2012 ANZPT Sydney – $1100 PokerMedia Australia NLHE Special / Day 1

Honglin Jiang leads field into PMA $1k Special final table

It’s been a long, colourful and eventful day here at The Star for the running of Event 3 of this year’s ANZPT Sydney – the inaugural PokerMedia Australia $1k Special. An impressive field of 98 starters rocked up to take their seats shortly after midday and 12 hours later we have finally narrowed the field to the 10 that have reached the money and will return at 4pm on Monday for the final table.

Leading the way is Honglin Jiang (pictured above) who went on a late tear to stack up 283,500 after busting three of the final 10 players to fall. Jiang boasts a strong record at The Star, having won the 6-handed event at the 2010 Sydney Championships for $19,600 and finishing third in the Main Event just a few days later for $48,461. He will be hoping to add another trophy to the cabinet.

Following closely behind is well-known pro Haibo Chu. Best known for his feats on the virtual felt, Chu showed resilience throughout the day and shrugged off the loss of a huge pot towards the end of play to win it all back from the same player, James Tai, on the last hand of the day and sit behind 263,000.

The final table seating chip counts are:

Honglin Jiang 283,500
Haibo Chu 263,500
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson 214,500
John Shin 140,000
James Tai 134,000
Zac Boustani 133,500
Michael Tran 93,500
Jim Pizanias 87,500
Chris Lee 64,500
Jackson Zheng 58,000

There were plenty of notables in today’s field including Jason Gray, Grant Levy, Daniel Neilson, Tony Hachem, Tom Rafferty, Martin Rowe, Graeme Putt, Peter Aristidou and Martin Kozlov but although a few of them ran deep, none could hang on long enough to reach the final table.

Those that did, however, will all have the $29,400 first prize firmly in their sights – not a bad reward for two days’ work. The payouts are all listed below with the first player to bust on Monday guaranteed $2450.

PMA $1k Special payout list

1 $29,400
2 $19,600
3 $14,210
4 $9310
5 $6860
6 $5145
7 $4410
8 $3675
9 $2940
10 $2450

Play will resume in the Oasis Lounge at 4pm Monday March 19. Please join us for full coverage then.


Honglin Jiang 283500 110500
Haibo Chu 263000 68000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson 214500 -12500
John Shin 140000 -20000
James Tai 134000 -31000
Zac Boustani 133500 16500
Michael ‘Pokerlife’l Tran 93500 9500
Jim Pizanias 87500 -12500
Chris Lee 64500 27500
Jackson Zheng 58000 0
11th Mustafa Abdulwahab $0 Busted
12th Lawford Edwards $0 Busted
13th Fred Alam $0 Busted
14th Sam Ioannou $0 Busted
15th Donald Civic $0 Busted
16th Luke Brabin $0 Busted
17th Didier Guerin $0 Busted
18th Gregory Ravise $0 Busted
19th Chris Bridle $0 Busted
20th Ramy Tadros $0 Busted

12.20am: In the money!

After almost exactly 12 hours of play, the money bubble has finally burst with the 10 remaining players returning at 4pm tomorrow for the final table of the PMA $1k Special.

The unfortunate bubble boy was Mustafa Abdulwahab who was among the chip leaders for most of the day but ran out of luck when it mattered most. Abdulwahab was left with just 3000 in chips after he shoved for 35,000 holding 7-7 and was eventually called by Chris Lee who tanked for quite some time before calling for his last 30,000 with 8-8. The board ran out 4-J-5-10-J.

That left Abdulwahab with a mountain to climb and it wasn’t going to happen for him when he put the last of his chips in next hand with J-8 only to see James Tai 3-bet to 10,000. Haibo Chu then 4-bet to 20,000 prompting a shove from the monster stack of Tai. Chu snapped him off and showed K-K which held on against Tai’s A-K on a 9-2-4-4-6 board to give him a huge double up heading into the final table.

Chu finished the day with a healthy 263,000 after that hand while Abdulwahab can look back at what was a painfully near miss.


Blaze Scott-Hutchinson 227000 44000
Haibo Chu 195000 -30000
Honglin Jiang 173000 22000
James Tai 165000 67000
John Shin 160000 20000
Zac Boustani 117000 -19000
Jim Pizanias 100000 -18000
Michael ‘Pokerlife’l Tran 84000 7000
Jackson Zheng 58000 -34000
Mustafa Abdulwahab 44000 -20000
Chris Lee 37000 -21000
12th Lawford Edwards Busted
13th Fred Alam Busted
14th Sam Ioannou Busted
15th Donald Civic Busted
16th Luke Brabin Busted
17th Didier Guerin Busted
18th Gregory Ravise Busted
19th Chris Bridle Busted
20th Ramy Tadros Busted

11.45pm: On the bubble

We are now on a 10-minute break and the official money bubble after Lawford Edwards busted in 12th place. The short-stacked Lawford shoved on the button with Ks-8s and was called by Honglin Jiang holding As-Qs.

The Ah-7c-4c flop left Edwards drawing to runner a runner and a repeat A on the turn ended his evening agonisingly short of the cash. Jiang has rocketed up to 250,000 after busting a number of players over the past 30 minutes.


Haibo Chu 225000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson 183000
Honglin Jiang 151000
John Shin 140000
Zac Boustani 136000
Jim Pizanias 118000
James Tai 98000
Jackson Zheng 92000
Michael ‘Pokerlife’l Tran 77000
Mustafa Abdulwahab 64000
Chris Lee 58000
Lawford Edwards 36000
13th Fred Alam Busted
14th Sam Ioannou Busted
15th Donald Civic Busted
16th Luke Brabin Busted
17th Didier Guerin Busted
18th Gregory Ravise Busted
19th Chris Bridle Busted
20th Ramy Tadros Busted

11.30pm: Two more gone, 13 remain

Donald Civic and Sam Ioannou are the latest casualties of this period of carnage as the bust-outs continue to come thick and fast. We’re still not sure what happened to poor old Donald who was out the door before we could catch a breath but we did see Ioannou run his A-5 into the A-Q of Honglin Jiang who is on somewhat of a hot streak at the moment. The 4-4-K-10-3 board wasn’t enough to prolong Ioannou’s tournament life.

11.20pm: Luke Brabin counteirfeited, finishes 16th

He may have been a short-stack but Luke Brabin won’t be forgetting his bust out hand from the PMA $1k Special any time soon. Brabin snapped the 15bb shove of Chris Lee (K-10) holding 7-7 and was looking good on the A-8-5-8 board until another A spiked on the river to render his pocket pair meaningless. Lee moves a step closer to the cash with 55,000 in front.

11.15pm: Guerin out in 17th

Didier Guerin’s eventful day at the tables has finally come to an end with Honglin Jiang the recipient. Gurein 3-bet Jiang’s open from the small blind holding K-Q then called Jiang’s shove after tanking for a full two minutes.

Jiang turned over A-K for a dominating hand and the 3-A-8-J-Q board was enough to send Guerin packing just seven places shy of the money. It had been slow going here for over an hour but we’ve suddenly seen five bust-outs in a short space of time as the tension builds!

11pm: Don’t Chu with your boat full

Haibo Chu has been making his way steadily up the leader board but a massive pot that was just played out with Frenchman Gregory Ravise has catapulted him over the 200,000 chip mark. In a classic small blind v big blind confrontation, Ravise raised and was smooth called by Chu. The flop came A-Q-10 and Ravise c-bet. Chu called.

The turn brought a 3 and this time Ravise check called a bet from Chu. The river brought a repeat Q and when Ravise checked Chu put out a near pot-size bet. Ravise called with A-2 but threw his hand away in disgust at the sight of Chu’s monster Q-10. The Frenchman was left with just a few hundred in front while Chu raked in the huge pot. He now has 220,000 in front of him while Ravise was sent to the rail in 19th just a few hands later.

10.45pm: Still breathing

One-time chip leader Didier Guerin was one card away from elimination before scoring a crucial double up to stay in contention for tomorrow’s final table. A series of bad beats and coolers had left Guerin with just 30,000 and he was quick to get the remainder of his chips in the middle holding Jh-Jc against the Ah-Qd of Chris Bridle. The flop was a mixed bag with the Kc-2c-Ac giving Bridle the lead but giving Guerin a redraw to a flush. Right on cue, the dealer burned and turned the 4c and Guerin is back up to 60,000 and change.

10.25pm: Drawing anchor


About an hour ago, Aaron Benton, Daniel Neilson and Benton’s fiancé Timbrell returned to the Oasis Lounge here at The Star to rail their horse and good friend Didier Guerin who was tournament chip leader at the time. Now that he has slipped back and without too many significant pots being played on either of the two remaining 10-man tables, they’ve taken to a drawing contest on their iPhone apps. Neilson just showed us a beautiful picture of a boat with an anchor. In our opinion it was a fine effort, but it’s probably a good thing he can play a bit of poker.

9.40pm: Latest chip counts

We’re now officially down to 24 players remaining with some big movers in the chip counts. Previous chip leader Didier Guerin has slipped back after losing a huge pot to Blaze Scott-Hutchinson when his K-K was cracked by Scott-Hutchinson’s A-K all-in pre-flop. There has been better news however for Haibo Chu and Zac Boustani who have both cracked the 100,000 barrier.

Haibo Chu (pictured above) – 130,000
Zac Boustani – 124,000
Blaze Scott-Hutchinson – 117,000
Honglin Jiang – 95,000
Mustafa Abdulwahab – 92,000

9.05pm: One step forward, two steps back

Play has halted considerably over the past half hour or so with a number of medium-sized stacks apparently reluctant to put their tournament lives at risk now that the money is on the horizon (albeit a fair way away).

This could have been what triggered the tournament staff to get ahead of themselves with the big screens alerting us that 24 players were remaining. Alas, moments later that figure clicked back to 27. If the backwards trend continues we could be in for a long night!

8.30pm: Guerin eliminates two, takes chip lead

Didier Guerin (pictured above and yes, looking rather serious) is now a clear chip leader after winning a monster pot from Zhang Hua Chen. With Tony Hachem all-in for his last 1,200 (holding Q-5), Chen bumped it to 2,800 from the small blind. Guerin then 4-bet to 6,800 with Chen moving all-in over the top for around 55,000. Guerin snap-called with K-K as Chen sheepishly turned over his A-Q.

The flop of K-4-5 all but sealed the deal for Guerin and although the turn 2 brought a slight scare with the chance of a wheel, the youngster scored the double to soar to 123,000 in chips. With 29 players remaining Guerin is the only player sitting above the magic six-figure mark.

7.45pm: Hassoun crowned Opening Event champion

The Opening Event of ANZPT Sydney has been run and won with Naji Hassoun besting a field of 726 players to take home the trophy. Despite starting the day as one of the short stacks with just 565,000 (well behind chip leader Aaron Benton’s 2,200,000), Hassoun stormed home when it mattered most to steal victory.

The key hand came with four players remaining when he shoved K-Q only to be snap-called by the A-K of Luke Kelly. Hassoun looked certain to be dealt a crippling blow until a Q spiked on the river to propel him to a big chip lead.

Soon after he busted Benton with Queens over Jacks and then completed the job when his 9s held against Peter Frazier’s J-10 suited. Players agreed to a deal three-handed with Hassoun taking home $40,000 and change and both Frazier and Benton winning a cool $30,000.

However, for the record books the official final table payouts are as follows:

1 Naji Hassoun $51,836
2 Peter Frazier $32,452
3 Aaron Benton $17,100
4 Luke Kelly $13,176
5 Matthew Woodard $10,781
6 Suzy Khoueis $8276
7 Ryan Davis $6098
8 Alan Casas $4356
9 Tristan Earl $3158

6.40pm: Chip counts

Daniel Neilson is the latest big name to fall here in the PMA $1k Special after missing his nut flush draw. On a board reading Jd-8d-Kd-2c, Neilson committed himself holding Ad-4c and was all in needing a fourth diamond to outdraw the Ks-8s of Zac Boustani. The river was a meaningless 7h and Neilson won’t be adding to his glittering trophy cabinet in the next 24 hours. The top counts with 43 remaining are:

James Tai (pictured above) – 83,000
Jackson Zheng – 77,000
Adham Nasser – 72,000
Zac Boustani – 70,000
Mustafa Abdulwahab – 67,500
Jim Pizanias – 60,000
Zhang Hua Chen – 60,000
John Shin – 58,000
Haibo Chu – 55,000
Sam Ioannou – 55,000

Players are now on a 40-minute dinner break.

6.35pm: Whoa, we’re halfway there

We’re approaching the end of Level 9 in the PokerMedia Australia $1k Special with 47 players still in contention for the near $30,000 top prize. With an impressive starting field of 98 players today, that means we’ve lost 51 from the field and will be looking to eliminate another 38 in order to reach the final table and call an end to the day’s action.

Among those to come and go today have been Grant Levy, Peter Aristidou, Jarred Graham, Haibo Chu, Sheldon, Toothpick Tony and Mike Ivin although there are still a number of big names still in contention. They include Jason Gray, Daniel Neilson, Tony Hachem, Jackson Zheng, Graeme Putt, Martin Rowe and Martin Kozlov.

6.25pm: Opening event update

The final table of the $330 Opening Event kicked off a little over two hours ago and although the action hasn’t quite been fast and furious, we’re now down to five players remaining in the battle for the $51,836 first prize.

So far we’ve seen Tristan Earl eliminated in ninth place, Alan Casas in eighth and Ryan Davis in seventh with Suzy Khoueis the latest to bust when Benton was priced in to call with his Qc-10c to Khoueis’ K-8. Benton flopped an open ended straight draw and then turned a 10 to take the pot and regain a chip lead he has lost only briefly today.

Benton is still the favourite to take down another title at The Star following his big win at APPT Sydney in 2009 but still has some work to do with all remaining players stacking up at least 1 million in chips.

The current stack sizes are:

Luke Kelly – 1,000,000
Aaron Benton – 2,450,000
Peter Frazier – 1,900,000
Matt Woodards – 1,600,000
Naji Hassoun – 1,250,000

5.50pm: The Hach Dash

Less than an hour after he was left crippled by a river beat, Tony Hachem has staged a remarkable recovery and now sits with a very healthy 32,000 following a big three-way all-in. Hachem shoved his remaining chips into the middle on a flop of 9h-10d-7s holding J-8 for the nut straight and was called by Zhang Hua Chen with A-10.

Didier Guerin then shoved all-in over the top and was snap called by Chen. Guerin showed 7-8 for bottom pair and the open-ended straight draw. Another 7 on the turn gave Hachem a sweat and he commented that even though he had seen it all at the poker table, if he lost this hand he wouldn’t be leaving his room for days! Thankfully the river blanked and Hachem raked in a very healthy pot. Chen and Guerin are still alive with around 30,000 and 20,000 respectively.

5pm: Stacks are building

One thing we haven’t seen so far today is anyone seriously threaten to break away from the pack but a handful of players are quietly building their stacks. The top chip counts with 52 players remaining are:

Mustafa Abdulwahab – 66,000
Jim Pizanias – 57,000
Jackson Zheng – 56,000
Julian Malki – 52,000
Con Angelakis – 50,000
Zac Boustani – 46,000

5.00pm: Up and down for Hachem

It was a quiet start for Tony Hachem (pictured above holding a great new magazine!) as he gradually chipped away over the first few levels of the day but his tournament has been quite the rollercoaster over the last half an hour.

Hachem found himself crippled when he flopped top two on an Ah-4h-10c board but couldn’t shake Zhang Hua Chen who rivered the nut flush holding Kh-5h. Two hands later Hachem was all-in for his tournament life and in serious trouble with A-8 up against A-Q but his luck turned when the board ran out 9-7-2-6-10 to give him an unlikely straight. And he doubled up again shortly later when he flopped an A holding A-10 against Didier Guerin’s 9-9.

Hachem is still below the chip average but back in business with 15,000. Blinds have recently jumped to 200/400.

4.50pm: C’est la vie

Poker is renowned for attracting players from far and wide and today’s event is no different with Gregory Ravise travelling all the way from France to take part. Truth be told, the successful French pro is tagging along with a mate who is out here looking for work but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try his luck at The Star.

Ravise has accrued a series of in the money finishes over the past two years – his biggest score being a win in a $1000 event in Paris for $30,000.

He may not quite boast the credentials of some of his rivals in the PokerMedia Australia $1k Special but it’s always nice to see some new faces in The Star poker room. Ravise is currently sitting on the chip average of 24,000.

4.10pm: Plenty to play for

Tournament staff have just announced the payouts for today’s event, which attracted a field of 98 starters, with the top 10 finishers making it into the cash and the winner pocketing a tidy $29,400. The payouts are as follows:

1 $29,400
2 $19,600
3 $14,210
4 $9310
5 $6860
6 $5145
7 $4410
8 $3675
9 $2940
10 $2450

There are currently 66 players remaining of the 98 that took their seats today so there is still plenty of work to be done to make the money!

3.50pm: A quick count

Jackson Zheng (pictured above) 58,000
Con Angelakis 50,000
Fred Alam 41,000
Julian Malki 38,500
Zac Boustani 36,500
Martin Rowe 34,000
Geoff Mooney 33,000
Graeme Putt 30,500

3.20pm: Con job

Con Angelakis (pictured above) has shot to the top of the chip counts after laying a bit of a beat on Tony Kondevski. Angelakis called Kondevski’s flop shove holding A-9 on a board of 2-6-9 and would need plenty of help to avoid a crushing blow against Kondevski’s J-J. That help arrived in the shape of another 9 on the turn and when the river bricked Angelakis found himself the early chip leader with 47,000.

The Real Deal

Be sure to check out the second edition of PokerMedia Australia’s new poker and sports magazine The Real Deal which is available both online on this very site and, for the first time, in print form.

In this issue we provide an extensive coverage of the 2012 Aussie Million and chat with our newest champion Oliver Speidel about his amazing run. We also take a look at the 2012 World Series of Poker schedule, including details of the five new events and two new exhibition events that will ensure the best and biggest tournament series on the face of the planet remains as relevant and dominant as ever.

PMA is the exclusive home of 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem and, in the latest edition of his regular column, Joe discusses his run in the Aussie Millions $100k Challenge and the Main Event along with news of his exciting new partnership with AsianLogic and the Asian Poker Tour.

You’ll also find a review of the first major tournament to be held under the combined banner of the APL, 888PL and Pub Poker – the MAIN EVENT – and details of the latest inductees to the Australian Poker Hall of Fame. We also wrap-up the first Star Poker Summer Series.

In our comprehensive sports section we look at the unprecedented line-up of major sporting events in Europe this summer along with review of The Darling hotel in Sydney and the stunning new Spice Temple at Crown Melbourne. We have club-by-club previews of the 2012 AFL and NRL seasons, chat with Aussie racing driver and emerging NASCAR star Marcos Ambrose, tour the Masters look at the Top 10 worst club nicknames in sport.

To check out The Real Deal online click here.  We’re also proud to announce that copies of The Real Deal are available in The Star poker room, so if you’re in the vicinity pop in and grab yourself a free copy!

2.50pm: Top stacks

Daniel Neilson – 31,000
Fred Alam – 31,000
Semon Deeb – 30,000
Jim Pizanias – 30,000
Martin Rowe – 30,000
George Kambouroglou – 29,000
Haibo Chu – 28,000
Graeme Putt – 28,000

2.05pm: Don’t mess with Neilson

Daniel Neilson (pictured above) has built up an enviable tournament record both in Australia and overseas in recent years and if his start today is anything to go by he could well be headed to yet another final table. Neilson is sitting behind a healthy stack of just under 30,000 after his flopped set of 4s proved too good for the Kings of Melbourne pro Peter Aristidou.

On a flop of J-4-7, Neilson re-raised Aristidou’s continuation bet then snapped off the latter’s shove to score an early double. Aristidou becomes the sixth player sent to the rail during the first 90 minutes of play.

1.50pm: The Levy breaks

The Star poker ambassador and 2007 APPT Sydney champion Grant Levy has just busted in unfortunate circumstances. Levy called an early position open to 220 holding A-K and had two more callers behind before Semon Deeb 3-bet to 850 out of the big blind.

The table folded around to Levy who shoved for 13,500. Deeb made a surprising call for most of his chips holding A-Q and needed plenty of help but the tables were quickly turned as the window card revealed a Q.

The board didn’t get any better for Levy as it ran out Q-J-4-7-Q and one of Australia’s biggest names is headed to the rail before the end of the second level!

1.15pm: Familiar faces

A stroll around the tables has revealed plenty more notables in today’s field including Jason Gray, Tom, Rafferty, Peter Aristidou, Martin Kozlov, Toothpick Tony, Martin Rowe, Mike Ivin, Alec Smith, Sheldon and 2011 Sydney Championships winner Errolyn Strang.

Players are split between the main poker room and the nearby Oasis Lounge. The number of players has just hit 97 with registration still open for another 30 minutes.

12.55pm: Sun is shining

While it’s been an unusually wet and wild summer here in Sydney, today sees the sun shining bright on the harbour city. And while it may not sound like the ideal day to be sitting around playing poker, spirits are high and there certainly seems to be a fun, chirpy atmosphere in the room today. No doubt players have been looking forward to ANZPT Sydney with The Star recently completing work an $860 million redevelopment that brings it into line with some of the best casino and entertainment complexes the world has to offer.

As part of the renovations, The Star was basically turned around 180 degrees with the front entrance now facing the dazzling Sydney skyline that is a feature of this beautiful city.

Players arriving for today’s PokerMedia Australia $1k special were met with The Star’s huge water feature resplendent in the morning sun and they’ll be hoping the sun continues to shine on them at the tables throughout the day. As we speak, the number of players to have taken their seats has reached 78 with registration still open for another 70 minutes.

Almost underway!

We’re only minutes away from kick-starting the action here in Event 2 of ANZPT Sydney circa 2012 – our very own PokerMedia Australia $1k Special at The Star. 2012 marks the fourth time the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour has stopped off in the Harbour City and expectations are that it will again attract some big numbers in the coming days as Thursday’s main event approaches.

This year’s ANZPT Sydney also marks the final tournament series to be played here on Level 3 at The Star with the poker room set to move to its new home on the main gaming floor next month.

A strong field is expected for today’s inaugural PokerMedia Australia $1k Special with Grant Levy, Brendon Rubie, Daniel Neilson and Tony Hachem among the confirmed starters. We’ve also spotted Mel Judah, Graeme Putt and ShaneWarne.com Super Stack champion Steve Baker lingering around the registration desk this morning.

One man who won’t be taking part is 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton who will instead sit down at the final table of the Opening Event later this afternoon as massive chip leader. We’ll endeavour to keep you updated on Benton’s progress throughout the evening as well. Make sure you keep an eye on PokerMedia Australia for all of today’s action and full coverage of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event later in the week.

We’ve come a long way baby! Welcome to the PMA $1100 NLHE Special

Welcome to PMA’s coverage of our first branded event – the PokerMedia Australia $1100 No Limit Hold’em Special Event as part of the ANZPT Sydney preliminary schedule at The Star in Sydney.

Nine months ago, this event seemed highly unlikely. Forced to start from scratch in the wake of Black Friday, we set ourselves for a long climb back towards re-establishing a media platform accessible and inclusive of all Australian poker players.

Having recently partnered with Full House Group for one of the most successful pub poker tournaments in local poker history – the MAIN EVENT – we’re equally thrilled to be on deck in the Star Poker room today for our first sponsored casino tournament event.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Stephen Ibrahim and the team at The Star for their support of PMA since our launch last year. Put simply, we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for you guys. We’re also hoping that this is just the first of many events to which we lend the PMA name … who knows where it could end!

If you’re at The Star today for the event or watching from the rail, make sure to say hi to Ben Blaschke and Stephen Doig and give us your feedback on how we’re doing and what you’d like to see from PMA as we continue to develop and evolve the site and our new magazine The Real Deal.

In the meantime, there are still a few spots available for today’s tournament, which features an excellent structure of 15,000-start bank and 40-minute levels. Good luck to all players, and thanks again for your support of PokerMedia Australia. Play starts at 12.30pm with the final table scheduled for 4pm tomorrow (Monday).

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