APPT Macau: Rossiter rules a most worthy Warm-Up at the Asia Championship of Poker

As noted at the start of the day, this so-called "Warm-Up" event in the Asia Championship of Poker didn't necessarily fit the mold as far as typical preliminary tournaments usually went.

With a not-insignificant buy-in of $25,000 (HKD) nonetheless attracting a large field of 358 runners from more than 30 countries, the resulting prize pool -- 7,986,980 Hong Kong dollars or the equivalent of about $1,023,971 US -- made the event seem almost like a "main event" in its own right.

And by the time we made it to the final day when just 18 of those players were still with chips, that feeling of this-one-belongs-high-on-the-marquee was all the more stronger, thanks in part to the fact that not only were there many players with APPT successes among the final group, but a couple of players well known outside of the tour as well.

I'm talking about the two "J.C."'s -- Joseph Cheong and Johnny Chan -- both of whom have had success on the World Series of Poker stage, with Chan, of course, being a Poker Hall of Famer and two-time Main Event champion. Both players returned to above-average stacks on Day 3, and as it happened both would make the final table after the first nine eliminations came in rapid order.

The final nine would play nearly two more hours before anyone was eliminated, then came two knockouts in quick succession. First it was Jan Zeuschner of Germany running J♣J♥ into Joseph Cheong's K♦K♣ to go out in ninth. Then Adam Latimer of the U.K. found similar misfortune by running A♠J♠ into Rong Fan's A♣A♥ to hit the rail in eighth.

Chan had mostly stayed out of harm's way for a lot of Day 3, but at last became short-stacked enough to commit with A♦4♣ and ultimately fall to Fan's A♠Q♠ to be eliminated in seventh.


Johnny Chan

Andrey Shatilov of Russia would soon get his chips in the middle after flopping a flush draw versus Rossiter's top pair, and when he failed to improve they were down to five.

Thus began a stretch where Rossiter began to push out in front of the pack while the others took turns being the short stack. "Bobo" Chen and David Martirosyan were two such short stacks when they went to battle in a hand that Martirosyan won, and Chen was left with just a single yellow chip worth 5,000 (or one ante). He'd double once, but soon would give his last chips to Martirosyan as well to go out in fifth.

The final four players battled for another extended period until finally Rossiter's lead had widened to the point that he was shoving all in repeatedly, essentially challenging his three opponents to find a hand with which to take their chances with their rapidly decreasing stacks.

Finally Rong Fan of China and Joseph Cheong of Canada found hands with which to battle Rossiter, but both would come up short in their duels.

First Fan saw his A♦8♦ fail to hold against Rossiter's K♠5♥ when a five sneakily appeared on the river to knock Fan out in fourth. And Cheong's Q♣4♣ failed to beat Rossiter's 2♥2♦ on a T♣2♠6♦Q♠Q♦ board -- even if the dealer might have thought for a moment that his hand did -- to end the young pro's run in third.


Joseph Cheong

Heads-up play went quickly thereafter, with Rossiter's more than 6-to-1 chip lead enabling him to keep right on with the all-in bets.


Finally Martiryosan took the initiative with a shove of his own with A♦2♣, but unfortunately for him Rossiter had woken up with A♠T♦ and the community cards failed to improve the Russian's hand. He'd led at the end of Day 1a and Day 2, but in the end Martiryosan came a spot shy of the wire-to-wire win.


David Martirosyan

2012 Asia Championship of Poker Warm-Up final table results:
1. Jeffrey Rossiter (Australia) -- $1,777,000 (HKD); $227,821 (USD)
2. David Martirosyan (Russia) -- $1,226,000 (HKD); $157,179 (USD)
3. Joseph Cheong (Canada) -- $731,000 (HKD); $93,718 (USD)
4. Rong Fan (China) -- $579,000 (HKD); $74,231 (USD)
5. Daoxing "Bobo" Chen (China) -- $459,000 (HKD); $58,846 (USD)
6. Andrey Shatilov (Russia) -- $375,000 (HKD); $48,077 (USD)
7. Johnny Chan (U.S.) -- $291,500 (HKD); $37,372 (USD)
8. Adam Latimer (U.K.) -- $215,500 (HKD); $27,628 (USD)
9. Jan Zeuschner (Germany) -- $175,500 (HKD); $22,500 (USD)

For Rossiter the $1,777,000 (HKD) first prize marks the biggest score of his tourney career since taking third at the 2011 Aussie Millions. He'll be back for tomorrow's big $100,000 (HKD) Main Event where he hopes to repeat his success in the Warm-Up and improve on his third-place finish in the APPT Macau Main Event just last year.


Jeff Rossiter, 2012 Asia Championship of Poker Warm-Up Champion

And it is to the tomorrow's kick-off of the five-day Main Event our attention will soon turn. First, however, here are links to all of the coverage of the ACOP Warm-Up, which indeed proved a most worthy event to get us ready for tomorrow.

Complete prize pool and payouts

Day 1a
The ACOP Warm-Up welcomes the world
Fighting for chips, sharing grins
Martirosyan moves in front as ACOP Warm-Up Day 1a concludes

Day 1b
Hopefuls look to cross bridge to Day 2 at ACOP Warm-Up
Troubling turn equals early elimination for ElkY
Here's Johnny
Randy Lew, man of action
Ups and downs, ins and outs
Kim eyeing Warm-Up prize pool, 2nd ACOP title
Wengelin wins last big pot, claims lead for Day 2

Day 2
ACOP Warm-Up just getting hot, Day 2 awaits
The international game of poker -- it's a win-win
Let them eat cake
The hunger for chips
It's hard to guess Rong
Rossiter rolling following money bubble bursting
Martirosyan leads with 18 left in ACOP Warm-Up

Day 3
18 left to fight for ACOP Warm-Up title
Day 3 underway; Rossiter on top, 15 remain
Hu, Avanesian, Powell out; 12 remain
Wengelin out in 12th; Cheong up and down
Huntly, Ng eliminated; final table underway at ACOP Warm-Up
ACOP Warm-Up final table, a picture of patience
Some all-ins, and all still in
"Now we're getting somewhere"; 7 left in ACOP Warm-Up
Chan stalls in 7th; Shatilov shot down in 6th
Bobo bounced in fifth; Rossiter still leads
Fan finishes fourth, Cheong cut down in third
Jeff Rossiter wins ACOP Warm-Up, David Martirosyan runner-up

Thanks to Hong Kong portrait photographer Kenneth Lim for his assistance in snapping all of the world-class images you have seen in the blog at this event. And thanks to you for following our coverage of the Asia Championship of Poker Warm-Up.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Day 3