The penultimate day of the 2014 World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific Main Event from Crown Melbourne has concluded with England's Jack Salter bagging the chip lead over the final six.
Beginning the day with just 18 players remaining and a final table of six the goal, Sean Winter would exit on one of the first few hands before a stall in play wouldn't see the next elimination for a further 80 minutes. Unfortunately, that elimination was the biggest remaining storyline, as Brandon Shack-Harris, who needed a top-two finish to take the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race, hit the rail. Shack-Harris three-bet shoved holding the , but was undone by Frank Kassela's .
Joachim Chia (16th), Gary Benson (15th), Alexander "AJ" Antonios (14th), JJ Liu (13th), and Jackie Glazier (12th) all exited within the hour before Baden Logan (11th) and Eiji Matsumura (10th) left the field at the unofficial final table. At this point, Day 2 chip leader Kyle Montgomery held the chip lead, but Jason Giuliano and Victor Teng were snapping at his heels.
Play began really slow as players took their time to settle into the unofficial final table. Local player Giuliano had other ideas, however, as he started accumulating chips at a monster rate to eventually build his stack to 2.4 million — 1 million more then his closest rival as players headed on dinner break.
Once back, Henry Szmelcer made a move holding the , but it would be Scott Davies and his that would reduce the field to just eight. Davies then found a huge double holding kings against Giuliano's ace-king before Jack Salter turned a set against Teng.
Needing just one more elimination before the televised final table of six was reached, Teng's rise and fall would be complete when his couldn't outdraw Salter's to leave us at the following half dozen with all eyes on the AU$850,136 first prize.
With an Aussie Millions side event victory and European Poker Tour Grand Final runner-up finish this year, Salter will be looking to ride this wave of momentum into another victory here at Crown Melbourne. Holding the chip lead with 3,255,000, Salter is 35 big blinds ahead of Scott Davies, who sits in second with 2,210,000. Davies is registering his ninth WSOP cash for the year — second of the Asia-Pacific series — and will be looking to turn his second final table appearance into a victory.
Macau and Melbourne regular Henry Wang played an exciting brand of poker and sits in third place, whereas 2010 WSOP Player of the Year and two-time bracelet winner Kassela sits in fourth overall. Kyle Montgomery and local Ang Italiano round up the rear with Italiano having won her seat into this event for just AU$130. Italiano played two "Phase One" $65 satellites and won her second to earn entry into an AU$250 "Phase Two." She won that before winning a AU$1,100 "Phase Three" to win her seat in this Main Event.
With the final table combatants having a day off to conduct interviews with ESPN, the final table will resume at 3:30 p.m. local time on Saturday afternoon in Crown Melbourne's Studio 3. The PokerNews Live Reporting team will be on hand to provide extensive live coverage, including hand-for-hand updates, as the event plays down to crown the 2014 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event Champion.