APPT Sydney: Final table profiles

The final table line-up for the 2008 APPT Grand Final has been decided, and the odds remain firmly in place that another local will be crowned champion. Seven of the nine players are Aussies, with Daniel Kowalski (a UK based Pole) and Canada’s Tony Basile representing the internationals.

Michael Guzzardi bubbled the final table when he pushed in the last of his extremely short stack pre-flop and was joined by Hai Bo Chu and Antonio Fazzolari.

Play was checked down on a board of 7c-Ad-4d-Jc-2s before Fazzolari showed pocket fives, Chu edged ahead with pocket sixes while Guzzardi’s 10d-3h completely missed.

Despite losing that hand, Fazzolari remains chip leader ahead of Jason Gray and Tom Rafferty. There are three PokerStars Online Qualifiers (Chu, Kowalski and Tim English) at the final table. We look forward to bringing you all the action at the final table from 1.30pm local time.


Seat 1: Martin Rowe, Australia (995,000 in chips): A self employed local from North Sydney, this 34-year-old insurance worker has been playing poker for three years. In his first APPT event, Martin goes into the final table 3rd in chips. A regular at Star City, Martin has also played and cashed in preliminary events at the Aussie Millions.


Seat 2: Jason Gray, Sydney (1,188,000 in chips): Don’t let the calm exterior or quiet demeanour of this poker pro fool you. He’s been playing poker full-time for three years but has featured in the nation’s biggest cash games for more than two decades. His best tournament results have come in the past 18 months – he won the $15,000 buy-in event at the 2007 Victorian Championships for more than AUD $125,000, then placed third in the $10,000 Omaha Hi/Lo Split World Championship at the 2008 WSOP for more than USD $200,000.


Seat 3: Tony Basile 863,000 in chips: A 39-year-old racehorse owner from Canada bought in directly to this year’s APPT Grand Final. Playing poker for the last 15 years, his career highlight was placing 309th from a field of 6844 in this year’s World Series of Poker main event. Heading into the final table 7th in chips he hopes to make the APPT Grand Final his first major win.


Seat 4: Timothy English (945,000 in chips): This 23-year-old science student from Melbourne’s Glen Iris qualified online at PokerStars in a Last Chance Qualifier last Monday. In his first big tournament he is ecstatic to have made the final 9 and will be cheered on by his mates who fly up from Melbourne on Sunday morning, ensuring he has plenty of support to take the title. He currently sits 6th in chips heading into the final day.


Seat 5: Daniel Kowalski, Poland (959,000 in chips): Not to be confused with the Aussie swimming great, 35-year old Pole Daniel Kowalski has been playing poker for a mere six months. In his first major tournament, Daniel is fifth heading into the final table having won his seat to Sydney on PokerStars. A self employed business man, Daniel resides in England. The APPT Grand Final in Sydney is his first tournament down under.


Seat 6: Frank Saffioti, Australia/Italy (790,000 in chips): This 37-year-old Australian born Italian has been playing poker for three years. A local of Sydney beachside suburb Seaforth, Frank owns a traditional Italian Restaurant in Sydney. Considering himself a poker enthusiast, Frank won his seat in a satellite on PokerStars and lies sixth in chips heading into the final table.


Seat 7: Tom Rafferty (1,101,000 in chips): Originally from Canberra, Tom Rafferty now calls Sydney home. This 24-year-old has been playing poker professionally for 16 months and is celebrating his tournament debut in perfect fashion – with a final table appearance and enough chips and determination to go all the way to the title. Tom is part of the new online poker generation and is excited to potentially become the next APPT Grand Final Champion.


Seat 8: Antonio Fazzolari (1,775,000 in chips): Claiming to “invent the game,” Antonio is no newcomer to poker. The 58-year-old Melbourne resident, who owned a poker club in Jersey where Phil Ivey used to play, is chip leader heading into the final table. The retired engineer moved to Australia eight years ago and is looking forward to the chance to take out Sydney’s biggest poker tournament.

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Seat 9: Hai Bo Chu (781,000 in chips): Qualifying on PokerStars for just $11, this marketing executive from Templestone in Melbourne will be cheered on from the stands by wife Bomi. Hai Bo has been playing poker for the last five years, however it has really started to pay off in the past 12 months – 186th in the WSOP Main Event, pocketing USD $38,600 for his efforts and taking out the Melbourne Champs main event last year for $100,000. Heading into the final table as the short-stacked player, Hai Bo will be looking for chips early in the day in order to become the next APPT champion.