APPT Sydney: Saab sinking, Rousso rattled

20,000 starting stack; generous structure; four days of play; an estimated AUD $1 million first prize – what’s the hurry? Surprisingly, there are plenty of short stacks in the room midway through level three on day 1A of the APPT Grand Final at Star City in Sydney.

One of those short stacks belongs to PokerStars Sponsored player David Saab, who lost a race with pocket deuces against the A-K of Michael Wong on a board that ran out Ac-9d-8h-3s-Qc.

Another player struggling in the early going is PokerStars Sponsored player Celina Lin. Gutted to finish just two spots short of the money in the APPT Manila main event, the Chinese-born Australian has taken a few hits early to be down to less than 10,000.


Celina Lin faces a challenge early on day 1A.

Celina leads a small but diverse line-up of female players in today’s field. They include PokerStars qualifier Kristine Milinkovic, Valerie Gigliotti, who won a seat via a media freeroll and Lizzie Clarke, the girlfriend of PokerStars Sponsored player Eric Assadourian.

Last week, Lizzie’s sister Sally won the ladies event (part of the APPT Grand Final preliminary schedule) for almost AUD $6,000. With Eric’s father Assadour also set to line-up in the main event, it’s shaping up as quite an extended family affair.

Sadly that list of female players in the APPT Grand Final no longer includes Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso, who has been one of the great supporters of the APPT since its inception last year. On a flop of 5c-10d-2h, Rousso moved all-in responding to a bet of 3,800 and quicker than you can yell “shark”, there was the call.

Vanessa showed pocket jacks but found herself up against pocket aces, which duly saluted the judge. Well, there are worse places to be stuck than Sydney on a sunny day!


Leo Boxell, meet Chad Brown.

Meanwhile, Vanessa's partner and fellow Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown has rocketed to around 50,000 in chips. He appears to be in total control of the table and is sitting next to one of Australia’s poker icons, Leo “The Mechanic” Boxell.