The Sunshine Coast poker community is still celebrating after claiming three of the six marquee events at the APLPT Queensland II series last week.
Coming off the back of a month-long non-stop poker party in the Gold Coast, beginning with the WPTDeepStacks at The Star before moving to Aquis Park for the WPT League QPC, the fifth leg of the APL Poker Tour saw a sizeable reduction in player numbers during the first three days.
After taking some time out to recuperate, many of the game’s biggest names returned to Southport Sharks for the weekend grind; Canadian mastermind Mike Maddocks, 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event Champion Shurane Vijayaram and Australian Poker Hall of Famer Graeme ‘Kiwi G’ Putt were just some of the notables on the felt alongside APL Ambassador Jackie Glazier, cricketing legend Shane Warne and AFL great Steven Baker.
But it was Maroochydore debutante Josh Coppo who stole the show in a story reminiscent of former World Champions Chris Moneymaker and Jack ‘Treetop’ Straus after qualifying for the APLPT Queensland II Main Event for just $25.
The 22-year-old electricity salesman, who only started playing poker six months ago, ran his stack up to just over three million in chips, only to be on the receiving end of a brutal beat against Kane Tihema in the first hand of the final table that crippled him to just 675,000.
“It was pretty demoralising,” Coppo said during his post-match interview. “First hand, you look down at aces and feeling so amped, but after [Tihema] hit the set of eights I was just left there with the big blind and the ante … I just fought back; it was a tough battle.”
The shock departure of defending APLPT Queensland Main Event Champion Liam Murray in ninth place then paved the way for Coppo to mount the ultimate comeback before going on to beat former APT Brisbane Main Event Champion Charles Tsai heads-up for the title.
APLPT QUEENSLAND II MAIN EVENT – FINAL TABLE RESULTS ($175 buy-in, 842 entries)
Mere moments after Coppo’s win, Sharyn Clelland claimed the $300 buy-in Monster Stack Event for a $10K payday, adding to Chris Stevenson’s victory in the $600 Deep Freeze earlier in the week to make it a combined total of almost $50,000 in first-place prize money heading north up the M1.
In other major results, Sydney poker veteran Ken Demlakian and Gold Coast local Michelle Webb went 1-2 in the Jackstar Super High Roller after starting the final table as joint chip leaders, while Vincent Huang finally went one better to take down the $2,500 buy-in Centurion after back-to-back runner-up finishes in the nosebleeds against Sean Ragozzini.
And towards the end of the series, Aidan Hildebrandt became only the second player in history to earn the Australian mid-tier Triple Crown behind Jordan Bromley after taking out the $450 buy-in Mini High Roller.