11.20pm: Dong on song to go back-to-back
Two tables of nine players will return to the Oasis Room at The Star tomorrow with all eyes on the $270,000 first prize in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event. It took almost 10 hours of play to reduce the 121 day two participants down to the final 18, with Andy Lee (who won the $660 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha title earlier in the week) in the box seat with 670,000.
Last year’s champion Jonathan Karamalikis (pictured above) is still in the hunt for a remarkable back-to-back victory but faces stern opposition from big stacks Matviy Bilenky, reigning ANZPT Sydney champion Michael Kanaan and Peter Skouteris while Tom Rafferty is chasing an astounding third final table after finishing ninth in this event in 2008 and third last year. Play resumes at 12.30pm tomorrow in the Oasis Room here at The Star.
Star Poker Summer Series Event 8: $5000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (164 players; 18 players paid; total prizepool $1 million) day 3 chip count
Andy Lee 670,000
Matviy Bilenky 567,000
Michael Kanaan 474,000
Peter Skouteris 457,000
Jay Malig 389,500
Toby Ryall 374,500
Jonathan Karamalikis 369,500
Mark Wright 332,000
Nick Polias 243,000
George Karageorge 215,000
Dien Nguyen 156,500
Tom Rafferty 150,000
Antonis Kambouroglou 143,500
Michael O’Grady 127,500
Ali Khalil 100,000
Lawford Edwards 60,500
Matt Rolfe 84,500
Joseph Alvaro TBA
11.05pm: Leonard bubbles, top 18 decided
The 18 in-the-money finishers have been decided in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event after a horror five minutes for Steve Leonard. After doubling through Michael O’Grady with aces against K-10, Leonard ran queens into the aces of Jay Malig and then committed his short stack with K-9. Andy Lee called and watched his A-7 improve to a full-house on the board of 7-2-A-7-x.
The remaining 18 players in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event will return at 12.30pm tomorrow in pursuit of the $270,000 first prize having already been guaranteed $13,500.
10.50pm: Bustany busted, and we’re on the bubble
We’re on the bubble in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event after the elimination of Alan Bustany in 20th place. However, there was also plenty of drama at an adjacent table after Peter Skouteris (pictured below) called the all-in of Toby Ryall on a board showing 7h-4s-5s-10s-Kc. Skouteris slammed down 6s-7s for a flush against the pocket threes of Ryall to haul in a pot of almost 400,000.
10.40pm: Two down, two to go
Ali Ghezelbash was confirmed in 21st after the pocket queens of Peter Skouteris prevailed over his pocket sevens. Tony Hachem also found himself on the wrong end of pocket sevens after he shoved pre-flop and Nick Polias made the call, showing A-6. The board ran out A-Q-4-Q-5 leaving Hachem, who’d scratched for cards and chips all day, out in 20th position.
10.15pm: Ginnane silenced
Two more departures leave 22 players battling for one of 18 spots in the money. Mladen Avramovski bowed out in 23rd after his Q-J stayed dominated by the A-Q of Toby Ryall. That hand came moments after the final celebrity competitor, Dan Ginnane (pictured below) was KOed when the A-10 of Jonathan Karamalikis improved to top-pair on the flop against the K-J of the Triple M announcer. There is just over 30 minutes to go in level 15 (blinds 2000/4000 with an ante of 400) and the average stack is just under 250,000.
10pm: Boxell bows out just short of the cash
Leo Boxell’s banner year has ended with another deep run in a major tournament but he bowed out just seven spots short of the money in 25th position after just being eliminated from the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event.
The action started with Boxell’s raise to 11,000, Andy Lee made it 26,000 and Boxell called. The flop fell 3d-9c-2h, Lee bet 27,000, Boxell (pictured above) shoved all-in and Lee called, showing pocket jacks. Boxell’s A-9 needed help, but none was forthcoming as he calmly collected Wally the wombat and made his way over his ever-present companion on the rail, wife Bev.
9.45pm: Rossiter’s run halted
The Star Poker Summer Series Main Event field has now been condensed into just three tables after the departures of Jeff Rossiter and Graeme Putt. Rossiter, who has enjoyed a rich vein of form in recent weeks with victory in the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series and third in the APPT Macau Main Event, bowed out 28th after running his pocket kings into the pocket aces of massive chip leader Matviy Bilenky. The short stack of Graeme Putt (pictured below) also ran into pocket aces and the popular veteran is off to find a decent glass of red after finishing 29th, 11 short of the money.
9.30pm: 27 players remain
Approximate chip counts midway through level 14:
Matviy Bilenky 610,000
Michael Kanaan 420,000
Michael O’Grady 300,000
George Karrageorge 255,000
Toby Ryall 245,000
Andy Lee 225,000
Steve Leonard 225,000
Mark Wright 220,000
Jonathan Karamalikis 215,000
Tom Rafferty 215,000
Alan Bustany 200,000
Jay Malig 195,000
Dien Nguyen 190,000
Leo Boxell 170,000
Kiavish Sciar 150,000
Mladen Avramovski 145,000
Nick Polias 140,000
Ali Ghezelbash 135,000
Antonis Kambouroglou 125,000
Tim Eduard 110,000
Tony Hachem 90,000
Peter Skouteris 85,000
Matt Rolfe 65,000
Dan Ginnane 65,000
Lawford Edward 50,000
Ali Khalil 40,000
Graeme Putt 25,000
8.30pm: An even dozen short of the money
The main Star Poker room may be filled to capacity for a big night of cash game action, but the number of players in the Oasis Room is steadily declining with just 30 players remaining after the first level (13th overall) of the evening session on day two of the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event.
Those to have fallen agonisingly short of the money have included Benn Robinson (actually eliminated just before the dinner break), West Tigers skipper Robbie Farah, Ben Delaney (pictured above, peace bro), Australian Poker Hall of Famer Mel Judah and Daniel Laidlaw. Blinds are at 1500/3000 (ante 300) with the average stack at 164,000.
7.45pm: The place to be
Players have just returned after the dinner break to resume the chase for a spot in the top 18 this guaranteeing a cash in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event. Chip leader is Michael Kanaan in 420,000, with Dien Nguyen continuing his strong run in second spot (330,000).
The remaining 42 players are now all seated in the Oasis Room overlooking the main casino floor. It’s Christmas party season and, combined with the regular Friday night frolickers and the band tearing it up in the nearby Rock Lily bar, The Star is heaving tonight.
6.45pm: Nguyen is the man to catch
The decision has been made to play four more levels after the dinner break, or if we reach the money (18 players). With 30 minutes to play in the sixth level of day two (1000/2000, ante 200) and the dinner break to follow after this level, here are some selected chip counts:
Dien Nguyen 310,000
Michael Kanaan 275,000
Tim Eduard 230,000
Tom Rafferty 220,000
Michael O’Grady 220,000
Matviy Bilenky 215,000
Toby Ryall 200,000
Daniel Laidlaw 135,000
Steve Leonard 125,000
Benn Robinson 120,000
Jonathan Karamalikis 120,000
Antonis Kambouroglou 115,000
Leo Boxell 100,000
Justin Layden 100,000
Ali Khalil 90,000
Peter Skounderis 80,000
Robbie Farah 80,000
Lawford Edward 70,000
Tony Hachem 60,000
Ben Delaney 57,000
Jeff Rossiter 50,000
Mel Judah 47,500
Graeme Putt 40,000
6.30pm: Lights out as Hachem sends Sarne to the rail
The remaining 54 players in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event are now spread across just six tables – two in the main Star Poker room and four in the nearby Oasis Room, the venue for the final table.
One player who’s stayed under the radar today is Ali Ghezelbash. The prolific Star Poker tournament player, already with one cash in this Series, just sent Isaac Lau to the rail after his A-K improved to trips. Ghezelbash has Lau covered down to the last chip and is up to 140,000.
We’ve also just witnessed the departure of Sarne Lightman at the hands of Tony Hachem. Lightman, who’d rarely held more than 20,000 all day, made his last stand with A-Q with Hachem (A-J) making the call. The flop fell 7-7-10 but a J on the turn sealed the deal for Hachem.
5.30pm: Gorr joins list of eliminations
The rate of eliminations has been steady all day but several players have hit the felt early in the fifth level of the day (11th overall) to leave 62 players in the hunt for one of 18 spots in the money. Recent departures have included 2011 Aussie Millions champion David Gorr, Andrew Scarf, Sheldon Mayer, Jesse McKenzie, Julian Powell, Sean Dunwoodie and Sam Khouiss (pictured below).
Isaac Lau’s stack has also taken a beating – he was just put to a decision for his tournament life when Antonis “Toothpick Tony” Kambouroglou shoved all-in for 50,000 with 60,000 in the pot and the board showing Js-3s-Ad-Kd-10s. The clock ticked down on the frustrated Lau before he made a reluctant fold.
4.30pm: Khalil killin’ it
We’re coming up to the second break of the day, four levels into day two of the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event. So far today, 49 of the 121 starters have been eliminated with the average stack heading towards 70,000.
Among the big movers in the past hour was Ali Khalil (pictured below), who told us he’d gone from mid-40,000s to almost 150,000 while only going to showdown once. Triple M’s Dan Ginnane has also survived another session after cracking the pocket aces of Joey Lawrence with pocket 10s after another 10 fell on the turn!
Also credit to Sarne Lightman, having nursed barely 7000 in chips at the start of the day all the way to the fifth session of day two. Likewise, Michael O’Grady started with less than 10,000 but is now back to the chip average as he aims to emulate his final table appearances of the 2010 ANZPT Sydney Main Event and 2011 Sydney Champs Main Event.
3.30pm: Day to forget for Star Poker duo
Tim Eduard and Dien Nguyen hold the only two stacks of more than 200,000 as we tick into the fourth level on day two of the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event. Eduard is on 220,000 while Nguyen, who started the day fourth overall, is up to 205,000.
But it’s been a brutally tough day for the two Star Poker ambassadors, with Grant Levy just hitting the rail. It just never happened for Levy today – he lost a big pot early when his set of queens ran into a flush, and the end came when an opponent’s A-10 found a 10 against Levy’s A-K.
Aaron Benton’s day went from bad to OK to worse – he lost a massive pot to Robbie Farah that left him with just 1300, built that back to 26,000 before racing Nguyen’s A-K with pocket nines, only for a K to land on the river.
2.45pm: Lau showing ’em how
Isaac Lau (pictured below) appears to be our new chip leader on 190,000 – amazingly, he just lost a pot worth 90,000 and had been holding almost 240,000! Other big stacks belong to Tom Rafferty (175,000), Daniel Laidlaw (140,000) and Jonathan Karamalikis (120,000), while Daniel Neilson and Tolly Sakellariou (who rode his luck once too often) have joined the 20 or so players eliminated so far today. An even 100 players remain seated, with the average stack approximately 50,000.
2.30pm: Leonard on the move
We’re at the halfway point of the second level (level 8) on day two of the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event with stories of contrasting fortunes flowing thick and fast. Steve Leonard has bolted up the count after taking down a pot worth 60,000 against Nir Peer and acquiring a slab of chips from Grant Levy. On a board showing 9-6-2-A-3 rainbow, Peer bet 14,000 before Leonard shoved all-in. Peer flashed an A but folded. Meanwhile Peter Skouteris is on struggle street after Justin Layden’s A-K found another A on the flop against pocket kings.
2.15pm: Farah flushed with success
Experienced poker players are always wary when celebs take their seats in major events, as they’re unsure as to how much poker they’ve actually played.
Julian Powell just learned that lesson the hard way when he lost two-thirds of his stack to NRL star Robbie Farah. Powell bet every street in an effort to bolster the pot with his flush only to find Farah holding the stone cold nuts. Farah is up to 45,000 after that hand, while Powell dropped to under 20,000.
Meanwhile Wallabies prop Benn Robinson is cruising along nicely during the early stages of day two with 73,000 in chips, despite the presence of big stack Daniel Laidlaw to his immediate right.
2pm: ‘Let’s go to the videotape’
One of the unique features of the Star Poker room is the use of a shoe from which to deal the cards. In four years of covering tournaments here, we’ve rarely seen an errors but an unfortunate slip just brought the tournament to stop.
It happened at a pivotal moment in a hand between Dylan Honeyman and Jonathan Karamalikis with 30,000 in the pot and the board showing Ac-10-6d-2c. Two cards slipped out of the shoe and the dealer was unsure which was the burn and which was the river.
Tournament staff quickly halted proceeding to check surveillance, but it took only a couple of minutes until action resumed. It was also somewhat anti-climactic, as a bet on the river 7s was enough for Karamalikis to haul in the pot.
1.15pm: Jolly comeback for Tolly
The start of day two in any major tournament is normally an endless chorus of “all-in” and “call”, but not so here in the Star Poker Room where it’s been an unusually sedate beginning. Only eight players have been KOed in the first 40 minutes of play, including outright day one short stack Joel Dodds and Liam Moffett.
The big story so far has been the remarkable recovery of Tolly Sakellariou (pictured above). He started the day on just over 26,000 but he was smashed down to just 300 after losing a big pot in the opening minutes. Since then, he’s tripled-up three times – including this bottler against Matthew Pearson.
It was Tolly’s Q-J against Pearson’s pocket kings with the flop of A-3-10 opening up the possibility of a straight. Sure enough, the K landed on the river to send Tolly’s stack almost back to where he started. We think he’s just headed out of the room to buy a Lotto ticket.
12.45: In the starter’s hands … and they’re racing!
Play has just commenced in the Star Poker Room, with blinds at 300/600 and an ante of 50 (level 7). The top five chip counts belong to Tom Rafferty (137,900), Daniel Laidlaw (127,050), Isaac Lau (112,000), Dien Nguyen (109,200) and Alan Bustany (85,800). The schedule available for today’s play is:
Level 7: 300/600 (ante 50)
Level 8: 400/800 (ante 75)
Level 9: 500/1000 (ante 100)
Level 10: 600/1200 (ante 100)
Level 11: 800 /600 (ante 200)
Level 12: 1000/2000 (ante 200)
Level 13: 1200/2400 (ante 300)
Level 14: 1500/3000 (ante 300)
Level 15: 2000/4000 (ante 400)
Level 16: 3000/6000 (ante 500)
Level 17: 4000/8000 (ante 500)
Level 18: 5000/10000 (ante 1000)
Level 19: 6000/12,000 (ante 1000)
Level 20: 8000/16,000 (ante 2000)
Level 21: 10,000/20,000 (ante 2000)
Level 22: 12,000/24,000 (ante 3000)
Level 23: 15,000/30,000 (ante 3000)
Level 24: 20,000/40,000 (ante 4000)
Level 25: 30,000/60,000 (ante 5000)
Level 26: 40,000/80,000 (ante 5000)
Level 27: 50,000/100,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 28: 60,000/120,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 29: 80,000/160,000 (ante 10,000)
Level 30: 100,000/200,000 (ante 20,000)
12.30pm: Welcome to day 2 of the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event
Welcome to PokerMedia Australia’s coverage of day two in the $5000 buy-in Star Poker Summer Series Main Event, live from The Star in Sydney. Today’s coverage is proudly provided with thanks to Cherry, the new luxe cocktail bar with stunning harbour views at The Star.
Set to become one of Sydney’s most elegant nightspots complete with plush interiors and a sophisticated drinks menu, Cherry also offers a weekly DJ line-up to provide the soundtrack for that after-work drink, post dinner nightcap or a kick-start to the night of all nights.
Cherry offers an imaginative drinks menu of which you could only dream. Be the first to try the Harbour Breeze, a concoction of Belvedere Pure vodka and Aperol shaken with fresh pink grapefruit and pineapple chunks and pineapple juice finished with a port float. All cocktails are made with flair, skill and fun, using the finest ingredients and impeccably presented.
Cherry is also the place to be on New Year’s Eve with DJ duo Flight Facilities supported by James Curd, Graz and Christian Ralston. Tickets are $80, and include a glass of champagne at midnight. Cherry is normally open Sunday-Thursday (11am – 1am) and Friday-Saturday (11am-4am).