2012 Sydney Championships – Main Event ($1650) NLHE / Day 1 / Flight 2

9.45pm: Tam takes flight as Day 1 comes to an end

It’s been another long day here at The Star but after eight levels and almost 100 eliminations, a total of 148 players will return for Day 2 of the 2012 Sydney Championships in pursuit of the $127,133 first prize.

After 149 players took their seats on Day 1a, another 188 joined them for today’s second flight but only 89 of those survived with David Tam (pictured above) stacking up a daunting 175,100 in chips following a monster pot late in the day that saw Tony Hachem eliminated.

Tam flopped the nut straight holding 7-10 and all the chips went into the middle with Hachem drawing almost dead holding pockets Js.

He joins Day 1a chip leader John Caridad (169,850) as the two big stacks heading into tomorrow’s Day 2 while there will be plenty of other notable joining them from today including David Borg, Aaron Benton, Leo Boxell, Martin Rowe and defending champion Errolyn Strang.

Not so fortunate were Jesse McKenzie, Brendon Rubie, Tony Kambouroglou, Sheldon Mayer and Andrew Capelin among plenty of others.

Over the course of the two Day 1 flights we’ve seen 337 players take part in this year’s main event – easily eclipsing last year’s field of 313 and ensuring a prize pool of $505,500.

Today’s biggest stacks were as follows:

175,100 – David Tam
111,600 – Stephen Putsey
106,400 – Fred Alam
97,900 – Stephen Tam-Brown
94,500 – Aaron Benton
92,000 – David Borg

Join us at PokerMedia Australia from 12.30pm tomorrow as we count down to the 2012 Sydney Championships final table.

9.15pm: Personal cheer squad?

Stephen Tam-Brown has been building his stack nicely throughout the afternoon and just won a handy pot when he check called an A-high flop against an aggressive opponent on the flop and turn holding A-10.

Coincidentally, as he raked in his chips Manly crossed for a try on the big screen prompting a huge cheer from the sizeable crowd watching the rugby league from the Sports Theatre.

Tam-Brown raised his right arm for a fist pump and announced to the table ‘That’s my cheer squad!’

He sits behind 91,000 as the clock winds down to the final minutes of the day’s play.

8.55pm: Hachem KO’d as Tam takes monster pot

David Tam (pictured above) has just won the biggest single pot of the tournament so far and eliminated Tony Hachem in the process.

It all started when Tam opened to 2,300 from UTG and was called by Hachem in the big blind. The flop fell 6-9-8 and from there the action exploded.

Tam c-bet 2,700, Hachem re-raised to 6,700, Tam 3-bet to 15,000 and Hachem shoves for around 70,000.

Tam snap called and turned over 7-10 for the flopped nut straight – leaving Hachem drawing to running cards with J-J.

The 10 turn gave Hachem outs but the repeat 6 on the river wasn’t one of them and he heads to the rail as Tam storms into the Flight 2 chip lead with 160,000.

8.35pm: Last level!

We’re into our final level of the night with blinds at 400/800 with a 75 ante. Play will continue on for another 45 minutes when dealers will be told to deal three more hands for the evening before we bag and tag.

7.55pm: McKenzie McCrushed

Jesse McKenzie (pictured above) has been sent to the rail after running pocket 10s into the pocket Kings of Stephen Putsey pre-flop for his last 27,000. Putsey himself is on quite a run since dinner. A few hands later he picked up Kings again and sent another short-stacked opponent packing to move to 110,000 in chips.

As far as we can tell he is currently the biggest stack in the room.

6.50pm: Dinner break

And that’s the end of Level 6, with players now enjoying a 40 minute dinner break. We’ll be back for two more Levels of play tonight with 115 of the 188 that started the day still in with a chance of progressing to Day 2.

6.45pm: Rafferty ruffled

Tom Rafferty has quite an impressive resume at The Star, having made the final table of APPT Sydney in both 2008 and 2010 and finished second in last year’s Star Summer Series main event, but he won’t be adding a Sydney Championships final table to that list this year.

Rafferty battled a short stack all day and eventually committed his last 10,000 holding A-9 against the pocket Kings of Leo Boxell (pictured above).

The board ran out 9-Q-7-3-6 and Rafferty was sent to the rail. Boxell is enjoying a much better day and has moved to 60,000.

6.05pm: Shabtay not so shabby

Ronnie Shabtay (pictured above) has just scored a huge triple-up plus some in an intruging cooler-hand on Table 2.

With blinds at 200/400, the player UTG raised to 1,650 and found three callers including Shabtay in the small blind.

The flop came 9-10-Q and Shabtay checked to the UTG player who bet out for 7,000. The next player to act shoved all-in and both Shabtay and the UTG player made the call. The UTG player showed A-A but was in trouble against the flopped set of 9s of the next player, while Shabtay had plenty of outs with his pocket Js.

The 2 on the turn changed nothing but the rivered 8 gave Shabtay the straight and a huge 70,000 pot as he screamed ‘Yes, yes, yes’.

5.55pm: Tough table

With tables regularly being broken down as players are eliminated, we’ve spotted an interesting table assembled in the primary poker pit, with Honglin Jiang, Andrew Capelin, Leo Boxell, Tom Rafferty and David Borg all seated together.

5.50pm: Blinds are up

We’re about to enter Level 6 with blinds moving to 200/400 with a 50 ante. Once this level is over the players be off on a 40-minute dinner break.

5.20pm: Payouts!!!!

The Star poker staff have just announced the payouts for this year’s Sydney Championships main event with the winner set to take home $127,133.

A total of 337 players have forked out the $1650 entry fee over the past two days – comfortably eclipsing the 313 that entered last year – with 37 to make the money.

Those that cash are guaranteed $2,780 while a place on the final table will earn a minimum of $10,616 for a ninth place finish.

The complete list of payouts is:

1st: $127,133
2nd: $80,374
3rd: $44,989
4th: $34,880
5th: $28,560
6th: $23,253
7th: $18,450
8th: $13,901
9th: $10,616
10th-12th: $7,079
13th -15th: $5,813
16th-18th: $5,308
19th-21st: $4,802
22nd-24th: $4,297
25th-27th: $3,791
28th-30th: $3,285
31st-33rd: $3,033
34th-37th: $2,780

4.45pm: Break it up

Players are on their second 10-minute break of the day.

4.15pm: Toothpick lays down a monster

‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou (pictured above) has just made a huge fold out in the main poker pit in a monster three-way pot – and worst of all he got it wrong!

After a raise and a call pre-flop, Kambouroglou 3-bet with J-J and saw both players call. Then it got interesting.

The flop came down 9-10-J with the initial raiser leading out for 3,000. The next player to act, Fred Alan, announced all-in, sending Kambouroglou into the tank. Never one to part with his chips easily, Kambouroglou eventually folded his top set and was stunned to when the initial raiser called to show Q-Q and Alan 10-10 for second set.

The board ran out 7-2 and Alan scooped the 50k pot while Kambouroglou, who cried ‘There were three straights out there’, was left to rue his fold.

3.55pm: Iskander is skewered

A big hand just played out on Table 1 with Mark Iskander losing out to a hugely unfortunate cooler.

It began when Iskander raised from the cut-off and was three-bet out of the small blind by Stephen Putsey (pictured above). The flop came out A-8-5 and Putsey led for 1,000. Iskander called.

The turn brought a repeat Ace and this time Putsey led for 2,000. Iskander called.

The river was a 10 and after Putsey fired another 5,500, Iskander shoved over the top.

Putsey snap-called and turned over pocket Aces for quads, while Iskander showed 10-10 for a rivered boat!

Putsey shoots up to 50,000 while Iskander is still alive with just under 10,000 in front.

3.40pm: Turning your hand into a bluff

Sheldon Mayer (pictured above) just relayed an interesting hand he played recently that saw both he and an opponent engage in a game of chicken. Mayer held opened Kings and was called in late position as the dealer spread a 4-4-2 flop. Mayer checked hoping to trap but his opponent checked behind. The turn brought the Ace and Sheldon led out. His opponent re-raised, Sheldon 3-bet and his opponent 4-bet with Sheldon forced to muck.

Sickeningly, his opponent flashed 8-8 and a smile as he won the war of wills.

3.35pm: Aggression pays for Benton

With blinds at 100/200, the UTG player raised to 450 and received a call in three spots including Aaron Benton (pictured above) in the cut-off.

The flop came 9-10-3 and both the UTG player and the UTG+2 checked to Benton who bet 1,000. The button called, the UTG player folded and UTG+2 called.

The turn brought a Q and it was again checked to Benton who bet 2,700. The button called for a second time but the UTG+2 folded.

The river was the 5 and Benton fired a third barrel for 4,100. It was enough to prompt a delayed fold from the button, with Benton showing 7d-8d for the missed draw as he scooped in a healthy pot. He is up to 36,000.

3.10pm: Notable chip counts

45,000 – Jesse McKenzie
39,000 – Andrew Capelin
36,000 – Bruno Portaro
33,000 – Tony Hachem
30,000 – Aaron Benton
27,000 – Errolyn Strang
24,000 – John O’Shea
24,000 – Sheldon

2.40pm: The world game

The Sydney Championships provides a wonderful opportunity for players that have never played in a major live event to experience the action – players like 18-year-old New Zealander Jake Saunders (pictured above), who is too young to enter casinos in his own country and so has made the trek across the ditch to take part.

Saunders was sitting in his hotel room last night following our live coverage of Flight 1 and hoping to see his face on-screen today, so the least we could do was oblige.

The youngster currently sits just about on his starting stack of 20,000 – we wish him well for the rest of the day’s play.

2.30pm: Break time!

We’re two levels down and players are on their first 10-minute break of the day.

2.15pm: Rubie crippled

Brendon Rubie (pictured above) has just been crippled at the hands of Jonathan Gamerov. On a board of 2h-3d-9h, Gamerov led out from the small blind for 3,000 and was called by Rubie. The turn brought the Ks and Gamerov bet 3,300.

Rubie thought briefly and then placed his remaining 14,000 calmly in the middle. Gamerov sighed, saying ‘Show me your 9s’ as he rolled over pocket 3s for the flopped set but he was in great shape against the Qh-10h of Rubie.

The Kc on the river filled Gamerov up and he raked in a healthy pot of 35,000 while Rubie is down to his last 1,000 and change.

1.45pm: On a roll

Ramy Tadros has enjoyed some big hands already today – including quad Aces early on – and he just hit big again after waking up with Kings.

In a three-way pot, the flop came 7h-8c-5c with Tadros checking to the UTG raiser who bet 1,600. The third player in the pot folded but Tadros bumped it up to 4,000. His opponent called.

The turn brought the Kc and Tadros shoved for a touch over 15,000. His opponent went into the tank, visibly frustrated by the presence of the King on the board, and eventually announce he was folding Q-Q with a club as he mucked.

Tadros politely showed him the turned set as he hauled in his chips. He is up to 30,000.

1.35pm: The Borg dawg

Also in the field today and seated at the same table as both Aaron Benton and reigning champion Errolyn Strang is David Borg (pictured above), who entered his first ever World Series of Poker event last month in Las Vegas and worked his way through a field of 2,797 players to finish second for a handy $410,517 payday.

He was one of three Australians to record runner-up finishes at this year’s WSOP alongside Brendon Rubie, who is also in today’s field, and Jackie Glazier.

Borg is quite the joker so we expect him to keep his tablemates entertained this afternoon.

1.25pm: Grigg jets in

Tom Grigg has just taken his seat underneath the big screen but, to be fair, he’s done well to make it here this early. Grigg only decided at 10 o’clock last night that he’d play in this year’s Sydney Championships and took a flight up this morning from his Melbourne home!

1.10pm: Baker builds early

Steve Baker (pictured above), who finished fourth in the PokerMedia $1k Special earlier this week, has started strongly yet again here in the main event.

We caught up with baker’s table as three players limped in for 100 before Baker bumped it up to 625 from the button. Two limpers folded with one making the call to see a J-10-6 flop.

It was checked to Baker who fired 1,100 into the middle – forcing a quick fold from his opponent.

12.50pm: Familiar faces

There are a myriad of familiar faces here at The Star today. Seated in the main poker pit we’ve spotted former Sydney Championships winners Andrew Capelin (2010) and Errolyn Strang (2012) (pictured above), 2009 APPT Sydney champ Martin Rowe, Jesse McKenzie, Aaron Benton, Leo Boxell, ‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou – who has already won two side events in this series – and Mike Ivin.

In the Sports Theatre are Brendon Rubie, Irish pro John O’Shea, Andrew Scarf, Steve Baker, Graeme Putt and Sheldon.

We have 176 players registered so far today which means that with two hours remaining before registration closes we’ve already surpassed last year’s field with 325 to the 313 that took their seats 12 months ago.

Strang collected $119,542 for her victory in 2011.

12.30pm: Flight 2 is underway!

After a long night of poker at The Star last night, we’re back for Flight 2 of the 2012 Sydney Championships main event with another star-studded field fighting it out for the trophy.

Yesterday’s opening flight saw 149 players take to the felt, with popular local John Caridad finishing the day as the dominant chip leader with 169,850 after enjoying a heater over the final two levels of the day.

Three other players also topped the 100,000 mark – Dominic Galati with 133,350, Dave Allan on 104,875 and Alex Lee with 103,250.

In total, 59 players progressed through to tomorrow’s Day 2 with dreams of joining Jarred Graham, Andrew Capelin and Errolyn Strang as Sydney Championships main event winners.

Today will comprise of another eight one hour levels with play expected to finish sometime around 9.30.

Stay with us at PokerMedia Australia as we bring you all the action as it happens!


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