APPT Macau: How quickly things can go wrong


Watch APPT Macau 2008: Elky Day 2 on PokerStars.tv

If Asia needed to be sold on the thrills and excitement of tournament poker, then a remarkable bubble period in the PokerStars.net APPT Macau main event has delivered a script that would be laughed out of a Hollywood studio.

To speed up the slow play, APPT tournament director Danny McDonagh decided to start hand-for-hand play with still two players to be eliminated before the money bubble was reached.

The drama started on the second hand when Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier was KOed in 58th position. He committed his not-insignificant stack of 56,000 with Ac Qd, with the call coming from PokerStars sponsored player Emad Tahtouh (holding Kd Kc).

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The night the laughter died for ElkY.

The board came 4s Ah Ks 6s 9s, leaving ElkY down to just 10,000. They went straight in on the next hand with 3d 6c, with Charlie Chua’s Qh 7c filling out to a straight (8c-9s-10d-4d-6d). ElkY was on his way out of the tournament area before the final card hit the board.

On the next hand, one of the most amazing bubble hands we’ve ever witnessed played out, featuring chip leader Kenny Hicks and another big stack, David Steicke.

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Kenny Hicks and David Steicke play out the biggest pot of the tournament so far.

It started with a pre-flop raise to 5000 from Hicks, with Steicke making the call and seeing a flop of Kd 9c Kc. Steicke checked, Hicks bet 9000, Steicke bumped it to 20,000 and Hicks called. The turn came the 10c; Steicke checked, Hicks bet 30,000 and Steicke made the call after a long time in the tank.

With the crowd four-deep, the river card was the 9h and Hicks stunned everyone by declaring “all-in”. Steicke thought for about 30 seconds before saying “ok, ok, I call”. He knew he had it before Hicks sheepishly turned over Jc-8d. Steicke didn’t have much more (Ac-10d), but it was enough to make two-pair and take down a pot worth more than 150,000.

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Catastrophe for Kenny Hicks.

Hicks then coughed up another 60,000 in chips two hands later when David Chiu rivered a set of fours against Hicks’ A-10 for top pair. Hero to not quite zero in just three hands!

The actual bubble hand was an anti-climax in comparison with Chris Grigorian’s stack so short he couldn’t complete the big blind. The Armenian Express was derailed in 57th position.

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Chris Grigorian is resigned to his bubble finish.

But there was more drama on the bubble hand, again involving PokerStars Sponsored player Emad Tahtouh. He made it 8000 pre-flop with Yeongsok Choi making the call. The board came Kd 6s 2d, Emad c-bet 13,000, Choi called and the turn showed 8d. Emad checked, Choi bet 13,000, Tahtouh added an extra 32,000 but Choi called. The river was the 2c, Tahtouh checked perhaps realising he was beaten. He was – Choi showed the nut flush (Ad Qd), while Emad flashed Ah-4c.

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Emad Tahtouh: Where did it go wrong?

One hand later, Tahtouh was out. He was ahead of Charles Chua pre-flop, with nines against sixes, but mirroring the luck that Chua has ridden all day, the board filled out 7h-6d-3d-Kh-6c giving Chua quads.

So after a dramatic bubble period, the clock has been wound back 25 minutes in level 13, with players just back in their seats for the final hour of play. Our chip leader is Australia’s Charles Chua on 360,000, followed by Keith Wintermans (340,000), Yeongsok Choi (295,000), Tian Chen (270,000) and Taneli Tiikkaja (265,000).