Queenstown Snowfest: Peaks and troughs
Our field of 31 has been reduced in the early stages of Day 3 of the Queenstown Snowfest, with 20 players remaining in contention as we approach the end of Level 14.
Joel Feldman, Ben McLean, Richard Lancaster, our pair of Griffiths in Kristina and Mark, and the last hope for the locals, Queenstown restaurateur Fergus Spary, are all among those who made it deep in this tournament, only to head back home empty-handed.
Despite those losses, it looks like we're still on track for a super final table here in Queenstown with a lot of highly-talented players still in action.
Ricky Kroesen is looking dangerous, Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang is on track for another final table here in Queenstown, while 2010 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton has recovered from overnight short stack to now be a contender one again.
Benton first doubled up with pocket queens against ace-nine before running pocket kings into pocket aces - just a standard coinflip situation for Benton - only to find a king on the river to stay alive.
However there are couple of other sharks lurking in this field. They are a breed that might not be familiar to many of the other players here today, as we don't see them regularly on the tour. But that doesn't mean they are amateurs - quite the opposite in fact.
Dave Allan, Michael Fadersen and Matthew Wakeman have all tasted plenty of success in poker, but all of that success has come online as they are yet to make a major impact on the live tournament scene.
Dave "dave798111" Allan had an incredible start to the year when he finished 3rd in the PokerStars Sunday Million on the same day that he took 2nd in the PokerStars Sunday Storm.
One month later and Allan won the PokerStars Super Tuesday to bring his winnings well over the US$200k mark for the first two months of the year. However the live poker grind hasn't been as fun for Allan, with just US$15,000 in career winnings from a limited schedule.
Matthew "mjw006" Wakeman has emerged as one of Australia's finest poker talents as he starts to play more and more on the live circuit.
Wakeman held the #1 online ranking in Australia for some time (currently sits #2) with over US$1.2 million in lifetime online winnings including a coveted Triple Crown. Compare that to a live record that shows just a couple of Aussie Millions and ANZPT side event cashes worth a tick over US$30,000.
The third member of this trifecta is Michael "WaGe N WaRz" Fadersen. With huge volume under his belt, Fadersen also has over US$1.2 million in online winnings and is currently the #1 ranked online player in Australia, and #39 worldwide.
Fadersen does have one-up on his two rivals however, as the only one with a previous cash on the APPT/ANZPT. Fadersen finished 11th at the 2011 ANZPT Gold Coast event, but his live tournament earnings barely tick past US$10,000.
It's interesting to see three guys who are completely dominant in the online world, who have yet to achieve anything significant in the live poker environment. We've got a feeling that is all about to change. All three are still alive and well in the Queenstown Snowfest Main Event as they eye off the biggest live cash of their career. The odds are in our favour that at least one of them will make it through until the final stages, and finally get the live poker monkey off their back.