A small but well-credentialed group of 12 players made up the field for the Aussie Hold’em Poker Summer Poker Championships High Roller Event.
Players included Elvis Earle (winner of the High Roller Event in the 2011 Spring Championships) as well as local high-stakes players Mark Bartrom (pictured left), Bill Delaney, Nick Pogonovski, Trevor Spearing and Jim “Doc” Psarros. Scott Clarke, Linda Wooster, Nick Kalliafas, Gavin Eke, Karel Brstak and Kevin Gordon also paid up their $550 to join the elite field.
With a 30,000 start bank, starting blinds of 25/50 and 30-minute levels the stage was set for a long tournament with plenty of time to make all the right plays. Unfortunately, Kevin Gordon completely misread his opponent (Mark Bartrom) and got his chips in thinking his A-5 was good on a rainbow board of A-Q-7-6-2.
Mark had hit two-pair (Qc-7c) on the flop and followed Kevin’s bets all the way to the river feeling that Kevin was only playing the Ace. After that quick elimination play settled predictably into a rhythm that saw plenty of 4BB raises taking down the blinds.
As the day progressed players fell to some powerful play by Mark Bartrom who, as he later said, “was hitting everything”. By the time the players went to the dinner break at 7.30pm there were only seven players remaining and Mark had more chips than all the other players combined!
After dinner two players (Nick Kalliafas and Bill Delaney) were eliminated quickly and Linda Wooster, who had been card dead for five hours, took down four big hands in a row to put her slightly ahead of two other players. She had a chance to move into outright second place the very next hand when, after play was checked to her, held pocket queens and raised the BB (Jim Psarros) who went all-in.
After a long time she decided to fold only to be shown pocket 10s. She later said, “I had worked hard for the previous four hands to build a good stack and I really felt that Jim was holding a big hand. I decided not to make the call, confident that I could use my stack to get to the end feeling that, when the time was right, I would prefer to be the one who puts the hard decision on another player.”
A short time later, she looked down at pocket jacks and decided to make her move against the chip leader who had shown a few hands that were “less than premium”. Unfortunately for Linda, Mark was holding pocket queens this time and she was out in fifth place.
Nick Pogonovski was KOed in fourth place while Jim Psarros fell victim to Gavin Eke who was nursing a low stack for most of the day. The heads-up match lasted for more than 30 minutes as Gavin Eke made big dents in Mark Bartrom’s huge stack to the point where Mark only had a few thousand chips more than Gavin.
In the final hand, the flop came 9-J-9. Gavin, who was holding J-10, moved all-in and Mark snap-called rolling over Q-J. The board blanked and Mark was crowned High Roller Champion pocketing $4000. Mark added this impressive win to his 2011 Spring Poker Championships Opening Event title.