WSOP APAC Side Events: Philipp Gruissem Wins High Roller, Team Europe Wins Caesars Cup

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While the World Series of Poker Asia/Pacific Championship Event was reaching its final table, two side events (neither awarding a bracelet) were also finished on Sunday.

Eleven men returned from the original 37 player field for the penultimate day of the $50,000 High Roller event with Joseph Cheong leading over such names as Jonathan Duhamel, Joe Hachem, Philipp Gruissem and Marvin Rettenmaier. Although there wasn’t a WSOP bracelet on the line for the players, there was a nice payday of $825,000 awaiting the victor on Sunday.

Due to the rapid nature of the tournament’s structure, the eliminations came quickly. Hachem would hit the rail in 11th place after his pocket sixes were run down by Devan Tang’s K-Q to cut a big chunk of his stack away. The elimination was actually completed by Rettenmaier, whose K-J stayed in front of Hachem’s J-8 on a ten high board.

Duhamel would find the rail next courtesy of Tom Hall. From the start, it wasn’t a good situation for Duhamel after he pushed all in with K-7 off suit. Hall’s call from the small blind with A-3 had him in the lead and, after a three hit on the flop, that lead was extended. When no King or seven came to the rescue on the river, Duhamel was out in tenth place.

Cheong would see a bit of his stack cut from him when he doubled up Gruissem. Cheong’s pocket nines held the edge over Gruissem’s A-Q but, after four hearts came on the board, Gruissem’s Queen of hearts played to give him a huge double to 900K in chips.

Once Tang was knocked off by Gruissem in ninth place, the official final table was set but there was still some work to be done. With only 44 entries in the tournament, six positions would be paid. This meant that two more men would walk away from the table in the Crown with nothing to show for their $50,000 investment.

After a break in the action, Cheong would get some chips through eliminating another Cheong. Kyle Cheong would push all in, only to see Joseph Cheong move his stack to the center behind them. Once everyone else backed away from the felt, Kyle’s pocket sixes were in tough shape against Joseph’s pocket nines. Although the flop and turn of 3-3-4-5 would give Kyle some hope, an eight on the river sent him out of the event empty handed.

The unfortunate bubble boy would turn out to be Rettenmaier, who pushed all in after a Cheong raise and his call. Rettenmaier’s Big Slick was out in front of Cheong’s J-8, but the 9-2-10 flop and Queen on the turn gave Cheong a straight. Looking for a Jack to make a bigger straight, Rettenmaier instead saw a seven on the river to leave without any cash.

With everyone guaranteed $115,000, you might think the play slowed down. Instead, it ramped up even further. Hall would be eliminated in sixth place, Elton Tsang in fifth, Lo Shing Fung in fourth and Paul Phua in third to set up the showdown between Cheong and Gruissem.

After a bit of chip shuffling between each other, Cheong would score the first big pot. He would hit an eight with his A-8 to top Gruissem’s A-Q to double up. On the very next hand, Gruissem would get those chips back in doubling back with a flush. On the final hand, Gruissem would call an all-in from Cheong and show Q-J, behind Cheong’s pocket sevens, but the flop changed everything. Coming down 4-6-Q, Gruissem moved into the lead, which would hold over the six turn and the four river to earn Gruissem the biggest cash of his career.

1. Philipp Gruissem, $825,000
2. Joseph Cheong, $511,000
3. Paul Phua, $325,000
4. Lo Shing Fung, $225,000
5. Elton Tang, $155,000
6. Tom Hall, $115,000

In the battle for the Caesars Cup, Team Europe emerged victorious for the second time in the Cup’s history after battling through Team Asia/Pacific and the defending champion Team Americas.

It wasn’t an easy road for Team Europe, however. They would take the first “alternate player” (two players alternating play on each street) match with Team Asia/Pacific, but Team Asia/Pacific fought back to win the “shared stack” (two players playing with the same stack) match. With things tied at 1-1, Team Europe sent Dominik Nitsche against Jeffrey Lisandro in a winner take all heads up match.

Lisandro would move out to a nice lead in the early action, but Nitsche fought back with a double up to reverse the stacks. When Nitsche was able to catch a runner-runner flush against an all-in Lisandro, it was Team Europe on to the next round to battle for the Cup.

The Team Europe/Team Americas match went much the same way as the previous fight. Team Europe would take the alternate player match, but Team Americas captain Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth would come back to take the shared stack match over Team Europe’s Marvin Rettenmaier and Philipp Gruissem. The final heads up battle would pit Team Europe’s Sam Holden against Team Americas’ Greg Merson.

Merson was able to work out to a dominating lead in the heads up fight, but it would disappear quickly. Merson doubled up Holden when Holden’s A-7 caught an unnecessary Ace on the flop against Merson’s Q-9. The next hand, Holden earned another double up with an A-5 against Merson’s A-2 to give Team Europe the lead. After a few more hands, Holden was able to defeat Merson to send the Caesars Cup back to Europe…at least until the next time it is up for grabs.

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