Star Poker Summer Series Main Event victor Andy Lee
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 – holding 3.1 million and 1.8 million respectively – 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.
Fifth-place finisher Michael Kanaan went very close to claiming two of the three Star main events this year after winning the ANZPT Sydney title back in April.
But the big story heading into the final table was the presence of Jonathan Karamalikis – already a back-to-back ANZPT Sydney High Roller champion and chasing successive December titles at The Star. He fell agonisingly short in seventh spot.
Other notables to cash included Michael O’Grady (12th), last year’s bubble boy Ali Khalil (16th) and Antonis Kambouroglou (17th) while half of Jay Malig’s prize for eighth ($35,000) will go to charity after the advertising account manager subbed for iconic sports commentator Ray Warren in the Main Event.
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