Queenstown Snowfest: Bubble pain for Kanaan

The money bubble is one of the cruellest moments of a poker tournament. However it's one of the most fascinating times as a poker observer as there are many plots and sub-plots to the whole situation. Short stacks are hanging on for dear life, medium stacks are staying out of trouble, while the big stacks are looking to press the advantage.

The bubble is the ultimate fine line between pleasure and pain. In poker, there is no greater pain than bubbling.

Here in the Queenstown Snowfest Main Event, we found ourselves with a rather significant bubble with NZ$7,050 up for grabs. We also had an interesting dynamic on the tables, with a lot of big stacks and a lot of short stacks.

At the top end of the scale, the likes of David Zhao, Dave Allan and Ivan Zalac were actively pushing the action on their table. We saw a huge clash between Allan and Zalac where Allan five-bet preflop before firing bets on the flop and turn on the board of 4♥J♥K♥9♠. It was too much heat for Zalac who was forced to fold to see Allan rake in one of the biggest pots of the tournament.


Over on the other table, the short stacks of Jason O'brien, Stewart Ballard and Michael Kanaan were playing a game of cat and mouse. Kanaan had already copped some misfortune when a set-over-set clash saw Ken Demlakian find a big double up to leave Kanaan in this desperate situation.

O'brien and Ballard seemed pretty content to sit back and wait for someone else to do the dirty work, although O'brien did land one crucial double up with ace-king against Kanaan's ace-queen.

It put the pressure back on Kanaan again and when he moved all in for 45,300 from under the gun and found two callers, it was going to be now or never for the 2011 ANZPT Sydney champ. He held ace-jack and flopped two pair which he must've thought would be good enough to triple up, but again Ken Demlakian was his destroyer as his pocket sixes rivered a set.

Kanaan was out and empty-handed for 16th place.


After looking so strong for two days, two nasty moments of misfortune today for Kanaan were the difference between hero and zero.

Meanwhile Chiu Yeung Lee was running around yelling "Money! Money!" in excitement as he and 14 others had reached their first goal of the day. NZ$7,050 was secure and now just six more eliminations are required until our Queenstown Snowfest final table line up is set.



Earlier in the day, PokerStars.tv hostess Nicki Pickering caught up with PokerStars qualifier Ken Demlakian to see how his day was progressing:

@PokerStars in Day 3