s first live tournament this year. Making up half of the Aussie contingent, Matthew heads into Final Table play positioned 8th in chips.

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Matthew Konnecke

Seat 5:Wang Che Jung is a 33 year old business man from a small New Zealand town called Blemheim in the South Island of New Zealand. Blemheim, situated near Nelson, is great wine country and a few hours North of Christchurch. Jung was a native of South Korea and moved to the Shaky Isles 7 years ago to start a new life for himself, his wife, and his 3 year old daughter. This is his first live tournament ever and won his way into the event in an $80 satellite at SkyCity. Wang is a likable guy and says that even though he has only been playing poker for 2 months it is defiantly his new favorite pastime.

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Wang Che Jung

Seat 6: Luke Stanford is the best placed of all the local New Zealanders and has plenty of chips to push around on this final table. Luke is 26 years and lives 50 metres away from SkyCity Casino. He loves the cash games here and puts in a lot of hours both online and in live play. He currently works in Risk Management but it is clear that Luke could have a bright future in the game. This is his first major tournament but learned his trade playing in the local tournies in literally his own backyard.

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Luke Stanford

Seat 7: Jani Karke is a 36 year poker pro from Finland. He is travelling with his girlfriend and fellow pro Teresa Nousiainen who qualified to the tournament on PokerStars. Jani crafted his poker skills as a cash player but in recent times has played a lot of tournaments throughout Europe. He has played many EPT tournaments but this is his best finish up to date. He plays a lot online but really enjoys the challenge of live poker. With a good finish here he is hoping to travel a lot more on the tournament circuit in 2009.

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Jani Karke

Seat 8: Dan Sing is an actor and won his way through to the final in the celebrity event here at the APPT Auckland. Dan has been playing poker for 5 years and tries to get down to SkyCity when he can. He is a proud New Zealander and has made Auckland his base for the time being and has a Chinese, Malaysian and Samoan heritage. He has all his mates here cheering him on and he has asked to mention the ‘Leveeda Poker Boys’.

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Dan Sing

Seat 9: Michael Mariakis is a 48yr old Logistics Manager for Harvery Norman. He lives in Kyle Bay in Sydney and is married. Poker is his passion and he is an avid player on PokerStars under the User ID 'smmmooth'. He has mostly played online but heads down to Star City on occasions. This is his first major live tournament and he has had the time of his life. He lists Golf as his other passion but it is clear that Poker is what this guy loves to do.

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Michael Mariakis