2012 Sydney Championships – PokerMedia Australia NLH Special ($1100)

3.00am: Jordan Westmorland eliminated in 2nd ($17,200) – Toothpick Tony crowned PMA $1k Special Champion!

After a marathon day that started at 12.30pm on Sunday and finished some 14-and-a-half hours later, we’ve finally crowned our champion here in the PokerMedia Australia $1k Special.

We started the day with 86 players hitting the felt here in The Star’s new poker room on the main gaming floor but in the end it was ‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou that outlasted them all to claim the title and a $25,800 pay day.

With heads-up play starting slowly but quickly turning into a war of aggression, the final hand came swiftly and nobody at the rail expected it to play out quite the way it did.

On a 4-4-5 flop, Kambouroglou bet 40,000 and was re-raised by Jordan Westmorland to 110,000.

Kambouroglou then shoved for the rest of his 650,000 stack with Westmorland snap-calling.

The elder statesman was ahead with K-J but had to avoid a ton of outs with Westmorland’s 3-6 both giving him an open-ended straight draw and two live cards.

However the board ran out 8-10 and Kambouroglou has claims another tournament trophy to go with the one he picked up in another $1k event at APPT Sydney in 2010.

2.30am: Michael Seymour eliminated in 3rd ($12,470)

On a Q-Q-4 flop, Tony Kambouroglou bet 25,000 and was re-raised small by Michael Seymour to 50,000. Kambouroglou thought briefly then called. When the J appeared on the turn, Seymour announce he was all-in for his last 200,000 but knew he was in trouble when Kambouroglou snap-called.

Seymour rolled over K-10 for the open-ended straight draw but was drawing dead to Kambouroglou’s 4-4.

He exits after a fine day’s work and we’re heads up!

The starting chip counts for the heads-up battle are:

695,000 – Jordan Westmorland
600,000 – Tony Kambouroglou

With close to 60 big blinds each we could be in for an epic battle here with the measured work of the veteran grinder up against the relentless aggression of the online pro!

1.50am: Lawford Edwards eliminated in 4th ($8,170)

With blinds at 4,000/8,000, Lawford Edwards limped the button only to see it raised up by Michael Seymour in the small blind. Jordan Westmorland called and Edwards shoved over the top for just over 100,000. Seymour got out of the way but Westmorland called.

It was off to the races with Edwards’ Kh-Js up against the pocket 8s of his rival.

The As-5s-4s gave Edwards a tonne of outs but he missed the lot when the 7d and 10h landed to eliminate him from the tournament.

We’re now down to three-handed play with blinds about to rise to 5,000/10,000

Chip counts are as follows:

560,000 – Michael Seymour
465,000 – Jordan Westmorland
250,000 – Tony Kambouroglou

1.20am: Steve Baker eliminated in 5th ($6,020)

Steve Baker was up and down like a yoyo at this final table – twice having his Kings cracked and twice fighting his way back into contention. In the end, though, those beats proved too much and after stealing the blinds with a number of shoves he eventually ran his A-5 into the Aces of Michael Seymour.

The 4-7-J-7-6 was no help and Baker missed out on a second trophy for the year.

Seymour now boasts a massive stack of 590,000 and will take plenty of stopping from here.

1.10am: Martin Faura eliminated in 6th ($4,515)

Martin Faura nursed his short stack for a few hours at the final table but eventually fell to the pressure of the rising blinds when he got it in holding 7-8 on a 7-4-3 board. He soon found out just what bad shape he was in when Michael Seymour called with pocket 8s and there was no miracle 7 to give Faura a second chance.

12.40am: George Kambouroglou eliminated in 7th ($3,870)

George Kambouroglou had been card dead for much of this final table so it didn’t take much for him to get it in on a K-Q-Q-J-7 board. Michael Seymour was quick to call however with K-9, Kambouroglou flashing a J before making his way to the payout desk.

Seymour is now up to 340,000 as the tempo starts to pick up.

12.35am: Nathan Sawyers eliminated in 8th ($3,225)

Nathan Sawyers is the latest player to hit the rail after getting it in with K-J on a K-Q-10 board only to run into the A-J of Jordan Westmorland.

He couldn’t find the miracle Ace he needed on the river and we’re gradually getting closer to crowning our champion!

12.30am: Roller-coaster for Baker

For the second time at this final table, Steve baker has had his Kings cracked in unfortunate circumstances.

This time it was Michael Seymour scoring a big double-up when his Qd-Jd got there on a board of 7h-7d-4d-5c-6d. Baker drops back to the field with about 145,000 in front.

12.05am: Kristina Jeney eliminated in 9th ($2,580)

Kristina Jeney has been particularly quiet at this final table and she picked a bad time to find pocket 10s, with fellow short-stack Nathan Sawyers waking up with Kings. A King on the flop ensured there wouldn’t be another bad beat just yet and Jeney was left clinging to life with just a few thousand left.

The very next hand it was all over – again at the hands of Sawyers. This time it was her A-K up against J-J and when no help arrived her day was over.

12.00am: Baker back in business

Steve Baker crawled his way back up to almost 95,000 when the following hand came up: Tony Kamboroglou opened to 7,500 from the hijack with Baker then shoving over the top for 93,500.

Kambouroglou went back into the tank for a good three minutes before eventually calling and showing pocket 9s.

Baker would need help with his Q-J but a Jack on the flop shot him into the lead and he held on to climb back over 200,000 in chips.

11.40pm: Baker crippled

Lawford Edwards came into the final table among the short stacks but after doubling once through George Kambouroglou he has now soared past 300,000 after a massive pot that has left Steve Baker crippled.

Edwards started the action when he raised to 6,500 from the cut-off only for Baker to 3-bet to 16,500 on the button. Edwards called and they saw a 10-4-6 flop.

Edwards then check-raised Baker and the chips quickly went flying in – Baker yelling ‘No, no, no’ as he saw that Edwards’ 10s had out-flopped his K-K.

After the hand had played out, Baker was forced to count out 152,500 to send Edwards’ way – leaving him with just 30,000 chips to salvage his tournament.

11.05pm: Ross Stevenson eliminated in 10th ($2,150).

Well that didn’t take long. On the very first hand of the final table, short-stacked Ross Stevenson found a great hand to shove with but his pocket 10s were in deep trouble when they ran into Jordan Westmorland’s K-K.

The board ran out 5-A-Q-5-3 and Stevenson is out in 10th spot.

11.00pm: Still going …

The players were in complete disagreement with one another so in the end the poker room staff here at The Star have made the executive decision to play through until we have a winner!

That leaves us with a final table line-up as follows:

Seat 1: George Kambouroglou – 78,000
Seat 2: Kristina Jeney – 77,000
Seat 3: Michael Seymour – 246,000
Seat 4: Jordan Westmorland – 100,000
Seat 5: Tony Kambouroglou – 290,000
Seat 6: Lawford Edwards – 80,000
Seat 7: Steve Baker – 197,000
Seat 8: Martin Faura – 70,000
Seat 9: Ross Stevenson 42,000

Players have been given a quick five-minute refreshment break before play resumes.

10.45pm: Final table set!

There is still plenty of disagreement about whether we are playing through to a winner tonight or not but one thing is certain – we have reached our final table!

Sam Ioannou is the unlucky bubble boy after he got the last of his chips in holding A-J but couldn’t improve against Kambouroglou’s 3-3.

We’ll have the final table chip counts shortly!

10.35pm: Gould gutted

Play noticeably slowed for a while as we reached 17-handed but the eliminations have returned with a vengeance over the past 30 minutes and we’re now down to hand-for-hand for a spot on the final table and in the money!

Rhys Gould is the latest casualty. Sitting behind just 10 big blinds, he shoved over Steve Baker’s raise holding K-Q and needed help against baker’s A-7. The board bricked and Gould falls just short in 12th place.

10.20pm: Toothpick on a tear

It was less than an hour ago that Tony Kambouroglou lost half his stack when he ran J-J into the Queens of Steve Baker. Now he is again chip leader after taking down a massive pot to eliminate former Melbourne Championships main event winner Tudor Kondevski.

The money was always going to go in with Kondevski holding A-K although it took a few moments for Kambouroglou to call with his K-K.

“Biggest nit-roll ever,” yelled Rhys Gould with Kamboroglou claiming he wanted to check how much he had before calling.

In the end it turned out both players topped 100,000 but Kambouroglou had Kondevski slightly covered and when the board ran out 5-9-2-6-5 he became the first player to pass 200,000.

We’re now down to 14.

10.10pm: No way O’Shea

John O’Shea has just been eliminated by Tony Kambouroglou after the latter made a huge pre-flop call that could have left him crippled.

With blinds at 1000/2000, Kambouroglou raised on the button for 4,500 only for O’Shea to shove for his last 42,000. Kambouroglou went deep into the tank before eventually committing most of his chips but it turned out to be a brilliant call with his A-8 dominating O’Shea’s J-8.

The board ran out 8-9-K-5-Q and O’Shea was sent to the rail in 16th place.

9.45pm: Top Guns

With 17 players remaining, the top five chip counts are:

145,000 – Steve Baker
115,000 – Michael Seymour
112,000 – Jordan Westmorland
110,000 – Tudor Kondevski
85,000 – Nathan Sawyers

9.35pm: Business time

Players have just returned from a 10-minute break and it’s time to get down to business for the 18 hopefuls remaining as they fight it out for the $25,800 first prize.

9.25pm: Baker’s dozen

Steve Baker has just won a monster pot at the expense of ‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou to restore his position among the tournament chip leaders.

All the action came pre-flop as the pair exchanged raises before ‘Toothpick’ shoved over the top holding J-J. He was in trouble though from the moment Baker snap-called and turned over the ladies.

The flop of Q-9-A was a disaster for Kamboroglou and although the turned King gave him outs to the straight he bricked the river 3 to fall back to the pack with a little under 50,000.

Baker, on the other hand, now sits behind 120,000 and is challenging Jordan Westmorland for the chip lead.

8.50pm: Down to two tables

A few more quick-fire eliminations have seen the field whittled down to 20 and the tables redrawn as we reach the final two tables of the event.

Jordan Westmorland remains chip leader with 115,000 and is looking good to reach his second final table in as many weeks after finishing third at Queenstown Snowfest last week, however it will be interesting to see how the rest of the field responds to the added pressure as the money bubble starts to grow closer!

8.45pm: Baker running out of gas

Shane Warne SuperStack champion Steve Baker began the day on fire to cruise up to 60,000 and an early chip lead, but he has stagnated since and just lost an unfortunate pot at the hands of Sam Ioannou.

Baker raised UTG and was called by Ioannou and Tony Kambouroglou in the blinds.

The 5-8-4 flop saw the latter to check through to baker who fired 5,200 into the middle. Ioannou called and Kambouroglou tank-folded as we went to a repeat 8 on the turn. Ionnoau check-called a bet of 8,000 before both players checked down the J river.

Ioannou quickly showed K-8 and Baker angrily folded his pocket 10s as his stack slipped to 50,000.

8.15pm: No air for Jordan

Jordan Westmorland has been on the move since the dinner break, winning a series of pots to push himself over the 100,000 chip mark. The latest saw him fire away at a K-5-K flop with fellow big stack Tony Kambouroglou making the call.

Both players checked the 2 turn before Kambouroglou fired 7,000 on the 6 river. Westmorland quickly called with pocket 7s with ‘Toothpick’ Tony showing Q-8 for a poorly timed bluff.

8.00pm: A long night ahead?

With the field now down to 28 players and dwindling, there is talk that we may play all the way down to a winner tonight. No decision has been made yet with the floor staff here in The Star poker pit keen to see how play progresses over the next hour or so.

In the meantime, blinds have just risen to 600/1,200 with a 200 ante.

7.35pm: Cards are back in the air

After stuffing ourselves with the biggest burger we’ve ever seen (outside of Vegas), the dinner break is over and the 33 remaining players are back to play down to tomorrow’s final table.

One of those that won’t be crowned champion of the PokerMedia Australia $1k Special is Brendon Rubie, who busted on the final hand before dinner after a roller-coaster day that saw him drop down to 3,000 in chips early, build his stack back up to 55,000 then hit the wall and bust mid-field.

But still in contention are a number of familiar faces including Ireland’s John O’Shea,  Grant Levy, Rhys Gould, Graeme Putt, Peco Stojanovski, Kristina Jeney, Steve Baker and chip leader Tony Kambouroglou.

Also going strong with 65,000 is our recent third-place getter from the APPT/ANZPT Queenstown Snowfest Jordan Westmorland – an American online pro now livingin Thailand in the wake of Black Friday.

It all promises to produce plenty of action on the way to the final table.

6.50pm: Dinner break

After a bit of a flurry of eliminations, play has slowed here over the past 40 minutes or so but with the dinner break just a few minutes away we’ve seen another run of outs with the field now down to 35.

Among those to hit the rail recently are Didier Guerin, Mike Ivin, Michael Tran and Errolyn Strang.

There are no such problems for ‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou who is currently our chip leader with 90,000.

We are now on a 30-minute dinner break.

6.15pm: The Sam slam

Sam Ioannou couldn’t believe his luck when he opened with Aces in late position only to see the button 3-bet and the big blind shove for his last 20,000.

Ioannou called and after the button told the table “I know I’m behind but I want to crack Aces”, he called too. And so it was Ioannou in a dominant position against A-K and 4-4 – and when the board ran out J-high he had eliminated both opponents in one fell swoop.

Ioannou is now lurking with 55,000 as the field is cut to 40 players remaining.

6.00pm: Scarf necked.

Andrew Scarf has just been eliminated from the tournament at the hands of Rhys Gould. Gould opened for 1,300 from early position and found a caller on the button.

Scarf then re-raised to 7,000 before Gould put him all-in for his remaining 3,000.

It was Gould’s 10-10 against the A-9 of Scarf and although the Js-9s-7s flop gave Scarf extra outs to the nut flush he couldn’t find the help he needed.

With that boost Gould moves to around 55,000 in chips.

5.50pm: Chip counts

78,000 – Tony Kambouroglou
70,000 – George Karageorge
63,000 – Steve Baker
50,000 – Chris Bridle
48,000 – Tudor Kondevski
45,000 – Grant Levy
38,000 – Rhys Gould
35,000 – John O’Shea

5.35pm: Blinds are up!

The blinds are up to 300/600 with a 50 ante.

We’re down to 48 players now and there is no doubt the action is starting to heat up.

Incidentally, the average stack currently sits at 26,875 or about 44 big blinds.

5.25pm: River is gin for Rubie

Brendon Rubie was down to his last 3,000 just a bit over an hour ago but he is working his way right back into contention and now sits closer to 25,000 after a crucial double up a few minutes ago.

We caught the action in a three-way pot with all players checking the 10s-10h-7c flop. Rubie led out for 2,200 on the 5h turn with one opponent coming along for the ride. When the Ah appeared on the river, his opponent led out for 3,600 with Rubie taking his time before re-raising all-in for another 5,500.

His opponent called and showed 9h-7h for runner-runner flush but Rubie held Aces and scooped in the tidy pot.

5.00pm: Payouts

The Star poker team have just announced the payouts for today’s event with a final table of 10 players poised to come away with a profit.

We had 86 players take their seats today, creating a prize pool of $86,000 with the eventual champion to walk away with $25,800. The 10th-place finisher earns $2,150.

The complete list of payouts is as follows:

1st – $25,800
2nd – $17,200
3rd – 12,470
4th – $8,170
5th – $6,020
6th – $4,515
7th – $3,870
8th – $3,225
9th – $2,580
10th – $2,150

The final table is scheduled to take place at 4pm. We’ve been told that the event will play through until the end tonight if we get down to two tables by about 7pm but with 59 remaining that seems nigh on impossible.

4.45pm: Break it up

Players are on a 10-minute break. When they return blinds will rise to 200/400 with a 50 ante.

There are 59 players remaining which means we need to farewell another 50 players before we call it a night.

4.30pm: Huge fold from Guerin

Didier Guerin just showed why he has been among the form players on the Australian circuit this year after making a remarkable river fold to Chris Bridle.

Bridle had check-called the flop and turn on a Jd-9s-5h-2s board before firing around 6,000 when the 3s landed on the river.

Guerin immediately went deep into the tank, apologising to the table repeatedly before offering Bridle $100 if he showed and eventually folding pocket 9s for middle set!

Bridle obligingly tabled As-5s for the nut flush with Guerin losing his $100 but saving a ton of chips in the process.

He is still comfortable at 35,000.

4.25pm: Young guns in da house

A couple notable late arrivals today were Brendon Rubie and Didier Guerin, but while they both find themselves still alive they have enjoyed contrasting fortunes since arriving at the tables.

Rubie, of course, is only recently back from the WSOP where he was desperately unlucky not to win his first bracelet as he finished second for $242,000 in the new 4-max event. Unfortunately he has a lot of work to do if he is to enjoy such a deep run today with just 9,000 in front. Guerin, on the other hand, is looking strong with around 40,000 and is starting to apply the pressure to his new table.

4.00pm: Levy lagging

After edging his stack up above 40,000, Grant Levy has now slipped back to just above his starting stack (of 15,000) after a hefty three-way pot saw him caught on the river.

The initial raiser fired away at a Jd-10s-8h flop with both Levy and another opponent in the big blind coming along for the ride.

The 2s turn saw the raiser fire another bullet but this time Levy re-raise to 5,200. The big blind called and the original raiser thought briefly before folding.

The river saw the 9s complete the board and this time the big blind led out for 8,000. Levy called and showed Js-8s but had been unluckily pipped at the post by his rival’s As-Qs.

Levy shook his head in frustration before stepping away from the table for a few second to regain his composure.

3.25pm: Ante up!

The blinds have just gone up to 100/200 and for the first time today we are playing with an ante of 25.

There are still 70 players remaining from the 83 that started but it will be interesting to see how players now respond to the added money in the middle.

3.20pm: Sawyers soaring

We arrived at Table 5 just in time to hear the dealer announce a three-way all-in. Two players found themselves at risk of elimination but it was the middle stack, Nathan Sawyers, that was in great shape holding A-A against his opponents’ A-J and 9-9.

The board ran out 10-high and Sawyers just about tripled up to move to 50,000.

3.10pm: Baker builds

Steve Baker had just been telling us how well he has been running this morning when his focus was again shifted back to his cards.

Baker opened for 500 and received a caller before a third opponent 3-bet to 1,800. The next player to act then shoved his remaining 9,000 into the middle, with Baker calling and the two players to his left quickly folding.

Baker turned over K-K to be ahead of his opponent’s A-Q and when a K landed on the river his stack grew once more.

He now sits on a touch over 60,000.

3.00pm: Notable chip stacks

Steve Baker – 51,200
John O’Shea – 45,000
Tony Kambouroglou – 38,000
Rhys Gould – 33,000
Grant Levy – 30,000

2:55pm: Luck of the Irish

As we were perusing chip stacks around the room we couldn’t help but notice Irish tournament maestro John O’Shea tucked away in a corner of the room with a healthy stack of 45,000 in front.

O’Shea’s poker resume is impressive, with WSOP and WPT final tables to his name and almost $1 million in live tournament earnings. He also finished 162nd at this year’s WSOP main event for a little over $50,000.

We’ll keep a close eye on his progress as the afternoon progresses.

2:30pm: On break

The 74 remaining players are off enjoying  a 10-minute break.

2.20pm: Jiang on the move

Honglin Jiang has built quite an impressive resume in The Star poker room over the past few years and he is again one of the early movers in today’s event.

Jiang just eliminated an opponent after opening to 400 in early position and snap-calling a shove for 6,300. Jiang’s A-K was miles ahead of his opponent’s K-10 and the deal was sealed when an Ace landed on the flop.

Jiang enjoyed an incredible run at the 2010 Sydney Championships, winning the 6-handed event for $19,600 and then finishing third in the main event just a few days later for another $48,461.

He is creeping up towards 30,000 today as he looks to make yet another final table.

2.05pm: Neilson busts, Baker soars into chip lead

And just like that we have a clear chip leader, with Shane Warne SuperStack champion Steve Baker busting Daniel Neilson to rocket up to 50,000 in chips.

It was all over in just a few hands for Neilson with Baker doing all the damage when he picked up Aces and found himself in a heavy betting war on each street of the 8-7-8-4-2 board.

“You should have Aces,” Neilson correctly observed as Baker forced him to commit his few remaining chips.

He was right, of course, and in a flash Neilson’s cards were in the muck and the 24-year-old out the door.

1:50pm: Slow going

It’s all a bit quiet here during the early levels with players seemingly content to keep the pots small while still deep-stacked.

The blinds have just moved up to 75/150 which means the average stack at this stage has a touch over 100 big blinds. We currently have 81 of the 83 starters remaining.

In the meantime, players are being entertained by the three big screens here in The Star Sports Theatre with the rugby league and AFL both being shown live.

1:25pm: Busy Benton

Aaron Benton is busy early with his aggressive image no doubt contributing to him being paid off in a recent pot.

We caught the action on a 2-J-10-K-8 board with around 2,500 in the middle. Benton’s opponent checked the river to him, prompting Benton to casually drop 2,000 into the middle. His opponent tanked briefly before calling but mucked his hand when Benton turned over A-J.

Benton’s stack is pushing 20,000.

12.50pm: Notable faces

A quick look around the tables has revealed plenty of familiar faces playing today’s event including Grant Levy, Daniel Neilson, Alec Smith, Michael ‘Poker Life’ Tran, Graeme Putt, Andrew Scarf, defending Sydney Champions main event winner Errolyn Strang and ‘Toothpick Tony’.

Aaron Benton has also just wandered in to take his seat.

12:30pm: PokerMedia Australia1k Special kicks off

Welcome to the 2012 Sydney Poker Championships and our coverage of the second event on this year’s schedule – the PokerMedia Australia $1k Special.

This is the second time that The Star has hosted the PMA $1k Special during a major tournament series following April’s ANZPT Sydney and we’re expecting another quality field if that event is any indication.

It also looms as an exciting week for both players and staff alike as this is the first major tournament series The Star has hosted since the poker room made its long awaited return to the main gaming floor a few months back.

The Sydney Championships has proved to be hugely popular amongst the local poker community since it was first held in 2009 and already we have seen some huge numbers with the Opening Event attracting a sell-out field of 825 players for a hefty prize pool of $247,500. The final table of that event will kick off at 4pm today.

We currently have 72 players registered for the PMA $1k Special with play commencing just a few short minutes ago.

Make sure you keep checking PokerMedia Australia for all the live reporting from today’s events as we play down to tomorrow’s final table!


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