APPT8 Auckland Final Table: Play underway, Thompson falls early

After two solid days of toil inside the SKYCITY Auckland Casino, the APPT Auckland Main Event field has been reduced from 225 to the final nine. They are now back to battle it out until just one man is left standing as our champion.

Last night was a rollercoaster ride of an intense, extended money bubble, followed by a rush in action that saw fifteen players sent to visit the cashier in less time than it took to burst the bubble itself.

The man largely responsible for that was Australia's Minh Nguyen. He found himself seated on a good table and took full advantage, pounding on his table during the bubble period. And even when the short stacks decided to fight back, Nguyen would have the goods to claim another victim.

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It setup Nguyen to enter the final table with over 35% of the chips in play which is a huge number. Combined with his supreme skill and impressive composure, he's got all the attributes to go all the way today.

If Nguyen is successful, it would create a very rare double after his brother Edison won the most recent edition of the ANZPT in Melbourne in August.

However it won't be easy for Nguyen with some very talented players on this final table. Michael Guzzardi has come close to a major title many times before so he won't want to let another opportunity slip, as will his roommate Jesse McKenzie. Dean Blatt continues his incredible year, with third place enough for him to take second in the ANZ Player of the Year, while Thomas Ward is a regular in Macau who is looking for a breakthrough tournament result. The locals are the unknown factors but Sam Williams and Ben Rendall are sitting in the top three counts so they must be doing something right, while Stephen Thompson has some work ahead of him with a stack of just four big blinds. The other player on the final table is William Rogers, who was listed as hailing from New Zealand, but he's informed us he's actually from the UK as the lone non-ANZ representative on this final table.

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APPT Auckland Final Table Line Up
Seat 1: Sam Williams (New Zealand) - 633,000
Seat 2: Ben Rendall (New Zealand) - 545,000
Seat 3: Michael Guzzardi (Australia) - 296,000
Seat 4: Dean Blatt (Australia) - 142,000
Seat 5: Thomas Ward (New Zealand) - 404,000
Seat 6: Jesse McKenzie (Australia) - 477,500
Seat 7: Stephen Thompson (New Zealand) - 32,500
Seat 8: William Rogers (United Kingdom) - 238,000
Seat 9: Minh Nguyen (Australia) - 1,605,500

And just as we were about to publish our intro, Stephen Thompson has been unable to find the double up required to stay alive in the Main Event. The blinds went through and halved his stack before he went with A♠9♥. He was against two opponents and when Minh Nguyen bet out on the turn on a board of 8♠5♣8♣6♣ to force Michael Guzzardi to fold, Thompson knew he was in trouble. Nguyen showed 9♣8♦ for trips and that held through the 4♠ river.

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Thompson takes home NZ$12,500 in prize money for 9th place as the final eight settle in for the load road ahead. Stay tuned to see how it unfolds!



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