APL/888PL/Pub Poker – The Main Event / Day 3 / Final Table

MAIN EVENT chip counts & payouts

1st Nathan Gauci NSW $120,000
2nd Marion Fisher NSW $85,000
3rd Steven Halliday NSW $55,000
4th Keith Walker NSW $40,000
5th Sean Henderson QLD $25,000
6th Elise Brown NSW $22,000
7th Jim O’Bryan VIC $19,000
8th Adam Agresta NSW $16,000
9th Sam Sainsbury NSW $14,000
10th Jason Hamilton QLD $12,000
11th Blaze Scott-Hutchinson NSW $8,000
12th Shane Slack NSW $8,000
13th Manoj Kapoor NSW $8,000
14th James Kavanagh NSW $6,000
15th Alex Falon NSW $6,000
16th Daniel Skelton NSW $6,000
17th Kwun Tsang NSW $4,250
18th Leslie Cairns VIC $4,250
19th Richard Ehlers VIC $4,250
20th Terrance Waterhouse NSW $4,250
21st Daniel Smith NSW $3,000
22nd Shivan Abdine NSW $3,000
23rd Sean Cartlidge VIC $3,000
24th Paul Sayers VIC $3,000
25th Glen Swettenham VIC $3,000
26th Paul Rowley NSW $3,000
27th Con Stikas NSW $3,000
28th Matthew Luketic VIC $3,000
29th Gary Byrnes VIC $3,000
30th Kemal Alpkaya QLD $3,000
31st Matthew Jackson NSW $2,400
32nd Paul Watts NSW $2,400
33rd Veronica Barwick NSW $2,400
34th Graham Davies QLD $2,400
35th Donald Davies WA $2,400
36th Kim Griggs WA $2,400
37th Willie Schroeter QLD $2,400
38th Alec Luke QLD $2,400
39th Charles Cairns WA $2,400
40th Steve Gilmore NSW $2,400
41st Riki Singh SA $2,000
42nd Cherie Marnell VIC $2,000
43rd Rick Nayar VIC $2,000
44th Jason Ross QLD $2,000
45th Jay Macapagal NSW $2,000
46th Scott Meani NSW $2,000
47th Graham (Chooka) Hein VIC $2,000
48th Rob Forward WA $2,000
49th Danny Burke VIC $2,000
50th Trevor Broadbent WA $2,000
51st John Haddad NSW $1,800
52nd Glenn Gunn VIC $1,800
53rd Warren Rich NSW $1,800
54th Deb Styles QLD $1,800
55th Mursel Yildirim NSW $1,800
56th Wendy Peni QLD $1,800
57th Matt Winter VIC $1,800
58th Mitch Oates NSW $1,800
59th Renay Murray NSW $1,800
60th David Murrin SA $1,800

Nathan Gauci wins The MAIN EVENT!

Nathan Gauci finished what he started with a dominant final table display to win The MAIN EVENT title. The aggression that runner-up Marion Fisher used to slowly claw her way back into the heads-up battle proved her undoing.

On the 17th hand of heads-up play, Gauci limped before Fisher again announced all-in. Gauci considered a call and, for the first time during the heads-up contest, he called. Fisher revealed Qd-6d, then Gauci smashed his As-8s on to the table.

The flop of Ad-9s-7c put Gauci firmly in the lead, but the turn 2d gave Fisher a flush draw. It didn’t eventuate, with the 3s sending Gauci (pictured below) tearing out of the tournament area to kick-off celebrations with his mates.

Gauci, who continues a proud tradition of champion poker players from Wollongong, wins a $120,000 prize package that includes a $15,000 TeamAUSSIEMILLIONS package plus an $8000 MAIN EVENT bracelet.

“Most of that money will be going to my kids,” he said. “I have an 18-month-old daughter, Imogen and eight-year-old son Taj. The names of both children are inked onto his body – Imogen prominently on his forearm.

Nathan said he was surprised by the aggression showed by Marion Fisher during the heads-up battle. “I guess she had to be aggressive because I had six times the chips she did, but still she did a good job.”

This win is the biggest of Nathan’s poker career but despite the success, the 28-year-old, has no plans to quit his job as a chef.

Fisher (pictured below) was more than happy to sign the payout sheet to secure her $85,000 package, meaning she’ll join Gauci, Steve Halliday and Keith Walker in the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event.

That wraps-up our coverage of The MAIN EVENT, which started three days ago with a massive field of 559 players. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Full House Group for their efforts in establishing a new and exciting major event as part of the Australian poker calendar. Great job team.

We’d also like to thank Garth, Da Milf, Trevor, Michael, Glyn and Tim for their efforts in providing information from the floor over the past three days. Put simply guys, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without you.

On behalf of my PMA colleagues Stephen Doig and Lucy Callander, it’s time to sign-off from Melbourne’s Crown Casino. The PMA Live Reporting team will next be on site for ANZPT Sydney at The Star from March 14-25.

Fisher setting the bait

If there’s one way to counter and aggressive player, it’s to meet that aggression head-on. That’s certainly the strategy that Marion Fisher has adopted in the early stages of the heads-up battle for The MAIN EVENT crown. She’s committed her chips either before or after the flop on four occasions, and has elicited a fold from Gauci on each occasion. But it’s still tough going for Fisher, who’s up to 3.1 million while Gauci has slipped marginally to 13.67 million.

Gauci v Fisher for the title

It’s Nathan Gauci versus Marion Fisher for The MAIN EVENT title after the elimination of Steve Halliday. After Gauci’s raise to 305,000, Foster folded, Halliday announced all-in and after asking for a count, Gauci called the extra 2.8 million. He showed Ah-Qs while Halliday’s Ac-2h needed plenty of help.

It didn’t eventuate as the board came 8d-4h-7d-9d-10h, earning Halliday a prize package of $55,000 including a $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package. The heads-up battle will start with blinds at 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000), Gauci holding a massive 14.3 million in chips and Fisher (who burst into tears after Halliday’s elimination) on 2.4 million.

Keith Walker eliminated in fourth position

Nathan Gauci is edging closer and closer to The MAIN EVENT title after dispatching Keith Walker (pictured below) to the rail in fourth. With the board showing K-2-2, Gauci checked, Walker pushed all-in and Gauci insta-called. He showed 9-2 for trip deuces while Walker grimaced as he turned over his A-K. The board bricked and Walker headed off to collect the first of the TeamAUSSIEMILLIONS packages (valued at $15,000) along with $25,000 in cash.

Sean Henderson eliminated in fifth position

Sean Henderson’s hopes of capturing The MAIN EVENT title have ended with Nathan Gauci his conqueror. The players were flipping with Gauci holding black jacks and Henderson (pictured below) with A-K. The flop came Ks-6s-7s, giving Henderson top pair and Gauci a flush draw. The 7h kept Henderson ahead and his hand improved to two-pair with an ace on the river. Sadly for him, it was a spade as Gauci scooped a pot that gives him more than two-thirds of the chips in play. Henderson, who won his seat in a Last Chance satellite, takes home $25,000 (including a $2000 Aussie Millions Opening Event package).

Elise Brown eliminated in sixth position

After a quiet opening session at the final table, Marion Fisher has come out firing and just claimed the scalp of Elise Brown. Fisher’s all-in sent Brown into the tank for several minutes before she said, “my initial reaction was to call, so I call.” It was pocket eights for Fisher and A-K for Brown, with the board running out 9-4-4-Q-5. Brown departs in sixth – good for a prize package worth $22,000 – while Fisher now holds a stack of 2.9 million.

Bringin’ the bling

In addition to the $120,000 prize package that includes a trophy and a $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package, the winner of The MAIN EVENT winner will also take home a stunning bracelet (pictured below) made from nine-carat gold, weighing 100 grams, encrusted with rubies and valued at $8000, courtesy of the team at Dia Oro Jewellers of Chadstone.

Marion’s got to go – now!

The one-minute call has gone out for the six players still in contention for The MAIN EVENT title after they took a brief break. That gave Marion Fisher the chance to finish drying off after she copped a drink down the back in the opening minute of the final table.
Fisher saw her first flop of the final table just before the break after calling the pre-flop raise of Nathan Gauci to 175,000. They saw a flop of Kh-9d-6d – Gauci bet 285,000 then Foster shoved all-in for 705,000. She shuffled nervously in her chair before declaring “I have to go to the loo”. Gauci took mercy and folded.

MAIN EVENT final table chip counts (approximate)

Nathan Gauci (NSW) 9,300,000
Steve Halliday (NSW) 3,800,000
Marion Fisher (NSW) 1,250,000
Elise Brown (NSW) 1,050,000
Sean Henderson (Qld) 700,000
Keith Walker (NSW) 670,000

Jim O’Bryan eliminated in seventh position

The inaugural MAIN EVENT title is now well within the grasp of Nathan Gauci after claimed a massive pot, which resulted in the stunning elimination of Jim O’Bryan (pictured below) in seventh. And in the end it came down to a simple race. A pre-flop raising war ended with Gauci snap-calling O’Bryan’s all-in and slamming down A-K. O’Bryan showed pocket eights, and turned away from the table to listen to the call of the cards. Daniel “Da Milf” Milford announced a king on the flop – 6c-Kc-3s, turn 4h and Jd – to send O’Bryan to the payout desk to sign for his $19,000 prize package.

Price to play reaches nosebleeds

Blinds are up to 50,000/100,000 with an ante of 10,000, which seemed to have sparked two of the short stacks into action. Elise Brown (860,000) and Sean Henderson (545,000) have both shoved all-in pre-flop but haven’t scooped much more than the blinds and antes. The main interest at the moment is how many spectators are attempting to steal one of the seats set-up adjacent to the final table for franchisees and regional managers. Nice try guys.

Gauci goes further ahead

Nathan Gauci isn’t going to die wondering – after a pre-flop raise to 175,000, Jim O’Bryan made the call and they saw a flop of 3d-Qh-9c. Gauci bet 180,000, O’Bryan went along for the ride and the turn came Ac. Gauci fired another bullet (250,000), O’Bryan said ‘why not?’ and the river fell 3h. Gauci sent another 500,000 into the pot, but O’Bryan elected to keep his powder dry for another hand. That pot shot Gauci’s stack up to 5.7 million, more than one-third of the chips in play.

MAIN EVENT final table chip counts (approximate)

Nathan Gauci (NSW) 4,900,000
Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 3,800,000
Steve Halliday (NSW) 3,250,000
Marion Fisher (NSW) 1,650,000
Elise Brown (NSW) 1,100,000
Keith Walker (NSW) 1,050,000
Sean Henderson (Qld) 700,000

Adam Agresta eliminated in eighth position

Steve Halliday made it two out of two when he added the scalp of Adam Agresta at The MAIN EVENT final table. Halliday popped it to 220,000, Agresta shoved all-in and Halliday called. His pocket queens were ideally placed against the pocket jacks of Agresta, and duly saluted on a board that showed 6h-5c-6c-Ah-10s. Agresta’s payday for three days’ work was a package worth $16,000. Halliday is up to 3,3250,000 trailling only Nathan Gauci and Jim O’Bryan.

Sam Sainsbury eliminated in ninth position

Sam Sainsbury’s short stack didn’t last long as he elected to make a last stand holding K-J. Steve Halliday duly obliged his all-in with a call, showing K-Q. The board stayed low – 10-10-7-9-5 – and Sainsbury was off to collect his prize for ninth ($14,000 including a $2000 Aussie Millions Opening Event package). Blinds have entered the second level of the final table (40,000/80,000 with an ante of 5000).

Jason Hamilton eliminated in 10th position

When the action arrived, it came in a big way – Sam Sainsbury raised to 225,000, Jason Hamilton (pictured below) declared all-in for his remaining 135,000, then Jim O’Bryan came over the top all-in for 1.755 million. Sainsbury thought long and hard but made the call – he showed red jacks, Hamilton held K-10 while O’Bryan showed aces. The board flowed Ks-2s-2h-As-8s making O’Bryan a set. He’s the new chip leader on 4.1 million, Sainsbury was smashed down to 370,000 and Hamilton departed in 10th place – good for $12,000 which includes a $2000 Aussie Millions Opening Event package.

You wouldn’t read about it

Bookworm Marion Fisher is catching up on some reading between hands in the early stages of The MAIN EVENT final table. Marion said she always takes either her e-reader or DS to the table to help keep her focussed. “I read or play games. It keeps the poker from messing with my head,” she said. “I’ve heard it also puts off the players who aren’t used to seeing it at the table.” Her book of choice for this tournament is The Scottish Prisoner.

Gauci mixing it up

Nathan Gauci looks to be a different sort of bloke – highly excitable at numerous points of the past three days, he has now adopted a Zen-like approach huddled behind sunglasses and under a hoodie. But his play hasn’t changed – already the chip leader has twice raised all-in over the top of pre-flop raises and is yet to find a taker. Yet. In the first 20 minutes of play, we’ve barely seen a flop as players feel each other out. And Sean Henderson has spilled another drink.

Henderson, it’s your shout!

Sean Henderson has made the first splash at the final table – by spilling a drink down the back of Marion Fisher seated to his immediate right. If Marion was feeling the heat, a few ice cubes soon put that right. “I don’t think they’re going to stop the tournament so I can get changed,” she quipped. So tournament organisers have organised a new top for her, and she’s currently changing behind the media desk. That’s a first for this reporter!

What’s up for grabs

The players at the final table of The MAIN EVENT will be playing for a first prize of $100,000 in cash plus a $20,000 TeamAUSSIEMILLIONS package, which includes entry to the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event. The top five players will all receive the TeamAUSSIEMILLIONS packages, while players who finish fifth to 10th will win packages including a seat in the 2013 Aussie Millions Opening Event.

MAIN EVENT payouts

1 $120,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
2 $85,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
3 $55,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
4 $40,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
5 $25,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
6 $22,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
7 $19,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
8 $16,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
9 $14,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
10 $12,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)

11 Blaze Scott-Hutchinson NSW $8000
12 Shane Slack NSW $8000
13 Manoj Kapoor NSW $8000
14 James Kavanagh NSW $6000
15 Alex Falon NSW $6000
16 Daniel Skelton NSW $6000
17 Kwun Tsang NSW $4250
18 Leslie Cairns VIC $4250
19 Richard Ehlers VIC $4250
20 Terrance Waterhouse NSW $4250
21 Daniel Smith NSW $3000
22 Shivan Abdine NSW $3000
23 Sean Cartlidge VIC $3000
24 Paul Sayers VIC $3000
25 Glen Swettenham VIC $3000
26 Paul Rowley NSW $3,000
27 Con Stikas NSW $3000
28 Matthew Luketic VIC $3,000
29 Gary Byrnes VIC $3,000
30 Kemal Alpkaya QLD $3000
31 Matthew Jackson NSW $2400
32 Paul Watts NSW $2400
33 Veronica Barwick NSW $2400
34 Graham Davies QLD $2400
35 Donald Davies WA $2400
36 Kim Griggs WA $2400
37 Willie Schroeter QLD $2400
38 Alec Luke QLD $2400
39 Charles Cairns WA $2400
40 Steve Gilmore NSW $2400
41 Riki Singh SA $2000
42 Cherie Marnell VIC $2000
43 Rick Nayar VIC $2000
44 Jason Ross QLD $2000
45 Jay Macapagal NSW $2000
46 Scott Meani NSW $2000
47 Graham (Chooka) Hein VIC $2000
48 Rob Forward WA $2000
49 Danny Burke VIC $2000
50th Trevor Broadbent WA $2000
51 John Haddad NSW $1800
52 Glenn Gunn VIC $1800
53 Warren Rich NSW $1800
54 Deb Styles QLD $1800
55 Mursel Yildirim NSW $1800
56 Wendy Peni QLD $1800
57 Matt Winter VIC $1800
58 Mitch Oates NSW $1800
59 Renay Murray NSW $1800
60 David Murrin SA $1800

Gauci leads field into final table

The elimination of Blaze Scott-Hutchinson in 11th has established the 10 players who’ll contest the first MAIN EVENT final table. Scott-Hutchinson raised to 200,000 with Nathan Gauci making the call. The flop fell 5-8-J and Blaze committed the rest of his with Gauci making a snap-call. Blaze showed A-5 and Nathan turned over 8-9 to hold the better pair on the flop. Blaze’s hand didn’t improve with 6 on the turn or the J on the river and he was out on the final table bubble.

Players have been sent on a 30-minute break to collect their thoughts before the race to the $120,000 first prize package kicks-off in earnest. When they return, blinds will be at 30,000/60,000 with an ante of 5000 (wound back two levels). The final table comprises:

Seat 1: Keith Walker (NSW) 1,605,000
Seat 2: Steven Halliday (NSW) 1,850,000
Seat 3: Elise Brown (NSW) 880,000
Seat 4: Sam Sainsbury (NSW) 2,405,000
Seat 5: Nathan Gauci (NSW) 3,725,000 (pictured below)
Seat 6: Jason Hamilton (Qld) 280,000
Seat 7: Adam Agresta (NSW) 1,060,000
Seat 8: Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 1,735,000
Seat 9: Marion Fisher (NSW) 1,930,000
Seat 10: Sean Henderson (Qld) 1,300,000

Henderson cuts Shane no slack

Play is back to hand-for-hand action on the bubble of The MAIN EVENT final table. That came after Sean Henderson sent Shane Slack to the rail after his pocket eights prevailed over pocket sixes. Slack earned $8000 for his 12th-place finish. Meanwhile on the other table, Sam Sainsbury’s set of 10s just earned him a near triple-up through Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (A-Q) and Nathan Gauci (who folded his A-K pre-flop after contributing more than 300,000 to the pot). Sainsbury is up to two million while Scott-Hutchinson has tumbled to 750,000.

NSW dominating first edition of The MAIN EVENT

The next level is underway with blinds up to 50,000/100,000 with an ante of 10,000 and the chip average remains just under 1.4 million. Adam Agresta is the most aggressive player in the room at this time as he exploits the tight-ish play on the feature table. For the trivia buffs out there nine of the 12 players still in the race for The MAIN EVENT title are from NSW – there are two Queenslanders and one Victorian Jim O’Bryan. And as O’Bryan lives on the Murray, the NSW rail will probably claim half of him as well!

MAIN EVENT chip counts (approximate) after level 29

Nathan Gauci (NSW) 3,165,000
Marion Fisher (NSW) 2,140,000
Keith Walker (NSW) 1,750,000
Jason Hamilton QLD 1,700,000
Steven Halliday (NSW) 1,570,000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (NSW) 1,480,000
Adam Agresta (NSW) 1,100,000
Sam Sainsbury (NSW) 1,035,000
Elise Brown (NSW) 895,000
Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 610,000
Sean Henderson (Qld) 520,000
Shane Slack (NSW) 400,000

What’s coming up after The MAIN EVENT

We’d like to update you about a couple of big Full House Group events coming up in the next few weeks. The Pink Heart Ladies Championship will be played at Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL Club (20-26 Canterbury Road, Hurlstone Park, NSW) on Saturday, March 10. The buy-in is $60 with registration at 10am for noon start. There will also be a $5 unlimited rebuy side event to keep the gents occupied! On the next day (Sunday, March 11) at the same venue, the next edition of the APL Pro Open will be staged. The buy-in is $110 with registration at 10am for noon start.

Manoj massages stack to nice payout

After patiently nursing a short stack deep into the money, Manoj Kapoor (pictured above) moved his chips into the middle in response to Adam Agresta’s all-in. Manoj looked good with Ah-Kh in front of Adam’s A- 10 off-suit. But Adam hit two 10s in the window giving him a set. A 6h on the turn gave Manor a flush draw but the 8d on the river sealed his fate. Earlier James Kavanagh bowed out in 14th (his A-J failed to connect agsinst the turn two-pair, kings and queens, of Marion Fisher) leaving 12 players in The MAIN EVENT – blinds are at 40,000/80,000 (ante 500) with the chip average up to 1.4 million.

Dentist administers the gas

Keith “The Dentist” Walker is continuing his lethal run, taking out Alex Falon (pictured below) with pocket jacks. Alex needed his A-Q to improve, but the flop of 5-4-6 was no help and the K on the turn further reduced his chances of survival. The deuce on the river spelled the end of the road for Alex, well known to the NSW contingent here today, who collects $6000 for 15th.

Skelton’s stack skinned

Daniel Skelton (pictured below) of Newcastle has collected $6000 after placing 16th in The MAIN EVENT. Crippled in a big hand with Alex Agresta, Skelton shoved his remaining 100,000 with calls coming from Steve Halliday and Keith Walker. They checked down the board of Kd-Kc-6d-5c-9d, with Halliday’s bet of 80,000 enough to send Walker packing. Halliday showed K-Q for trips sending Skelton’s cards into muck.

Play tightens up – at last!

The opening 10 minutes of level 28 (30,000/60,000 with an ante of 5000) have passed without incident – probably the first 10-minute period all day without a player being knocked out! The rail has steadily grown throughout the afternoon and they’re now five-deep along the side of the tournament area. There’s been a double up for Alex Fallon with aces through the K-10 of Keith Walker, but precious little else to report. We’re sure it won’t last!

Sweet 16 enjoying a break

A rash of eliminations has left just 16 players – spread across two tables – in contention for The MAIN EVENT title with the second break of the day underway. Kwun Tsang just bowed out 17th after his pocket nines waltzed into the pocket kings of Jason Hamilton. Leslie Cairns was KOed in 18th, Richard Ehlers also collected $4250 for finishing 19th, Terrance Waterhouse was listed 20th after Marion Fisher’s Ac-Jd landed a jack on the flop against his pocket 10s and Daniel Smith departed in 21st spot.

MAIN EVENT top 10 chip counts (approximate) after level 27

Nathan Gauci (NSW) 1,840,000 (pictured below)
Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 1,650,000
Steven Halliday (NSW) 1,600,000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (NSW) 1,450,000
James Kavanagh (NSW) 1,400,000
Marion Fisher (NSW) 1,200,000
Keith Walker (NSW) 1,100,000
Shane Slack (NSW) 930,000
Daniel Smith (NSW) 550,000
Daniel Skelton (NSW) 540,000

Ladies are good for the lady

Elise Brown’s love affair with the cards is continuing with one of the two surviving female players surviving another all-in. This time it was the ladies who kept her in the tournament against Sam Sainsbury’s A-Q. The flop of K-K-5 was in Elise’s favour and a queen on the river gave her a full house and doubled her up.

Abdine enhances impressive record

We’re one spot away from the next payout level ($4250 for 17th to 20th) after the eliminations of Sean Cartlidge and Shivan Abdine. Cartlidge bowed out 23rd when the pocket jacks of James Kavanagh (pictured below) prevailed over his Qd-10h when the board fell 7h-10d-8s-5s-3c. Abdine underlined his status as one of the most successful APL players with a 22nd-place finish in the first MAIN EVENT. He fell victim to Steve Halliday after the chip leader’s J-9 connected the flop against Abdine’s A-9.

Blaze burns two more

Blinds have just increased to level 27 (25,000/50,000 with an ante of 5000) as the clock ticks past 2pm on the final day of The MAIN EVENT here at the home of Australian poker, Crown Melbourne. There are now just 23 players eyeing a spot at the final table after Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (pictured below) claimed two scalps on the same hand – Paul Rowley (26th) and Glenn Swettenham (25th). Pocket aces held up for Blaze against Paul’s A-K and Glen’s J-10. Paul Sayers has also just been eliminated, finishing 24th, after his aces were cracked when Jim O’Bryan’s 4-5 improved to a straight, which sent the rail into a near riot!

Walker sinks teeth into Luketic

Graham “The Dentist” Walker just disposed of another patient, ending the dream for Matthew Luketic. Walker called Matthew’s pre-flop all-in of 185,000 with A-9 off-suit. Matthew showed K-J off-suit but the board of 3-9-7-Q-8 brought no joy. Matthew is the 28th player to hit the rail. Con Stikas had been among the chip leaders earlier in the day but has just picked up his $3000 for finishing 27th. Stikas was in a world of hurt with K-9 against the pocket aces of Nathan Gauci, and the odds played on a board that flowed Qs-6s-Qh-8h-6h.

MAIN EVENT top five chip counts (approximate) after level 26

Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 1,650,000
Steven Halliday (NSW) 1,400,000
James Kavanagh (NSW) 1,250,000
Nathan Gauci (NSW) 1,200,000
Marion Fisher (NSW) 1,100,000

For the rest of the chip counts and payouts 26-60, click here

Game or sport? It sure sounds like a sport!

In one form or another, the PMA team have been following major poker tournaments at Crown for almost eight years. We can confidently say that the rail watching the latter stages of The MAIN EVENT is the biggest we’ve seen, with spectators packed three-deep watching the final three tables. They’re also not afraid to cheer on their friends and family, with a roar breaking out everytime there’s an all-in, elimination or double-up. What an atmosphere!

Sean shears two more from the field

Sean Henderson claimed two victims on the same hand, knocking out Kemal Alpkaya in 30th place and Gary Byrnes in 29th position. Kemal kicked off the action with a pre-flop shove for 52,000, Sean came over the top for 250,000 and Gary joined the party, pushing all-in for 100,000. Sean had the lead early, showing As-Jh, with Kemal turning over Ac-7s while Gary at least held live cards with 4d-9h. The flop of Jc-7d-5c was good to Sean, while another Jack on the turn gave him trips to scoop a nice pot.

Three more departures decide top 30

Blinds are up to 20,000/40,000 with an ante of 4000 with 30 players remaining in The MAIN EVENT – each now guaranteed a payout of $3000. Recent eliminations have included Matthew Jackson (31st), Veronica Barwick (33rd) and Paul Watts, whose pocket eights proved no match for Blaze Scott-Hutchinson’s A-2. Blaze hit an A and a 2 and sent Paul to claim his $2400 and souvenir chip for finishing in the top 50. Watts departed in 32nd.

Halliday extends lead

Jim O’Bryan and Steve Halliday (pictured below) are duelling for the chip lead on the feature table.  Steve managed to wrestle the lead away from Jim after taking more than 250,000 from him in a big hand just moments ago. Jim raised to 250,000 pre-flop from the small blind and Steve responded by shoving all-in for close to one million. After a long pause Jim caved and mucked his cards leaving Steve to organise his new stack of 1.6 million.

High cards claim a pair of Davies

King-high was enough for Jim O’Bryan to send Donald Davies on his way in 35th position. The West Australian had live cards with Qc-Jh against the Kd-9d of O’Bryan, but the board of 6c-2s-3h-7h-10c missed both players to ensure Davies a payout of $2400.
A mistimed bluff by Graham Davies sent him to the rail when his 10-2 off-suit was soundly beaten by Jim O’Bryan’s A-4. Graham made his move pre-flop, pushing all-in for 141,000. Jim called him and as he turned his cards Graham said, “Ah, you’ve got me.” The flop of 5-9-3 didn’t help either player and Jim’s ace-high held out with a 5 on the turn and 7 on the river. Graham finished in 34th.

Skelton KOs two birds with one stone

Newcastle’s Daniel Skelton just picked a pair of KOs with the same punch – Willie Schroeter (37th) and Kim Griggs (36th) – for a monster pot of 650,000. Willie shoved all-in pre-flop for 69,000, Daniel responded by raising 165,000 and Kim came over the top with an all-in call for 330,000. After a moment’s hesitation Daniel called. Kim slammed down pocket rockets, which looked good early against Daniel’s Ac-Kh and Willie’s Jc-Qc. The flop of 9h-4c-5h gave Daniel a flush draw and he hit another heart on the turn and made his flush on the river when the dealer turned over Ah.

Rich gettin’ richer

Steve Gilmore found his pocket sixes in a race against the A-9 of Con Stikas but a 9 on the flop and a 9 on the turn made it a mismatch as Gilmore bowed out in 40th. Big stacks Marion Fisher and Steve Halliday have also claimed a scalp apiece – Fisher’s A-K landed a king on the river against the A-9 of Charles Cairns (39th) while Alec Luke (38th) landed an open-ended straight draw with Q-10 against the pocket aces of chip leader Steve Halliday but the board bricked.

MAIN EVENT top 10 chip counts (approximate) after level 24

Steve Halliday (NSW) 1,300,000
Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 1,230,000
Keith Walker (NSW) 1,100,000
Nathan Gauci (NSW) 940,000
James Kavanagh (NSW) 842,000
Marion Fisher (NSW) 776,000
Con Stikas (NSW) 700,000
Alex Falon (NSW) 675,000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (NSW) 630,000
Jason Hamilton (Qld) 520,000

Top 40 chasing number one

Phew … let’s catch our breath! Players have headed off for a lunch break after the opening three levels of play on the final day of The MAIN EVENT at Crown. We started the day with 66 players, with Luke Roberts finishing on the bubble. Already 20 players have collected a payout of $1800 or $2000 with 40 players chasing a spot at the first MAIN EVENT final table. The next 10 players to be eliminated will receive $2400.

On the final hand before the break, South Australia’s Riki Singh was eliminated by Blaze Scott-Hutchinson after his Ah-9d paired the flop against Singh’s Qs-Jc. Singh was confirmed as the 41st-placed finisher. When players return, blinds will be up to level 25 (15,000/30,000 with an ante of 3000. Play will resume at 12.45pm (AEDST).

Halliday sends Nayar on holiday

In one of the biggest pots of the tournament, Steve Halliday (pictured below) has just joined James Kavanagh and Keith Walker in the chip lead with just one million in chips. Halliday acquired the bulk of Rick Nayar’s chips when his pocket sevens improved to a set against the A-K of Nayar on a board that came 9s-8c-10d-Qh-7d. Nayar was KOed shortly after by Jim O’Bryan to finish 43rd. Cherie Marnell has also just been railed – her pocket queens looked in good shape against the A-J of Shivan Abdine until the board flowed 2-4-3-X-5. She collected $2000 for 42nd while Jason Ross bowed out in 44th.

Ace-high means Meani is out

Donald Davies just sent Scott Meani to the rail as the 46th-placed finisher. Donald’s A-9, was too good for Scott’s Q-8 and the flop of 4-J-2 didn’t change the story. The turn of K and river of 3 were no good to Scott and he headed off to claim his $2000 in cash.
Shortly after also on table 32, James Kavanagh continued his strong start to the day when he picked off Jay Macapagal in 45th. Kavanagh’s modest 10-3 paired the flop of Jc-10h-Qc with the turn 6s and river 5h missing Jay’s As-9h.

State of play

With 25 minutes to play in level 24 (the third of the day), the top five stacks in The MAIN EVENT belong to Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 1,050,000 (pictured below), Marion Fisher (NSW) 835,000, Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (NSW) 830,000, Nathan Gauci (NSW) 800,000 and Jason Hamilton (Qld) 670,000. There are 45 players remaining.

Sandgropers beached

Two members of the WA contingent have just been railed with Rob Forward collecting $2000 for 48th. Forward, who represented WA in the APL Player of the Year Final, pushed all-in pre-flop with A-9 and was looking for some help after watching Steve Halliday flip over A-10. But the flop of A-2-8 was no help, nor was the 6 on the turn or the Q on the river. Fellow Sandgroper Trevor Broadbent finished 50th after being KOed by Terrance Waterhouse. Other recent eliminations include Geelong’s Graham ‘Chooka’ Hein in 47th (his A-5 no match for the pocket kings of Con Stikas while Danny Burke departed in 49th.

Haddad’s still happy despite brutal exit

We wouldn’t have blamed John Haddad for being angry, but he managed to flash a grin after watching his pocket aces cracked by the pocket queens of James Kavanagh when a queen landed on the river. Haddad bubbled the next payout increase in 51st, while Glenn Gunn had just left the payout desk after collecting his $1800 for 52nd. We’ve reached the end of the second level of the day with blinds about to pop up to level 24 (12,000/24,000 with an ante of 3000). The average stack is up to 342,000.

Styles hits the sidelines

The ever-popular Queenslander Deb Styles has been eliminated from The MAIN EVENT in 54th place. She was the latest victim of Gary Byrnes after his A-K improved to top pair on the river after Styles had paired her A-4 on the flop. Mursel Yildirim was confirmed 55th-place finisher after running pocket 10s into pocket queens (which improved to a set of queens on the flop) while Warren Rich (pictured below) just bowed out 53rd after Trevor Broadbent turned 9s-6s into a straight against Kh-9c as the board fell Ah-Qs-10s-8d-7h.

The Dentist will see you now

Every poker player worth his or her salt as a nickname, and Keith Walker (pictured below) wants to join the club. “Sitting on the table with Graham ‘Chooka’ Hein has inspired me to come up with my own,” he said. “From here on in I am going to be Keith ‘The Dentist’ Walker.” OK, Keith we’ll bite, why The Dentist? “Because poker is just like a visit to the dentist, you lose all your money and suffer lots of pain,” he said. Boom tish.

Blaze thaws Winter

The eliminations are continuing at a steady pace with Mitch Oates out in 58th while Matt Winter placed 57th after his Ad-Kd fell behind the Qh-10h of Blaze Scott-Hutchinson after the broad fell Qc-9c-9h-2c-8h. Wendy Peni was next to go in 56th after she found her K-8 dominated by the pocket 10s of Gary Byrnes. But Wendy said she was thrilled with the result and her payout of $1800, as were her big support crew on the rail.

Roberts bubbles, and we’re in the money!

Luke Roberts has earned an unwanted spot in pub poker history as the bubble boy in the first MAIN EVENT. Roberts, a past 888PL Grand Final winner, had bet 42,000 before Rick Nayar raised to 171,000. Roberts called, which put him all-in. It was Nayar’s A-2 against the pocket fours of Robert. The flop of 5d-9d-5c gave Luke a second pair and a flush draw, but his fate was sealed when 9s hit the turn putting Nayar’s ace into play. David Murrin quickly followed in 60th spot to become the first player to collect a payout of $1800 while Renay Murray placed 59th after her A-K was overtaken by the A-4 of Keith Walker when a 4 landed on the turn.

Bubble nerves kick in

Hand-for-hand play is underway on the bubble in the MAIN EVENT. Mary Young and Rob Enchilidis have fallen just short of the money – Young was particularly unlucky to find her straight over taken by a full-house. Earlier Manoj Kapoor, who started the day 64th of 66 in chips, virtually assured his minimum payout of $1800 after his A-Q held up against the A-4 of Nathan Gauci.

Rich getting richer

We’re 20 minutes into the opening level and players are treading very carefully towards the money. One of the short stacks Steve Halliday just doubled through recent 888PL Grand Final champ Luke Roberts with pocket queens against pocket sixes, taking him up to 250,000. And thanks to his KOs of Christine Byrne and Phil Davis (who just departed in 64th), Jim O’Bryan has smashed through the one-million chip barrier, and now holds 1.1 million.

Two down, four to go

Despite the early start, a big rail is already following the action here in the Crown Poker Room. There are just a handful of cash tables open, but the APL, 888PL and Pub Poker faithful have again turned out in force to follow friends and fellow players from their regions around the nation. With blinds starting at 8000/16,000 (ante 2000), they just watched Glen Bennet and Christine Byrne depart in 65th and 66th positions respectively (neither of who started the day under any immediate threat).

Byrne thought picking up pocket queens early was an omen. “My lanyard card was the Qh, so I though it was a sign,” she said. Unfortunately for the New South Wales player the ladies were no match for Jim O’Bryan’s A-K. An ace in the window put Jim in front and another ace on the turn sealed Christine’s fate. “Turns out those queens were a bad sign not a good one,” she said as she headed to the rail as the first player of the day to be knocked out.

Jim’s dash for the cash

Jim O’Bryan starts day three just 7000 behind chip leader Marion Fisher, with 760,000. The “40 something” from Albury-Wodonga has been playing poker for about six years. “A mate dragged me a long to an APL game one night,” he said. His performance at the MAIN EVENT is his best yet in a big tournament. “I only play at Crown about once a year,” he said. Jim’s strategy for today is simple: “win some money”.

Early start to final day

Welcome to PokerMedia Australia’s coverage of the finale to The MAIN EVENT at Crown Casino. Despite an unusually warm night, which had Melburnians stirring through the early hours, it’s coffee all-round in the Crown Poker Room this morning with a 10am start scheduled for the remaining 66 players.

The road to The MAIN EVENT title was never going to be easy, and the final day is going to start with a sizeable road bump. The money bubble lies just six places away, which means six players who’ve toiled for more than two days and more than 12 hours of play are going to miss a share of the $559,000 prizepool.

But a title of this stature shouldn’t come easily and, for the bulk of the field, their efforts are going to be rewarded with a minimum payout of $1800. And for one lucky player, a prize package of $120,000 including a 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event seat, awaits.

The chip leaders are Marion Fisher from Campbelltown (NSW) and Victoria’s Jim O’Bryan who finished neck and neck atop the count on 767,000 and 760,000 respectively.

Others prominently placed heading into the final day of play include Nathan Gauci (604,000), James Kavanagh (589,000), Jason Hamilton (569,000), Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (539,000), Rick Nayar (469,000), Shane Slack (467,000), Alex Falon (450,000) and Daniel Skelton (443,000). We’re fuelled and fired up for a massive day, which is scheduled to start in the next few minutes.

The MAIN EVENT official start of day 3 chip count

Marion Fisher (NSW) 767000
Jim O’Bryan (Vic) 760000
Nathan Gauci (NSW) 604000
James Kavanagh (NSW) 589000
Jason Hamilton (Qld) 569000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson (NSW) 539000
Rick Nayar (VIC) 469000
Shane Slack (NSW) 467000
Alex Falon (NSW) 450000
Daniel Skelton (NSW) 443000
Daniel Smith (NSW) 428,000
Donald Davies (WA) 400,000
Keith Walker (WA) 398,000
Con Stikas (NSW) 384,000
Willie Schroeter QLD 381,000
Luke Roberts (Vic) 371,000
Gary Byrnes (Vic) 369,000
Paul Rowley (NSW) 344,000
Sam Sainsbury (NSW) 325,000
Kwun Tsung (NSW) 294,000
Graham Davies (Qld) 276,000
Shivan Abdine (NSW) 272,000
Sean Henderson (Vic) 267,000
Terrance Waterhouse (NSW) 267,000
Elise Brown (NSW) 256,000
Renay Murray (NSW) 251,000
Rob Forward (WA) 250,000
Richard Ehlers (Vic) 241,000
Scott Meani (NSW) 237,000
Christine Byrne (NSW) 236,000
Matthew Jackson (NSW) 222,000
Riki Singh (SA) 222,000
David Murrin (SA) 210,000
Glenn Gunn (Vic) 201,000
Mursel Yildirim (NSW) 198,000
Adam Agresta (NSW) 195,000
Jason Ross (Qld) 195,000
Matt Winter (Vic) 182,000
Graham Hein (Vic) 174,000
Alec Luke (Qld) 158,000
Sean Cartlidge (Vic) 157,000
Matthew Luketic (Vic) 152,000
Phil Davis (Vic) 152,000
Cherie Marnell (Vic) 150,000
Warren Rich (NSW) 148,000
John Haddad (NSW) 138,000
Paul Sayers (Vic) 133,000
Steven Halliday (NSW) 127,000
Trevor Broadbent (WA) 127,000
Kemal Alpkaya QLD 121,000
Veronica Barwick (NSW) 120,000
Kim Griggs (NSW) 118,000
Mitch Oates (NSW) 115,000
Jay Macapagal (NSW) 111,000
Rob Enchilidis (NSW) 110,000
Danny Burke (Vic) 109,000
Wendy Peni (Qld) 108,000
Glen Bennet (NSW) 91,000
Deb Styles (Qld) 88,000
Charles Cairns (WA) 87,000
Leslie Cairns (Vic) 84,000
Mary Young (Vic) 79,000
Glen Swettenham (Vic) 73,000
Manoj Kapoor (NSW) 73,000
Paul Watts (NSW) 70,000
Steve Gilmore (NSW) 60,000

MAIN EVENT structure (day 3)

Level 22: 8000/16,000 (ante 2000)
Level 23: 10,000/20,000 (ante 2000)
Level 24: 12,000/24,000 (ante 3000)
Level 25: 15,000/30,000 (ante 3000)
Level 26: 20,000/40,000 (ante 4000)
Level 27: 25,000/50,000 (ante 5000)
Level 28: 30,000/60,000 (ante 5000)
Level 29: 40,000/80,000 (ante 5000)
Level 30: 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 31: 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 32: 80,000/160,000 (ante 20,000)
Level 33: 100,000/200,000 (ante 20,000)

MAIN EVENT Prizepool

1 $120,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
2 $85,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
3 $55,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
4 $40,000 (inc. $15,000 Team AUSSIEMILLIONS package)
5 $25,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
6 $22,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
7 $19,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
8 $16,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
9 $14,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
10 $12,000 (inc. $2000 AM Opening Event package)
11-13 $8000
14-16 $6000
17-20 $4250
21-30 $3000
31-40 $2400
41-50 $2000
51-60 $1800

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