Canada’s Mike Watson wins Opening Event of Australian Poker Open at The Star Gold Coast

Highly credentialed Canadian poker pro Mike Watson has added another feather to his cap after taking down the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Opening Event of the inaugural Australian Poker Open at The Star Gold Coast.

The latest addition to Australia’s rapidly expanding live poker calendar, the Australian Poker Open – a partnership between The Star Gold Coast, World Poker Tour (WPT) and Poker Central – is a brand new high-roller tournament series featuring seven events with buy-ins ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, culminating with the $250,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl Australia.

Running off the back of the 2020 Aussie Millions, which came to its own intriguing conclusion at Crown Melbourne in the early hours of Saturday morning, the Australian Poker Open’s Opening Event attracted a field of 59 starters with Watson eventually prevailing after a back-and-forth heads-up battle with Sydneysider Michael O’Grady – the latter coming off a successful Aussie Millions campaign in which he won the Accumulator Event for $188,860. Watson collected $177,000 for his efforts and his first trophy since winning the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event in January 2016.

“I’m thrilled to have won it,” said the former WPT champion and holder of two Aussie Millions rings . “Especially in these series it’s great to get off to a good start and set the tone, get your confidence high and try to make a run for that player of the series title. It’s also the first live event I’ve won in a little while, so that monkey’s off my back.”

Watson also revealed that he plans to play every event this week, adding, “The schedule looks great and the good turnouts of the first couple of events will hopefully continue into the higher stakes. 

“We do know though that things always get a bit more serious as the stakes get higher with a lot of the same faces but that is to be expected. I think it’s a great schedule for me and I’m excited for a great week of poker.”

The schedule for the inaugural Australian Poker Open includes two No Limit Hold’em and one PLO $10,000 buy-in events, a $25,000 No Limit Hold’em and a $25,000 PLO event, plus $50,000 and $100,000 No Limit Hold’em events. The player who accrues the most High Roller of the Year points across all seven events will be awarded the Australian Poker Open trophy.

Meanwhile, the Super High Roller Bowl – first launched in 2016 – was held for the sixth time earlier this month at Baha Mar in the Bahamas, with the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl Australia (set to run for three days from 2 February) to represent the event’s seventh rendition and first on Australian shores. 

Australian Poker Open – Opening Event final table placings:

PosNamePrize (AU$)
1stMike Watson$177,000
2ndMichael O’Grady$118,000
3rdBenjamin Shannon$82,600
4thOrpen Kisacikoglu$59,000
5thJamie Lee$47,200
6thAndras Nemeth$35,400
7thElio Fox$29,500
8thBen Lamb$23,600
9thLuc Greenwood$17,700

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