SPSS TODAY: Nov 28; Celebs win Main Event seats, Opening Event underway

Sam Burgess, Robbie Farah, Greg Inglis, Chris Heighington and Paul Gallen in action at the Star Poker Summer Series Celebrity Tournament (pic courtesy of news.com.au)

The 2012 Star Poker Summer Series is underway with the first of three day one flights for the $330 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Opening Event kicking off earlier this evening (Wednesday, November 28). A capacity field of 277 players turned out for the series opener. The series was launched in a blaze of colour and publicity last night at the Star Poker Summer Series Celebrity Tournament. With our special thanks to Star Poker ambassador Aaron Benton (who MCed the event alongside fellow Star Poker ambassador Grant Levy), here are some of the highlights of the night.

“The 2012 Celebrity Tournament kicked off the Star Poker Summer Series in grand star style with a range of sports and TV personalities all trying to win their table and Star Poker Summer Series Main Event seat worth $5000!

Sam Burgess of the Rabbitohs is an avid poker fan of poker with his own table set-up at home and made it to a heads-up with Alan Bird only to be pipped for the Main Event seat.

Local Star Poker player Sam Capra was able to win his table over Sharks recruit Chris Heighington. At one stage, Sam was all-in for about 1000 in chips with half the table remaining and made a runner-runner flush to stay alive.

On the final hand, Chris offered Sam a deal for the seat in return for the bounty prize of a Nintendo Wii. It turned out to be the right decision, as Sam flipped over pocket aces to ensure his spot in the Main Event.

It was open warfare at the table featuring AFL premiership teammates Adam Goodes (spotted at a $5/$5 cash table prior to the event) and Jude Bolton from the Sydney Swans.

Bolton asked for my advice after his 5-7 flopped a straight on a board of 6-8-9 – all spades! He called the bet of Goodes but before I could tell him to bet the river he checked it behind Goodes, who made a full house!

John Sutton of the Rabbitohs was a slow starter on that same table but went on a heater and picked up pocket aces and pocket kings on successive hands. Despite telling me he’d be prepared to skip training to play the Main Event, Sutton was pipped at the post for the seat despite entering the heads-up contest with a 3:1 chip lead.

Another South Sydney star, Greg Inglis, won his table in dramatic fashion as he played many of his hands in the dark, meaning he had no idea what hole cards he held.

This turned out to be a smart move for the beginner player as he put some bad beats on his tablemates. In one hand, I saw him flip over 8-5 and made runner-runner two-pair to knock out another player! Inglis handed his ticket to Goodes, who is now a confirmed starter in the Main Event!

Triple M’s Dan Ginnane beat Trent McClenahan heads-up to win his second Main Event seat but handed it to the Sydney FC defender. Interesting to note that Trent is down to play in Wellington on the day of the final table. Benji Marshall also kept things interesting on the same table as he shoved all-in blind in several hands making for some heated competition for his bounty!

Aussie Olympian John Steffensen won his table, with some coaching from boxing great (and accomplished poker player) Jeff Fenech. Steffensen transferred his seat to former MasterChef contestant Jay Huxley, who was eliminated earlier without a chance to wear his huge white headphones!

Other big names who joined the field included Cronulla captain Paul Gallen and recruit Beau Ryan, Wests Tigers skipper Robbie Farah, Penrith’s Michael Jennings, Eels star Jarryd Hayne, Sydney FC defender Pascal Bosschaart.”

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