APPT Sydney: Final table profiles
Seat 1: David Formosa, Sydney, Australia (856,000 in chips): This 41-year-old father of two sports centre manager satellited his way into this tournament via Star City Casino and has been playing the game for six years. "I played a couple of the $1500 events in the WSOP, but this will be my biggest tournament cash - I've really enjoyed it," he said. He's been one of the surprise packets of the tournament, staying under the radar for the first two days until joining the chip leaders midway through day three.
Seat 2: Thomas Slifka, Dayton, Ohio, USA, PokerStars Qualifier (758,000 in chips) - a former criminal justice student turned full-time poker player, the 25-year-old has already recorded some considerable live tournament results. Before qualifying for this year's APPT Grand Final on the $22 rebuy satellite online at PokerStars, Slifka had already won more than USD $60,000 in tournament cashes, including a win in the $500 No Limit Hold'em Event in this year's Deep Stack Extravaganza Series II in Las Vegas worth $37,000. He'll have his hands full against the seven Aussies, with Ernst Hermans the only other non-Australian at the final table.
Seat 3: Wayne Carlson, Sydney, Australia (1,014,000 in chips) - an operations manager with an electrical company, this father of three makes his home in Sydney's leafy inner-north. After twice winning $2000 for runner-up finishes in PokerStars tournaments, he decided to make up the difference and enter the APPT Grand Final for the third year in a row. His poker experience is mainly limited to pub/club and home games over the past four years, and he's quietly confident of a good showing at the final table but has "no aspirations, but it would be nice to pay off the mortgage."
Seat 4: Andrew Hiscox, Sydney, Australia (848,000 in chips) - this 50-year-old who works in the IT industry was born and grew up in South Africa before moving to Australia. A father-of-two and former professional blackjack player, he only started playing poker 12 months ago and enjoys the challenges of online poker at sites like PokerStars. He bought in directly to the APPT Grand Final and said victory in this event would mean a "change in lifestyle - for the better". He brings one of the smaller stacks to the final table but can't really be considered a short-stack with the chips spread so evenly.
Seat 5: Leo Boxell, Melbourne, Australia, PokerStars Qualifier (1,236,000 in chips) - the patriarch of one of Australia's great poker families, his record is one of the most extensive in this part of the world - he won the 2000 Australasian and 2001 NZ Championships. In 2003, he went within a whisker of becoming the first local to win the Aussie Millions when he finished runner-up to Peter Costa. A mechanic by trade, his rugged appearance hides a gentle soul but fiercely competitive spirit. And he'll be assured plenty of support at the final table from wife Bev, who rarely misses a hand that Leo plays.
Seat 6: Barry Forrester, Sydney, Australia (1,087,000) - another player who quietly picked his way through the day three field to earn a slot at the final table, this 63-year-old from Mooroopna, NSW is retired. The father-of-one (whose son watches dad's progress from a photo in his card protector) was a professional blackjack player and only started playing poker two years ago. He final-tabled the $2700 High Stakes event at the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series in March 2009. "I've been a gambler all my life and I'll gamble some more if I win this tournament," he said.
Seat 7: Aaron Benton, Wollongong, NSW, Australia, PokerStars Qualifier (1,785,000 in chips) - having qualified for every season three APPT event this year online, the 32 year-old recruitment consultant known online as azzabentonaces was working in Singapore when he finished runner-up in a major online tournament worth USD $262,500 and has been on the grind since then. "I used to play more for the entertainment in pub games, but I'm loving my poker and I want to take it to the next level," he said. Benton also plans to buy himself a house if he takes this tournament down.
Seat 8: Tom Grigg, Sydney, Australia (1,950,000 in chips) - it's been a breakout week in the poker career of this 24-year-old. He recovered from a 10:1 chip deficit in last week's APPT Sydney $1650 Semi-Shootout/Bounty event to capture the trophy and more than $33,000. The Sydney manager for his parents' New Zealand liquer company, Grigg has been the dominant player of the APPT Grand Final, holding the chip lead at numerous points over the three days he's played. As tollgate on PokerStars, he's also built a respectable record, and is placed inside Australia's top 40 online tournament players.
Seat 9: Ernst Hermans, Leiderdorp, Netherlands, PokerStars Qualifier (2,048,000 in chips) - one of only two non-Australians at the final table, this 28-year-old marketing student considers himself a full-time poker player. He satellited into the APPT Grand Final via a $22 rebuy event on PokerStars, and is already assured a career-high tournament cash. He bubbled the final table of a $1500 NLHE event at the 2009 WSOP and finished in the top 40 at the PokerStars EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo two years ago. He is the narrow chip leader heading into the final table.