Amazing Assadourian! Eric Is Highest Roller in Macau

Winnar!
Eric Assadourian, winner of the APPT-Macau High Roller Event

Eric Assadourian is the second poker champion in Chinese history. The Sydney, Australia native defeated Swedish pro Bo Sehlstedt in heads-up play on Tuesday evening to take down the PokerStars APPT - Macau $15,000 USD High Roller Event from the Grand Waldo Casino in the People's Republic of China.

The young pro came into the final table third in chips behind fellow Aussie Emad Tahtouh and Hong Kong native David Paul Steicke, but managed to outlast both men as well as FullTiltPoker pro John Juanda and Poker Diva Liz Lieu on his way to the heads-up battle. That contest was a roller-coaster affair that saw Sehlstedt avoid elimination multiple times before finally getting all-in with A 6 to Assadourian's 9 8. The turn brought a nine and the river a straight to end the affair, clinching the title, the trophy and the exclusive PokerListings.com interview for Assadourian (oh, and the $368,640).

Congratulations, Eric. How are you feeling right now?

I'm feeling absolutely fabulous. I'm glad I won, very glad.

Can you take us through the final table?

The importance for me when I started the final table was chip management. I got involved in some hands when I picked up some chips; obviously Emad was losing his chips and as soon as I took the chip lead I never looked back.

You seemed to really step on the gas once it got down to four-handed play.

Eric Assadourian
Man with a plan.

Yeah. Originally when I started the tournament I made the decision that I wasn't going to get aggressive until the final four, and when I got into that position with the chip lead I was feeling really good. I thought I knew where I was with most of the players who were left; I thought I was better and basically I outplayed them [to win] the tournament.

Were you daunted at all coming into a final table with the likes of John Juanda and Liz Lieu and with Emad having such a large chip lead?

Not at all. To be honest with you, I'm someone who likes the challenge, so players like that will just give me more of a drive.

Can you talk about what happened when it got down to heads-up? You started with a massive chip lead but Bo just wouldn't go away.

I started with an enormous chip lead. I thought I outplayed Bo until basically he got left with nothing. When I made him call off all but his last $20,000 I still [didn't] know what he had that couldn't beat my third pair, and I knew I was good when he called.

He seemed to check-call quite a bit.

Heads-Up!
Heads-up!

He did. He's a good player and I have a lot of respect for him; it obviously just didn't go his way. I had too many chips. He got very lucky to get back into the tournament, but I didn't lose concentration and I took the chips back from him.

What was it like winning the tournament in front of the likes of Joe Hachem and Scotty Nguyen?

It felt great. They were obviously all supporting me, especially Joe - he's a good friend of mine. It worked out well.

What does this win mean for you as a poker player?

But they cannot take...our freedom!
The $368,640 paperweight.

To be honest, I've done a lot at home, won a lot of tournaments and had a lot of results at home. I've wanted to get one overseas and it's finally happened for me; I've finally cracked it. It's just on to the future now.

How are you going to celebrate?

I don't know yet! Depends on what the boys want to do. I don't really care; I'm just happy I won.

Awesome. Have fun tonight.

Thanks.

As tournament organizers were putting the wraps on the scene in Macau, PokerStars representatives were staging a photo-op between Melbourne's Joe Hachem and Sydney's Assadourian, billing the upcoming APPT - Sydney Grand Final as a battle between the two countrymen. If Assadourian plays in Sydney anything like the way he played today, the hometown hero just might give the former WSOP World Champion a run for his not-insubstantial money.

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