NZPT Season 6 News

APPT8 Auckland: Minh Nguyen flips his way to victory!

by Heath "TassieDevil" Chick on November 22, 2014 9:34 PM

The APPT Auckland Main Event has reached an exciting conclusion with Australia's Minh Nguyen crowned the APPT Auckland Main Event champion!

APPT8 Auckland Day 3However in the end, victory didn't come quite as easily as we first thought.

Nguyen had dominated for the best part of two days. He mauled his opposition on the bubble last night and today, with a big stack in hand, he out-muscled the final table with relentless aggression. He raised 90% of hands, he stole the blinds, and when he was challenged, he'd show down a huge hand. It was near flawless poker.

Then he got heads up.

Nguyen took a big lead into heads-up play against Thomas Ward, but the Kiwi wasn't going to go down without a fight.

After some initial to-and-fro play, Ward started to chip away at the deficit. Nguyen fired three barrels on a board of 4♦T♣9♣J♣3♥ but Ward picked off the bluff with K♥Q♠ for a straight.

He then followed that up with another cooler of a hand that saw Nguyen betting on the board of 5♥3♠4♥K♥2♦ with ace-queen for a straight, but that wasn't enough as Ward called with ace-six for the bigger straight.

APPT8 Auckland Day 3Ward collected a couple more smaller pots and suddenly he was into the lead as a rattled Nguyen decided he was happy to now talk a deal. The two paused the clock and looked at the numbers before coming to a quick agreement. Ward would take NZ$104,000, Nguyen would get NZ$101,600 and they would play for the remaining NZ$10,000, the title and the two beautiful trophies that were up for grabs.

However the deal went a little further as they both agreed to flip for what was left without looking at their cards. A little disappointing to see two such talented players take the skill element out of the game, but I have to admit, the next few minutes were pretty fun to watch as the players flipped for it all!

APPT8 Auckland Day 3The first flip would see Ward all in with A♠J♥ against Nguyen's 8♥6♣ and he was one card away from the title when the first four community cards were spread 9♦T♦T♠J♣ but the 7♣ spiked on the river to the roars of the rail as Nguyen made a straight to double up!

Ward was crippled, but managed to win the next two flips to give himself a sneaky chance of a comeback. One more flip victory and he was back in the lead.

APPT8 Auckland Day 3For the fourth time in four flips, Ward was dealt the best starting hand with K♠T♣ up against Nguyen's 8♠3♠, but this time the board of 4♥3♥2♣8♥K♣ would give Nguyen two pair for the victory!

It was a whirlwind final table that was over inside six hours of game time.

Overnight short stack Stephen Thompson was a quick casualty but the action didn't slow down there.

APPT8 Auckland Day 3A key hand was when the unlucky Ben Rendall made a stand against the overwhelming pressure of Minh Nguyen.

Rendall found pocket queens and moved all in but Nguyen showed up with one better as his pocket kings removed Rendall in eighth place.

Dean Blatt was bounced out in seventh in a battle of the blinds with Thomas Ward, before another cooler ended the run of Michael Guzzardi. It was a clash of the roommates with Guzzardi flopping trips but Jesse McKenzie had flopped a full house to eliminate Guzzardi in sixth.

APPT8 Auckland Day 3The coolers continued as again Nguyen was the one to do the damage, turning a straight against Sam Williams' two pair. Williams was out in fifth and he was soon followed by Jesse McKenzie who shoved K♥Q♥ straight into Nguyen's pocket aces!

Nguyen had an enormous chip lead, but it was Thomas Ward who claimed the scalp of William Rogers in third place to see Nguyen with around a three-to-one advantage entering heads-up play.

APPT8 Auckland Day 3It was a great effort by Ward who looked like had the heads-up edge, but he couldn't win the flips that mattered and ultimately would have to be content with NZ$104,000 for his runner-up result.

Minh Nguyen matches brother Edison's victory in Melbourne with another trophy heading to the Nguyen family along with NZ$111,600 in prize money.

APPT Auckland Final Table Results

1st Minh Nguyen (Australia) - NZ$111,600
2nd Thomas Ward (New Zealand) - NZ$104,000
3rd William Rogers (United Kingdom) - NZ$47,100
4th Jesse McKenzie (Australia) - NZ$38,000
5th Sam Williams (New Zealand) - NZ$31,500
6th Michael Guzzardi (Austraila) - NZ$26,500
7th Dean Blatt (Australia) - NZ$21,500
8th Ben Rendall (New Zealand) - NZ$16,500
9th Stephen Thompson (New Zealand) - NZ$12,500

That wraps up our coverage of the APPT Auckland Main Event. Thanks to the SKYCITY Auckland for their hospitality during the week and we look forward to returning next year.

That's also the last of the local events for this year, with the next major PokerStars event on the calendar coming from the Crown Melbourne with the 2015 APPT Aussie Millions Main Event running from January 25th to February 1st 2015.

Qualify today on PokerStars and we hope to see you there!

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

APPT8 Auckland Day 2: Minh dominant as FT is set

by Heath "TassieDevil" Chick on November 22, 2014 2:12 AM

A huge day of thrills and spills has come to a close at the APPT Auckland. The SKYCITY Auckland Casino was full to the brim with the poker tables overflowing with action around the room and the rail loving all the excitement of championship tournament poker.

The day started with 80 players remaining but the number they all had in mind was the top 24. That's where the money would start and their two days of efforts would be rewarded.

Some didn't make it that far with Patrick Healy, Carl Knox, Daryl Hussey, Mike King, Tien Pham, Alicia Sale, Anthony Legg and Ryan Otto among those to fall during the afternoon.

Tension was rising approaching the bubble for a number of interesting stories unfolding.

APPT8 Auckland Day 2First we saw a rather confusing situation approaching the money when Angela Brewster didn't receive correct change when placing her ante. Tournament staff had to consult the cameras and in that time, Brewster ran a massive bluff that failed to get past Minh Nguyen. Brewster was felted, but her tournament was resurrected when floor staff ruled she was indeed short changed by 500 chips. She was handed a single ante and allowed to continue in the event, where she managed to run that 500 up to nearly 10,000.

If Brewster could reach the cash or go further, the ruling would certainly be scrutinized, but as it was, the fairytale comeback story ended a few moments later.

The other dramatic story that unfolded on the bubble was the race for the ANZ Player of the Year.

APPT8 Auckland Day 2Luke Spano, Luke Brabin, Dean Blatt and David Lim all had claims at the start of the day to take over the lead after clubhouse leader Edison Nguyen was eliminated on day one.

Spano and Brabin were eliminated during Day 2, leaving Blatt and Lim to duke it out. Blatt needed a top three finish in the tournament, but Lim only had to hang on for a min-cash to take an unbeatable lead at the top of the leader board.

With one elimination to go, all eyes were on Lim as the absolute short stack of the field, but he landed a double up with pocket kings against Michael Guzzardi's pocket eights to relieve some pressure.

In the end, Lim would survive as Robert Spano would bubble when his Q♦8♦ would fail to get past the dominant A♠Q♠ of Minh Nguyen. The irony of the elimination was that Minh bursting the bubble would ultimately be detrimental to his brother Edison, as David Lim limped into the money to officially claim the 2014 ANZ Player of the Year.

APPT8 Auckland Day 2With the hour-long bubble out of the way, the accordion affect took hold as the short stacks tried to double up or die trying.

Former APPT Queenstown runner-up Matty Yates (23rd - NZ$4,550) was one of the first to the cashier before the title defence of David Lim (21st - NZ$5,050) eventually came to an end when his pocket tens were outdrawn my Michael Guzzardi's king-nine.

David Evans (16th - NZ$6,300) and Day 1c chip leader Terangi Matenga (13th - NZ$7,550) were sent to the cashier before Jesse McKenzie would strike a double elimination with eleven players left to steamroll our way to the final table of nine.

McKenzie held A♠Q♥ to trail Mehrdad Razmi's A♥K♣ while the short-stacked Carl Boag had live cards with his 9♥3♣, but an ace on the flop and a queen on the turn saw McKenzie take out two in one clean hit.

APPT8 Auckland Day 2

It had taken ninety minutes to burst the bubble but once safely in the money, it was only another eighty minutes of furious action to lose the next fifteen players!

McKenzie fought back from a stack of just 4,800 late on day one to now be right in contention, but he trails the irrepressible Minh Nguyen who simply crushed his table on the bubble before surging towards the final table. He'll take a dominant chip lead into the final table as he looks to match the victory of brother Edison in Melbourne and bring the second trophy of the year back to the Nguyen family.

APPT Auckland Final Table Line Up

Seat 1: Sam Williams (New Zealand) - 633,000
Seat 2: Ben Rendall (New Zealand) - 545,000
Seat 3: Michael Guzzardi (Australia) - 296,000
Seat 4: Dean Blatt (Australia) - 142,000
Seat 5: Thomas Ward (New Zealand) - 404,000
Seat 6: Jesse McKenzie (Australia) - 477,500
Seat 7: Stephen Thompson (Australia) - 32,500
Seat 8: William Rogers (New Zealand) - 238,000
Seat 9: Minh Nguyen (Australia) - 1,605,500

It's a stacked final table with several Australia guns taking on New Zealand's finest, but they will have their work cut out for them with Minh Nguyen holding over 35% of the chips in play!

The final table will commence at 12:15pm (GMT+12) on Sunday. We hope you'll join us once again as we sail this baby home. See you then!

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

APPT8 Auckland Day 1C: Massive stack for Matenga

by Heath "TassieDevil" Chick on November 20, 2014 9:46 PM

Friday would bring the third and final opportunity for players to hand over NZ$2,500 for a shot at glory. They didn't disappoint as a total of 79 players turned out to swell the prize pool to in excess of half a million dollars for the APPT Auckland Main Event.

The total of 225 is an increase on last year's entrants, even with a larger buy-in, which is a tremendous result for PokerStars and the SKYCITY Auckland team.

APPT8 Auckland Day 1C

The top 24 players will receive a minimum payout of NZ$4,550 while reaching the final table of nine is worth NZ$12,500. However the one prize they will all be gunning for is the NZ$132,000 for our eventual champion.

That will be the attitude of recent WSOP APAC bracelet winner Luke Brabin who spoke to us during the day about the need to push small edges when you get to the business end if you want to win. Brabin was one of a throng of notables in action on Day 1c.

Jack Efaraimo, Koray Turker, Bruno Politano, Jason Giuliano, Mike Stecker, David Gorr and Kevin Clark were some of the casualties and they were nearly joined on the rail by the "Godfather of New Zealand Hip Hop" in former APPT Auckland champion Brotha D.

APPT8 Auckland Day 1C

Brotha D collided with Angela Brewer in a huge pot about half-way through the day, with Brotha D unable to get away from his pocket kings as Brewer showed pocket aces. Brotha D was crippled, but he showed true grit as he managed to fight back and survive the day as one of the short stacks.

The other intriguing story of the day was the battle of the ANZ Player of the Year contenders. With this event the last of the season, the 2014 ANZ POTY will be determined when the final cards are dealt here in Auckland.

Contenders Luke Spano and Sal Fazzino were both in today's field, and early on, they thought they were in luck when POTY leader Edison Nguyen was a late arrival. However Nguyen made it in time to also take his seat as the chase for points was on!

Unfortunately for Nguyen, the only points he would earn would be of the participation variety as he was eliminated in the dying minutes of the day. It would be Nguyen's ace-queen racing with Terangi Matenga's pocket jacks, and when the board bricked out, it would mean that Nguyen will now have to (anti)sweat the progress of others in this tournament if he is to hold onto his narrow POTY advantage.

APPT8 Auckland Day 1C

The father and son combination of Luke and Robert Spano were prominent, with dad Robert holding the chip lead as various stages of the day, while Marc Witkopf was another big stack. However it would be Terangi Matenga who bagged up the biggest stack with a whopping 170,400 chips as 29 players advanced from Day 1c.

APPT Auckland Day 1c Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Terangi Matenga (New Zealand) - 170,400
  2. Robert Spano (Australia) - 130,600
  3. Marc Witkopf (New Zealand) - 116,700
  4. Darren Lukas (New Zealand) - 112,500
  5. Luke Brabin (Australia) - 101,400
  6. Chia (Joachim) Wei (Singapore) - 97,700
  7. Milton Trickey (Australia) - 88,300
  8. Thomas Ward (New Zealand) - 79,800
  9. Jesse McKenzie (Australia) - 64,100
  10. Angela Brewster (New Zealand) - 63,500

Head to the live reporting section of the site for the full chip counts from Day 1c and the table draw for Day 2.

The remaining 80 survivors will come together for the first time at 12:15pm (GMT+12) on Saturday for Day 2 of the APPT Auckland Main Event. It will be a longer day with a minimum of ten levels to be played it order to play down to the official final table of nine.

Until then, we hope you enjoy your evening in Auckland and we look forward to your company again tomorrow!

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

APPT8 Auckland Day 1B: Razmi rises to the top

by Heath "TassieDevil" Chick on November 19, 2014 9:46 PM

The sun is setting in the "Land of the Long White Cloud" and that means that Day 1b of the APPT Auckland Main Event has come to an end.

It was a big day inside the SKYCITY Auckland Casino as a very strong field of 93 players took to the felt to set this event well on track to match last year's ANZPT Auckland number of 213 entrants.APPT8 Auckland Day 1B

Some of those in today's field included Michael Guzzardi, Adrian Attenborough, Christian Haggart, Minh Nguyen, Ryan Otto, Jackson Zheng, Dan Sing, Justin Walsh, last year's winner David Lim and the reigning ANZ Player of the Year Iori Yogo.

Unfortunately Yogo would be unable to add another result to his poker resume as an early casualty of the day when he turned the nut straight against an opponent's set, only to watch as the river paired the board to make his opponent a full house.

Yogo wouldn't be the last hard-luck story as the players slowly dropped away to the rail throughout the day leaving just 32 players standing after another eight levels of play.

Minh Nguyen, Alex Lynskey and Michael Guzzardi were some familiar names accumulating some big stacks but once again it was the fresh-faced locals who would ultimately bag up the biggest in the room.

Mehrdad Razmi was the first to climb into six figures when his opponent tried a massive river bluff on a board of 7♠T♥5♥Q♠2♥. Razmi held K♥3♥ for the second nuts and had to give it some thought, but eventually made the right call to win the massive pot.

Zoran Farac was the other big stack in the room as he also added to his stack by picking off a bluff. The board read 4♦5♣6♥2♠T♥ with Farac calling down with K♥5♥ for just a pair of fives as Alex Lynskey showed J♦7♣ for a busted straight draw.

In the end that wouldn't be enough to challenge Razmi who bagged up enough chips for the overall lead in the tournament with an impressive 186,500 chips.

APPT Auckland Day 1b Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Mehrdad Razmi (New Zealand) - 186,500
  2. Alex Lynskey (Australia) - 137,400
  3. Zoran Farac (New Zealand) - 131,100
  4. Neil Price (Australia) - 103,800
  5. Matt Wall (New Zealand) - 87,200
  6. Michael Guzzardi (Australia) - 71,300
  7. David Evans (Australia) - 68,300
  8. Barry O'Callaghan (Ireland) - 64,000
  9. Matthew Barker (New Zealand) - 61,500
  10. Geoff Fitzpatrick (New Zealand) - 61,500

The super-talented Minh Nguyen sits lurking dangerously close to the top ten while David Lim's defence of his ANZPT title is going along very nicely as he's through to Day 2. Head to the live reporting section of the site for the full chip counts of the survivors.

The third and final opportunity for players to join the fun will come on Friday as Day 1c of the APPT Auckland Main Event kicks off at the bright and early start time of 10:15am (GMT+12). Until then, rest up and we'll see you again tomorrow!

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

APPT8 Auckland Day 1A: Rendall dominates the locals

by Heath "TassieDevil" Chick on November 18, 2014 8:06 PM

The final stop of Season 8 of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour would see us venture to Auckland in New Zealand with a field of 53 players taking to the felt for Day 1a of the NZ$2,500 APPT Auckland Main Event.

The early 10:15am start time would require a strong coffee from most before jumping into the action with eight levels reducing the field to just 19 by the end of the day.

The field was mostly full of locals but included the likes of Oliver Gill, Angie Fitzgerald, Dean Francis, James Honeybone, Cole Swannack, Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell and last year's bubble boy Dean Blatt.APPT8 Auckland Day 1A

Honeybone was excited to be part of the APPT Auckland Main Event after prior commitments in his second home of São Paulo forced him to miss last year's event. However the Brazilian-Kiwi was one of the first to be eliminated with a straight over straight.

Leo Boxell, Dean Francis and Oliver Gill would also meet their demise, while at the other end of the counts, the big stacks started to emerge in Qiang Fu and Ben Rendall.

Fu would win a huge pot in a battle of the blinds against local Angie Fitzgerald. The two saw a board of 8♦T♥K♣K♥2♥ with the action erupting on the river Fitzgerald's K♦2♦ trumped by Fu's K♠8♣ for a bigger full house.

That hand would see Fu become the first players into six figures, but it wasn't enough to grab the end-of-day chip lead as Ben Rendall had a day out.

Everything Rendall touched turned to gold before a huge pot in the final level saw Rendall call a check-raise on the flop, a bet on the turn and then another big bet on the river on a board of 9♠J♣8♠3♥3♦. Rendall showed Q♦9♥ for just second pair and that was good as his opponent revealed T♦9♦.APPT8 Auckland Day 1A

Rendall would bag up a monstrous 179,600 in chips which is over 16% of the total chips in play for the day! It's a huge number and sets Rendall up to make a deep run at the title.

APPT Auckland Day 1a Top Ten Chip Counts

  1. Ben Rendall (New Zealand) - 179,600
  2. Qiang Fu (New Zealand) - 114,600
  3. Tae Hoon Han (New Zealand) - 83,000
  4. Brett Unkovich (New Zealand) - 75,900
  5. Ryan Shiffman (New Zealand) - 72,100
  6. Jun Huh (New Zealand) - 65,600
  7. Daryl Hussey (New Zealand) - 64,500
  8. Cory Fransham (New Zealand) - 56,100
  9. Rachel Bellard (New Zealand) - 52,200
  10. Simen Romslo (New Zealand) - 44,600

18 of the 19 survivors were locals with former ANZPT Perth runner up Dean Blatt the only Australian to make it through to Day 2 as one of the short stacks. Head to the live reporting section for the full chip counts.

The 19 survivors will be able to enjoy a couple of days off around Auckland before returning for Day 2 on Saturday. Before then, we have two more opening flights to get through. Plenty of PokerStars qualifiers are expected on Thursday for Day 1b while the biggest flight will be full of internationals on Day 1c on Friday. Play will once again commence at the bright and early time slot of 10:15am (GMT+12). We look forward to you joining us then!

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

NZPT Leaderboard


Place Player Points
1 Minh Phuc (Edison) Nguyen 141.65
2 Salvatore Fazzino 133.71
3 David Lim 130.30
4 Luke Spano 121.90
5 Yibo (Steven) Zhou 109.90
6 Amichai Barer 106.88
7 Jie Gao 105.50
8 Jacob Balsiger 99.44
9 Sorel Mizzi 97.19
10 Dean Blatt 97.15