That’s a wrap!
That’s a wrap for Day 1A of the inaugural WPT Deepstacks Gold Coast Main Event from The Star Gold Coast.
An epic 11 hours of play saw a massive 340 entries with just 54 making it through to Day 2, led by none other than 2019 APL Million champion Hussein Hassan who tops the chip counts with a massive 533,000. No doubt we’ll see plenty of the vanquished back on Friday to try and join Hassan among the big stacks.
There were plenty of familiar names on show too, led by 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem and Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne – the latter holding steady to carry a 162,000 stack into Sunday’s Day 2.
Others to try their luck on Thursday were Jonathan Karamalikis, Angel Guillen, Alex Lynskey,Didier Guerin, Ehsan Amiri, Tristan Bain, Brendon Rubie, Billy Argyros, Tyron Krost, Najeem Ajez, Gary Benson, Mel Judah, Ricky Kroesen, Jason Gray, Robert Damelian, Luke Martinelli, Andrew White, Shivan Abdine, David Gorr, Graeme Putt, Dennis Huntly and 2019 WPT Australia champion Hari Varma.
Most fell by the wayside but there were some notable making it through, including Lynskey, Amiri, Rubie, Argyros, Benson, Damelian, Martinelli, White and Abdine.
The top 5 chip counts at the end of Day 1A are:
Hussein Hassan – 533,000
Alex Lynskey – 493,000
Chuck Caris – 424,000
Gary Benson – 417,000
Pete Robinson – 362,000
There are still two more Day 1 flights to go here at The Star Gold Coast, so be sure to visit pokermedia.com.au from around 4pm Friday as we continue our live coverage of the WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast Main Event.
There will also be exclusive video content available on the PokerMedia Australia facebook page, including a special livecast from 4.15pm AEST Friday featuring the WPT’s Lynn Gilmartin and Ashleigh Lawrence.
3 hands to go
The tournament staff have informed the remaining 55 players that there will be three more hands played before we bag and tag!
Robert Damelian shoved for his last 100,000 holding A♠10♠ and was called by Ryan Yoon with A♦K♣. Damelian had one foot out the door until the 10♥ landed on the turn to give him the double and catapult him up to 220,000.
Yoon was left with just 35,000 in front but quickly found a double of his own to stay alive, his A♣Q♣ outflopping the 10♦10♥ of Mena Elias.
Robert Damelian – 220,000
Mena Elias – 160,000
Ryan Yoon – 90,000
Tolly Sakellariou is well known for his high variance, aggressive style of play and it appears to have cost him a big stack late on Day 1A.
After raising in the hi-jack, Sakellariou called off Julian Warhurst’s 3-bet shove from the small blind but was in deep trouble holding K♠Q♥ against Warhurst’s K♦K♥.
The 5♥9♥5♦K♣3♣ board filled Warhurst up while bringing Sakellariou quickly back to the pack.
Julian Warhurst – 250,000
Tolly Sakellariou – 130,000
Level 15: Blinds 3,000/5,000 (5,000)
Time to throw in another round of photos before we tick over to the last level of the night! At present, just 66 players remain from the 340 entries taken in today, including 2011 Aussie Millions Main Event Champion David Gorr.
The 2019 WPT Australia champion, Hari Varma, is no more after failing to gain any real traction during the latter stages of today’s play.
His fate was sealed when he was forced to get it in with 2♥4♥ and couldn’t outrace the A♠10♥ of Andrew White on a A♣K♦3♣K♥Q♦ board.
Other eliminations over the past 30 minutes have included Joe Hachem and John Sormi.
Dropping like flies
It was announced at the start of the day that we would play through until either the end of Level 14 or the end of Level 15 today, depending on how many players were remaining.
The tournament staff had just provided an update, confirming that play will now finish either at the end of Level 15 or when the field is narrowed to 52 – whichever comes first.
At the current rate it could well be the latter given the board reads 63 players remaining with another 70 minutes of play until we reach the end of Level 15 and entrants continue to drop like flies.
Lynskey, Hussein make their move
Alex Lynskey and Hussein Hassan have been rapidly moving up the leaderboard since the last break, aided by a couple of monster hands.
Lynskey kicked off the action, getting it all in holding K♥4♥ on a K♦9♣4♦ flop and against an opponent’s Q♠Q♥.
Lynsley filled up on the river to move to more than 300,000.
On a nearby table, Hussan got it in with Kings for the second time in short succession against the pocket 6s of Daniel Gabriel. As Gabriel tells it, Hussan finished him off in style by making a four-card Royal Flush by the river.
Level 14: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (4,000)
Hass the Hustler
With blinds at 1,500/3,000, a player in early position opened to 7,000 and received one call before Hussein Hassan bumped it up to 27,000. The early position player called to see a flop of 6♣5♦5♣.
This time the early position player checked to Hassan who bet 17,000. The player quickly announced all-in and Hussein snap-called.
It was Hassan’s K♠K♣ in great shape against the K♦Q♠ of his opponents and when the rest of the board bricked Hassan doubled through to almost 130,000.
PMA TV feat. Hari Varma
Good news for those tracking Hari Varma, as the 2019 WPT Australia Champion is still alive and well in Day 1A of the Main Event! PMA’s own Ben Blaschke caught up with Hari just before the cards got in the air earlier today.
Symonds given the ol’ heave-Ho
Karl Symonds was nowhere to be found after the break, but thanks to the wonders of social media, he kindly sent through the hand history to us as he continues to recover at home from what was a brutal beat.
As Symonds recalled, his opponent – Michael Ho, for those keeping score at home – raised from early position before he called with Q♦10♦ to go heads-up to a flop of J-9-4 with two clubs.
Ho led out for 4,000 and Symonds called, then check-called Symonds’ bet of 10,000 after the 8♥ came down on the turn before check-shoving after Symonds led out for 21,000 on the river of the 4♠.
Although Symonds had hit his queen-high straight, Ho tabled pocket nines for the rivered boat and is now sitting behind a stack worth more than 250,000.
JK unstuck by Chuck
Chuck Caris is a clear chip leader midway through Level 13 after another big hand fell his way – this time at the expense of Jonathan Karamalikis.
Karamalikis was one of two players eliminated in the hand, with all three getting it in pre-flop.
Caris found himself a dominating favourite holding K♥K♦ against the A♠10♣ of Karamalikis and A♣K♠ of the third player.
The result was never in doubt as the board ran out 8♥9♦4♠7♥K♠ to send two to the rail.
Caris now sits with 410,000 and looks set to sail into Day 2 perfectly positioned for a deep run.
Level 13: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (3,000)
Last break of the day
The remaining 100 players are off for their final 10-minute break of the day. They will return to play the last three levels of the day shortly.
Wentworth taking no prisoners
Over on Tristan Bain’s table, Nick Wright and Jordan Wentworth went heads-up into a raised pot to see a flop of 5♠3♣Q♣.
Wentworth check-called Wright’s bet of 8,000 and both players checked the A♣ on the turn before Wentworth opened for 9,000 on the river of the 7♣.
Wright pondered momentarily before making the call, only to muck after Wentworth tabled 4♥2♣ for the flush.
Not much damage to either player though – Wentworth is now on 181,000 while Wright is still cruising on around 210,000.
Julian Warhurst and Bernie Stang got it all in pre-flop in a monster 220k pot, with Warhurst in great shape holding A♥A♣ to Stang’s Q♥Q♣.
There was still plenty of drama to be played out however as the Q♦ in the window rocketed Stang into the lead and had Warhurst with one foot out the door.
The turn 10♥ kept Stang well out in front, but Warhurst stole the pot as the A♦ landed on the river, resulting in Stang letting fly with a deafening scream of “Nooooooooo.”
He is down to just 12,000 while Warhurst is the latest player to edge over 200,000.
The Mummery awakens
Paul Mummery opened UTG and Najeem Ajez made the call.
The flop fell 2♦7♠3♦ and Mummery continued.
A short-stacked Ajez then shoved over the top with Mummery quickly making the call. Ajez showed K♦10♦ for the flush draw with two overcards but needed help against the 2♥2♣ of Mummery.
Mummery moved to 133,000 and change as Ajez made his way to the exits, with Robert Spano, Dennis Huntly and Mike Maddocks also amongst the recent additions to today’s casualty list.
Level 12: Blinds 1,500/2,500 (2,500)
PMA TV feat. Ricky Kroesen
Plenty of poker action happening here in the Sunshine State, with the WPT League QPC at the Gold Coast Turf Club coming up next week!
Ben Blaschke got the chance to chat with WPT League Ambassador Ricky Kroesen before the WPT DeepStacks Main Event kicked off today.
The top 5
Maddocks takes a hit
Newly-minted dual citizen Mike Maddocks has just had a chunk taken out of his stack at the hands of Sohrab Rezvanpour, who now holds a stack worth more than 83,000.
Action folded around to Maddocks pre-flop who raised to 4,500 from the cut-off; Rezvanpour shoved out of the blinds with pocket nines and Maddocks called with ace-king, but despite hitting top-top on the 7-A-8 flop, a nine on the turn improved Rezvanpour to a set which held after a queen came down on the river.
Maddocks is now down to 34,000 and change after that hand.
More pictures, please!
By popular demand, here are a few more images for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
The good and the bad
Jakson Laughton has staged a strong recovery after being down to just 9,000 earlier.
We caught him all-in and counting out his chips after getting it all-in with A♥A♦ against an opponent’s 8♠8♦. The board broicked with Laughton chipping up to 80,000 and back in the race.
It wasn’t such happy days on the adjacent table for Robert Spano. Spano looked the goods holdings A♥K♠ against an opponent’s A♣Q♠ but the Q♣ on the flop turned the tide with Spano now down to 19,000.
Level 11: Blinds 1000/2,000 (2,000)
Table of death
With tables being broken down and players moved around, there have been some interesting table pairings stating to develop.
But by far the most intriguing is Table 23, which now sees Jonathan Karamalikis, Alex Lynskey, Billy Argyros, Joe Hachem and Angel Guillen all seated together!
For the record, Club 23 was the name of the bar Hachem opened in partnership with Aussie cricket legend Shane Warne at Crown Melbourne in 2011 – a tribute to Warne’s shirt number when playing for the national one day side.
Day 1A rego closes with 340 entries
With play now into the 10th level of the day and registration for Day 1A now officially closed, the final number of entries for this flight is 340 with exactly half of those (170) still remaining.
It has also been confirmed that, with such a big field, we will play a full 15 levels today – and therefore on Days 1B and 1C as well – taking us through to around 3.30am.
Level 10: Blinds 800/1,600 (1,600)
Break it up
Players are now on a 10-minute break. Registration for tonight’s flight will close once play resumes.
Symonds makes his move
Karl Symonds and Aroha Ngata saw a flop of 3♦9♦K♠, with Ngata following up with a bet of 4,000.
Symonds then re-raised to 12,000 and Ngata shoved. Symonds quickly called and was in great shape holding A♠K♦ against Ngata’s 9♣5♣.
The turn A♥ only tightened Symonds’ grip on the hand and the meaningless 8♠ sealed the deal as Ngata hit the rail.
Symonds moves to 120,000.
Bernie Stang has soared above the 100k mark after sending an opponent to the rail moment ago.
We caught the action on a board of 8♥8♦10♣2♥J♠ and with Stang having fired out a hefty 27,000 bet, putting his opponent all-in.
His opponent thought long and hard before eventually making the call, only to muck and head to the rail when Stang showed 8♠9♦ for flopped trips.
Stang now has 130,000.
Our reporter picked up the action three-handed on a flop of 4♠9♥2♦; the player under the gun checked to Shivan Abdine, who led out for 3,500. The cut-off player folded and the UTG player called before both they and Abdine checked the 9♠ on the turn.
The UTG then check-folded to Shivan’s bet of 12,000 after the dealer produced the J♣ on the river, which sent Abdine’s stack up to more than 60,000.
Level 9: Blinds 600/1,200 (1,200)
Quads will do it
Dwan Setton opened in early position and faced a 3-bet from the blinds. He then 4-bet and called off his opponent’s shove only to find himself in need of help with J♠J♣ against his opponent’s K♠K♦.
His prayers were more than answered though as the board ran out J♥10♥3♠J♦3♠ to give him quads and keep him in the hunt with around 55,000 in front.
Level 8: Blinds 500/1,000 (1,000)
There was a touch of confusion over on Jakson Laughton’s table as two players found themselves all-in only for the dealer to realise the button had been moved one place forward too many.
The floor was called and it was agreed that, given there was already significant action, the hand should proceed as played.
Laughton found himself racing with A♠K♠ against the J♦J♣ of Sonny Ho but couldn’t find any help as the board ran out 7♦5♣8♥3♠2♦.
Sonny Ho – 28,500
Jakson Laughton – 9,000
Gabriel grows wings
Fresh from winning the $1k PLO High Roller at the APT Gold Coast in March, Daniel Gabriel is looking to up the ante at this week’s WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast and has made a solid start to his day.
We caught him in a recent hand as one of three players calling the 1,800 open of an early position player as the quartet took a 8♦2♦2♣ flop. The initial raiser continued for 2,500 with Gabriel and Joon Hyun making the call.
When the 6♣ landed on the turn, the opener bet another 2,500 and both players called.
The river was the 9♣ and again the opener led for 2,500. This time Gabriel raised to 15,500, with Hyun quickly folding and the opener showing 10♠10♦ as he mucked.
Gabriel has around 70,000 in front.
Level 7: Blinds 400/800 (800)
Players are now on their next 10-minute break of the day.
The old guard
Level 6 saw a few late check-ins to the WPTDeepStacks Main Event, among them 2011 Aussie Millions champion David Gorr, plus Billy “The Croc” Argyros, Emmanuel “Curly” Seal and Warwick Mirzikinian.
Kennedy cunning as Green shows Queens
On a J♥3♦8♠ flop, Ken Demlakian checked to Mark Green who bet around 3,000, with Bill Kennedy making the call.
On the Q♦ turn, Green fired another 4,000 and Kennedy called again.
Both players checked the 6♥ river, with the wily 92-year-old Kennedy avoiding the trap as Green turned over Q♣Q♥ for top set.
Bill Kennedy – 75,000
Mark Green – 55,000
Ken Demlakian – 22,000
The real deal
One of the most endearing features of The Star Gold Coast is that their staff are often given the same star treatment as the players, especially during major events such as these.
But given that Queensland is now the dominant force in poker in this country, the team assembled here at The Star Gold Coast Poker Room is a formidable one, right through to the dealers, many of whom have been shipped in from The Treasury in Brisbane.
But there are at least three very familiar faces donning the gold vests this week: two-time QPC ring winner Vesna Pope, and WPT League staffers Amanda Abernethy and Brad Noble (pictured). No doubt that The Star will be drawing on their knowledge and expertise to continue their push to be the #1 poker destination in the country!
Nursing a healthy stack of around 65,000, Ricky Kroesen updated us on the key hand that got his day underway.
With blinds at 150/300, a player in early position opened for 900 and three players called. Kroesen, looking down at 10♥10♣, squeezed for 4,700 with the initial raiser making the call.
The flop fell 10♠6♠3♦ and Kroesen bet 2,500 only to be re-raised to 5,500. He called as the players saw a 2♥ land on the turn. The initial raiser bet another 5,500 and Kroesen called.
When the A♥ landed on the river, Kroesen jammed for his remaining 17,000, leaving the player to ponder his tournament life before eventually mucking his cards.
Kroesen is now in great shape at an action-packed table also featuring Angel Guillen and Alex Lynskey.
Level 6: Blinds 300/600 (600)
One of the greats
We had noticed the name of Jonathan Karamalikis on the list of players for today’s flight earlier in the afternoon but his seat had remained empty. That’s changed now with the great “Dong” just waltzing in to take his place in the field.
Karamalikis was of course one of Australia’s earliest young guns following the poker boom of the mid-2000s, earning a Full Tilt sponsorship and famously taking down the 2010 APPT Sydney main event.
A high roller specialist with multiple ANZPT and APPT high roller titles under his belt, he also boasts an Aussie Millions ring and multiple deep runs in events around the world.
Level 5: Blinds 300/500 (500)
John Sormi has just doubled through to move to around 77,000 and chips and in good shape to prepare for a lengthy run.
It was a case of right place, right time for Sormi as the UTG player opened to 1,200 and received five callers. Sormi, sitting in the Big Blind, made the call with 6♦3♥ and was chuffed to see the flop fall 4♥5♣7♠.
He proceeded to lead out for 3,300, with the UTG player re-raising to 7,300. The other players folded before Sormi announced all-in. The UTG player snap-called and turned over A♥A♠ and when the turn and river bricked it was Sormi moving rapidly up the leaderboard.
Shane Warne – 80,000
Jackson Warne – 66,000
Gareth Edwards – 57,500
Brendon Rubie – 47,000
Ricky Kroesen – 46,000
Ehsan Emiri – 42,500
Bert Perry – 39,500
Mike Maddocks – 39,000
Alex Lynskey – 37,000
Najeem Ajez – 29,000
Angel Guillen – 24,000
Tyron Krost – 23,000
Hari Varma – 22,500
Vasco Zapantzis – 39,000
Graham Gillespie – 16,000
Gary Benson – 12,500
Ken Demlakian – 10,500
Level 4: Blinds 200/400 (400)
A delayed shuffle up and deal
Players are returning to their tables but the tournament clock has bene briefly paused while we watch the WPT Player Welcome and official Shuffle Up and Deal!
Why do this after the first break rather than before the start of play, you may ask?
Well, it’s simply following the United States tradition where event organizers decided to delay tournament welcomes until after the first break due to so many players turning up late!
Players are now watching a recorded message from WPT President CEO Adam Pliska, while the WPT’s Lynn Gilmartin, Ashleigh Lawrence and spin king Shane Warne are standing alongside to provide official welcome speeches.
Players are now on a 20-minute dinner break.
Oldies are goldies
Bill Kennedy might not be the biggest name in the Star Gold Coast poker room but we hazard a guess that he’s by far the oldest.
In fact, at a spritely 92-years old (he turns 93 next month), Bill reckons he might just be the oldest poker player in all of Queensland.
Bill tells us he has been playing poker in various forms for the best part of 75 years and continues to make his presence felt at local league games right across the Gold Coast.
That experience seems to be coming in handy early – he is sitting behind a healthy stack of around 40,000 and looking particularly relaxed.
Jack Jack Jackson
Jackson Warne is our early chip leader here at The Star Gold Coast after winning a huge pot to eliminate a player.
Dean Kazao was the player sent to the rail, 3-betting Warne’s 1,300 open to 4,300 and receiving the call to see a flop of 7♥6♥5♣. Warne checked and Kazao bet 5,500 with Warne making the call.
Both players checked the 5♦ turn before the 8♠ landed on the river. Warne checked again, Kazao announced he was all-in and Warne snap-called.
Kazao mucked as Warne showed J♥J♦ – the son of Aussie cricketing legend Shane Warne raking in the pot to climb to 76,000 in chips
We caught the action on a 9♦2♦4♥5♣ flop and the player in the small blind firing out a bet of 10,000 into a 20k pot.
Alex Lynskey quickly re-raised to 23,500 to send his rival deep into the tank. He eventually mucked as Lynskey grew his stack to around 47,000.
The sight of Lynskey with any sort of stack will not be a welcome sight to the remaining players in the field. The young gun’s impressive resume includes winning the WSOP Sydney International Circuit main event in 2018, the APC Sydney main event in 2016 and 4th in the 2016 Aussie Millions main event.
There is also the small matter of him being a November Niner at the 2018 WSOP Main Event at the Rio in Las Vegas. Although he couldn’t get anything going at that final table, Lynskey’s 7th place finish was enough to add US$1.5 million to the kitty to cap a mighty fine year.
Level 3: Blinds 200/300 (300)
More familiar faces
Didier Guerin, Ehsan Amiri, Tristan Bain, Brendon Rubie, Angel Guillen, Bassam Habib and Rehman Kassam are all in the house. With the number of entries in excess of 220 already, we’re expecting to see plenty of action – and with it, plenty of cash on the line!
Mariakis builds early
Michael Mariakis opened to 300 from early position and was called by three players.
The player in the small blind then 3-bet to 2,300 before Mariakis 4-bet to 5,000.
The three initial callers all folded but the player in the small blind called.
The dealer spread K♦A♥6♠ and the player in the small blind checked to Mariakis who thought briefly before betting 8,500. The small blind quickly folded as Mariakis moved up to 38,000 early on.
Level 2: Blinds 100/200 (200)
The importance of structure
This WPTDeepStacks Main Event utilizes a unique 40/60/30 structure that will see us play 16 levels of 40 minutes before switching to 60-minute levels from then on. Once play reaches heads-up on Monday, we’ll drop back down to 30 minutes to play down to a winner.
The tournament staff have informed players they’ll be playing a minimum of 14 levels tonight and a maximum of 15, taking us through until around 3am.
Luckily the PMA team is fed, watered and ready for a long one!
WPT DeepStacks Main Event – Day 1A Photo Gallery
One round of the poker room here at The Star Gold Coast has revealed plenty of big names and regs playing on Day 1A.
Those we’ve spotted so far include Najeem Ajez, Gary Benson, Mel Judah, Shane Warne , Jackson Warne, Ricky Kroesen, Robert Damelian, Luke Martinelli, Andrew White, Graeme Putt, Dennis Huntly and of course 2019 WPT Australia champion Hari Varma!
Shuffle up and deal!
The immortal words have been uttered and we are underway with Day 1A of the WPTDeepStacks Main Event!
Level 1: Blinds 100/100 (100)
The long and winding road
Welcome to The Star Gold Coast and PokerMedia Australia’s coverage of the 2021 WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast!
It’s been almost 15 months since Australia’s poker community last set foot inside a casino for a major tournament series, with the 2020 APL Million at The Star Sydney seemingly a distant memory. As we all know too well, just weeks later the entire country was plunged into lockdown due to COVID-19 and the long wait for poker’s return began.
Well, the wait is finally over with the cream of the Aussie crop all here on the sunny Gold Coast and desperate to become WPTDeepStacks Main Event champion.
Having already crowned five side event winners this week, today sees the first Main Event flight getting underway from 4.30pm, to be followed by two more Day 1 flights on Friday and Saturday.
Levels are set to run for 40 minutes today with starting stacks of 30,000 and blinds at 100/100 with a 100 Big Blind ante.
Stay tuned right here on pokermedia.com.au as we bring you exclusive live reporting coverage of the WPTDeepStacks Main Event all the way from “Shuffle Up and Deal” through to crowing of our Main Event Champion.
You can also follow our facebook page by clicking here where you will find additional content including live video updates and player interviews from the poker room floor at The Star Gold Coast.
It’s great to be back!