The 2008 PokerStars.net APPT Macau $US3,200 Main Event begun with a traditional Chinese dragon ceremony; including a large percussion section blessing each of the players with good fortune and chasing away all of the evil spirits from the tournament floor, as a record field of 538 players gathered at the Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino in Macau.
Day 1 would be split across three flights with play consisting of only seven one-hour levels and would see many big names attend the largest poker tournament on Asian soil. However with pros including Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Johnny Chan, David Steicke making it through to Day 2, we would also see some early exits from the likes of Liz Lieu, Hevad Khan, JC Tran, John Phan and last year’s champion Dinh Le.
Greenstein would be an early casualty when he check-raised all in with a set only to be called by his opponent holding a gutshot and overpair. His opponent would make a larger set on the river sending Greenstein to the rail while collecting a signed copy of his book “Ace On The River”.
The hottest player on the tour would be next to go as John “The Razor” Phan would be forced to push the remainder of his chips into the middle holding on a board reading up against his opponent’s . The would send Phan to the rail and he would not be able to add to his already impressive 2008 record which includes four WPT cashes, two WPT final tables, one WPT title for over $1million and five WSOP cashes including his two WSOP bracelets.
With a handful of Aussies also in the field including Michael Pedley, David Steicke, Charles Chua, Emad Tahtouh, both the Hachem’s and much-loved Crown Supervisor Frank Bianco; not all could make it through to Day 2. We saw Grant Levy exit with a missed flush-draw, Tony Dunst eliminated when his A-K was no match against John Juanda’s J-J. Celina Lin would continue her run of bad fortune when she was eliminated holding Q-Q against 5-5 when a five landed on the flop. Max Veenhuyzen would be flushed out of the tournament while Jay Kinkade would exit late along with Van Marcus when he was eliminated by Chan when he missed his straight and flush-draw.
However it would be Eric Assadourian who would be most disappointed when he was all-in holding on a board reading ; the turn fell the and the river the giving his opponent a straight holding . The player responsible was American Kofi Farkye who would become chip leader as a result of raking in the 57,000 chip pot; nearly three-times the average stack at that point of the tournament. Farkye is actually banned from playing on PokerStars and in PokerStars related tournaments after being caught colluding with his brother over 6 months ago.
Day 2 would begin with 208 players from the original 538 and that number would be cut at a quick rate. Thomas Bihl, Johnny Chan and Terrernce Chan all exited in the first few hands of the day. Joe Hachem doubled, and then doubled and then was eliminated at the hands of Daisy Wain when his
was no match for her
. He was closely followed by Kofi Farkye, Isabelle Mercier, Chad Brown, Van Nguyen, David Lee, Men Nguyen and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier before Chris Gregorian eventually bubbled when he was four-flushed all-in for his last few chips.
Day 3 started with a double from Joel “StrongPlay” Dodds, and exits by John Juanda in 26th
, and Quinn Do in 25th
. After a complete redraw at 24 players Carter Gill departed in 17th
as Charles Chua and Edward Sabat continued to accumulate chips. History repeated for Dodds as he was eliminated in 14th
place; the same position from last year, when his
was no match for his opponent’s
on a final board reading
The final table included players from Singapore, UK, Sweden, Denmark, China, South Korea, USA, Macau and Malaysia/Australia; and chips were transferred freely between players as three were eliminated prior to the dinner break. With three more exiting over the first two levels of play after returning from dinner, it would be Edward Sabat, Brian Huang and Charles Chua who stood tall for the past two days of play to remain in contention for the $US450,000 first prize.
Leading for so long, Singaporean Huang slowly slid away from his other two opponents and was eventually eliminated in 3rd
place when his
was no good up against Sabat’s
when the board ran out Jack-high. Sabat would enter heads-up play trailing Chua’s 3,185,000 with his 2,140,000 in chips. However he wouldn’t have to wait long to gain the chip lead when he doubled with top-top against Chua’s gutshot straight-draw to take a four-to-one chip lead over the Aussie now based in Malaysia.
The “Chuck Truck” would wrestle back to even when he made trip deuces against Sabat, but it wouldn’t last long as the final hand occurred only several minutes later. Chua opened the pot on the button
to 150,000 and Sabat called out of the big blind
and checked the flop of
. Chua fired out 275,000 and Sabat then check-raised to 550,000 which was followed with Chua moving all-in. Sabat talked and tanked and talked and tanked before eventually making the call with
to be trailing Chua’s
gave him additional outs and the
sealed the deal giving Sabat a flush and crowning him the 2008 PokerStars.net APPT Macau Main Event Champion after 12-hours of final table play. Sabat took home the coveted trophy and a first prize worth $US453,851 as Chua pocketed close to $US300,000 for his runner-up effort.
High Rollers Event
61 participants sat down in this $US19,200 buy-in
event but the field would soon be one short when Celina Lin was eliminated at the hands of Yevgeniy Timoshenko barely 20 minutes into play when she was all-in holding
on a board of
. The turn and river blanked for Lin and she was headed to the rail stating, “Again!”
As good mates David Steicke and Andrew Scott proceeded up the chip ranks along with last years winner Eric Assadourian; Isabelle Mercier, Julian Powell, Liz Lieu, Emad Tahtouh and David Chiu all sat back in a gaze as they struggled through the first few levels of the day.
Hevad Khan and John Phan hit the rail, followed by Lieu, Tahtouh, David Saab and Shuan Deeb while Charles “Chuck Truck” Chua backed his second-place finish from the previous night with a late entrance into the high rollers event to make it through the day.
The returning 31 players would all be chasing David “You don’t run like God, God runs like you” Steicke who amassed 160,000 in chips to be nearly 70,000 ahead of his two nearest rivals in Mike “Timex” McDonald and Eric Assadourian. Barry Greenstein, Quinn Do and Julian Powell all started with a double-up while Steve Sung and Terrence Chan made early Day 2 exits.
Greenstein hit the rail as play reached two tables, and was soon followed by Julian Powell, Joe Hachem and Mike “Timex” McDonald. Johnny Chan pushed for the two tables of five to merge as he sat with the shortest stack; and the players and tournament officials agreed. However most would agree this was a mistake as play continued for a further three-and-a-half hours before the bubble would eventually burst when defending champ Eric Assadourian’s
would be no match for Nam Le’s
The final table the following day began with David Steicke and Andrew Scott perched on top of the leader board; but a familiar face in Charles Chua was back at it only days after making the Main Event final table. Chua and Scott took some well-needed chips off Steicke before Van “Sirens” Marcus would fall in 9th
to Scott when his
were no match against Scott’s
. Ivan Tan fell in 8th
as Quinn Do and Nam Le slowly added to their stacks. Johnny Chan couldn’t win a race against Steicke and headed to the rail in 7th
place after being the short-stack for the entire tournament.
Will Ma fell in 6th
and was followed by David Steicke in 5th
when he couldn’t outrun Nam Le’s
. With Le the clear chip leader the remaining Scott, Chua and Do were all evenly positioned but it would be Chua to fall in 4th
place at the hands of Le’s
, and then Do in 3rd
at the hands of Scott when the
landed on the turn to crack Do’s
With that final hand Nam Le took home the title of 2008 PokerStars.net APPT Macau High Roller Champion and a first prize of $US474,358, confirming his place in the highest echelon of tournament poker players in the world today.