2014 New Caledonia Poker Open (NCPO) Day 1b - Live Updates

Massive Day 1b of NCPO in the books

Alex FerrandWhat a day! The second and final chance for players to pony up XPF 110,000 (~AU$1,400) and partake in the New Caledonia Poker Open Main Event has just drawn to a close!

At the start of play we expected somewhere around 80 players to hit the felt, but a massive 125 entrants meant the total field weighed in at a very impressive 250. With the XPF 5 million (~AU$60,000) added, the total prize pool is a large XPF 29 million (~AU$375,000) and you can read all about the payout breakdown a little earlier in our NCPO Live Reporting blog.

For much of the day it looked like Carlos Tehuiotoa was going to be the chip leader as he splashed around and scooped many pots, but at the end of the night he bagged 84,000 and it was Alex Ferrand (pictured) who looked like the chip leader with 105,200.

Fabrice Ho (98,900), Sophie Fluger (90,600), Henry Wang  (83,500) and Katsuhiro Muto (76,800) also finished with big stacks, while Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Billy Argyros (38,800) also survived the night.

Approximately 42 players were busy bagging and tagging at the end of Day 1b and so they will combine with the 37 from Day 1a on Day 2 tomorrow. We will have full confirmation of end-of-day 1b chip counts once they are provided to us, along with the Day 2 seating draw!

Until then, good night from Noumea and be sure to join us for the NCPO Day 2 Live Reporting from 12:30pm on Friday. 

Winners and losers late in the day

Sometimes you can lose chips as quickly as you win them. Lucky for Carlos Tehuiotoa, he has a big enough stack to sustain some substantial losses as we recently watched three pots go in the opposite direction he would have like them to.

It started with a small pot against Billy Argyros. Tehuiotoa called a preflop raise to 2,200 from Argyros and the rest of the table was out of the way as the dealer flipped over a 4 clubs8 spades3 diams flop. Argyros led for 3,600 here and Tehuiotoa called. The turn was a A diams and this time Argyros bet 7,200. Tehuiotoa folded and so began his losing streak.

Tehuiotoa also lost a more substantial pot went he doubled up a player who held Q diamsQ clubs and moved all in preflop for 13,500, with Tehuiotoa holding A spadesK spades. The board ran out 10 spades5 spades3 hearts9 spades2 spades and that was that.

Just a few hands later and Tehuiotoa would lose even more chips, this time to Henry Wang. Tehuiotoa started off the action with a limp from under the gun. The button also limped, Wang limped the small blind and Argyros tapped the table from the big blind. On the 9 diams7 spades9 spades flop, Tehuiotoa bet 3,000 and that got all out of the way except Wang. The 9 hearts turn would see Wang check and Tehuiotoa bet 8,000. At this point Wang went deep into the tank. He looked like he was in pain. Wang ask, “Oh man, are you serious!?”Eventually Wang called and the board completed with a 7 clubs. On the river, Wang gave a big sigh and checked. Tehuiotoa checked behind and showed J clubsJ diams. Wang then turned over 9 clubs6 diams for four nines and enough to win the big pot!

“Bet the river Henry!” said Argyros as Wang stacked his new chips.

“Oh well, you still won plenty,” added Argyros.

With that Wang moved up to around 60,000 in chips, which is similar to the stack of Argyros. Tehuiotoa on the other hand fell to his lowest amount in quite a while, yet still has over 90,000 and enough for the chip lead as we head into the final level of Day 1b!

Prize pool information announced

Registration has been locked out and the prize pool information has been released for the inaugural New Caledonia Poker Open.

We thought we had 124 entrants yesterday, but that has now been confirmed as in fact 125 entrants. That’s been matched exactly today on Day 1b to create a total number of 250 entrants for the XPF 110,000 Main Event – a wonderful achievement.

They have combined to produce a prize pool of XPF 24,000,000 (~ AU$310,000) which was then boosted with an additional XPF 5,000,000 (~ AU$65,000) by tournament organizers just to sweeten the pot even further. That means there is XPF 29,000,000 (~ AU$375,000) to be shared among the top 25 players.

A min-cash is worth XPF 240,000 (~ AU$3,100) while reaching the final table of nine will earn a seven-figure return of XPF 1,015,000. However the top prize that everyone will be gunning for is the XPF 6,000,000 (~ AU$77,000) winner’s cheque along with the title of first-ever New Caledonia Poker Open champion!

1st XPF 6,000,000
2nd XPF 3,625,000
3rd XPF 2,610,000
4th XPF 2,320,000
5th XPF 2,030,000
6th XPF 1,740,000
7th XPF 1,160,000
8th XPF 1,160,000
9th XPF 1,015,000
10th-12th XPF 725,000
13th-15th XPF 580,000
16th-18th XPF 435,000
19th-21st XPF 290,000
22nd-25th XPF 240,000

As we approach the final level of play this evening there are a little over 50 players from today’s flight still in contention for a share of the prize money with Carlos Tehuiotoa a clear chip leader as the only player above 100,000 so far this evening.

Locals leading into dinner

Some of the more prominent players who have made the trek to Noumea for the inaugural New Caledonia Poker Open are still alive and well heading into the dinner break of Day 1b of the Main Event. This includes players like Emanuel Seal, Henry Wang and Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Billy “The Croc” Argyros.

The same cannot be said for Argyros’ fellow Hall of Famer Graeme “KiwiG” Putt though.

Putty recently wandered past the media desk and jokingly told us he was quitting poker. Of course, these sort of antics are usually followed by a story and Putt regaled us with the tale of his elimination.

Putt apparently moved all in preflop for around 12,000 holding J-J and was up against another all in player with A-J and New Caledonian local Fabrice Ho (pictured below), who held A-K. The board ran out with an ace, but also four diamonds which gave Putt a flush as held the jack of diamonds. However, Ho had the king of diamonds and sent two players home to move up to around 75,000.

Fabrice Ho

Ho is easily one of the largest stacks as we look to see the eighth level of the day enter the record books. However, it is still Carlos Tehuiotoa  who dominates the Day 1b field as he has seen his stack move over 110,000 in chips.

The aforementioned Aussies Billy Argyros, Emanuel Seal and Henry Wang all have varying stacks, with Argyros (pictured) doing the best on around 50,000, while Wang has 33,000 and Seal isn’t quite as strong on 13,000.

For now, the approximately 55 remaining players of the starting Day 1b field of 125 are heading to the buffet here in the poker room for a feed! We might join them!

Carlos rampaging into seventh level of the day

Going on heaters are an important part of poker. No matter what your skill level is, sometimes everything just goes your way and frankly that’s one of the only ways to truly build a big stack very quickly on Day 1 of a poker tournament.

Enter, Carlos Tehuiotoa.

We first spotted Tehuiotoa (pictured) from across the room. He was up out of his chair and giving out an exited yell and a big fist pump. No doubt the start of his streak of winning hands.

A few minutes later we made our way over to Tehuiotoa’s table and found him involved in a three-way pot, with Tehuiotoa and his two opponents all committing 6,500 each preflop. The J spades2 spadesQ diams flop would see Tehuiotoa immediately jam for just 2,450. Both his opponents called and the cards were tabled. Tehuiotoa held A heartsJ clubs for a pair of jacks, while his two opponents held 8 clubs8 hearts and 10 hearts10 clubs. The 6 diams turn and the 4 hearts river were safe and with that Tehuiotoa was up well over 20,000 in chips.

This was just the beginning though.

A few moments later we arrived to find Tehuiotoa and Jan Suchanek involved in a big pot on a 10 spades2 heartsK clubs flop. Tehuiotoa had jammed for 20,900 here and Suchanek quickly called and tabled 10 clubs10 hearts for a flopped set. Tehuiotoa was going to need some help with Q diamsJ diams as he was at risk with Suchanek having around 5,500 extra behind. The Q clubs turn didn’t change too much for Tehuiotoa, but the A clubs river gave him the straight to move up well above 50,000.

It wasn’t too much later that we wandered past Tehuiotoa’s table to find him with around 70,000 in chips and having the short-stack Jan Suchanek all-in preflop holding A diamsQ hearts against Tehuiotoa’s 3 clubs3 hearts. The board ran out bricks and Suchanek was eliminated, while more chips went to Tehuiotoa!

It doesn’t stop here.

Tehuitoa’s rampage continued when one player opened with a raise, having just over 10,000 behind. Folded around to Tehuiotoa in the big blind and he jammed his big stack all in. The player who opened went into the tank and eventually called off his stack and tabled A heartsK clubs. Tehuitoa triumphantly showed his K diamsK hearts and when the board ran out all low cards, Tehuiotoa gave another loud fist pump as he moved up to a massive 98,000!

Tehuitoa is definitely the chip leader right now considering around 75 players remain heading into the seventh level of the day and the average stack is just 23,000. 

Carlos Tehuitoa

The universal language of poker

One of the challenges of any international poker event is the language barrier. It happens in Europe and you see it in Macau. It’s really hard when the locals understandably want to speak their native tongue but it poses problems when visitors don’t understand what is being said.

It’s common in this region for English to be the accepted language to be spoken at the poker table, and that’s the policy here at the New Caledonia Poker Open. It’s designed to avoid a situation where two players speak in a different language at the table, potentially exchanging information about cards, which may compromise the integrity of the hand. However when such a large proportion of the field are locals who speak French as their first language, it’s a difficult rule to implement.

Tournament Director Mel Judah commented to us that it’s certainly an issue he’s had to battle with this week, as he himself doesn’t speak any French.

Yet sometimes you don’t even need to speak the language to understand what is being said. A recent argument erupted on a table where three players, the dealer and the floor staff were all speaking in French in some rather animated dialogue. It seemed that one player had raised out of turn and a ruling needed to be made. There was plenty of discussion, but that was put to rest when the player in the big blind bombed out a big re-raise forcing folds around the table. The big blind showed J heartsJ diams and raked in the pot.

A room with a view

NCPOPlayers are just returning to their seats after their first break of the day on Day 1b of the New Caledonia Poker Open. Some took the opportunity to head downstairs and outside to stretch their legs, others took advantage of the smoking balcony to fill their lungs with smokey goodness, while many headed over to the bar area to grab themselves a snack or beverage.

In terms of a poker room, the space here at the Grand Casino is one of the most pleasant poker rooms we’ve ever experienced. The dedicated poker area is part of a larger room that includes several casino gaming tables as well as a bar and dining area. There are fifteen poker tables, with a dozen of those in use in the Main Event. The extra three tables are setup on one side where juicy cash games have been running throughout the week. Games spread are two tables of 200/400 (roughly $3/6) NLHE and one table of 500/500 (roughly $7/7) Mixed Games.

The poker area has two things which we love. One should be in every poker room in the world. The other is a little trickier to come by.

Firstly, the poker room has a large drinks fridge that’s full of water bottles for players to enjoy. It’s so simple to provide players with free water, yet there are so many poker rooms in the world that overlook such a basic necessity.

The other thing that we love is that this poker room has windows around one side letting in natural light and a breathtaking view of the ocean. That's not something you get at every casino, that's for sure! There has to be something a little therapeutic about watching kite surfers crash the waves while you are raking in pots at the poker table.

We’ve also been told there’s a large convention centre the next floor up, so if there was ever a need for an even bigger space to accommodate a larger event, then space is not an issue here.

That's good news as our Day 1b field continues to swell. At last count, we're up to 111 entrants today (235 overall) with 93 of them still in contention.

Photos and more galore

If you want to see all the latest photos and all that fun stuff straight from the floor of the poker room here on Day 1b of the New Caledonia Poker Open, and throughout the week, then the best thing to do is follow Poker Asia Pacific on Twitter (@PokerAsiaPac) and to head over and “like” the Poker Asia Pacific Facebook page!

Kamel proud to be on home soil

There aren’t too many familiar faces among the local players, but one who we do recognize is Noumea native Kamel Bekhaled.

We first saw Bekhaled back in 2011 at an ANZPT event on the Gold Coast. Bekhaled stood out as being a rare player from New Caledonia and also because he managed to outlast all but two players as he collected $52,150 for his third place finish.

Today we’re on Bekhaled’s home turf and he was pretty proud of that fact when we said a quick hello before play started.

Now, as we finish the second level of the day, it appears that Bekhaled is putting his experience to good use on his table. He’s involved in a lot of pots and clearly table captain. We caught Bekhaled (pictured below) check-raise to 2,800 over two opponents on a 2 spades3 clubs8 clubs but they offered no resistance as he won the pot.

Kamel Bekhaled

Next hand, Bekhaled would raise to 625 from the cutoff and the button player called to see a flop of 2 heartsQ spades4 spades. Bekhaled check-called for 625 before both players checked the K diams turn. The river was the 10 diams and Bekhaled tossed out 1,550 which was quickly called.

Bekhaled opened J clubs10 hearts for a rivered third pair, which was surprisingly good as his opponent slammed the table and tossed back his cards in disgust.

Behaled is now up over 25,000 and off to a great start on Day 1b.

Another going well is Graeme Putt. He landed a recent double up when all the chips were in on a flop of A hearts6 diams4 diams. Putt held A spadesK diams and was in good shape against an opponent’s A clubsQ spades. The 10 clubs turn and 7 diams river gave Putt the pot.

Silvana Agis“The Kiwi is back!” declared Putt as he doubled to 20,000.

Yesterday saw one of the few ladies in the tournament starting off strong and the same has happened on Day 1b as Silvana Agius (pictured right) has just dealt the fatal blow to fellow lady Veroniqu Chomard. We caught up with the action on the turn of a 6 spades4 spades2 clubsJ hearts board, with a big pot already in the middle and with the action checked to Chomard, who moved all in for a short 3,900. Agius made the call and Chomard was at risk. Chomard tabled her Q spadesJ spades first and then Agius showed her 5 diams3 hearts for a flopped straight! The river was a 2 hearts and just like that Chomard was eliminated, while Agius moved scooped up the pot and moved her stack toward 25,000.

The big screen is showing 106 entrants for today so far, with 99 players remaining.

Huge prize pool up for grabs as Day 1b under way

Day 1b of the New Caledonia Poker Open has just kicked off with another healthy field taking their seats in the Grand Casino for their final shot at the inaugural NPCO championship.

As Tournament Director Mel Judah launched the cards into the air, the screen was already beyond 76 entrants for the day, which means that this event has now cracked the 200-entrant mark. In fact, as we write, we’ve just received word that we now have over 100 entrants already for today!  Factor in late registrations and plenty of anticipated re-entries throughout the day and we’ll probably be pushing a total of 250 entrants for the NCPO Main Event.

That’s an incredible number and beyond the expectations of most of us I would suggest. Throw in the AU$60,000 added value, then we’re looking at a prize pool that will approach AU$400,000. That compares favourably with other major events held in New Zealand, Australia and parts of Asia.

If there was ever any doubt that Noumea could host a major international event, it appears that the numbers have done the talking. Throw in a tropical climate, perfect beaches, adventure activities and stunning blue waters, then Noumea becomes a must-see stop on the local poker calendar.

Congratulations to the NCPO team on their efforts and we hope to see more major events here in future.

Also a big congratulations to the players. After all, they are the ones who have supported this event in such great numbers. Among our Day 1b starters are the likes of George Manolas, Andrew Shanahan, Jan Suchanek, Fabrice Ho, Billy Argyros, Henry Wang, Emanuel Seal, Graeme Putt and Kamel Bekhaled. Some of those are new faces while a few are back to take another shot in the Main Event. With such a huge prize pool up for grabs, who can blame them?


Another big day ahead at the New Caledonia Poker Open

New Caledonia Poker OpenAfter a hugely successful Day 1a yesterday, we're set for another fantastic day inside the Grand Casino for Day 1b of the inaugural New Caledonia Poker Open. There were 124 entrants yesterday, with 37 players surviving the day. We thought that Ben Benoit had bagged up the chip lead, but when official chip counts were released, he was pipped by Jean-Claude Taofifenua who bagged up 124,300.

With over sixty confirmed starters for today, combined with a few expected re-entries, it's highly likely we'll push past the 200-entrants barrier which is a tremendous result for a brand new tournament. Throw in the AU$60,000 added prize money, there's plenty of value to be found in this tournament!

Once again we'll be playing ten 45-minute levels, with a dinner break around 6:30pm. That should see us wrap up a little after 10:00pm this evening.

Stay tuned to Poker Asia Pacific throughout the day as we bring you all the live updates from the floor on Day 1b of the NCPO Main Event.

New Caledonia Poker Open