It’s taken three days of toil but our field of 126 players has been reduced to the final nine at the APPT Queenstown Main Event in New Zealand. Only one can be crowned champion and walk away with the trophy and NZ$93,600 in prize money.
Let’s meet our final nine participants:
Seat 1: Daniel Laidlaw (Adelaide, South Australia) – 106,000 chips
Daniel Laidlaw is a 30-year old poker professional who hails from Adelaide but now spends a lot of his time crushing the juicy cash games in Macau. Laidlaw has been able to transition his cash game to tournaments with great success with almost $300,000 in live earnings, highlighted by a 12th place finish in this year’s Aussie Millions Main Event. He also finished 5th in this very same event back in 2011.
Laidlaw credits his run in this event to a good table draw on Day 1b where he came through as the day’s chip leader. He has enjoyed his time in Queenstown with a few games of frisbee golf, and if he can grab the title in the Main Event, then it will cap off a fantastic trip.
Seat 2: Jon-Pierre Narbey (Auckland, New Zealand) – 408,000 chips
The first of our two local players on this final table, Jon-Pierre Narbey is a 34-year old student who has been playing poker for six years. Narbey has no previous results on his resume, so regardless of the result on the final table, this will be the biggest cash of his poker career.
Narbey was prominent on Day 3, picking up some good cards, and he feels that he has been able to make some good, calculated decisions that helped him enter the final table placed second in chips.
Seat 3: Chiu Yeung Lee (Palmerston North, New Zealand) – 161,000 chips
One of the more entertaining characters we’ve found in Queenstown, Chiu Yeung Lee is a 44-year old Home Executive who will be out to keep the APPT Queenstown title on home soil — and expect a huge celebration if he is successful!
Lee has been playing poker for three years and he’s already improved on his best poker result after finishing in 10th place in this very same event last year. Lee credits his patience as the key to his success in this tournament.
Away from the tables, Lee enjoys playing video games and hitting the golf fairways.
Seat 4: Jonathan Bredin (Melbourne, Victoria) – 657,000 chips
Our chip leader entering this final table is 23-year old Jonathan “Jono” Bredin. We’ve already talked about the remarkable progress of Bredin in this event after his dominance over the past two days has now put him in prime position to capture the APPT Queenstown title.
Bredin has Cerebral Palsy and is wheelchair bound. His limited speech and movement require the assistance of a helper at the table to handle the chips and cards, while Bredin controls all the action by communicating through his iPad. Bredin won into this tournament through an online satellite on PokerStars and will be looking to improve on his 5th place finish at the Australian Poker League Main Event III where he received $23,800.
Seat 5: Colin Carpenter (Adelaide, South Australia) – 89,000 chips
Colin Carpenter is a 42-year old Flower Grower from Adelaide who has been playing poker for eight years after getting started in home games with his mates and watching Joe Hachem on TV. Hopefully he picked up a few tips as he enters this final table with some work to do as the short stack.
Away from poker, Carpenter enjoys keeping fit with a spot of basketball and chasing around his kids. Carpenter said he’s really enjoyed this tournament in an amazing location and can’t wait to come back again.
Seat 6: Raj Ramakrishnan (Sydney, New South Wales) – 271,000 chips
Raj Ramakrishnan is a Managing Director from Sydney who has been enjoying poker for five years. Ramakrishnan likes the thrill of the gamble, and has enjoyed a rollercoaster ride in this Main Event.
Ramakrishnan burst onto the local poker scene with a 4th place finish at the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event. Now with over $420,000 in career earnings, including a deep run in the WSOP-APAC Main Event this year, all that’s missing for Ramakrishnan is that elusive major title.
Ramakrishnan has enjoyed his time out and about in Queenstown, sampling the cuisine and taking in the coverage of his beloved game of cricket from the bars around town.
Seat 7: Ricky Kroesen (Gold Coast, Queensland) – 241,000 chips
33-year old Ricky Kroesen is a full time poker player with six years experience in the game after getting started in a $10 home game with mates. He is now one of the most consistent live players on the Australia and New Zealand tours, with this being his 8th cash in APPT/ANZPT events which includes a 4th place in this very event last year. Kroesen’s biggest live result was his 2nd place finish at the ANZPT Gold Coast in 2010 for over $116,000.
Away from the tables, Kroesen keeps busy being a new dad, as well as running triathlons and making the occasional embarrassing YouTube video.
Kroesen was extremely short stacked at the start of Day 2 but managed to claw his way back, and after eliminating Jackson Zheng on the final table bubble, he finds himself right in contention for the title.
Seat 8: Daniel Neilson (Campbelltown, New South Wales) – 122,000 chips
Daniel Neilson would like us to think he is a former Dolphin Trainer who now earns his bread and butter as a Professional Clay Shooter. While his performances on the shooting range this week in Queenstown have certainly been impressive, we think that too many appearances on ANZPT final tables is starting to give away his secret — this guy know how to play some cards.
Over $1.2 million in career winnings might be a bit of a give away also as Neilson brings the most decorated poker resume to this final table. With six WSOP cashes and three previous ANZPT cashes to his credit, Neilson’s biggest score came at the EPT San Remo with 3rd place worth €285,000.
Hopefully Neilson hasn’t used up all of his run good after he said that the most defining moment of this tournament was being let through customs into the country. Perhaps he’ll have a new trophy to declare on the way home?
Seat 9: Michael Chon (Perth, Western Australia) – 134,000 chips
Michael Chon is a 54-year old Director from Perth in Western Australia who has come a long way for this event, thanks to winning a satellite online on PokerStars.
Chon was our Day 1a chip leader, and it’s not his first appearance on an ANZPT final table, after his 4th place finish at the 2010 ANZPT Canberra event netted a return of over $28,000. He’ll be keen to improve on that mark at this final table.