APPT Macau: Cole Swannack leads way to final table
The more pessimistic observers looked at today's starting field of 44 and noted we would be in for a long haul. Surely there would be a slow down as the bubble approached? Then once the required 40 were in the money, the journey would be just as slow since no-one wanted to miss their place on the nine-handed final table.
Other, perhaps more wise spectators, who have been enthralled by the energy and enthusiasm of players here in Macau, thought just the opposite. The locals love to play, see flops and bet big. Throw in some internet whizzes from Europe and the US, and there were bound to be big pots and bust-outs aplenty - we would get down to nine in no time.
In the event, the latter were right. We smashed through the bubble after just two rounds of hand-for-hand play, and there then followed a head-long rush to the final table. It was all over in six-and-a-half levels. It was, quite simply, carnage.
When the dust had settled, two players were vying for the chip lead - and that honor, just, went to Cole Swannack from New Zealand with 1,262,000. In second, only 39,000 behind, was Jeppe Drivsholm from Denmark. Chong Cheong from Hong Kong was third with 904,000 after the sort of day that dreams are made of. He seemingly got hands at the right time, and even when he was behind he always had plenty of outs. And more often than not they hit.
Cheong was chip leader for much of the day but got pegged back when he lost a big hand, doubling up Swannack, a pot that would pot the New Zealander at the top of the leaderboard. There was a lot of money in the middle already when Swannack moved all in on the 9♣[10d]4♥ flop and got a call from Cheong, who only started playing poker in Macau one day when a typhoon prevented him from traveling home. Swannack had aces, Cheong A-9 and he didn't improve.
That was the story of Swannack's rise. Drivsholm got his stack by busting the Russian Mikhail Mazunin. On a 8♣5♦Q♥6♦ board, Mazunin moved all in with pocket aces, but found he was up against Drivsholm's disguised nut straight with 7♠9♥.
The big stacks at the start of the day had contrasting fortunes: TJ Vorapanich, the overnight chip leader, made it to 14th, winning $140,000 HKD, but Kai Paulsen is still here, ending today on 528,000, good for sixth in chips.
Other notable performances include Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske, who displayed his normal dashing style before crashing in 27th place for 76,400. He had found himself with just one, 1,000 blue chip left - barely enough for a big blind at that stage - and went out when his A♣[10c] was outrun by Timothy Cherep's A♦4♠.
All that means we have a pretty action-packed final table set up for tomorrow. Here's how they'll sit down with their stacks:
Seat 1: Victorino Torres, US, 396,000
Seat 2: Kai Paulsen, Norway, 528,000
Seat 3: Jeppe Drivsholm, Denmark, 1,223,000
Seat 4: Keith Hawkins, UK, 174,000
Seat 5: Albert Kim, US, 436,000
Seat 6: Chong Cheong, Hong Kong, 904,000
Seat 7: Cole Swannack, New Zealand, 1,262,000
Seat 8: Brian Green, Costa Rica, 970,000
Seat 9: Kenny Nielsen, Denmark, 791,000
That's a neat spread of countries, and hats off to the Danes, with two of them making it through. Denmark to Macau is not a normal travel route, you wouldn't have thought.
So that's it for today. Be sure to catch up with who has cashed so far right here. Then review the story of play in much more detail on the following links:
My thanks go to fellow scribbler Tim Duckworth, who has now left Macau for a long work stretch in Las Vegas, and to Joe Giron, who never seems to miss any of the action with his camera. Actually he seems to have two cameras;
We'll see you tomorrow.