2015 Sydney Championships – Sydney Championships Main Event $3000 / Day 1 / Flight 2

Day 1 Flight 2 is all over

Eight hour-long levels have been completed with approximately 81 players remaining from 164 total entrants for the day. The chip leader is Sam Vakili who has built a healthy stack going into Day 2 tomorrow. The chip leaders are:

Sam Vakili – 199,600
Leo Wai – 176,200
David Chambers – 146,900
Con Angelakis – 144,200
Sam Steindl – 143,000
Charbel Boustani – 138,100
Chris Moussa – 134,300
David Saghabi – 122,700
Ian Parnell – 115,900
David Fan – 113,400
Joe Khazan – 101,900 

Once the official names and chip counts have been collated we will post ahead of our reporting tomorrow. So join us then Day 2, which begins at 12.30pm here at The Star poker room.

Final three hands

The clock has been stopped with ten minutes left in the level as the last three hands of the night are played on each table.

Hachem bounced

There was a raise of 2300 by Tam Truong in the cut-off, the player on the button made the call, as did Tony Hachem in the big blind, leaving himself only 4800 behind. The flop came 10s 8s 5c. Hachem checked, Truong bet 3400, the button called, and Hachem pushed his remaining 4800 into the middle. Both Truong and the button called. Both remaining players then checked the 3c on the turn and the 9d on the river. Hachem rolled over Jh 9h for a busted straight draw but still a live pair of nines. Truong folded but the button revealed K 10 for a bigger pair of tens to send Hachem to the rail.

Faura takes from Lee 

After a series of pre-flop raises, Ricardo Faura moves his stack all-in and was eventually called by Andy Lee. Faura showed 5h 5d and Lee rolled over Ad 7d. The board ran out 8c 4h 6d Jc 7h to deliver the double-up to Faura with a rivered straight. Faura now sits on 44,000 in chips while Lee has 62,000.

In other news Shivan Abdine has exited the tournament and it would appear to the benefit of table-mate Leo Wai (pictured), whose stack is hovering around the 180,000 mark.

Yu’s final level double 

UTG+2 Matt Rolfe raises to 2200, Guang Yu calls in the cut-off and action folds to Nurlan Boobekov in the small blind who 3-bets to 5700. Rolfe calls and Yu moves all-in for 34,500 in total. Boobekov tanks for 3-4 minutes, sizing up Rolfe before moving all-in, forcing the fold from Rolfe. Boobekov shows Qh Qs while Yu tables As Ks and strikes fire when the window card is the Kh, followed by a 6h 6c. The turn is a 10d, the river a 5h and Yu completes the double. This shoots Yu up to about 76,000 in chips while Boobekov drops to 30,000.

One more to go

Play is now into the final level of play for the night with blinds 500/1000 with an ante of 100. Currently 96 players remain from the 164 that registered today. Those that get through this level will join the 56 players that qualified yesterday for Day 2 tomorrow.

Late night surges

A few players not previously mentioned have managed to quietly accumulate quite impressive stacks. Now leading the way is Sam Vakili on 178,000 in chips, followed by Con Angelakis (pictured) on 152,000, Chris Moussa with 135,000, and Leo Wai and David Saghabi both with around 125,000. 


Those that have been eliminated today include Michael ‘Pokerlife’ Tran, Leo Boxell, Sam Khouis, Suzy Khoueis, Nabil Edgtton and Stephen Lindeblad.

Vakili gets cute, gets caught 

Nurlan Boobekov raises in mid-position to 1800. Matt Rolfe calls, Rob Damelian calls, and Reza Vakili moves all-in for 21,900. Action folds back to Boobekov who places 30,000 in chips into the middle, signifying he too is all-in. The other players fold and the cards are exposed. Boobekov shows 10s 10c, just marginally ahead of Vakili’s 7h 2h! The board runs out 8h Qc 9c Qd Js to give the pot to Boobekov, in the end, with a rivered straight. Vakili is out of the tournament while Boobekov rises in excess of 80,000 in chips.

Everybody in, nobody out!

We arrived at table 7 to see a three-way all-in pre-flop. Stephen Lindeblad was the shortest all-in for 4000, Carolyn Keosseian was all-in for about 14,000 and both players had been called by Nick Ngyuen (pictured). Lindeblad showed Ad As, Keosseian tabled Qc Qd, while Nguyen showed Ac Kh. The board ran out 10h Js 4d 10d 9h to triple Lindeblad up to 12,000, and with Keosseian claiming the side pot, she moves up to 20,000 in chips.

Final Main Event numbers

With registration having closed for Day 1 Flight 2 today, 164 players have entered for a total of 281, when added to the 117 from Day 1 Flight 1. This has generated a total prize pool of $786,800, a great result for players and organisers alike. Subject to official review, it’s likely that the winner will receive in excess of $200k.

There are two levels left to play today, currently in level 7, where blinds are 400/800 with an ante of 100.

Chip leaders

Leo Wai – 123,000
Sam Steindl (pictured) – 122,000
David Saghabi – 102,000
Michael O’Grady – 92,000
Ryan Borthwick – 92,000
Joe Khazan – 90,000
Andy Lee – 80,000

Saghabi sucks out

As relayed by David Saghabi, the following hand took place just prior to the break. Pre-flop action saw a raise to 3800, which was called in two spots. The flop came Qc 5h 2d. Action checked to Saghabi who moved all-in for just south of 50,000. One player got out of the road, the other snap-called. Saghabi rolled over his A-Q only to be met with pocket kings of his opponent. The turn was a blank, but the rivered Ah delivered the pot to Saghabi and created a memorable bad-beat story for his opponent, who was sent to the rail. Saghabi currently sits on 105,000 in chips.

Time for a break

Players are now on a 10-minute break. Registration will remain open until the end of the break.

Borthwick clips Lee

We arrived at the table to see a mid-position raise of 1300. Andy Lee, next to act made the call, as did Tam Truong. Action moved to Ryan Borthwick who 3-bet to 4000. The initial raiser folded, Lee makes the call, Truong mucks. The flop comes 10h 10d 2s. Lee checks, Borthwick fires 10,000 at the pot, and Lee mucks after some consideration. This drops Lee to 82,000 while Borthwick moves to 94,000.

Sometimes it’s nice to be Sam

On a board of 8 5 5 5 8 with about 14,000 already in the pot, Ferenc Riech droped in a bet of 21,000. Sam Steindl considered his move, making the call. Riech showed A-K to Sam’s A-8, who rivered a bigger full house than the one on the board. Steindl scoops the pot to become the second player to break through the 100k mark, now sitting on 110,000 in chips. But wait, there’s more…there was some consolation for Riech, as he, in the very next hand, called off an all-in shove with pocket tens which held against his opponent’s A-J, to recoup some of his previous losses.

Notable stacks

Andy Lee – 115,000
Sam Vakili – 95,000
Minh Nguyen (pictured) – 75,000
Laurence Hall – 68,000
Tony Kondevski – 65,000
Gary Benson – 65,000
Michael O’Grady – 55,000
Ismail Ismail – 45,000
Jim Psaros – 41,000
Shivan Abdine – 31,000
Sheldon Mayer – 30,000
Tyron Krost – 30,000
Chad Awerbuch – 30,000
Tony Hachem – 19,000
Michael ‘Pokerlife’ Tran – 18,000
Leo Boxell – 11,000

Blind are up

Blinds are now 300/600 with an ante of 75 as play enters level 6. 131 players remain of the 162 that have registered for the day. Registration will remain open until the end of the 10-minute break that is scheduled at the conclusion of this level.

David Tam hits the rail

On the table nearest our reporting area we heard the all-in call announcement from the dealer and then a gasp when the turn card of 10 added to a flop of J 6 Q. We found David Tam all-in with K-K against his opponents A-K. The river card did not play, knocking Tam out of the tournament prematurely…for him.

It’s the action table

Ricardo Faura (pictured) this time knocks out an opponent while Tam Truong is tested, with his tournament life in consideration again. On a board of 10c 4d 2s Qs 6s with one short-stacked player all-in and plenty in the pot, Faura bets another 10,000 to hand it to Truong to make another big decision. With only about 20,000 in chips, he ponders his next move before eventually folding. Faura turns over two spades for the flush to win the hand against the all-in player who mucks.

Bakhos burns stack 

Ryan Borthwick raised to 1800 in mid-position and received a single caller in Charlie Bakhos in the Big Blind. The flop came 6h 4h 2c, Bakhos checks and Borthwick bets 2000, which Bakhos quickly calls. The turn is 6d, Bakhos again checks at which point Borthwick asks Bakhos what he has left, Bakhos replies “15,800.” Borthwick then checks behind. The river is the Kc, Bakhos instantly moves all-in for his 15800, while Borthwick thinks for about 5 seconds and announces call. Bakhos says, “you win’ and tables Qc 8s for complete air, as Borthwick tables 9h 9d and claims the pot to send Bakhos on his way.

Players are back

Another level is upon the players, this time level 5, where blinds are 200/400 with an ante of 50. 157 players have registered so far today and 142 remain.

End of level stacks

Andy Lee – 127,000
Leo Wai – 84,000
Kazim Ququlyac – 80,000
David Saghabi – 66,000
Sam Vakili – 66,000
Jimmy Tran – 61,000
Carolyn Keosseian – 61,000

Short not sweet

Just before the break we ran into New Zealand poker player Phil Willcocks who was clearly dazed. Not from any shenanigans from last night, instead due to what just happened in the tournament. He was a late registration in the tournament and lasted four hands! The first hand he played he woke up with Aces and flopped top set, going on to lose that hand. In another, on a low board also flopping top set, got hit yet again, knocking him out in a whirlwind. He said “it was the craziest tournament ever, 4 ‘beeping’ hands!” Better luck at the cash tables Phil.

Level 4 complete

Players are on another break, this time for 20 minutes, as level 4 comes to a conclusion.

Same three at it again

Andy Lee raised to 1100 in mid-position. Tam Truong (pictured) moved all-in for 2650. Charlie Bakhos and Lee call. The flop fell 3d Jd 10h. Both Lee and Bakhos check. The turn was a 4s, Bakhos checked, Lee bet 5000, which Bakhos called. The river was a 4c. This time Bakhos lead for 5000, which Lee called. Bakhos rolled over 5d 6d for a busted straight draw, while Lee showed Ah 10c, which is good enough to win the side pot of 20,000. Truong sitting quietly over in the corner rolled over Qh Qc, which is good enough to triple up!

Andy Lee cracks 100k

Following a raise in mid-position of 625, Charlie Bakhos was next to act and called. Andy Lee then 3-bet to 2300. Action moved to Tam Truong on the button who 4-bet to 3975. The initial raiser folded and both Bakhos and Lee made the call. The flop came Qs Qh 5c. Bakhos was first to act, making it 1200. Lee then 3-bet to 6350, which Truong and Bakhos both called. The turn was a 8d. Bakhos checked, as did Lee, while Truong took the opportunity to fire 6000 at the pot. Bakhos snap-called, Lee took a minute to consider his position and then re-raised to 21,000. Truong tanked, eventually releasing his hand, leaving himself with only 5000 in chips. Bakhos makes the call and instantly checks in the dark. The river is a 10s, Lee quickly checks behind and they table their cards. Lee shows Kh Qc and Bakhos mucks. Lee moves to 117,000 while Bakhos drops to 52,000.

Would you care for an Iced VuVu?

We arrived at the table to see a flop of 9h 8d 6c. Following a bet from Bassim Habib to 1000, Duy Quok Vu then moved all-in for 10,000 in total. David Fan on the button made the call and Habib folded. Vu turned over red queens and Fan showed 7h 6d. The turn was a Jd, the river a 9d, to deliver the double to Vu.

Yes, we have bananas

Tony Hachem (pictured) has finally taken his seat in the field today. He’s joined a table with recent chip leader Andy Lee, as well as Charlie Bakhos, who recently all but eliminated an opponent after turning trip-3s. With this Bakhos’ stack is up to 75,000, so there are some stacks building on this table alone.

Pre-flop warfare

Action was folded around to the small blind Ferenc Riech, who raised to 800. Sam Steindl then re-raised to 1500 and after a minutes consideration, Riech 4-bet to 3800 in total which Steindl eventually called. The flop came 4c Kh Qs. Riech fired 2800 into the middle and Steindl folded. They seem to be a lot more creative pre-flop today than they were yesterday…

Aces hold up

In pre-flop action and several raises, Ricardo Faura pushes all-in (with A-A) and is called by an opponent (with Q-Q). All others get out the way to let these guys see the cards fall. There do so in Faura’s favour who covers his opponent and sends him to the rail.

Notable stacks

Reza Vakili – 50,000
Gary Benson (pictured) – 40,000
Tyron Krost – 28,000
Sheldon Mayer – 28,000
Michael Tran – 23,000
Stephen Lindeblad – 16,500

We’ve also seen Sam Khouis, Suzy Khoueis, Chad Awerbuch, Adrian Attenborough, Tony Kondevski, another Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell and there’s a whisper that Tony Hachem should be joining the field shortly.

Back from the break

Players have had their first 10-minute break of the day and return to face level 3 where blinds are 100/200 with an ante of 25 now introduced. Chip leaders at the break include:

Andy Lee (pictured) – 65,000
Kazim Ququlyac – 56,000
Sam Vakili – 54,000
Jose Quintas – 47,000
Leo Wai – 47,000
Jimmy Tran – 44,000
Manuel Hanismikali – 43,000

Five-bet gets it done

There were two limpers in early position when a player in mid-position raised to 800. Next to act was Sam Vakili (pictured) who re-raised to 2000. Jim Psaros called from the cut-off and action was on Michael O’Grady on the button, who put in the 4-bet to 4800. It was folded around to Vakili who considered his next action for a couple of minutes before committing 12500 for the 5-bet. Psaros grimaced, re-checked his cards before begrudgingly folding, leaving O’Grady to consider the state of play once again. After a minute he folded his hand face up showing Ah Ks. Vakili pushed his cards into the muck after taking down a nice pot and we move on…

Will there be enough?

As reported yesterday, Star Poker provides free hoodies to all entrants in the Main Event. Tournament organisers are confident there will be enough for all players but given the entry numbers continue to climb, staff may miss out this year. Now that’s a first world problem! As a side note, we did post a picture with our Poker Media card placed on the opposite breast to show organisers how the hoodies could look next year…but to clarify, there is currently just one version of the hoodie available.

Casas first casualty

As reported to the desk, a dejected Alan Casas was first to take his leave today after running his top two pair into a flopped set. We’re sure he’ll be one of many today as Flight 2 numbers approach 140.

Early movers

As level 2 begins with blinds at 100/200, there are a handful of players who have built on their starting 30,000 stacks, including:

Jimmy Tran – 52,000
Simon Merritt – 47,000
Ricardo Faura – 44,000
Manuel Hanismikali – 44,000
Kiavash Arbabi – 40,000

Who else is here?

With not a great deal of action worth reporting on, those that have graced us with their presence as the first level comes to a conclusion include David Tam, Jimmy Tran, Michael ‘Pokerlife’ Tran (pictured), Australian Poker Hall of Famer Gary Benson, Andy Lee, Shivan Abdine, Alex Falon, Bassim Habib and Stephen Lindeblad.

Thanks to The Inside Word

Live reporting for this event is proudly brought to you by PokerMedia Australia partners The Inside Word who provide detailed sports betting analysis and insightful, independent commentary about local and international sports. Check them out!

Early clash

We arrived at table with 9000 already in the pot and a flop showing 5h 9d Jc. Kiavash Arbabi was in the SB and placed a bet of 5500. Duy Quok Vu in mid-position was considering the call and actually had the clock called on him by another player not in the hand. With about 20 seconds to go he dropped in the chips to call. Both players checked the 5c on the turn and also the 10c on the river. Arbabi rolled over two black Aces which was good enough against Vu’s Q-Q. This early encounter takes Arbabi up to 43,000 in chips.

Who’s here?

As play was about to start it was interesting to note that those already at the table were predominantly women. They are organised creatures! Many of the blokes here could learn a thing or two. Anyway…as play starts we’ve noticed Nabil Edgtton, Dean Blatt (pictured), Sheldon Mayer, Jimmy Ghobrial, Chad Awerbuch, Angelo Hamataj, Laurence Hall (we actually heard him before we saw him), Michael O’Grady, Tyron Krost and Rob Damelian in the field.

Welcome to Day 1 Flight 2

Welcome to our continued coverage of the 2015 Sydney Championships $3000 Main Event. Yesterday saw Flight 1 attract 117 players with 56 making it through to Day 2, which will be played on Sunday. The average stack from Flight 1 was 62,700 after starting with 30,000 in chips. Peter Matusik lead the way with 185,300, followed by Michael Kanaan with 136,100 and Adam Ratten with 132,700 in chips.

This year’s $3000 Main Event has a guaranteed prizepool of $500,000 set by Star Poker. However, that has already been achieved based on the registrations from today currently sitting at 105. 236 players started the field in this event last year, so the aim will be to break through that barrier with at least 120 entrants today. Registration will remain open until the end of the third break, just prior to the start of level 7, at about 7pm tonight.

8 one hour levels will be played today, taking us through to about 9.30pm tonight. The first level has just started with blinds at 50/100 with a starting stack of 30,000 in chips. So sit back and relax while we bring you updates throughout the day.

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