2015 Star Poker Summer Series – Poker Media Australia 6-handed NLH $1100 / Day 1

2.35am: Final table is set!

14 hours after it began, the 2015 Star Summer Series PMS 6-handed event is down to the final table.

Bernie Stang became the final elimination of the day, his fate sealed when he was left crippled after losing a race holding AQ to the 99 of Michael O’Grady. 

Finished soon after by John Caridad, who scored a much-needed triple-up in the process, Stang’s departure leaves us with a final table of seven to return to The Star at 4pm Monday afternoon and play down to a winner.

The final table chip counts are as follows:

Ajay Toolooa – 505,000
Michael O’Grady – 446,500
Jim Psaros – 408,000
Sam Capra – 391,000
John Caridad – 226,500
Craig Duffy – 193,000
Katie Gooden – 127,000

As always, PokerMedia Australia will be back on deck to bring you all the final table action!

2.05am: Down to 8

Sam Capra appears to have taken over from Jim Psaros as the destroyer. Moments after eliminating Chad Awerbuch, Capra sent George K packing as well.

Again, it was AK doing the damage with a K on the flop enough to best his opponent’s 10s.

We are now one elimination away from the final table of 7 players.

1.55am: Then there were 9

Still with us? We briefly ducked outside to get some fresh air and stretch the legs but back inside The Star Poker Room the final table grows ever closer.

Chad Awerbuch fought hard to gain lost ground after being crippled recently but finally ran out of steam when he ran AQ into the AK of Sam Capra.

His departure leaves us with nine remaining and just two more eliminations from calling it a night.

1.15am: Awerbuch crippled

Having sat amongst the chip leaders for much of the day, Chad Awerbuch hasn’t had a lot of luck over the past few hours and he has just suffered a terrible beat to find himself crippled.

Awerbuch got it in holding AK to be a dominant favorite over the KT of Ajay Toolooa. All looked good for a healthy double as the board came 4939 but the river brought the dreaded T and Awerbuch is left with under 100,000.

1.05am: Psaros builds monster lead

We’re now down to the final two tables with 12 players remaining and Jim Psaros continues to dominate proceedings.

His stack has now ballooned to 630,000 which is about 400,000 more than the next best! Having already won the ANZPT Sydney Main Event this year, Psaros will be very hard to stop from here.

12.50am: Blinds are up!

Blinds are up to 3,000/6,000 with a 500 ante.

12.30am: Psaros surging

Jim Psaros has been on a heater since the bubble burst – eliminating one player and crippling Tam Truong  to surge to the of the chip counts.

Psaros is up to 360,000 while Truong was finished off a few moments ago to cut the field to 15.

11.55pm: The bubble bursts!

David Tam is our unlucky bubble boy, shipping his K9 suited over Sam Capra’s late position open but quickly discovering that Capra had a real hand. 

Capra called with pockets 10s and with the board running out A9523 we are now officially in the money.

Players are on a short break before returning to play down to the final table.

11.45pm: So that just happened …

Well that’s something we haven’t seen before. Despite the average stack size being over 120,000, the tournament was paused for 35 minutes because a player believed he had already paid his 400 ante and didn’t want to pay it again. 

And guess what? He was wrong! Time not so well spent … but on a bright note the remaining players – and media – have been offered a free drink to make amends for the disruption. Jolly good!

In the meantime, hand-for-hand play is finally back underway.


Believe it or not, all four tables are currently waiting to start the next hand of hand-for-hand play because one player is disputing whether or not he has already posted his 400 chip ante!

So we’re off the video to find out for sure while the tournament goes into lockdown! Needless to say the other 18 players are far from pleased

11.05pm: Bubble time!

If this was a Bounty event, Jim Psaros would be laughing all the way to the bank given the number of players he has finished off in the past two hours.

His latest victim was Joseph Grossman, who was forced to shove his tiny stack with Q9 and was called by Psaros with KJ. The board whiffed both and we are now officially on the bubble with 19 remaining!

10.50pm: Blind rise

Blinds are up again, this time to 1,500/3,000 with a 400 ante.

10.40pm: Bubble is nigh

We currently have 20 players remaining and with 18 making the money the games have begun with the short and medium stacks keeping a close eye on what’s happening on each table.

As it stands, we have three players riding particularly short stacks so it won’t be long before we see the bubble burst.

10.25pm: Truong on a tear

Tam Truong has endured a roller-coaster afternoon but having ridden a short stack for the past few hours he has just doubled up with AK against AQ to put himself in contention.

Truong now has 130,000 and will undoubtedly make life uncomfortable for his opponents as the bubble approaches.

10.20pm: Stang strikes

Bernie Stang is the third player to cross the 200,000 chip mark, although he did it the hard way. Stang had his opponent well covered but needed help when he ran his Kings into pocket Aces in a big pre-flop confrontation.

Help duly arrived with a flopped King sending another to the rail and pushing Stang’s stack to 230,000.

10.10pm: Level up

With 24 players remaining, blinds are up to 1,200/2,400 with a 300 ante.

10.05pm: Top 5 stacks

Chad Awerbuch – 230,000
Michael O’Grady – 215,000
Rajesh Sabapathy – 170,000
Bernie Stang – 170,000
Katie Gooden – 140,000

9.35pm: Latest level

Players are now back from their short break with blinds up to 1,000/2,000 with a 300 ante.

9.20pm: Break time

The remaining 29 players are on a 10-minute break.

9.15pm: I win, you win, we all win!

We just witnessed an amusing hand take place on Table 9 with three players – including 2011 Sydney Championships winner Errolyn Strang – all-in pre-flop. 

It all began with the table short stack shoving with 22. Strang shipped over the top with AK and another player came along for the ride with JJ.

A King on the flop saw Strang take the lead but three spades gave the short stack hope of survival as the only player with a spade in their hand. His dreams soon came true as a fourth spade arrived on the turn and he jumped from his chair in glee.

But just to throw in another twist, a fifth spade landed on the river – rendering his 2 of spades useless and splitting the pot between all three players!

8.55pm: O’Grady, Gooden make their move

It looks like a three-way battle for the chip lead at the moment with Chad Awerbuch being joined at the top by both Michael O’Grady and Katie Gooden.

We recently witnessed Gooden win a big pot when she flopped Broadway holding QT and got it in against an opponent’s two pair. She has since used her stack to good effect and is now up to 150,000.

O’Grady is the latest to chip up following a big pre-flop clash with David Sanis. In the end it was Sanis committing his last 40,000 with AQ and needing help against O’Grady’s AK. The board ran out 447K8 to cut the field by one and leave O’Grady in good shape.  

8.45pm: A new level

As the clock ticks over into Level 12, we’re down to just six tables with 36 players remaining.

Blinds are now at 800/1,600 with a 200 ante.  

8.15pm: Awerbuch in pole position

Chad Awerbuch has stormed into the chip lead since returning from the dinner break and it was Dean Blatt who contributed a good chunk of those chips as he found himself headed to the rail.

The hand in question began with Blatt opening to 2,400 and Awerbuch 3-betting to 5,500. Blatt called. The flop fell K34 with two spades and Awerbuch continued for 4,800. Blatt then check-raised to 10,000 as Awerbuch called.

The turn brought the 5 of spades and this time Blatt jammed for his remaining 11,000. Awerbuch made the call with AK and was well ahead of Blatt’s KT. 

The river was a brick, sending a mountain of chips Awerbuch’s way and kick-starting a heater that has seen him move to 160,000.

7.55pm: Who’s left?

The pace has slowed a little over the past 15 minutes, so let’s take a look at the notables still in the field.

They include John Caridad, Tam Truong, Sam Capra, Jim Psaros, Errolyn Strang, Chad Awerbuch and defending champion Dejan Boskovic.

7.30pm: Down to business

A tasty kebab was just what the doctor ordered as we delve into the business end of the tournament!

Level 10 sees blinds up to 500/1,000 with a 100 ante. There are 48 players remaining with 18 places being paid.

6.50pm: Dinner break

Level 9 has come to an end and players are now on a 30-minute dinner break. See you back here at 7:20pm local time.

6.45pm: O’Grady making a move

Michael O’Grady is up to his usual tricks – keeping his table mates on their toes with his relentless banter and busy play.

We stopped by his table for a few minutes where his first action was to fire out a hefty river bet on a four club board. His opponent was adamant O’Grady was bluffing but couldn’t muster a call, which of course prompted O’Grady to confirm those suspicions by revealing eight-high.

Next hand O’Grady opened the button and another player shoved for around 15,000. O’Grady made the call with pocket 10s and was racing against AQ, but a T on the flop sent more chips his way as he moved to around 75,000.

6.25pm: The field narrows

With 30 minutes remaining until the dinner break there are 68 players remaining with blinds at 400/800 with a 100 ante and an average stack size of 33,000.

6.15pm: Good Manners

Tim Manners has just won a huge pot to position himself among the tournament chip leaders and send two players to the rail in the process.

We caught the action on the turn with the board reading JT8A and Michel Bouskila announcing he was all-in. Donald Civic was already committed which left Manners with a tough decision to make.

He eventually called with JT and was pleased to see Bouskila show T8 for an inferior two pair. Civic tabled 99 to give Manners a sweat but the river 5 was as safe as they come.

Manners is up to 90,000 with Civic and Bouskila eliminated.

5.45pm: Payouts

The payouts for today’s PMA 6-handed event have been calculated with the top 18 finishers making the money and the winner taking home almost $40,000. 

1st: $38,250
2nd: $26,010
3rd: $18,360
4th: $12,240
5th: $9,180
6th: $7,650
7th-9th: $4,590
10th-12th: $3,825
13th-15th: $3,060
16th-18th: $2,295

5.35pm: Level up

Blinds are up to 300/600 with a 50 ante.

5.30pm: Toolooa too good

Ajay Toolooa has emerged as our tournament chip leader with an impressive stack of around 90,000 – well clear of all but one other player. Ironically that player, Joseph Grossman, happens to be seated directly to his right with 80,000.

Other notable stacks include Michael O’Grady with 65,000, David Sanis with 45,000 and Jimmy Ghobrial with 40,000.

5.05pm: Technical difficulties

For those of you wondering why the lengthy break in transmission, we ran into a few technical difficulties during Level 6 that prevented us accessing the PokerMedia Australia website.

As you can see, those difficulties have now been resolved, so let’s recap where we are at in the Star Summer Series PMA 6-handed event.

With the rebuy period now over, the final number of entries has come in at 153 of which just 91 remain!

We’re not midway through Level 7 with blinds at 200/400 and a 50 ante.

3.40pm: Scicchitano flops the nuts, loses

Angelo Scicchitano finished third in this event during the Sydney Championships in August but he’ll need to make good use of his second bullet if he is to produce a similar performance this time around.

The Star Poker regular thought all his Christmases had come at once when he got it all in holding 89 on a 567 flop, but he needed to fade plenty of outs against his opponent’s 55 and didn’t make it past the turn where a repeat 7 saw his chips disappear.

3.20pm: Level 5 arrives

Level 4 is coming to an end, which means blinds are about to hit 100/200 with a 25 ante.

3.20pm: Awerbuch donates to Abdine

Chad Awerbuch had been using position well to build a healthy stack but he just lost a chunk of chips to Shivan Abdine.

With blinds at 100/200, the hand began with limps all round before the player in the small blind bumped it up to 1,100. Awerbuch and Abdine called to see a flop of KQ6 with two spades. 

The action was checked around to Abdine who bet 2,700 – prompting a fold from the small blind but a shover from Awerbuch. Abdine called and showed J9 of spades to be in great shape against Awerbuch’s 74 of spades. 

The board blanked and Abdine climbs to 30,000 while Awerbuch slips back down to 20,000.

2.50pm: Entries building

The players have enjoyed their first 10-minute break of the day and are back for Level 4 with blinds at 100/200. There are currently 129 entries with players still able to utilize their rebuy option through to the end of Level 6.

2.30pm: Boskovic Snr wins massive pot

A few months back it was Dejan Boskovic winning the PMA 6-handed event and now his father Dean is making a charge after winning a monster pot on Table 3.

We sauntered by just as the action was heating up with the board reading 3457 and Boskovic announcing he was all-in. He was quickly called by the player in Seat 1 but Jamal Ishac responded with a shove of his own.

The player called and it was a three-way all-in with Seat 1 holding A2 of diamonds for the bottom straight with a nut flush draw and Ishac J6 of diamonds for the higher straight but inferior diamond draw.

However, both would need help on the river with Boskovic turning over 86 for the nuts. The river was a blank and Boskovic Snr soars to the top of the chip counts with around 40,000.

2.10pm: Plenty of time for rebuys

This event attracted a total of 156 buy-ins, including rebuys, during August’s Sydney Championships and the race is now on to see if we can better that mark today.

There are currently 119 players in today’s field with 20 minutes still remaining until registration closes at the end of Level 3. However, players can still utilize their one rebuy right through to the end of Level 6, so it will be interesting to see where the final tally ends up.

2.05pm: Taming Tam 

Another player who loves tormenting his rivals with relentless aggression is Tam Truong and it came as no surprise to hear his table mates gently reminding him a few moments ago that this is No Limit Hold’em, not PLO.

Nevertheless, it seems they are onto his tricks. In a recent hand, Truong opened to 350 and received one caller in the small blind. The flop came 7J9 and both players checked. When a repeat J landed on the turn, his opponent led for 600 only for Truong to come back over the top to 1,600. His opponent called.

The river was a T and Truong didn’t hesitate to bet 2,500 when checked to, but he was eventually forced to concede to the check raise.

Truong has roughly his starting stack of 15,000.    

1.40pm: A Queen sandwich

John Caridad is renowned as a busy player and he has started no differently today – aggressively raising and re-raising at every opportunity. 

However, it was the men sitting either side of him who really went to war moments ago – the pain on Caridad’s face as he was forced to fold pre-flop clearly evident!

The hand began with the UTG player opening to 250 and Caridad obliging with a raise to 750. The player to Caridad’s left then bumped it up to 2,000 with next in line Jim Pizarias reluctantly mucking his cards.

The original raiser then 5-bet to 7,000, forcing Caridad out, only for a 6-bet shove as the chips went flying! Alas, all the excitement was for nought as both players tabled pocket Qs, although Pizarias’ proud declaration that he had folded Jacks didn’t last long when a J appeared in the window.

As it was, the two all-in players chopped the pot with only around 400 extra chips each to show for all the drama.  

1.10pm: Blinds are up!

Blinds are up to 50/100

1.05pm: More arrivals

Errolyn Strang, Shivan Abdine, Jason Pritchard and Jimmy Ghobrial are among the latest players to take their seats. We’re up to 86 starters as the clock approaches the end of Level 1.

12.55pm: Psaros the early pace setter

We wandered up to the table of Jim Psaros just in time to see him emerge as the early chip leader here in the PokerMedia Australia 6-handed event.

With the board reading 58QJ, Psaros’s opponent in the hand checked to the ANZPT Sydney champion who bet 3,800. His opponent called.

The river brought a harmless 6 and this time Psaros bet 4,000 when checked to. His opponent tanked for around a minute before finally making the call but mucked without showing when Psaros flashed QQ for the flopped set.

He is up to 25,000.

12.40pm: Numbers are building

We’ve got 60 players registered so far  and with two hours still remaining for players to buy-in that number should rapidly move past the 100 mark.

A quick scan of the room shows plenty of familiar faces including Chad Awerbuch, Michael O’Grady, Sam Khouiss, Sam Capra, Tony Kambouroglou and 2015 ANZPT Sydney champion Jim Psaros are among those already in their seats.

We’ve also spotted Dejan Boskovic, who won this event during the Sydney Championships in August, out to defend his crown.   

12.30pm: $1,100 PMA 6-handed event is underway!

The cards are in the air here in the Star Poker room! Blinds are a friendly 25/50 with starting stacks of 15,000 and each level lasting 40 minutes. All players are allowed one rebuy should they bust inside the first six levels.

2015 Star Summer Series PMA 6-handed

Welcome to PokerMedia Australia and our coverage of the 2015 Star Summer Series live from The Star in Sydney.

Over the next week we’ll be setting up camp here in The Star Poker room to bring you all the action not only from the $2,000 Star Summer Series Main Event, which starts Friday, but also the $5k Challenge which gets underway on Wednesday afternoon.

However, as usual we kick off proceedings today with the always popular $1,100 PokerMedia Australia 6-handed event from 12:30pm local time.

Our intrepid reporter Ben Blaschke is on the poker room floor ready for a long and exciting day of action, so stay right here with PokerMedia Australia as the 2015 Star Summer Series starts pumping!

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