WPTDeepStacks Main Event: Day 1B

Basle, Zapantzis lead the way on Day 1B

And that’s all she wrote for today folks!

Twenty-four hours after 340 players hit the felt for the opening flight of WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast, another 330 tried their luck Friday to take the combined total of entries so far to 670.

With one more flight remaining before we move onto Day 2, it seems almost certain that we will crack the magic 1,000 mark – a tremendous result for the WPT and testimony to the enormous desire of the Australian poker community to see poker back where it belongs following the trials and tribulations of the past 12 months.

Leading the way for today were Harry Basle (529,000) and Marcel Zapantzis (525,000), with just 4,000 chips splitting them at the top of the tree. Ironically Basle has just 4,000 chips fewer than Thursday’s chip leader, Hussein Hussan, who finished flight 1A with 533,000.

Three players sit together behind Basle and Zapantzis on 405,000 in Brooke Colless, Jack Drake and Russell Fogarty.

There were plenty of familiar faces hitting the felt too, among them Robert Campbell, Jason Gray, Tyron Krost, Vincent Wan, Hari Varma, Warwick Mirzikinian, Ken Demlakian, David Sebesfi, Chad Awerbuch, Dennis Huntly, Robert Spano, Peco Stojanovski and Mike Maddocks.

Of those, Krost, Huntly, Stojanovski and Maddocks survived the day’s play, as did Michel Bouskila, Martin Ward, Jimmy Ghobrial and Emmanuel Seal. In total, 46 have progressed through to Day 2, joining the 52 from Thursday’s opening flight.

The top 5 chip counts from Day 1B are:

Harry Basle – 529,000
Marcel Zapantzis – 525,000
Brooke Colless – 405,000
Jack Drake – 405,000
Russell Fogarty – 405,000

We’ll be back again tomorrow for Day1C of the main event so be sure to join us from 11.30am as we bring you all the action from The Star Gold Coast.

Marcel Zapantzis

Three more hands!

Star Poker Gold Coast staff have confirmed that only three more hands will be played before bagging and tagging for the night.

Aroha ascends

Back over on the feature table, Aroha Ngata raised to 11,000 from under the gun and the action folded around to Jack Drake who three-bet to 27,000 from the cut-off.  Ngata then four-bet shoved for her last 141,000; Drake snap-called.

Ngata: 66
Drake: AQ

Board: K5KJ4

With that double-up, Ngata is now on 250,000 while Drake drops back to 405,000.

Aroha Ngata

Hassan hustled again

Idris Hassan has been eliminated for the second time today, this time at the hands of Zhen Wang.

Hassan shipped his short stack into the middle holding QJ and was called by Wang with AJ.

There was some brief respite for Hassan when he flopped the Q he was looking for but his joy was short-lived as the board ran out Q4105Q.

Wang’s rollercoaster ride continues as he moves back up to 350,000.

Cristallo still alive

Joe Cristallo has just doubled through to keep his main event alive.

That’s good news for the rest of the field because the highly talkative Cristallo has been keeping his table entertained with his high energy, jovial style of play all afternoon.

Cristallo shoved for his remaining 65,000 pre-flop and was called by Zac Lowrie, leaving the two off to the races with Cristallo holding 55 to Lowrie’s KQ.

The 484 flop gave Lowrie a mountain of outs but Cristallo held as the board ran out J then 5 to fill him up.

Both players now have around 125,000 in chips.

Level 15: Blinds 3,000/5,000 (5,000)

Bruno Rao-ted by Drake

WPT League Sydney head honcho Bruno Rao has now departed The Star Poker Room after being felted at the hands of Jack Drake.

As Rao recalled, he raised pre-flop to 15,000 with pocket kings before Drake called out of the big blind to go heads-up to a flop of Q-7-7.

Rao then fired out 40,000 and again Drake called, only to then repeat the action after Rao’s bet of 50,000 with a jack on the turn before he put the rest of it in with a repeat jack on the river.

Drake’s hand? Ace-jack – and with that, he claimed both Rao’s scalp and the overall chip lead with a stack worth almost 600,000.

Jack Drake

Fazal keeps rising

Just minutes after scoring a big double, Dean Fazal was at it again in a big hand against Zhen Wang.

The hand began with the UTG player opening to 8,500 and Wang bumping it up to 25,000. Fazal called while the original raiser folded.

Both players checked the 9Q6 before Wang check-called a bet of 17,500 from Fazal on the 3 turn.

The river was the 5 and this time Fazal bet 29,000 when checked to. Wang thought for a good 60 seconds before eventually making the call but was exasperated when Fazal showed 55 for the rivered set.

Fazal now has almost 350,000 while Wang drops back to 250,000.

Fazal fires up

On a J23 flop, Zac Lowrie checked to Dean Fazal who bet 8,500. Lowrie then re-raised to 30,000 as Lowrie began shuffling his chips.

He eventually announced re-raise and pushed it up to 80,000. Lowrie then declared himself all-in and Fazal snap-called.

Lowrie turned over K2 to give himself outs against the top set of Fazal but when the turn and river ran out 5 and 2 it was Fazal scoring a big double.

Dean Fazal – 245,000
Zac Lowrie – 160,000

Dean Fazal

Level 14: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (4,000)

Colless holding court

Our reporter caught up with Mitch Bognar, who was quick to draw our attention to Brooke Colless, who is currently sitting behind a mountain of chips worth more than 515,000.

Colless, who is making her major tournament debut, admitted that she hadn’t been playing poker for that long, but she’s certainly holding her own against Australia’s finest, even after losing a small portion to Bognar in a recent hand.

The action went three-handed to a flop of J75; Bognar checked to the player under the gun who opened for 5,000 and Colless called, only to then see Bognar check-call before the dealer produced the 7 on the turn.

Bognar checked, the UTG led out for 12,000 and Colless flatted, but Bognar came back with a check-raise to 35,000, forcing the UTG out of the way before Colless smooth-called to go heads-up to the river 5.

This time, Bognar open-shoved and after about three minutes of deliberation, Colless decided to let her hand go.

Mitch Bognar – 211,500

Brooke Colless

Sharma making his move

Ashneel Sharma has been cutting a swathe through his table over the past couple of hours and is now one of the big stacks late on Day 1B.

Shortly before the last break he eliminated two players, including Jason Gray, when he flopped a set of 5s and induced a shove from a player holding Aces.

He has just knocked off one more opponent, getting it in with AA against AK and holding on a 6689Q board to move to 390,000.

Hand in the cookie jar

Warwick Mirzikinian opened to 5,500 and Jongjun Park 3-bet to 21,000. Mirzikinian then shoved over the top with Park quickly making the call.

Mirzikinian, holding 53, had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar although his cards were still live against the A10 of Park.

Not for long. The A on the flop was all she wrote as Park stacked up to 255,000 and sent Mirzikinian to the rail.

Level 13: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (3,000)

Take 10

The remaining 85 players are now on their last 10-minute break of the day.

On a Wing and a prayer

Christina Wing is now emerging as one to watch after an insane hand unfolded on Table 15.

Mike Maddocks raised to 4,500 and Wing three-bet to 10,000 before the next two players shoved behind her for 20,000 and 28,000 respectively.

The action then folded back around to Maddocks who made it 43,000 to go; Wing flat-called, so it was heads-up to a sidepot on a flop of J-2-3 rainbow.

Maddocks then check-folded and showed AK as he did so after Wing shoved for 150,000 before rolling up her AA, dominating the pocket fives and AK of her all-in opponents.  With the turn and river bricking out, Wing scored the double KO and a stack worth more than 270,000.

And although Maddocks got out of that hand relatively unscathed, he then soared back up to more than 300,000 in the very next hand, getting all the chips in the middle with pocket queens and holding against his opponent’s jacks after a heavy pre-flop betting war in the blinds.

Where’s Wan?

Reigning Aussie Millions champion Vincent Wan has hit the rail.

Wan was one of three players to announce they were all-in pre-flop, alongside Keanu Simpson and David Wang.

Holding K10 to Simpson’s A5 and Wang’s 99, Wan looked like tripling up when the flop and turn ran out 2K46 but the A on the river sent the pot Simpson’s way instead.

Keanu Simpson – 107,000
David Wang – 93,000
Vincent Wan – BUSTED

Keanu Simpson

Level 12: Blinds 1,500/2,500 (2,500)

The Magician makes a magic fold

Peter Apostolou opened to 6,000 UTG before Peco Stojanovski 3-bet to 15,000 from UTG+1. Apostolou then re-raised all in for around 70,000 as Stojanovski went into the tank.

“Will you show me if I fold?” Stojanovski asked, to which Apostolou replied in the affirmative.

Eventually Stojanovski folded QQ face up, reluctantly at first, but broke into a smile as Apostolou showed him the pocket rockets. 

Peter Apostolou – 90,000
Peco Stojanovski – 125,000

Peco “The Magician” Stojanovski

Snapshots at The Star

Time for another slew of photographic portraits for your perusal.

Demlakian dancing

Ken Demlakian opened to 3,500 from the cut-off and received a call from the player in the blinds. 

The flop came 108Q and the player in the blinds led out for 8,000. Demlakian called.

On the K turn, the player in the blinds announced he was all-in for another 45,000. Demlakian snap-called and turned over AJ for the nut straight leaving his opponent needing help holding KQ.

The river was the J and Demlakian eliminated a player while moving to 222,000 in chips.

Ken Demlakian

Level 11: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

All eyes on the magic 1,000

With registration now closed, the tournament staff have confirmed there were 330 entries into today’s WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast flight, taking the combined entries for days 1A and 1B to 670. 

There is of course one flight to come tomorrow with final numbers now looking likely to crack the 1,000 mark.

There are 144 players remaining today with five more levels remaining after the current one.

Just like yesterday, we will be playing through until the end of Level 15 tonight.

Hari up

Yita Choong opened to 2,700 and Hari Varma made the call in position as the pair took a J9A flop.

Choong continued for 4,000 and Varma called. On the 4 turn, Choong bet 8,000 and Varma called again.

When the Q fell on the river, Choong jammed to send Varma deep into the tank. He eventually called and flipped over A3 which was enough to take down the pot against the 78 of Choong.

Hari Varma – 81,500
Yita Choong – 6,500

Pre-break chip counts

Here’s our latest cross-section of notable numericals.

Fadi Tabat220,000
Mike Maddocks156,000
Rehman Kassam133,000
Chad Aberwuch132,000
Jimmy Ghobrial127,500
Bruno Rao126,500
Sosia Jiang110,000
Joey Cristallo110,000
Rauran Toye102,000
Marcel Zapantzis101,000
Bassam Habib72,000
Janet Wyvill69,000
Warwick Mirzikinian65,000
Bert Perry61,000
Emanuel “Curly” Seal54,000
Lee Bradbury50,000
Craig Abernethy48,000
Vesko Zmukic39,500
Dave Beckhaus 39,000
Dennis Huntly39,000
Aroha Ngata28,000
Fadi Tabat

Level 10: Blinds 800/1,600 (1,600)

Break it up

Players are on a 10-minute break. Registration for Day 1B will close once play resumes.

Seibel survives

On a 457 flop, Higor Seibel bet 20,000 only for Zhen Wang to quickly grab a chunk of yellow chips and raise to around 80,000.

It was more than enough to put Seibel all-in and he didn’t hesitate to make the call, showing 56.

Wang showed QQ but had plenty needed to dodge plenty of outs to rake in the pot. The turned 9 changed nothing but the 5 river gave Seibel trips and pushed him over 100k.

Zhen Wang – 160,000
Higor Seibel – 125,000

Campbell clipped

Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Rob Campbell is down to around 16,500 after being on the wrong end of a cooler against Brad Milinkovic.

Milinkovic opened in middle position to 2,800 and Campbell called from the Big Blind. The flop came A9Q and both players checked. When the turn fell 8 Milinkovic bet 7,000 and Campbell shoved over the top. 

Milinkovic quickly called, showing J10 for the turned straight and leaving Campbell needing help with Q8 for two pair. The river bricked leaving Campbell with around half his starting stack only moments after registering for the tournament.

Brad Milinkovic – 37,000
Robert Campbell – 16,500

Robert Campbell

Brand ambassador

It would be quite a story if Bruno Rao was to prevail in this WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast Main Event.

Rao is the WPT League licensee for Sydney and recently launched a new permanent poker room for the WPT League at St Johns Park Bowling Club called the Pavilion Poker Room.

Coming off a successful Annual Poker Championship at the Pavilion in March, Rao is now here on the Gold Coast and building a handy stack.

We just caught him in a hand 3-way to the flop and all runners checking a board of 8106.

On the 7 turn Rao check-called a bet of 5,500 before both players checked down the Q river.

Rao showed A9 for the straight and took it down to move to 75,000.

Level 9: Blinds 600/1,200 (1,200)

Power Rey

Jean Rey opened to 3,000 from UTG+1 and Craig Abernathy made the call.

The duo took a flop of 6KJ and Rey continued for 3,500. Abernathy called.

On the 9 turn Rey fired another 8,000 and Abernathy called again.

The river was the 8 and this time Rey shoved, sending Abernathy into the tank before he eventually mucked his cards.

Jean Rey – 75,000
Craig Abernathy – 70,000

Craig Abernethy

Maddocks marching

2017 Aussie Millions champion Shurane Vijayaram opened to 2,000 in early position and received two calls before Mike Maddocks squeezed to 12,500 from the Big Blind. Vijayaram made the call with the two initial callers both folding.

The flop fell 8103 and Maddocks continued for 8,000. Vijayaram thought long and hard before making the call.

The turn was the 5 and this time Maddocks announced he was all-in, sending Vijayaram deep into the tank.

After a good three minutes, Maddocks called time, although Vijayaram looked reluctant to fold. He eventually mucked but accidentally turned over his cards as he did so, showing AK

“Oh please,” Maddocks laughed as he raked in the pot.

Mike Maddocks – 90,000
Shurane Vijayaram – 19,500

Mike Maddocks

Gettin’ shirty

A friendly reminder to all WPT DeepStacks Main Event players – win, lose or draw, everyone walks away with a free commemorative t-shirt, which come in any colour you like as long as it’s black or white.

In any case, it’s a great reminder of how we’re very much the lucky country when it comes to being able to play poker right now.

Special thanks to Lynn Gilmartin for sharing this video with us!

Level 8: Blinds 500/1,000 (1,000)

Tenenbaum taken out

Over on the feature table, Lewis Murray (pictured) and Raphael Tenenbaum were amongst the five players that checked a flop of 32A before Murray led out for 3,500 after the dealer produced a repeat A on the turn.

Tenenbaum check-raised to 10,000 and the others got out of the way as Murray called before Tenenbaum open-shoved on the river of the 4.

Murray snap-called and Tenenbaum showed 53 for a rivered wheel, but ended up sailing away after Murray revealed A4 for the boat.

Lewis Murray – 65,500

So I woke up with Aces …

Emmanuel Seal has just fired his second bullet of this Day 1B flight and made sure to tell us of the sick cooler that put an end to his original stack.

According to the man they call “Curly”, he looked down at pocket Aces and chose to flat-call his opponent’s open.

The flop came A25 and he called his opponent’s c-bet. When a J fell on the turn, his opponent announced he was all-in and “Curly” snap-called but was shocked to see his opponent roll over 34! 

The river bricked and “Curly was left to revisit the registration desk.

Level 7: Blinds 400/800 (800)

Yesterday’s final chip counts

We’ve had a number of players ask us for the final list of chip counts for those players who survived through yesterday’s opening flight. As always, your wish is our command!

PlayerChip Count
Hussein Hassan533,000
Alex Lynskey493,000
Charles Caris424,000
Gary Benson417,000
Ronny Palat370,000
Peter Robertson362,000
Nicholas Wright348,000
Ashish Gupta328,000
Andrew Slan326,000
Liu, Xiaodong291,000
Joseph Sandaev277,000
Andrian Chin268,000
Luke Martinelli265,000
Joon Hyun244,000
Darren Sarchett240,000
Phillip Siddell208,000
Michael Ho208,000
Huan Yuan187,000
Milan Stojkovic185,000
Robert Damelian183,000
Jordan Wentworth181,000
Omer Silajdzija177,000
Peter Foote176,000
Kyrillos Gerges175,000
Spiros Maroulis172,000
Billy Argyros172,000
Shane Warne162,000
Brendon Rubie162,000
Peter Emmouilidis156,000
Nauvneel Kashyap148,000
Altrim Shaqiri137,500
Mal Chapman136,000
Troy Mclean136,000
Brett McGrath136,000
Mina Elias135,000
Andrew White132,000
Mark Green128,000
Paul Elliot128,000
Julian Warhurst127,000
Dwan Setton123,000
Neil Mortimer-Fox120,000
Zac Duce105,000
Nives Ceccato104,000
James Siu104,000
Michael Enright94,000
Rod Batoz93,000
Shivan Abdine92,000
James Benigno86,000
Matt Baitieri84,000
Nicholas Hooi77,000
Matthew Beck53,000
Shane Parker41,000

Break time

Players are now on a 10-minute break.

“Can we get some more triangles?”

Rhys Kelly asked the PMA team to wish him luck as he announced he was all-in, but he was joined in the pot by two more players announcing that they too were all-in.

“Can we get some more triangles?” one player said, referencing the small pink triangles placed in front whenever a player is all-in.

It was Kelly’s 99 up against the 22 of John Apostolidis and the AQ of Greg Shillig.

The board ran out 52644 to give Apostolidis the boat and send Kelly to the rail.

John Apostolidis – 58,500
Greg Shillig – 57,000

Rhys Kelly

Idris out

Opening event winner Idris Hassan has been eliminated at the hands of WPT League Sydney’s Bruno Rao.

Rao had opened to 1,700 and received two callers before Hassan shoved for his remaining 11,400. Rao was the lone caller and rolled over 1010 to be well ahead of Hassan’s K2.

The board ran out J-high as Rao moved to 56,000.

Mirzikinian makes big river call

After Sarkis Tawil opened for 1,000, Warwick Mirzikinian 3-bet to 3,000 and Tawil made the call.

The dealer spread a flop of 7KA. Tawil check-called a bet of 5,000 from Mirzikinian before both players checked the 7 turn.

When the Q hit the river, Tawil led for 12,500 and Mirzikinian went into the tank. He eventually called and showed JJ which was good enough to take down the pot as Tawil showed 33.

“You weren’t scared of anything, not the flush or anything,” Mirzikinian said as he raked in his chips.

“You either had the nuts or nothing.”

Warwick Mirzikinian – 56,000
Sarkis Tawil – 55,000

Warwick Mirzikinian

Level 6: Blinds 300/600 (600)

Galpin gone

Former SkyCity Adelaide poker manager David Galpin has been sent to the rail, running his pocket nines into the aces of an opponent after being crippled in an earlier hand.

Although his time here at the Gold Coast was brief, “The Silver Fox” is taking it all in his stride, travelling around Australia enjoying life from the other side of the felt after retiring from his post in July 2019.

David Galpin

PMA TV: Day 1A Welcome Presentation

Time for some televisual content, capturing our key speakers from yesterday’s Day 1A Welcome Presentation with spin king Shane Warne given the honours to launch the cards in the air. Enjoy!

Slowroll Cristallo? That’s a no-no

A massive ruckus over on Table 20 had our reporter and floor staff rush in to witness Warwick Mirzikinian and Joey Cristallo in a heated verbal exchange, which we aren’t able to print the argument verbatim due to the somewhat vulgar language exchanged.

Fortunately, the tournament director was quick to intervene and de-escalate the situation, giving both players with a 10-minute “sin bin” before issuing a blanket warning to the table that any further incident would be subject to escalating penalties.

As the pair went their separate ways to cool off, we spoke to one of their tablemates to get the eyewitness account.

In summary, Cristallo and Mirzikinian clashed heads-up in a sizeable pot all the way down a board of A-7-8-X-X before Cristallo rolled up 8-6 for middle pair.  Mirzikinian then allegedly turned up a seven from his hand and said, “You got it,” pointing at him for a few seconds in a manner that may have indicated to Cristallo that was about to win the pot …

… only to then motion back to his hand and roll up the second seven.  Cue the fireworks.

“I know that Warwick and all his mates do that to each other as a joke during their cash games,” our witness said, “but that’s just wrong, mate.  You can’t do that to the young kid in a tourney like this.”

Both players have since returned to their seats, however Mirzikinian has been moved to another table to avoid any future flare-ups.

Joey Cristallo – 70,500
Warwick Mirzikinian – 50,000

Joey Cristello

Varma quietly building

A player in early position limped for 300 before Tolly Sakellariou bumped it up to 1,600. He received a call on the button before Hari Varma 3-bet to 6,000. Only Sakellariou called.

Both players checked the 10J3 flop before Varma led for 6,000 on the 4 turn. Sakellariou thought briefly before mucking his cards.

Hari Varma – 58,000
Tolly Sakellariou – 21,000

Level 5: Blinds 300/500 (500)

Chip counts

Ashneed Sharma118,000
Josh Norvock56,000
Vesko Zmukic56,000
David Beckhaus46,000
Najeem Ajez45,500
Phil Stamler 43,000
Liam Murray42,000
Habib Bassam38,500
Rhys Kelly37,500
Graham Gillespie37,000
Bert Perry34,000
David Galpin31,000
Mike Maddocks30,500
Didier Guerin29,000
Chad Awerbuch28,000
Vincent Wan21,000
Sam Capra15,500

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

The WPT’s Live Events Specialist and without doubt the most respected Tournament Director in Asia-Pacific, if not the world, Danny McDonagh couldn’t be here this week due to COVID-19 and its impact on global travel.

Don’t feel too sorry for him: Danny is currently in Nha Trang, Vietnam, soaking up the sun and surf (and doing a bit of work in his spare time) after recently overseeing WPTDeepStacks Hanoi.

But he isn’t letting the tyranny of distance slow him down and has been in constant contact with the WPT team on the ground here on the Gold Coast, and with the PokerMedia Australia team, to provide us with all the information we need.

We hope to see Danny back on home soil soon!

Spano spanked as Stainmagen strikes gold

Michael Stainmagen has moved up towards the top of the early chip counts after coming from behind in a huge pre-flop 3-way all-in to eliminate two players, including Robert Spano.

The action began with Stainmagen limping in UTG before a player in middle position bumped it up to 1,300. Spano then announced he was all-in with both Stainmagen and the middle position player calling. The hijack folded.

It was the middle position player in the lead with JJ versus the 99 of Spano and 88 of Stainmagen, but that didn’t last long.

The 8 on the flop rocketed Stainmagen into the lead and he stayed there through the river to rake in a massive 67,000 pot.

Level 4: Blinds 200/400 (400)

Michael Stainmagen

Break it up

Players are on a short 20-minute dinner break.

Aussie Millions champ Vincent Wan eyeing more success

One man trying to fly under the radar this week is 2020 Aussie Millions champion Vincent Wan.

Wan’s victory in January of last year was of course overshadowed by comments he was overheard making to Vietnam’s Tai Hoang Ngoc when the pair and New Zealand’s Gareth Pepper were discussing a three-way deal.

The Victorian copped plenty of criticism online after telling Tai, “You’re definitely the worst player here. We (Wan and Pepper) are both professionals. I’m not going to lie to you. You’ve had hardly any cashes.”

Wan later apologised for those comments and the attention of the entire poker world was ripped away soon after by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now playing at the feature table here at the WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast main event, he has been reluctant to attract any attention from us media types but that may prove difficult should he make another deep run this week.

Norvock on the charge

Australian Poker Tour Brisbane champion and rising star of the local poker scene Josh Norvock arrived late today but has wasted no time in building his stack.

We sauntered past his table just in time to find him firing out a hefty bet of 21,500 on a board reading 49J84. His opponent tanked for around 30 seconds before folding, with Norvock quickly moving to 55,000 and almost double his starting stack.

Norvock has been in great form this year, taking down APT Brisbane for $35,600, finishing third at the NQ Poker Classic for $7,500 and even claiming the monthly Deepstack here at The Star Gold Coast in April for $11,000.

He also finished 4th at the APL Million in 2020 for a handy $105,000.

Level 3: Blinds 200/300 (300)

Photo a-go-go!

Plenty of faces old and new in today’s field, including Raphael Tenenbaum, Marcel Zapantzis, Liam Murray, Mishel Anunu, Jimmy Ghobrial and Josh Norvock who are all making their first Main Event appearance this afternoon.

Ward of warning

Martin Ward is a very early chip leader here on Day 2B after eliminating an opponent in a huge post-flop clash.

The hand started with Ward opening in early position before being 3-bet by a player sitting late. The Big Blind flatted and Ward made the call to make it three ways to the flop.

Ward checked the 8510 flop to the late position player who bet 1,600. The Big Blind then raised to 4,500 but ward 3-bet to 11,000. The late position player folded what he later said where Jacks, but the Big Blind called.

The turn was the 4 and Ward quickly announced all-in, sending his opponent deep into the tank. Eventually he made a crying call and showed KK to be well behind the 55 of Ward.

Ward sends one to the rail and now sits with 65,000 to work with.

More faces

Peco Stojanovski, Mike Maddocks, Tolly Sakellariou, Stewart Davidson and Sam Capra are all in the house.

We’ve also got three former Aussie Millions main event champions in today’s field – Tyron Krost (2010), Shurane Vijayaram (2017) and 2020 winner Vincent Wan!

Level 2: Blinds 100/200 (200)

Pressure point

If you’re here at The Star Gold Coast and you’re feeling a little sore, why not get Stephanie and the team from Best Hands Massage to help loosen up the shoulders?

Best Hands have been regulars at major poker events across the country for years now and it’s great to see them back now that the poker community is together again.

Who’s here?

So far we’ve spotted both Najeem Ajez and 2019 WPT Australia champion Hari Varmer back to try their luck after busting late yesterday, plus the likes of David Sebesfi, Chad Awerbuch, Dennis Huntly, Robert Spano, one of the Michael Trans, Bruno Rao, Michael Levy, Craig Abernathy and WPT League QPC winner Phil Stamler.

For the record, Stamler’s win in February gave him the honour of topping the largest poker tournament field in Australian history … not a bad claim to fame!

Take the long way home

We have 202 players seated for the start of play but that number will continue to rise as we progress into the evening. Progressing to Day 2 will require plenty of stamina, with 15 levels of 40 minutes each scheduled for today, taking us through until around 3.30am.

Shuffle up and deal!

The cards are in the air for Day 1B of WPTDeepstacks Gold Coast!

Level 1: Blinds 100/100 (100)

Riding the wave

Welcome back to The Star Gold Coast and PokerMedia Australia’s live coverage of the WPTDeepStacks Main Event.

The sun is shining invitingly on the Gold Coast’s long sandy beaches and glistening blue waters, but all the real action today will be taking place in The Star Gold Coast’s poker room where the cream of the Australian poker crop will gather again with nothing less than the WPTDeepStacks Main Event trophy in their sights.

Thursday’s opening flight was huge, with 340 entries eventually being whittled down to 54 players making the cut for Day 2 – headed by Hussein Hussan who bagged a massive 533,000 chips by the time the final hand had been dealt.

Among the notables joining him were Alex Lynskey, Brendon Rubie, Billy Argyros, Gary Benson, Robert Damelian, Luke Martinelli, Andrew White and Shivan Abdine.

The top 5 stacks from Thursday were:

Hussein Hassan533,000
Alex Lynskey493,000
Chuck Caris424,000
Gary Benson417,000
Pete Robinson362,000

Today will see players navigate another 15 levels, which will take us through once again to about 3.30 in the morning.

Play begins at 4.30pm so stay tuned right here on pokermedia.com.au as we bring you exclusive live reporting coverage of the WPTDeepStacks Main Event.

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.

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