The first week of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) is done and dusted with Australia claiming three of the four bracelets awarded. It was a sensational start to the series for the host nation, and the Aussies were looking good for even more gold when the final table of the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Event got under way on Thursday.
It was local Sam Higgs who dominated proceedings late on Day 2 of the event to come into the final table with an overwhelming chip lead. In fact, Higgs had over half the total chips in play with just six players remaining.
Higgs is known for his aggressive style, and he’s happy to splash around in big pots, so this final table was either going to see the Higgs whirlwind continue or one of the other five was going to get the double up required to shake things up.
International star Ismael Bojang came into the final table as the short stack after a huge clash with Higgs late on the previous day. However Bojang was unable to recover and was first to the rail on just the third hand of the day. Bojang moved all in with against the of Mike Watson but with no help on board, the queens of Watson held to see Bojang pick up his 11th WSOP cash of the calendar year.
Jamie Pickering found a double up to gain some breathing room, but fellow Aussie Jeff Rossiter was unable to do the same. Rossiter was all in preflop with but ran into Mike Watson’s . A king on the turn was enough to leave Rossiter drawing dead and to the rail in fifth place.
Jamie Pickering has a runner-up result to his credit at the 2008 WSOP, but he wouldn’t quite match that result this time around. Pickering’s short stack was all in on the flop of with two callers, before Sam Higgs bet out on the turn to isolate the short stack. Pickering showed for kings but Higgs opened for the nut flush to leave Pickering drawing dead. He was shaking hands before the even completed the board to leave Pickering to depart in fourth place.
2010 World Champion Jonathan Duhamel was getting short and made a move preflop with . Sam Higgs again had a monster with his and made the call. Duhamel was aiming low but the was a little too high to see him depart in third place for $52,068.
Sam Higgs would carry a two-to-one advantage into heads-up play against Mike Watson with both gunning for their first WSOP bracelet.
Watson evened things up before snatching the lead with a flopped set, but the aggression of Higgs allowed him to regain the ascendency before the final hand unfolded.
On a flop of , Higgs called a bet before Watson moved all in on the turn. Higgs decided to make the call and gamble with . It was only a pair of fours but he had plenty of outs to improve versus Watson’s . The dealer burned a card and revealed the on the river to connect Higgs with a straight to claim the victory!
It’s Mike Watson’s third time as a bridesmaid at the WSOP as Australia wins yet another bracelet with Sam Higgs grabbing the gold and top prize of $127,843.
$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Results
1st Sam Higgs - $127,843
2nd Mike Watson - $79,099
3rd Jonathan Duhamel - $52,068
4th Jamie Pickering - $36,449
5th Jeff Rossiter - $27,011
6th Ismael Bojang - $21,123
7th Kahle Burns - $17,386
8th Richard Johnston - $15,021
While Higgs took down the last PLO bracelet of the year, the $1,650 Dealer's Choice 8-Game Event resumed with 19 players looking to make the final table. As the day progressed, the event became relevant in the WSOP Player of the Year standings when George Danzer made the final table. Rory Young will take the chip lead into the final table that includes two-time bracelet winner Brian Rast and Australian Poker Hall of Famer Jason Gray.
At the start of Day 2 action, the field remained stacked with many of the game's top mixed game pros. Gary Benson came into the day with the chip lead but fell short of the final table. During a No Limit Hold'em hand, he was all-in preflop for his last 10,600 with and was called by Srdjan Brkic with pocket nines. Benson flopped an ace to take a lead, but Brkic spiked a nine on the turn to send Benson to the rail.
Other big names eliminated on the way to the final table included Jeff Madsen and Frank Kassela. Madsen was eliminated by Brian Rast in a 2-7 Triple Draw hand where Madsen made a king-low but Rast an 8-6. Kassela was eliminated by Jason Gray in a Pot Limit Omaha hand. Kassela shoved with bottom pair and a flush draw but ran into an overpair and better flush draw from Gray. Gray hit his flush on the turn and Kassela hit the rail in 11th place.
Srdjan Brkic was this event's bubble boy, finishing in 10th place. Brkic put his remaining chips in during a Stud Hi-Lo hand against Sam Khouiss. Brkic was in the lead on sixth street with a pair of nines against a pair of deuces, but Khouiss improved to two pair on the river to burst the money bubble. Players received at least $4,251 in this event while the winner will receive $42,720.
Three more eliminations were needed before the final table was reached and it took less than two hours to reach the final six. Samuel Ngai was the final table bubble boy, eliminated during a 2-7 Triple Draw hand. On the final draw, Ngai stood pat with a jack-low while David Zhao held 7-5-4-2. Zhao squeezed out an eight and Ngai hit the rail in seventh.
Ngai's elimination resulted in a stacked final table for this event. Rory Young will take the chip lead into the final on Friday holding 102,300. Brian Rast, the 2011 $50,000 Poker Player's Championship winner, is right behind him with 96,400.
George Danzer has an opportunity to retake the WSOP Player of the Year lead from Brandon Shack-Harris in this event. A fourth place finish or better will put him back into the lead. He will have to work to get there as he starts the final table fifth in chips.
Jason Gray made his second final table of this series in this event. Earlier in the series, he finished runner-up to Jeff Lisandro in the $1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Event. This time he looks to finally take down his first bracelet. He will have to go to work early to compete for this one as he starts the final as the short stack.
$1,650 Dealer’s Choice Final Table Chip Counts
Rory Young - 102,300
Brian Rast - 96,400
David Zhao - 89,000
Sam Khouiss - 58,300
George Danzer - 34,100
Jason Gray - 23,400
The final table will kick off at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and play out to a winner.
As the 8-Game Dealer's Choice event marched towards the final table, the $2,200 No Limit Holdem Six-Max Event kicked off on Thursday. This popular form of NLHE drew a stellar crowd of 243 players, but after Day 1, all eyes are on one man. Phil Hellmuth will start Day 2 fifth in chips and is looking to win his record 14th career WSOP bracelet in this event.
As with most six-max events, action was fast-paced throughout the day and the field was cut from 243 to just 31 players. Among the players failing to advance were Jackie Glazier, Vanessa Rousso, Greg Merson, Jeff Lisandro, Sam Higgs, Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Mike Leah and Ryan Riess.
Phil Hellmuth finished Day 1 fifth in chips but his event was not all smooth sailing. Prior to the last level of the night, he was down to around 6,000 in chips. He put those chips at risk preflop with against the of Yu Kurita. Fortunately for Hellmuth, the flop fell to give him a flush. The flopped flush put him in the lead, but Kurita could still win the hand should another spade fall. The turn and river fell red and Hellmuth doubled to 12,500. Hellmuth caught good after his double up and ran his stack to 82,500 to finish the day.
Only 31 players remain in this event and Alexander Antonios finished the day with the chip lead. Other players standing between Hellmuth and history include David Lim, Jesse Sylvia, Van Marcus, Ami Barer and Steven Zhou.
Play was stopped on Thursday just four spots out the money, meaning that the first level on Friday will be an intense one. Once the bubble is burst, players are guaranteed $3,305 with first paying $128,784.
$2,200 No Limit Holdem Six-Max Top Ten Counts
Alexander Antonios - 138,200
Steven Zhou - 92,000
Aik-Chuan Nee - 88,500
Bruno Politano - 82,500
Phil Hellmuth - 82,500
Jackson Zheng - 72,900
Kris Nestorovic - 72,400
Ashley Mason - 63,100
Ami Barer - 61,400
Michael Tran - 61,200
Click here for complete Day 1 Chip counts
Play will resume at 12:30pm on Friday and play until the final table is reached. While Hellmuth is busy chasing history, the $5,000 8-Game Mixed Event will commence. This is the last chance for mixed game players to win a bracelet in 2014 and we expect another stellar field for this one.