2011 Star Poker Summer Series – $5000 Summer Series Main Event / Day 3 / Final Table

8.30pm: Andy Lee wins the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event

Theoretically, the heads-up battle for the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event championship could have taken hours. Blinds were only at level 22 (12,000/24,000 and an ante of 3000) and the combatants hadn’t made a deal but it took less than 10 minutes for Andy Lee to claim his maiden major title and second win for the week.

After winning just over $10,000 for his victory in last week’s Star Poker Summer Series $660 Pot Limit Omaha event, Lee added a much healthier $270,000 to his bankroll after taking out the Main Event. After a brief rally to close within 200,000 of Lee, Tom Rafferty stunned the rail with an all-in pre-flop shove for almost 1.8 million. Andy Lee didn’t need much coaxing and called.

Rafferty showed pocket nines and found himself in a race against the A-Q of Lee. But that race quickly became a handicap after the flop of Q-Q-3, with the turn 5 and river 6 bringing the tournament to an abrupt halt.

The 26-year-old Lee is originally from Malaysia and has lived in Sydney for seven years where he is studying for a Masters in finance. He’s been playing poker for five years – mainly cash games. However, he’s looking forward to flexing his now-healthy bankroll in more big tournaments, starting at next month’s Aussie Millions.

Runner-up Tom Rafferty completed a remarkable run after finishing ninth in this very event three years ago before placing third behind Jonathan Karamalikis last year. He takes home $170,000 and is already planning his climb to the top spot on the podium next year.

That brings to an end our coverage of the Star Poker Summer Series at The Star. We’d like to congratulate the entire Star Poker team for their efforts over the past week and a half, and thank all the staff for their hospitality and assistance in bringing this coverage to you.

This also marks the end of our live reporting duties for 2011, so on behalf of Stephen Doig, I’d like to wish everyone health and happiness for holiday season. See you in 2012!

Star Poker Summer Series Event 8: $5000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (164 players; 18 players paid; total prizepool $1 million) results

1 Andy Lee $270,000
2 Tom Rafferty $170,000
3 Matviy Bilenky $100,000
4 Peter Skouteris $80,000
5 Michael Kanaan $67,500
6 Mark Wright $55,000
7 Jonathan Karamalikis $45,000
8 Jay Malig $35,000
9 Dien Nguyen $27,500
10 Nick Polias $20,000
11 Toby Ryall $20,000
12 Michael O’Grady $20,000
13 George Karageorge $16,500
14 Joseph Alvaro $16,500
15 Matt Rolfe $16,500
16 Ali Khalil $13,500
17 Antonis Kambouroglou $13,500
18 Lawford Edwards $13,500

8pm: Matviy Bilenky eliminated in third place ($100,000)

It’s Andy Lee versus Tom Rafferty for the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event title after the elimination of Matviy Bilenky in third place for $100,000. Bilenky’s money went in on the turn with the board showing 4c-Js-9s-2d. Andy Lee called and showed A-K, while Bilenky’s 10-8 represented an open-ended straight draw.

The 6c was close, but no cigar and Bilenky, chip leader at numerous points of the tournament was off to collect the biggest payout of his tournament career. The head-up battle (the championship trophy is pictured above) starts with Andy Lee on 3.1 million and Tom Rafferty on 1.8 million.

7.45pm: Peter Skouteris eliminated in fourth place ($80,000)

We’re down to three in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event after the departure of Peter Skouteris in fourth spot. He looked in reasonable shape after shoving in response to the flop of 3-4-7 but Tom Rafferty drove a dagger through his heart by calling and turning over K-7. The turn 6 and river 6 were no help to Skouteris but his pain is being eased by a career-high payout of $80,000.

7.30pm: Current chip counts

Andy Lee 2,300,000
Matviy Bilenky 990,000
Tom Rafferty 865,000
Peter Skouteris 690,000

7.15pm: Michael Kanaan eliminated in fifth place ($67,500)

Just when it seemed Michael Kanaan might mount a challenge against Andy Lee, he’s been sent to the canvas by a devastating one-two combo leaving him the fifth-place finisher.

Peter Skouteris was all-in pre-flop, Kanaan called and it was off to the races – A-Q for Skouteris and pocket nines for Kanaan. The flop of 2-7-Q was enough for Skouteris to scoop a pot of almost one million while Kanaan slumped to less than 300,000.

Kanaan was all-in just a few hands later but found his Ac-6c dominated by Tom Rafferty’s As-10c. With the board running out 9c-Ks-8d-3h-4c, Rafferty’s 10c played and Kanaan headed for the rail in fifth.

6.45pm: Kanaan puts dent in Lee’s stack

The 2011 ANZPT Sydney Main Event champion Michael Kanaan (pictured below) just acquired a couple of piles of Andy Lee’s yellow 5000 chips after pushing the chip leader off a big pot. With the board showing 4s-Kc-8d-10c-10h, he announced all-in but Lee quickly mucked, sending the pot of 450,000 to Kanaan.

Shortly after, Peter Skouteris shoved pre-flop for 290,000 with Ks-9d and received a call from Tom Rafferty. He showed Ad-Js, which connected the flop of Jd-2c-5h but Skourteris landed a crucial K on the turn to score a timely double-up.

6.30pm: Big names check out the action

Players have just returned from a 10-minute break with blinds up to level 21 (10,000/20,000 with an ante of 2000). We’ve had plenty of well known faces pop in throughout the afternoon including the reigning Aussie Millions champ David Gorr, two-time ANZPT Player of the Year and Australian Poker Hall of Fame foundation inductee Mel Judah. Each marveled at the stack in front of our chip leader Andy Lee, who has a 2:1 margin over his nearest challenger Matviy Bilenky.

6pm: Mark Wright eliminated in sixth ($55,000)

Mark Wright has recently moved to Australia from the UK, and the move has already paid handsome dividends after he finished sixth in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event for $55,000.

With some handy poker experience behind him but mostly unknown to the locals, Wright has stayed under the radar for much of the tournament and found himself deep in the money.

The end came for Wright after he committed the last of his chips with Ac-Qs only to run into Andy Lee, who had once again found pocket aces. The nine-high board never put Wright in the hunt, extending Lee’s already huge chip lead even further.

Approximate chip counts

Andy Lee 1,950,000
Matviy Bilenky 950,000
Michael Kanaan 906,000
Tom Rafferty 730,000
Peter Skouteris 290,000

5.30pm: Jonathan Karamalikis eliminated in seventh ($45,000)

The hopes of back-to-back victories for Jonathan Karamalikis have ended in seventh place. He shoved all-in with pocket sixes, Michael Kanaan called and Tom Rafferty reluctantly mucked his A-Q. Kanaan showed A-10 and was behind on the board of 9s-8c-8s-5c until the 10c landed on the river.

Most would be more than happy to depart with $45,000 but Australia’s former number one online tournament player and winner of this event last year sets his goals very high. Regardless, he should be proud of his back-to-back final tables in a major Aussie tournament like the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event.

5pm: Jay Malig eliminated in eighth ($35,000)

Sydney advertising account manager Jay Malig will enjoy Christmas this year after placing eighth in his first ever major poker tournament. Malig has just departed the Oasis Room after his A-K ran into the pocket kings of runaway chip leader Andy Lee. The board of 6-J-4-5-2 brought no Joy and Malig leaves with $35,000.

4.45pm: Dien Nguyen eliminated in ninth ($27,500)

The short stack doubled with pocket eights against the A-J of Mark Wright but Dien Nguyen’s chips were soon back in the middle after he called the 225,000 bet of Matviy Bilenky with the board showing J-J-9. Nguyen turned over pocket 10s but trailled Bilenky’s pocket queens. The turn 6 and river K brought no joy, and Nguyen (pictured below) was headed for the cage to pick his $27,500.

4.15pm: Green light given for final table

The cards are in the air at the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event, with Andy Lee holding a significant chip lead (1.3 million) over Matviy Bilenky and Tom Rafferty. Dien Nguyen starts as the outright short stack. There are just a few minutes left at level 18 before the blinds climb to 6000/12,000 (ante 1000).

Final table seat draw

Seat 1: Peter Skouteris 505,000
Seat 2: Michael Kanaan 561,000
Seat 3: Jay Malig 346,000
Seat 4: Tom Rafferty 604,000
Seat 5: Jonathan Karamalikis 315,000
Seat 6: Dien Nguyen 125,000
Seat 7: Matviy Bilenky 708,000
Seat 8: Mark Wright 441,000
Seat 9: Andy Lee 1,291,000

4pm: Final table sorted … just like that!

After a sleep couple of hours, four eliminations in as many minutes have quickly reduced the Star Poker Summer Main Event field to a final table of nine! George Karageorge departed in 13th after he shoved on a queen-high flop with K-Q only to find Andy Lee again in possession of pocket aces. Karageorge takes home a tasty $16,500. Andy Lee’s resurgence continued when his Ah-Qs held up against Ac-Jd on a 10-high board to send Toby Ryall out in 12th.

On the other table, Michael O’Grady (pictured above) was finally felted when he committed his last 120,000 with A-J on a 4-A-9 flop only to find Tom Rafferty poised with A-K. The board ran out 6 2 and O’Grady was confirmed in 11th spot. One hand later, Nick Polias was all-in with Q-7 against the pocket jacks of Mark Wright and that was all she wrote as the board flowed 6-K-5-9-7. The final nine players are taking a 30-minute break before play resumes at 4.15pm local time.

Payouts 9-16

10 Nick Polias $20,000
11 Toby Ryall $20,000
12 Michael O’Grady $20,000
13 George Karageorge $16,500
14 Joseph Alvaro $16,500
15 Matt Rolfe $16,500
16 Ali Khalil $13,500
17 Antonis Kambouroglou $13,500
18 Lawford Edwards $13,500

3.30pm: Some Malig magic

Jay Malig (pictured below) is arguably the most inexperienced player among the last 13, but his considered play combined with the odd slice of luck has helped steer him deep into the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event.

On a board showing J-2-A-A, Michael O’Grady bet the minimum of 10,000 with Malig and Dien Nguyen going along for the ride. Malig bet 50,000 on the river 7, with his opponents quickly mucking. Malig cheekily turned over pocket aces for quads – nice hand sir!

3.15pm: Lucky they deliver!

Still not much action in the Oasis Room so we elected to squeeze in one of the magnificent pizzas available on the bar menu for players here at Star Poker. We’d just polished off the last crust when Jonathan Karamalikis and Andy Lee went to war – Ks-Qd for Karamalikis and Ah-Jh for Lee. The board fell Jc-3h-7c-4h-Kh to make Lee’s flush and build his stack back to 750,000. Michael O’Grady is now in custody of the outright short stack, which he just doubled through Nick Polias but 150,000 won’t go far with the blinds at 5000/10,000 and an ante of 1000.

2.45pm: Horses for courses

Star Poker tournaments have been a happy hunting ground for several of the players still in contention for the Summer Series Main Event crown. Heading the list is Jonathan Karamalikis, who is chasing as slice of Aussie poker history.

The South Australian young gun won back-to-back ANZPT Sydney High Roller titles in 2010 and 2011, and is now aiming to win successive December championships after claiming the APPT Sydney Main Event crown and the $459,510 first prize last year (pictured below).

Michael Kanaan cashed for almost $200,000 after winning the ANZPT Main Event here in April, Michael O’Grady has both ANZPT Sydney and Sydney Champs Main Event final table appearances to his name, Nick Polias placed seventh in the recent Sydney Champs Main Event while Tom Rafferty is chasing a third final table spot in this event in five years. Something in the water?

2.30pm: … and then there were 13

It was short stack versus short stack when the A-3 of Joseph Alvaro (pictured below) ran into the pocket queens of George Karageorge, with the board of J-9-5-3-6 shipping the chips to Karageorge while Alvaro was off to collect his $16,500 for 14th.

2.10pm: Latest chips counts

Matviy Bilenky and Andy Lee are nose and nose for the chip lead midway through the second level of day three in the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event. Both hold approximately 800,000, almost twice the next closest players.

Matviy Bilenky (pictured above) 800,000
Andy Lee 800,000
Peter Skouteris 410,000
Toby Ryall 410,000
Mark Wright 400,000
Michael Kanaan 370,000
Tom Rafferty 360,000
Jonathan Karamalikis 310,000
Jay Malig 280,000
Dien Nguyen 280,000
Nick Polias 230,000
Michael O’Grady 210,000
Joseph Alvaro 160,000
George Karageorge 115,000

2pm: Super Sunday Sydney Special returns tomorrow

No significant action to report with the 14 players spread across two tables of seven happy to swap some small pots. Joseph Alvaro has been the most active player, with his short stack all-in on a couple of occasions but he’s had no takers so far.

We’re happy to report that Stephen Ibrahim and the team at Star Poker have taken the decision to add another $1100 buy-in Super Sunday Sydney Special No Limit Hold’em tournament tomorrow, starting at 2.30pm. The start bank is 10,000 with 40-minute blinds. Last week’s event attracted 108 runners, so there’s excellent value for locals and interstate visitors still in town.

1.45pm: Winner may be decided this evening

The 14 remaining players have just returned from a 10-minute break with blinds now up to level 17 (4000/8000 with an ante of 500). No decision has been made as yet whether to play through to the final table or decide the champion tonight. We’ll let you know as soon as we know!

1.15pm: AK’s A-K aced by Karamalikis

Another two swift eliminations have quickly reduced the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event field to 14 players with less than 40 minutes played so far today. Stoked last night to avoid the bubble, Ali Khalil’s (pictured below) moment in the sun didn’t last too long as he duly shipped his remaining chips to Jonathan Karamalikis after his A-K ran into the pocket aces of the defending champ. A few hands later, Andy Lee’s weapon of choice was also rockets as he sent Matt Rolfe (A-Q) to the rail in 15th place. Lee’s chip lead has been extended with his stack now north of 750,000.

1pm: Kambouroglou tooth picked

Two scalps have quickly been claimed in the opening minutes of play, with the first involving a race between the short stacked Lawford Edwards (pocket 10s) and Peter Skouteris (A-Q). Skouteris continued the ripping form he displayed late yesterday, finding an A on the flop to dispatch Edwards (pictured below) in 18th spot.

Cult hero Antonis “Toothpick Tony” Kambouroglou would follow soon after in 17th position. He was first crippled when he waltzed A-J into the pocket kings of Tom Rafferty, then exited the room after Jay Malig’s A-K improved to top-pair against the J-8 of Kambouroglou on a board that ran out J-A-6-10-5.

The schedule available for today’s play is:

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)


1 $270,000
2 $170,000
3 $100,000
4 $80,000
5 $67,500
6 $55,000
7 $45,000
8 $35,000
9 $27,500
10 $20,000
11 $20,000
12 $20,000
13 $16,500
14 $16,500
15 $16,500
16 $13,500
17 $13,500
18 $13,500

12.45pm: Bunny on the move … green light … racing!

Play has just commenced on day three of the Star Poker Summer Series Main Event in the Oasis Room overlooking the stunning new casino floor here at The Star in Sydney. The atmosphere is somewhat more laid back than last night’s thrilling end to play in which scores of railbirds packed around the tables to watch the bubble burst and the top finishers decided.

Star Poker Summer Series Event 8: $5000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event (164 players; 18 players paid; total prizepool $1 million) start of day 3 chip count

Andy Lee (pictured above) 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

Day 3 seat allocation

Table 1

Seat 1: Nick Polias 243,000
Seat 2: Toby Ryall 374,500
Seat 3: Lawford Edwards 60,500
Seat 4: Mark Wright 332,000
Seat 5: Peter Skouteris 457,000
Seat 6: Tom Rafferty 150,000
Seat 7: Dien Nguyen 156,500
Seat 8: Antonis Kambouroglou 143,500
Seat 9: Jay Malig 389,500

Table 2

Seat 1: Michael Kanaan 474,000
Seat 2: Andy Lee 670,000
Seat 3: Joseph Alvaro
Seat 4: Matt Rolfe 84,500
Seat 5: Matviy Bilenky 567,000
Seat 6: Michael O’Grady 127,500
Seat 7: Ali Khalil 100,000
Seat 8: George Karageorge 215,000
Seat 9: Jonathan Karamalikis 369,500

12.30pm: Welcome to day 3 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 BLACK by ezard, which brings you a contemporary Australian grill, with a stylish wine bar set against a million-dollar view. Chef Teage Ezard, renowned for his bold and boundary-breaking cuisine at Melbourne’s ezard (which has been awarded Two Hats by The Age Good Food Guide), has finally made his way up to Sydney.

“I’ve wanted to establish a steak restaurant in Sydney for a while. The best casinos in the world all have a great steak restaurant, so it was fitting to create mine within the Star complex,” Ezard said.

Ezard had this in mind when selecting Black’s executive chef Michael Tripp. Prior to taking up the position in Sydney the Las Vegan specialised in French and Continental Fine Dining at Michelin star rated restaurants Joel Robuchon, Mix, Lutece, Pinot Brasserie, and Aria Hotel.

His international experience and classical training made him the perfect fit for the job, Ezard said. “My chefs are really an extension of me. We have to be on the same page for it to work in the kitchen.”

Ezard wanted his dining room to exude masculinity and he enlisted Paul Kelly Design to give the space some grunt. The result is a sleek and sexy space incorporating dark wood, copper, leather and, of course, a lot of black.

Steak is certainly the hero at Black. To create the perfect steak that is tender, juicy and full of flavour the Black kitchen cooks the meat sous vide (water bath) at a temperature of 54C for an hour. The cut is then wood grilled and served with the choice of 13 sides and eight sauces.

“The sous vide gives it a wonderful perfume,” Ezard said. But you don’t have to be a meat eater to appreciate Black.

There may be 10 cuts of beef alone on the menu, but Ezard does more than nod to other proteins with six fish and seafood main options and an imaginative vegetarian pasta dish. Or pull up a pew at the bar, order one of the 700 wines on offer and watch the harbour from the floor to ceiling windows.

• Black by Ezard is on Level G, Harbourside at The Star and is open for lunch (Fridays 12-3pm) and dinner (Tuesday-Sunday 5.30pm-11pm).

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