After almost eight hours of play on our final table, we have crowned the ANZPT Perth Main Event champion as Mat "Skillz" Carlsson joins the likes of Tony Hachem and Grant Levy, but also becomes the first local to keep the ANZPT Perth title on home soil.
Carlsson brought the right mix of aggression, solid play and some big cards to navigate his way through a strong final table lineup to capture the trophy and $78,275 in prize money.
Earlier in the day it was John Shin racing out of the blocks as he assumed the role of table captain. Paul Satzke copped the brunt of that barrage but managed to outlast Lucas Mierzwa who was unlucky to be our 9th place finisher when his ace-king fell to the ace-queen of Anthony Aston.
Satzke was next to go, his pocket threes unable to hold against Didier Guerin's creative 8♦4♦ as the boys from Canberra/NSW were looking dangerous. But it was John Shin who was surprisingly next to fall. He was crippled with top two pair against Anthony Marenko's turned gutshot straight, before running king-jack into David Lloyd's pocket jacks to depart in 7th place.
At this point, Mat Carlsson started to take control with some strong three and four-betting preflop. Perhaps it was good cards, or just good spots, but he soon showed down a run of monster big pairs that had everyone rattled.
Carlsson first woke up with pocket aces when Didier Guerin shoved his king-ten to see him bundled out in 6th place. That was quickly followed by David Lloyd's elimination in 5th place when he pushed his king-queen into Carlsson's pocket kings.
Incredibly, Carlsson founds pocket kings again just moments later, as Jon Curtis was on the ropes with ace-queen, but an ace on the river broke Carlsson's momentum and brought Curtis back into contention.
Anthony Marenko made a flush to double through Anthony Aston, before overnight chip leader Jon Curtis bowed out in 4th. Again it was a rather brutal elimination, with Curtis flopping a straight against Marenko's two pair. The dealer must've been sponsored by PokerStars as Marenko caught a four-outer on the turn to improve to a full house and leave Curtis on the rail.
Three-handed play was an interesting battle with chips passing around the table and each player finding moments to shine. Anthony Aston doubled up with king-deuce against jacks, before Mat Carlsson's pocket deuces survived to make a flush against pocket sixes.
Eventually something had to give and it was Anthony Aston who three-bet shoved his T♦9♦ into the pocket kings Anthony Marenko. Aston flopped a straight draw but couldn't connect to exit in third place. It's back-to-back third place finishes in the ANZPT for Aston which is enough for him to take the lead in the ANZ Player of the Year race.
Anthony Marenko held a narrow chip lead entering heads-up play, and generally had the better of Mat Carlsson until a key hand saw the players go to war on a flop of 3♦Q♦4♠. Marenko held top pair with Q♣5♦ but Carlsson held Q♠3♥ for two pair which held through the turn and river.
Soon after the final hand would go down when Marenko shoved his K♠2♦ but Carlsson called with black sevens. The board bricked out and Mat Carlsson was crowned the ANZPT Perth champion! Portraying a strong, stoic image for the last few days, Carlsson showed plenty of well-timed aggression, and found plenty of big pairs on this final table, to navigate his way to the title and $78,275 in prize money.
Final table results
1st Mat Carlsson (Australia) - $78,275
2nd Anthony Marenko (Australia) - $49,600
3rd Anthony Aston (Australia) - $27,590
4th Jon Curtis (Australia) - $21,545
5th David Lloyd (Australia) - $17,050
6th Didier Guerin (Australia) - $13,950
7th John Shin (Australia) - $11,160
8th Paul Satzke (Australia) - $8,835
9th Lucas Mierzwa (Australia) - $6,510
It's been a fun week in Perth but all good things must come to an end. We'd like to thank Deb Wyatt and the fantastic team in the Burswood poker room for their efforts during the week. They are a great crew who provide wonderful hospitality. In fact, several of our final table players wrote in their bios about how much they appreciated the staff and customer service here in Perth, so that speaks volumes.
The next event on the local calendar is the Winter Poker Championships in Canberra on the long weekend in June which is an ANZ POTY qualifying event. Hopefully we'll see you there! Until then, so long from Perth!