Sydney native Martin Rowe, 34, became the latest PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Grand Final champion. Rowe won AU$1 million as the top finisher out of a field of 476 entrants, all competing for a total prize pool of over $2.8 million. And, as if that wasn’t enough, he followed-up by coming in second to Vanessa Rousso in the APPT Tournament of Champions, donating a cheque of AU$5,000 to the Save the Children Fund.
With seven Australians at the APPT Grand Final final table of nine, the odds were pretty good that an Aussie was going to take down the championship. In second place behind Rowe came Jason Gray for a payday of AU$476,000, followed by Tony Basile of Canada in third (AU$266,000), then Antonio Fazzolari (AU$182,000), and Timothy English (AU$140,000), who qualified through PokerStars in a Last Chance Qualifier last Monday for $475. Frank Saffioti finished in sixth place (AU$100,800), followed by Daniel Kowalski of Poland (AU$72,800), Hai Bo Chu (AU$53,200), and Tom Rafferty in ninth place (AU$39,200).
Final table play lasted nine and a half hours, culminating in a final hand where Gray pushed all-in with 9h-5h over Rowe’s pre-flop raise of 250,000, only to be called by Rowe’s Ac-Qh. The flop came As-Qc-5s, giving Rowe top-two and Gray bottom pair. Gray improved to two pair with a 9s falling on the turn, but his river boat never came and the tournament was over.
“I cannot believe I have won tonight. I felt on edge but not out of control the entire tournament and now to have the title I am just ecstatic – this will be life changing for my family,” said Rowe, an insurance worker, after his win.
In the APPT Tournament of Champions, Vanessa Rousso knocked Rowe off when he was short-stacked and forced to shove everything in pre-flop with 9-7 off suit. Rousso called with K-5 and the board blanked, giving Rousso the win.
APPT Sydney marks the end the second season of the PokerStars APPT. Season 3 is due to be announced shortly.