With the first month of the New Year all but complete, it’s clear that 2022 will be a massive year for poker in Oz, but the lingering COVID outbreak is still having an impact on the industry, as PokerMedia Australia reveals in our latest edition of Calling the Clock, our whip-around of the major stories from across the country.
SKINNER THE SHOWSTOPPER
Victorian Chris Skinner has picked up right where he left off late last year, amassing a string of impressive results at the Australian Poker Tour (APT) Brisbane Season V series at Eatons Hill Hotel a fortnight ago.
A modest Skinner told PMA that he had had a “pretty good week,” reaching five final tables (including two of those alongside partner Zoe Charters) and eight ITM finishes, culminating in the biggest win of his career in the Dracakis Players Championship for $28,500 in prize money.
“I gotta admit, it’s not a bad thing to get,” Skinner said. “I had a running joke with [APT Ambassador] Mike Maddocks … he’s always talking about manifesting and visualising the victory, walking around with the trophy held high and all that.”
“Zoe was actually the one that was constantly talking about winning the ring, but I guess I just accidentally manifested it myself!”
The pure run resulted in Skinner also clinching the Diamond Tier Player of the Series race, while Jonathan Levy’s win in the Mix Max, coupled with a runner-up finish in the 8-Max Freezeout, saw him coast through to the Sapphire Tier POTS title.
In all, more than $1.5 million in total prize money was accumulated across the seven-day series; Corey Kempson defeated Matthew Ginn heads-up in The Goliath for $68,400 after mounting an epic final table comeback, and Adam Kharman brought the run-good in from Southport Sharks, scoring a $52K payday in The Grind before Joseph Vinecombe topped a field of 528 entries to win the $600 buy-in Main Event.
THE OL’ SERIES SWITCHEROO
The logjam of major poker events within the first quarter of 2022, coupled with the ongoing Omicron situation, has been keeping poker operators busy over the last few weeks, with the Poker Palace and WPT League amongst those announcing major schedule changes.
Originally pencilled in for February, the WPT League Sydney QPC will now take place at the Pavilion Poker Room from 14 April to 1 May.
In a statement released on their Facebook page, WPT League Sydney management cited the “vunerable COVID environment” as the primary reason for the shift.
“There were many considerations … in particular, staffing, satellited players and multi-day events,” the statement read. “We believe pushing the QPC Sydney to April is the best solution for all involved.
It’s also given the Pavilion Poker Room the added benefit of being able to run satellites into the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event on demand, with Sasho Kostovski and Alexander Sandys confirmed as the first two players to qualify for The Big Dance at The Star this coming April.
Meanwhile, the crew at the Poker Palace have brought forward their Autumn Championships schedule, now commencing from February 27 and running through until March 14.
PMA understands that the decision was made to avoid a clash with the recently announced Star Gold Coast Champs, but organisers are confident that their first major series of the year will exceed the estimated $1 million series prize pool.
Out west, the team at Shark Poker are about to launch their 2022 Summer Series, with the first event kicking off today at 12pm local time at the Osborne Park Bowling Club and running across multiple venues throughout Perth until February 14.
Shark Poker management have made one key change for this series, suspending all event guarantees that were originally advertised and converting them to estimates due to ongoing COVID concerns and the uncertainty about the reopening of the Western Australian border.
And the inaugural WPT League Illawarra QPC will resume at the Wests Illawarra in Unaderra from 11-20 March, with more than $120,000 in series prize money guaranteed for the remainder of the series.
The first event – the $60 buy-in Accumulator – was paused in the midst of play during Day 2 last year before the remaining 29 players returned on January 9, with Adrian Pacheo chopping for the trophy and QPC ring against heads-up opponent Ryan Hickey.
A SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SOIREE
The poker community in South Australia continues to work together cohesively in preserving their history and recognising their best performers, with Matchroom Poker setting the stage for the inaugural SA Poker Awards Gala last Saturday night.
Compered by Jon Stark and the SA Poker Team, the event was attended by many of the state’s biggest names in the game. Jerry Zhang and Krystle Morris were voted as the Male and Female Players of the Year, while Russell McCoy was named Dealer of the Year.
The 2021 Stacked Social Poker Championship Main Event was given the nod for Best Event and APLPT Adelaide scored the Best Series title, while the Southern Poker Tour won Best Regional Series for their event in Hahndorf.
The first eight inductees into the SA Poker Hall of Fame were also revealed, headlined by first-generation online prodigies Jarred Graham, Jonathan Karamalikis and James Obst, along with Joe Reina, Jeffrey Rossiter, Lindsay Thompson, George Vassilopoulos and the late David Galpin.
Of course, the poker party doesn’t stop there, with the 2022 Stacked Poker Championship now officially underway – and PMA will be on the rail to bring you all the action right through until the end of next week, which will also run concurrently with our coverage of the APLPT Melbourne III series and the Treasury Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event!
Be sure to lock your browsers onto pokermedia.com.au to keep up with all the latest news from on and around the felt, and follow us on our socials – Discord, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube – for even more exclusive content.