Day 6 of the 2008 PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final saw the final nine combatants return to the feature table of the Star City Casino poker room to duke it out for the coveted title and cool one million dollar first place prize. Antonio Fazzolari held a healthy chip lead entering the day, but the experience and second biggest chip stack of Jason Gray saw him as the man to beat.
The action was fast early with Tom Rafferty setting the pace by pushing with his flush draw on a flop. However he ran into the of Antonio Fazzolari who made an easy call. The turn and river bricked and Rafferty became the first to depart the final table in 9th place as Fazzolari extended his chip lead.
Hai Bo Chu continued the aggression by pushing all in over the top of the flop bet of Martin Rowe on a flop of . Rowe had limped under the gun preflop, and snapped called with as Chu would need some help with just a gutshot straight draw with . The turn was the to give Chu a few more outs, but the river fell the to leave Chu as our 8th place finisher.
Next to go was Daniel Kowalski (not the Australian swimmer) who had waited patiently for a hand to strike and decided to commit with on a flop against Frank Saffioti. Despite Saffioti’s generally loose play, he woke up with on this occasion to have Kowalski in bad shape. The fell on the turn and another on the river to send Kowalski to the rail in 7th place.
Meanwhile Jason Gray and Tony Basile were sitting tight as the short stacks as the other end of the table continued to splash around and gamble. Martin Rowe was a beneficiary of this table dynamic after collecting a nice pot against Saffioti when spiked two pair on the turn with to crack Saffioti’s top pair holding .
Rowe climbed above the 2 million chip mark as Saffioti started to crumble as he doubled up Jason Gray. On a board of Saffioti had over-committed himself with as Gray snapped him off with . Saffioti was drawing dead as the hit the river, to double Gray to 1.4 million with Saffioti falling to only 500,000.
Saffioti was out in 6th place shortly after when he moved all in on a flop of . Saffioti held a monster with but he’d run into the set of sevens of Martin Rowe. Needing to catch a spade to survive the turn and river bricked , , to leave Rowe as our new chip leader with over 4 million.
Tim English found a double up with a three-outer holding a dominated against Fazzolari’s but an eight on the flop kept his tournament dreams alive. That is, until he clashed in a hand with chip leader Martin Rowe. In a re-raised pot, English moved all in at a flop but Rowe made the call. English only held but remarkably it was in front as Rowe was drawing with . Rowe spiked a on the turn to pair up, and the river was a blank to end English’s tournament in 5th place for $140,000.
Rowe held well over half of the chips in play at that stage until he doubled up Fazzolari when he called with an open-ended straight draw against Fazzolari’s two pair. The river bricked and Fazzolari was back up into second chip position. However after a series of healthy pots went against him he had slipped back to the short stack when he pushed with and Rowe made the call with . The board landed and Fazzolari became our 4th place finisher collecting $182,000 for his efforts.
Three-handed play didn’t last long as Tony Basile fell victim to a cooler. He’d been very patient and solid all day and when he picked up he made the call against Martin Rowe’s all in shove. However Rowe held a monster and when the board fell Basile was very disappointed to leaving in 3rd place, however $266,000 should ease his pain.
The heads-up contest started with Rowe holding a commanding chip lead over Gray and threatened to be a short affair. In a raised pot, Gray check-raised all in on a flop, but Rowe snap-called with for top pair. Gray would need help with for an open-ended straight draw. With the crowd willing him on, they let out a collective roar when the fell to complete his straight and find the double up. The river was the and Gray had found a pulse.
From there the heads-up battle tightened considerably as both players seemed content to play some small-ball poker. This seemed to advantage Gray as he slowly chipped up to reduce the chip deficit. Gray managed to get as close as roughly 4.2 million to Rowe’s 5.2 million, however could never quite snatch the lead.
At this point Rowe seemed to change gears and decided to increase his preflop aggression. He captured multiple raised pots and regained the ascendency as Gray didn’t want to commit to big pots. Eventually Gray had to make a move as his chip stack fell to around 2 million with the blinds at 50k/100k. Preflop, Gray limped before Rowe made it 250,000. Gray then shoved over the top and Rowe snap-called tabling . Gray sheepishly revealed but held live cards with his tournament on the line. The board ran out and despite Gray making two pair it wasn’t enough to get past Rowe’s aces and queens as he captures the title!
Jason Gray collects $476,000 after a tremendous tournament showing as Martin Rowe becomes the latest APPT Champion, taking home the trophy and a whopping $1 million first place prize!
8th Hai Bo Chu - $53,200