APPT8 Auckland Final Table: Bang, bang, bang!
How do you stop a bully? One way is to fight back. Ben Rendall did exactly that, but his timing was unfortunate as he's now sitting on the rail wondering what might have been.
Minh Nguyen was relentlessly aggressive to start off this final table, raising up the majority of hands and finding little resistance.
Then Ben Rendall found pocket queens.
Nguyen was on the button and made a typical raise. Sam Williams called in the small blind which opened the perfect opportunity for Rendall to squeeze from the big blind. However Nguyen responded with a four-bet as Williams got out of the way.
Rendall had a monster hand and he moved all in but incredibly Nguyen held pocket kings as he made the insta-call. The board ran out 8♠6♥J♥4♦3♠ to leave Rendall shaking his head in disbelief.
An unfortunate cooler for Rendall who entered today with the third biggest stack, especially when you consider how active Nguyen has been. Still a fine result for Rendall who takes home NZ$16,500 for his efforts.
As Nguyen was counting up a stack that was worth more than half the total chips in play, the final seven would become six with the elimination of Dean Blatt.
Blatt had been fighting a short stack for the entire tournament, so it was a great effort to even get this far, but he was unable to catch a break on this final table.
When action folded to Blatt in the small blind, he moved all in for a little over twelve big blinds but Thomas Ward snapped in the big blind with A♥Q♠. Blatt had live cards with 9♦6♦ but a couple of aces on the flop was more than enough to leave Blatt to depart in seventh place for NZ$21,500 in prize money.
Before the level would end, we would lose our fourth player of the day as Michael Guzzardi was bounced by his roommate Jesse McKenzie in a bit of a cooler.
Guzzardi opened from under the gun and McKenzie made the call in position. Guzzardi opened fire with three barrels on a board of 9♣9♦7♠A♦5♦ with the final bet for the last of his chips. However McKenzie wasn't going anywhere with 7♦7♣ for a flopped full house as he made the call. Guzzardi gave a wry smile as he flashed 9♥J♦ for trips before heading off to collect NZ$26,500 for sixth place.
And just like that, we're down to five at the first break of the day.
Minh Nguyen has a commanding chip advantage with 2.65 million in chips. Jesse McKenzie is next best with 860,000, while Thomas Ward is not far behind with 670,000. Sam Williams with 210,000 and William Rogers with 106,000 are the short stacks.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.