A fitting finale looms in Queenstown
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. So it's with a touch of sadness that our time here in beautiful Queenstown is up and we must head home from this winter wonderland back to our normal, boring, everyday lives. The good news is that every player we've spoken to has had nothing but praise for this event, and Queenstown appears to have become to "do not miss" stop on the APPT which bodes well for future years.
Of course before we pack up our suitcases, we have one small matter to complete. And that is who is going to take home a brand new shiny trophy and NZ$94,300 in prize money?
There are several great stories unfolding in this final table which is sure to produce a cracking finale to the APPT Queenstown Snowfest Main Event this afternoon.
Can the locals keep their title on home soil for the fourth consecutive time? Matty Yates, Carl Knox and John Waterman will be doing their best to maintain that perfect record. Waterman's story could be Moneymaker-like for New Zealand if he is able to turn a freeroll win on PokerStars into a near-six-figure return.
For the Aussies, four of the very best have made it through to the final stage and each have strong claims on the title. Daniel Laidlaw is an Australian tournament regular with a deceptive fearsome game, looking for a breakthrough win. Tom Grigg has reached his third APPT final table and will be hoping to better his runner-up finish in Auckland last year. Hugh Cohen is the brother of defending champion Julian - can he keep the title in the family? And then there's the "Dong", Jonathan Karamalikis. One of the finest players Australia has ever produced as the young protégé will be gunning to be the first to win two APPT titles.
Out to spoil the Trans-Tasman rivalry are the two International bookends of this final table. Chinese Xiao Dong Xia will have a lot of work to do as the short stack, while Germany's Marcel Schreiner has been a dominant force throughout as he looks for a memorable coast-to-coast victory.
Final Table Lineup
Seat 1: Hugh Cohen (Australia) 146,500 PokerStars Qualifier
Seat 2: Marcel Schreiner (Germany) 591,500
Seat 3: Daniel Laidlaw (Australia) 193,000 PokerStars Qualifier
Seat 4: Jonathan Karamalikis (Australia) 174,000 PokerStars Qualifier
Seat 5: Carl Knox (New Zealand) 180,500
Seat 6: Tom Grigg (Australia) 296,000
Seat 7: Matty Yates (New Zealand) 523,500
Seat 8: John Waterman (New Zealand) 153,500 PokerStars Qualifier
Seat 9: Xiao Dong Xia (China) 107,500
The action recommences at 12:30pm local time (GMT+12) and you can join myself and Landon Blackhall for all the live updates from the SKYCITY Queenstown Casino right here on the PokerStars Blog!