Day 8 of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific saw a quick finish to the AU$5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha final table, where Melbourne tattoo shop owner Sam Higgs defeated Mike Watson in heads-up play to capture his first gold bracelet.
Elsewhere, the AU$1,650 8-Game Dealer's Choice event reached its final table, while the AU$2,200 Six-Max No-Limit Hold’em got underway.
With the conclusion of the fifth event, the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific is officially halfway over. On Tuesday, the AU$5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha tournament attracted 80 players that created a prize pool of AU$376,000, but on Thursday just six of them returned to the Crown Melbourne to play down to a winner. It’d take just three hours and 110 hands for Melbourne local and tattoo shop owner Sam Higgs, who began the day as a massive chip leader, to walk away with the AU$127,843 first-place prize.
Final Table Results
Things got off to a quick start when, on just the third hand of the day, action folded to Watson in the small blind and he raised to 12,000. German pro Ismael Bojang responded by three-betting the size of the pot, Watson four-bet, and Bojang got all in for roughly 55,000 total.
The flop was as dry as could be for Bojang, but the turn gave him both straight and flush draws. Unfortunately for him, he'd miss as the bricked on the river. Bojang exited in sixth place for AU$21,123, which marked his 11th WSOP cash in 2014.
On Hand #39 of the final table, a short-stacked Jeff Rossiter got his chips all in holding only to run into the of Watson. The board ran out clean, and Rossiter had to settle for fifth place and AU$27,011 in prize money.
The next to go was Day 1 chip leader Jamie Pickering, and he was followed out the door by 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel.
Higgs began heads-up play with a slight chip lead, but within three hands Watson took it over. Not to be deterred, Higgs retook the lead and then set about slowly whittling away at his opponent. After 55 hands of dueling, which was Hand #110 of the final table, Higgs limped from the button and then called when Watson, who by this time was at a 5-1 chip disadvantage, raised to 24,000. The flop saw Higgs call a bet of 48,000, and then Watson moved all in for his last 87,000 on the turn. Higgs thought for a while before dropping in a call and saying "gamble."
Watson was ahead with kings and an open-ended straight draw, while Higgs was drawing to a flush and a straight draw of his own.
"More outs than I thought," Higgs said optimistically. The dealer then burned and put out the . Higgs hit his straight, and for the third time in his career Watson had to settle for a runner-up finish is a WSOP event.
Higgs, who won a pot-limit Omaha event back in January at the Aussie Millions, captured his first WSOP gold bracelet and the AU$127,843 first-place prize.
The final table of the AU$1,650 8-Game Dealer's Choice event was reached with Rory Young leading the final six players. What started yesterday afternoon with 89 players and a AU$133,500 prizepool, just 19 players reached the penultimate day with the aim of reaching an elusive WSOP Asia-Pacific final table.
Although play started slowly, it quickly picked up once Stephen Woodhead reduced the field to just three tables. Michael Guzzardi, overnight chip leader Gary Benson, Stuart Rutter, and Jeff Madsen all fell to the rail before the two-table redraw before Jeff Gross lost a big flip against his buddy and new chip leader, Brian Rast. Frank Kassela then found himself in a world of pain against Jason Gray to be eliminated next before hand-for-hand play began.
Lasting into the next level, eventually it would be local player Srdjan Brkic becoming the bubble boy when Sam Khouiss rivered two-pair in seven-card stud hi-lo to guarantee the final nine to be in-the-money. Shivan Abdine (9th), Michael Wang (8th), and Samuel Ngai (7th) all then found themselves watching from the rail to leave the final table.
With Young holding the chip lead with 102,300, he still has some work to do as this final table is filled with talented players. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Brian Rast sits in second with 96,400, while youngster David Zhao sits with 89,000 as Australian poker stalwarts Khouiss and Gray also remain.
However, the story of this final table is how close George Danzer is away from recapturing the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race as he needs to finish fourth or better to overtake Brandon Shack-Harris.
Day 1 of the AU$2,200 Six-Max No-Limit Hold'em event from the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific worked its way through the first 10 levels of play. At the close of registration, 243 entries had been tallied and a AU$486,000 prize pool was generated. Leading the surviving 31 players was Alexander Antonios with 138,200 in chips.
Top 10 Chip Counts
Antonios didn't have the chip lead until the final hand of the night when he won a monster pot against former chip leader Maz Misaghian with a Broadway straight. Misaghian finished on 35,600 in chips.
The first day of this event proved fast and furious, as nearly 90 percent of the field was eliminated and big stacks were tossed around left and right. Notables Greg Merson, Ryan Riess, Daniel Negreanu, Jonathan Karamalikis, Brandon Shack-Harris, Jeff Madsen, Jeff Lisandro, Antonio Esfandiari, and Jackie Glazier were among the carnage, but just because they busted doesn't mean there aren't some important faces left.
Of those advancing to Day 2, you've got Phil Hellmuth, Jesse Sylvia, Tony Hachem, Bruno Politano, Ami Barer, Van Marcus, Ashley Mason, and Brendon Rubie. Hellmuth will take 82,500 in chips into Day 2, and he'll be looking for his 14th WSOP gold bracelet.
The players are scheduled to return on Friday at 12:30 p.m. local time at Crown Melbourne, and PokerNews will be on hand for all live coverage starting then.
Be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you continued coverage from the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific.