APPT8 Auckland Day 1C: Massive stack for Matenga

Friday would bring the third and final opportunity for players to hand over NZ$2,500 for a shot at glory. They didn't disappoint as a total of 79 players turned out to swell the prize pool to in excess of half a million dollars for the APPT Auckland Main Event.

The total of 225 is an increase on last year's entrants, even with a larger buy-in, which is a tremendous result for PokerStars and the SKYCITY Auckland team.

The top 24 players will receive a minimum payout of NZ$4,550 while reaching the final table of nine is worth NZ$12,500. However the one prize they will all be gunning for is the NZ$132,000 for our eventual champion.

That will be the attitude of recent WSOP APAC bracelet winner Luke Brabin who spoke to us during the day about the need to push small edges when you get to the business end if you want to win. Brabin was one of a throng of notables in action on Day 1c.

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Jack Efaraimo, Koray Turker, Bruno Politano, Jason Giuliano, Mike Stecker, David Gorr and Kevin Clark were some of the casualties and they were nearly joined on the rail by the "Godfather of New Zealand Hip Hop" in former APPT Auckland champion Brotha D.

Brotha D collided with Angela Brewer in a huge pot about half-way through the day, with Brotha D unable to get away from his pocket kings as Brewer showed pocket aces. Brotha D was crippled, but he showed true grit as he managed to fight back and survive the day as one of the short stacks.

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The other intriguing story of the day was the battle of the ANZ Player of the Year contenders. With this event the last of the season, the 2014 ANZ POTY will be determined when the final cards are dealt here in Auckland.

Contenders Luke Spano and Sal Fazzino were both in today's field, and early on, they thought they were in luck when POTY leader Edison Nguyen was a late arrival. However Nguyen made it in time to also take his seat as the chase for points was on!

Unfortunately for Nguyen, the only points he would earn would be of the participation variety as he was eliminated in the dying minutes of the day. It would be Nguyen's ace-queen racing with Terangi Matenga's pocket jacks, and when the board bricked out, it would mean that Nguyen will now have to (anti)sweat the progress of others in this tournament if he is to hold onto his narrow POTY advantage.

The father and son combination of Luke and Robert Spano were prominent, with dad Robert holding the chip lead as various stages of the day, while Marc Witkopf was another big stack. However it would be Terangi Matenga who bagged up the biggest stack with a whopping 170,400 chips as 29 players advanced from Day 1c.

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APPT Auckland Day 1c Top Ten Chip Counts
Terangi Matenga (New Zealand) - 170,400
Robert Spano (Australia) - 130,600
Marc Witkopf (New Zealand) - 116,700
Darren Lukas (New Zealand) - 112,500
Luke Brabin (Australia) - 101,400
Chia (Joachim) Wei (Singapore) - 97,700
Milton Trickey (Australia) - 88,300
Thomas Ward (New Zealand) - 79,800
Jesse McKenzie (Australia) - 64,100
Angela Brewster (New Zealand) - 63,500

Head to the live reporting section of the site for the full chip counts from Day 1c and the table draw for Day 2.

The remaining 80 survivors will come together for the first time at 12:15pm (GMT+12) on Saturday for Day 2 of the APPT Auckland Main Event. It will be a longer day with a minimum of ten levels to be played it order to play down to the official final table of nine.

Until then, we hope you enjoy your evening in Auckland and we look forward to your company again tomorrow!


Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.