Colourful Melbourne identity Mick Gatto held his nerve when it mattered most to win the annual Poker with the Stars celebrity charity gala poker event at Grand Hyatt Melbourne last Friday night.
Gatto, cheered on by a vocal support crew, outlasted a huge field of 350 players – comprising local celebrities, VIPs and corporate guests – to take down the event following a closely fought final table that was eventually decided by a dramatic four-way all-in. Holding A5 suited, he flopped top pair and a flush draw before holding on to take the top prize. It was the third time Gatto has won the event.
Organized by two-time ANZPT Player of the Year Tony Hachem under his Hachem Management Group, Poker with the Stars has been a fixture on the Australian poker calendar since 2013 with the goal of raising funds for Australian charities.
This year’s charity partners are the Australian Sports Foundation, which supports sporting clubs and young athletes around the country, and Giant Steps – an organization bringing world’s best practice in the treatment and education of children with autism. More than $100,000 was raised on the night.
A who’s who of Melbourne’s sporting landscape took part this year, including spin king Shane Warne, former AFL Greats Brendan Fevola, Campbell Brown, Shane Crawford Dane Swan, Anthony Koutoufides and Darren Jolly, comedian Trevor Marmalade and 2005 WSOP main event champion Joe Hachem.
For his efforts, Gatto won a brand new MG3 Auto Core car, a Jagger watch, Schabello Coffee Gift Bag and 708 Gin Gift Bag. He didn’t keep the car however, giving it away instead to Asti Savage – a lady from far North Queensland who didn’t let the fact that she is in a wheelchair stop her from making the long trip down on short notice to take part.
“She mentioned at the start that she really wanted to win the car so after she got knocked out I really wanted to win it for her,” Gatto said. “I’m sure she’ll get the car converted to what she needs and hopefully she can enjoy it for many years to come.”