APPT Melbourne Day 3: Willcocks Conquers the Carnage
The 42nd Annual World Series of Poker $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Main Event may have been run and (almost) won a couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas, but if there was one major talking point to have come out of it, it was the burgeoning trend of hyper-aggressive play.
The 2011 PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Melbourne Main Event has been no exception, with all 37 players going all out right from the starter's orders. For some, the risk-equals-reward approach brought about some much-needed chips, with Van Marcus, Ronnie Shabtay and Kyle Cheong all doubling early, but once Andrew Ferguson and Amir Minagar hit the rail 30 minutes into the day, it started a chain reaction of bust-outs that resulted in play wrapping up by 9:30pm local time.
Even the "tight" passages of play brought about plenty of action, with New Zealand's Koray Turker at the forefront. By the time Jeffrey Garrett burst the bubble, Turker was only about 200,000 in chips behind fellow Kiwi Phil Willcocks, but a horribly mis-timed bluff brought him undone in 28th place and moved Willcocks' stack up to more than two million.
From there, Willcocks coasted through the day as the other players fell by the wayside. Australian PokerStars Qualifier Mishel Anunu was the next to go in 27th place, with reigning Melbourne Poker Championship Main Event winner Scott Peel and 2011 ANZPT Gold Coast ninth-place finisher Norah Greer eliminated in 26th and 25th place respectively.
Australian PokerStars Team Online player Keiran Harris then departed after the redraw, along with Ricky Kroesen, Marcus Lau and Antonis "Toothpick Tony" Kambouroglou and Mitch Carle. It was probably a good opportunity at that stage to get the hell out of Dodge - and Fabian Craib (due to work commitments) - did just that, taking a leave of absence for two hours to return from the dinner break, sans Russian PokerStars Qualifier Anatoly Parshenkov and Kyle Cheong, as well as Australian PokerStars Qualifier Ivan Zalac and Aaron Lim, who were crushed in a double-KO just before the dinner break by Leo Boxell.
Once the players were fed and watered, Guzzardi got the last of his money in pocket queens, but ran into Eddie Mascardi's pocket kings to bow out in 15th place. He was soon joined on the rail by Steve Calder in 14th place, then Craib was sent packing in 13th place, followed shortly after by Australian PokerStars Qualifier Luke Edwards in 12th place.
From there, play slowed down considerably before Aussie online phenom James "Andy_McLEOD" Obst was eliminated in 11th place when his A♥T♦ failed to improve against Van Marcus' A♦Q♦. Then only 10 minutes later, Ronnie Shabtay got the last of his money into the middle with A♣7♥, but found himself in a world of hurt against the Q♠Q♥ of Steve Bouya.
It was only fitting then that both players were taken on an epic roller-coaster ride down the board of J♦8♥6♣A♦Q♦ - a thrilling end to a day filled with more twists and turns than the Great Ocean Road.
Like it or not, it appears that if you're not prepared to put yourself - and your chips - on the line more often, you're going to fall behind pretty quickly. Having said that, the final table line-up for the inaugural APPT Melbourne Main Event is one of the best we've seen in this region for years, proving that the young guns may be setting the pace, but the old school are still nipping at their heels.
And even though Phil Willcocks has a massive chip lead, with the way things are going, nothing is certain. Strap yourselves in folks, tomorrow's going to go off like a frog in a sock!
2011 PokerStars.net APPT Melbourne Main Event - Final Table Seating & Chip Counts
Seat 1: Eddie Mascardi (Australia) PokerStars Qualifier 335,000
Seat 2: Van Marcus (Australia) 346,000
Seat 3: Will Jones (Australia) 730,000
Seat 4: Phil Willcocks (New Zealand) 2,317,000
Seat 5: Michael Frydman (Australia) 741,000
Seat 6: Steve Bouya (Australia) 910,000
Seat 7: Julius Colman (Australia) 513,000
Seat 8: Leo Boxell (Australia) 1,170,000
Seat 9: Jackson Zheng (New Zealand) PokerStars Qualifier 640,000
This concludes our broadcast day here on the PokerStars Blog. For the full payouts list, click here, and also check out our Final Four video with Nicki Pickering and yours truly at PokerStars.tv:
Thanks again for your company - be sure to join us at 2:10pm AEST (GMT +10) tomorrow. Until then, may the flop be with you!