Queenstown Snowfest: And then there were three
It was over two and a half hours from the time we saw the bust out of Matthew Wakeman in 6th place, before the next player was eliminated, with the last five players entering into an epic battle of attrition. No one was prepared to give an inch.
Ken Demlakian was undoubtedly the most active player at the table. He seemed to have the others rattled with his unique style of aggression, along with some handy cards, keeping his opponents at bay. Ricky Kroesen and Dave Allan, in particular, went into their shells, possibly looking to find some good cards to send Demlakian to value town. Allan got himself short, before finding two double ups - the first with ace-ten against David Zhao's ace-eight, before the most recent saw his king-nine pair the king to crack Demlakian's pocket jacks.
It left Zhao as the short stack and he was unable to recover. Zhao landed one double up with king-eight against Jordan Westmorland's king-seven but he couldn't make it two in a row.
Zhao committed with 3♥3♦ but Westmorland found T♣T♦ and made the call. The board was spread K♣Q♣6♣J♣T♠ to see Zhao depart in 5th place for a nice NZ$28,200 score.
He was soon followed by Kroesen in 4th place. Kroesen got himself short and in need of some cards. He found ace-king in the big blind, but unfortunately received a rare walk. Kroesen hoped it was the start of a recovery but just two hands later, it was all over.
Kroesen moved all in from the button for 270,000 with A♥T♥ but Jordan Westmorland woke up with Q♦Q♠ in the big blind and made the call. The flop of 2♥3♠T♦ wasn't bad for Kroesen but he couldn't catch up through the 7♦ turn or K♥ river. Kroesen takes home NZ$34,200 for his 4th place finish.
We're now down to our final three players. Ken Damlakian holds onto a narrow lead with 1.15 million, with the giant-killing Jordan Westmorland next best with 1.05 million. Meanwhile Dave Allan would still be feeling confident, but he has some work to do with a stack of 455,000.