Benjamin Jee is the latest player to make Star Poker history by winning the Sydney Championships Main Event for 2015. He was able to overcome a tough final 21 players and a heads-up battle against Yusuf Dib to be awarded just over $200,000, the title and trophy.
Play in the Main Event this year began on Friday August 7 at The Star in Sydney for the first of two Day 1 flights. The field increased from 236 entries in 2014 to 281 this year, at a buy-in of $3,000. After four days of play and some 26 levels, it would be Jee who would finally be crowned Champion. The 20-year-old economics student from Sydney had committed to playing poker seriously part-time this year. Winning this event has surely taken some pressure off his future performances.
The first two Day 1 flights played eight hour-long levels and 281 entrants were confirmed at the conclusion of these flights, generating a total prize pool of $786,000. That meant that the top 30 players would make the money and a min-cash of $5,508.
The final day saw 21 players qualify from Day 2 that had played until the early hours of the prior morning. At the start of play Peter Matusik and ‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou lead the field with chip counts nearing the 1 million mark. There were also eight players with less that 200,000 in chips, suggesting eliminations could occur quickly once play recommenced. And that proved to be the case until the final table bubble. Play had tightened significantly while chip stacks had built up enough where players could protect themselves with more conservative betting.
Michael Fraser had at one point held a significant chip lead. However, when he clashed with fellow big stack Adam Hamkin, it would be Hamkin that would send Fraser on a downward spiral. Fraser would eventually crash out prior to the final table in 11th place, while Hamkin held on for a well-deserved third place.
Once the final table was set, Yusuf Dib helped push things along with a double elimination. His pre-flop A-K completed a full house against two pocket pairs that missed the board, sending Ricardo Faura and Charbel Boustani out of the tournament.
Chip stacks were reasonably even when five players remained and play stalled again. Ben Jee, the eventual winner, would remain consistent, having been a top-ten chip leader most of the day but not taking over the lead until three-handed. He would initially fall behind both Hamkin and Dib at times but when Hamkin was railed at the hands of Dib, Jee would take his chance. Jee started behind Dib 5:3 but would eat away at his stack before taking the lead, eventually dominating Dib to win in what was a great performance.
The final payouts were:
1st Benjamin Jee – $200,634.00
2nd Yusuf Dib – $127,855.00
3rd Adam Hamkin – $71,995.00
4th Sam Steindl – $56,256.00
5th Tony ‘Toothpick’ Kambouroglou – $46,028.00
6th Ismail Ismail – $38,160.00
7th Charbel Boustani – $29,898.00
8th Ricardo Faura – $24,391.00
9th Duy Quoc Vu – $18,096.00
10th Peter Matusik – $11,802.00
11th Michael Fraser – $11,802.00
12th Henry Szmelcer – $11,802.00
13th Adam Ratten – $10,228.00
14th Mathew Rolfe – $10,228.00
15th Sammy Lucisano – $10,228.00
16th Nick Williams – $9,048.00
17th Guang Yan Yu – $9,048.00
18th Nicholas Roth – $9,048.00
19th Minh Nguyen – $7,868.00
20th Tien Pham – $7,868.00
21st Constantin Stanciu – $7,868.00
22nd Leo Wai – $7,081.00
23rd Ian Parnell – $7,081.00
24th David Chambers – $7,081.00
25th Cheng-en Lee – $6,294.00
26th Tony Kondevski – $6,294.00
27th Corey Kempson – $6,294.00
28th Nathan Gubieski – $5,508.00
29th Jim Psaros – $5,508.00
30th Simon Merritt – $5,508.00
Poker Media Australia was again on hand to follow the Main Event and the PMA 6-handed events live. We also provided some reports for the final day of the $5k Challenge. We hope you enjoyed the coverage. Thanks again to The Star and Star Poker for a wonderful event in what we think is the best poker area for some time. Let’s hope they can stay there for the long term.