LIVE REPORTING: Stacked Poker Championship $550 NLH Terminator

“Mad” Mike Gainer wins Stacked Poker Championship NLH terminator ($5,500)

“Mad” Mike Gainer is champion of the Stacked Poker Championship $550 NLH Terminator event, overcoming a field of 71 entries to take home the $5,500 top prize.

With the Terminator adopting a bounty format, with half of each player’s $500 official entry fee going into the prize pool and the other half a reward for whoever eliminates each player, there was plenty of loose calling early on as stacks soared then fell as fast as they had grown.

But it was once the re-entry period finished that Gainer emerged from the pack, taking the overall chip lead midway through the day’s play and maintaining it almost all the way to the finishing post.

He also collected plenty of bounty chips along the way – at least 10 by our count – and after crippling his main rival at the final table, Frank Pezzaniti, in a huge pre-flop clash KK versus JJ he never looked troubled once play was 3-way.

In the end his heads-up battle with WSOP bracelet winner Scott Calcogno didn’t last long. With Calcogno desperately short the chips went in Ganier capped then win in style as his J8 became quads on a Q88J8 board.

Gainer’s win also his second final table appearance of this series, having finished third in the $550 NLH Monster Stack on Monday for $5,400.

Scott Calcogno eliminated in 2nd ($4,000)

With Scott Calcogno extremely short-stacked, Mike Gainer pushed all-in holding J8 and Calcogno called with K9.

The flop basically sealed the deal for Gainer as it fell Q88, but to top it off Gainer turned a boat with the J and rivered quads with the 8.

Mike Gainer is our Terminator champion!

Heads-up chip counts

Mike Gainer1,442,000
Scott Calcogno333,000

Troy Pellaschiar eliminated in 3rd ($3,000)

Troy Pellaschiar opened to 60,000 and Mike Gainer called.

On the AQK flop, Pellaschiar bet 100,000 and Gainer called. The turn was the J and Gainer announced he was all-in. Pellaschiar snap-called but his K3 needed help to overcome the Q10 of Gainer.

The river bricked and we are now heads-up!

Level 19: 10,000/20,000 (20,000)

Pellaschiar next to double

Troy Pellaschiar has also doubled through Mike Gainer after shoving his short stack over the top of Gainer’s button open.

It was Pellaschiar with K7 trailing Gainer’s A9 but the board ran out 66329to give Pellaschiarthe flush and move him back to 370,000.

Calcogno doubles through

Scott Calcogno has doubled through to bring himself back into contention.

It was an all-in pre-flop race with Calcogno holding 1010 to be racing against the AQ of Mike Gainer. The board ran out J-high and Calcogno moves back to 410,000.

Chip counts

Mike Gainer1,140,000
Troy Pellaschiar350,000
Scott Calcogno215,000

Level 18: 8,000/16,000 (16,000)

Frank Pezzaniti eliminated in 4th ($2,300)

On a 1064 board, Frank Pezzaniti bet 40,000 then called when Mike Gainer announced he was all-in.

Gainer was well ahead with J10 to the AJ of Pezzaniti who hit the rail when the turn and river bricked.

We are down to our final 3.

Level 17: 6,000/12,000 (12,000)

Break it up

Players are now on a 5-minute break 

Gainer steals back the chip lead

The very next hand after eliminating Adam Cusenza, Frank Pezzaniti clashed again with Mike Gainer with both getting it all in pre-flop.

It was Pezzaniti’s JJ trailing the KK of Gainer although the J in the window certainly caused a stir – at least until the dealer spraed the flop to also reveal the K.

There were no quads for Pezzaniti as he falls back to the field.

Mike Gainer – 850,000
Frank Pezzaniti – 270,000

Adam Cusenza eliminated in 5th ($1,750)

Adam Cusenza shoves from the cutoff and Frank Pezzaniti thought at length – looking at all the chip stacks on the table before making the call.

Cusenza showed A5 and faced a nervous wait against the KQ of Pezzaniti, with good reason.

The Q in the window was all she wrote for Cusenza as Pezzaniti sent another one to the rail while soaring into the chip lead.

Jacyn Che eliminated in 6th ($1,200)

It wasn’t quite two wins in as many nights for Jaycn Che as he shoved the button for 10bb holding A9 and was looked up by Frank Pezzaniti with K10.

The QJ6 flop hit both players hard but the 9 turn hit Pezzaniti harder, and the 5 sealed Che’s fate.

We are now down to 5 players remaining.

Cusenza survives

Adam Cusenza got his short stack in pre-flop with A8 and was called by Frank Pezzaniti with AK.

The 4J10 flop meant Cusenza had plenty of outs, one of them being the 8 that landed on the turn. The river bricked and Cusenza doubles through to 240,000.

Current stacks

Mike Gainer710,000
Frank Pezzaniti320,000
Scott Calcogno255,000
Troy Pellaschiar120,000
Jacyn Che120,000
Adam Cusenza110,000

Level 16: 5,000/10,000 (10,000)

Zhifan Ye busts on bubble

On a board reading 5J1049, Mike Gainer bet 30,000 before Zhifan Ye raised to 100,000. Gainer quickly declared himself all-in, sending Ye into the tank.

He eventually called, showing 78 for the straight but Gainer had the bigger straight with KQ to scoop the pot.

The remaining six players are now all in the money.

Huston, we have a problem

Declan Huston has fallen in eighth place, calling off his desperately short stack with JJ but finding no luck as Frank Pezzaniti’s A5 hit the A3688 flop.

We are now on the money bubble!

Tran trumped

Dung Tran lost all but a few thousand chips when his Queens were cracked by the 5s of Jacyn Che, and he is now our first to exit the final table – forced to call off his tiny stack with K3 against the KJ of Frank Pezzaniti. The board bricked to leave us with 8 players remaining.

The top 6 will be paid.

Level 15: 4,000/8,000 (8,000)

Gainer clipped by Calcogno

Mike Gainer limped in middle position for 6,000 and Scott Calcogno 3-bet to 20,000 from the blinds. Gainer called and they saw a AQK flop.

Calcogno led for 15,000 and Gainer called. The turn was the 6 and this time Calcogno checked for Gainer to bet 30,000. Calcogno then check-raised all-in and Gainer, after thinking for some time, made the call.

Gainer showed K9 but was drawing dead against the KK of his opponents.

Mike Gainer – 525,000
Scott Calcogno – 230,000

Final table chip counts

Seat PlayerChips
1Mike Gainer665,000
2Dung Tran71,000
3Zhifan Ye195,000
4Scott Calcogno135,000
5Adam Cusenza197,000
6Troy Pellaschiar123,000
7Declan Huston57,000
8Jacyn Che103,000
9Frank Pezzaniti196,000

Level 14: 3,000/6,000 (6,000)

Williams walloped as final table set

Short-stack Nick Williams shoved on the button and was called by Mike Gainer in the blinds.

Williams was live with K8 against the A9 of gainer but the 29648 board wasn’t enough to keep his tournament flame flickering.

With that we are at our final table!


Elliott Esca was all-in for his tournament life holding 44 having been called by the big stack, Mike Gainer, with A8.

The J83 flop left Esca drawing thin and he couldn’t catch the 4 he needed to stay alive.

We’re now down to 10 players remaining.

Boswell banished

Jacyn Che opened on the button and Ryan Boswell shoved for his last 40,000 from the big blind. Che called and they were off to the races with Che holding AQ and Boswell 1010.

The board ran out 274A8 and we’re down to 11 players.

Che, who won last night’s PLO5 event, has 145,000 after that hand.

Level 13: 2,500/5,000 (5,000)

Break time

Players are now on a 10-minute break.

Crying call

On a board of AQ10, Declan Huston bet 6,000 and Andrew Michael called.

The turn was the Q and this time Huston announced he was all-in, having Michael comfortably covered. Michael thought long and hard before eventually calling and showing A4 but he was in trouble against the KJ of Huston. The river provided no help as we are down to 12 players.

Huston moves to 165,000.

Declan Huston

Chip counts

The counts of the 14 players remaining are as follows:

Mike Gainer395,000
Frank Pezzaniti210,000
Scott Calcogno205,000
Zhifan ye185,000
Adam Cusenza158,000
Ryan Boswell115,000
Dung Tran97,000
Nick Williams95,000
Troy Pellaschiar88,000
Jacyn Che78,000
Declan Huston65,000
Andrew Michael50,000
Daniel Chambers35,000
Elliott Esca33,000

Level 12: 2,000/4,000 (4,000)

Ye crosses 200k

Zhifan Ye, more commonly known as “Mata” at Stacked, has crossed the 200,000 chip barrier after a huge clash with Tin Win.

The chips went in on a Q102 flop with Tin showing AQ but Zhifan showing 1010 for the set.

The turn and river brought no miracle for Tin as he was sent to the rail.

Zhifan Ye

Level 11: 1,500/3,000 (3,000)

Dapollonio dumped

Troy Pellaschiar opened in early position and received two callers before Matt Dapollonio shoved for 25,000. Nick Williams reluctantly folded but Pellaschiar re-raised all-in, forcing the original callers to fold.

It was Pellaschiar’s AK dominating the AQ of Dapollonio and when the board bricked we it was Dapollonio’s turn to hit the rail.


The 71 entries into today’s $550 NLH Terminator has created a prize pool of $17,750 once bounties have been removed. That means six players will make the money with the payouts as follows:


Level 10: 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

Williams walks into the chip lead

After losing a chunk of chips on the previous hand, Michael Mariakis was all-in for his tournament life and found two callers in Matt Dapollonio and Nick Williams.

The flop fell 369 and Dapollonio bet into Williams who announced he was all-in. Dapollonio snap-called and rolled over 78 for the monster draw – although he didn’t have as many outs as he thought with Williams showing JQ for the higher flush draw.

The 10 was the perfect card for Dapollonio but incredibly the river fell K to give Williams the higher straight.

He collects Mariakis’ bounty while soaring into the overall chip lead with 175,000.

Dapollonio still has 65,000 behind.

Nick Williams

Flopped flush

On a 934 flop, Michael Mariakis bet 6,500 and received one caller.

The turn was the 7 and Mariakis announced he was all-in. His opponent thought for around a minute before calling with 79 but was drawing dead to Mariakis’ A10.

Mariakis picks up a bounty and moves to 50,000 and change.

Michael Mariakis

River regret

Van Vlassis shoved his short-stack into the middle holding 1010 and was called by Matt Dapollonio in search of the bounty with his A4.

Vlassis looked set for a double up as the flop and turn bricked, but the A on the river landed a fatal blow as he exited stage right.

Splendour for Cusenza

In the first hand after the break on Table 2, Jin Lee and Adam Cusenza got it all-in pe-flop with Jin holding AK and Cusenza holding QQ.

The 10JA flop was good for Jin but the K river gave Cusenza Broadway as he sends Jin to the rail.

Cusenza now has 157,000.

Level 9: 800/1,600 (1,600)

Break it up

Players are on a 15-minute break.

Last re-entry hand

The floor staff have called for one more hand to be dealt before players go on a 15-minute break and the re-entry period is closed.

Seal still swimming

Emmanuel Seal announced he was all-in from late position before Jacyn Che declared himself all-in from the button. 

“AC” then announced he was all-in over the top and the cards were tabled.

Seal, the short stack, was out in front with KK while Che held A9 and “AC” the KQ.

The dealer showed the A in the window to leave Seal with one foot out the door but the rest of the flop fell K2. A 3 on the turn and 10 on the river sent the hand Seal’s way as he tripled up.

Jacyn Che – 87,000
“AC” – 54,000
Emmanuel Seal – 23,000

Emmanuel Seal

Boating life

We caught the action on a board reading 1010577 and Gabby X having announced he was all-in. Chris Parker thought about it before making the call and showing 73.

Gabby showed 46 for air as Parker picked up his bounty and moved to 95,000.

Freezout approaching

With seven levels now done and dusted, we are into the final level before the registration and re-entry period is closed.

At the end of this 25-minute level, the staff will call “one more hand” which will provide the last opportunity for players to double up, to bust or to surrender their stack if under starting size to re-enter.

There are currently 61 entries.

Level 8: 600/1,200 (1,200)

The stacks

Neb Blasuna165,000
Mike Gainer150,000
Adam Cusenza110,000
Tin Win105,000
Matt Dapollonio90,000

Bounty hunting

All relatively short-stacked, Michael Mariakis, “AC” and Nick Williams got it in on a 7JQ flop with “AC” in the lead holding J9 but with plenty to fade if he was to get there against the A5 of Mariakis and the 910 of Williams.

The K on the turn immediately have Williams the lead with the straight and he held to triple through to 60,000 while also collecting a bounty from “AC”.

Level 7: 500/1,000 (1,000)

Set mining

We caught the action on a board reading A2910 with Michael Mariakis betting out for 15,000 before Mike Gainer shoved for a total of 62,000.

Mariakis stood and looked at the board before calling and tabling A10 but needing help against the 22 of Gainer.

The river was the 3 to double gainer through to 153,000 while Mariakis slips to around 25,000.

“Mad” Mike Gainer

Frankly speaking

Adam Cusenza opened in early position and received 3 callers to see a flop of J82. He continued for the minimum and was called by Frank Pezzaniti before Huey Lam – this week’s Monster Stack champion – re-raised to 6,500. Both Cusenza and Pezzaniti called.

The turn was the 9 and it was checked around to Pezzaniti who bet 11,600. Lam then re-raised all-in, with Cusenza tank-folding and Pezzaniti snapping him off.

Pezzaniti showed A3 for the nuts with Lam mucking, although the dealer showed that he had held AJ.

Pezzaniti collects the bounty chip while moving to 105,000.

Level 6: 400/800

Gabby, Chambers double through

Daniel Chambers opened to 1,700 UTG and it was folded around to Neb Blanusa in the blinds who 3-bet to 6,100. Chambers called and they took a flop of 644. Both players checked before Blanusa announced he was all-in when the 2 landed on the turn.

Chambers snap-called and turned over AA to be well ahead of Blanusa’s JJ. The river bricked as Chambers doubled to around 45,000.

Moments later, Gabby X got his last 11,100 in with KK and was called by Michael Mariakis with 78.

A 7 on the flop gave Gabby a sweat but he survived to move to 23,000.

Daniel Chambers

The big stacks

Neb Blanusa130,000
Casey Grout115,000
Michael Mariakis110,000
Michael Haddad85,000
Sergio Cavaiuolo65,000

Level 5: 300/600

Break time

Players are now on a 15-minute break.

3 way all-in

On a K510 flop, Michael Haddad announced he was all-in for 26,425 and both Tin Win and Casey Grout made the call.

All three players held a K in their hand with Haddad showing K2, Tin showing K9 and Grout having both dominated with KA.

The turn 9 elevated Tin into the lead and gave Haddad a flush draw, but the A river clipped both as Grout scooped the pot.

He collects Haddad’s bounty and moves to 83,000 while Tin still has around 40,000 in front.

Level 4: 200/400

Blanusa busy

Neb Blanusa was stacked early but after re-entering he is now our chip leader with 120,000 and a couple of bounty chips to match.

Blanusa has been getting busy, playing most hands and clearly on a mission to get that bounty stack as tall as possible!

Jacyn racin’

Last night’s PLO5 champion Jacyn Che has continued his run good into today’s event. We caught him getting it all-in pre-flop holding A10 against an opponent’s QQ.

The board ran out [invalid notations] with the river sending Che his first bounty of the day. He now sits with around 58,000.

Level 3: 150/300

Cowboys get it done for Pellaschiar

It’s not quite as hectic tonight as it was during the early levels of the PLO5 last night but there is still plenty of early action.

Troy Pellaschiar is one of the beneficiaries, getting it on holding KK against the KJ of Michael Haddad on a 4J7 flop. The turn and river were running Aces as moves to around 55,000 while Haddad prepares to fire a second bullet.

Candid Camera

Gainer gets busy

Sergio Cavaiuolo opened to 600 and “Mad” Mike Gainer 3-bet to 1,600. Two players cold-called and Cavaiuolo also came long for the ride.

The flop fell 4A6 and Gainer continued for 6,000 with only Cavaiuolo making the call. 

On the turn 2, Cavaiuolo checked to Gainer who announced he was all-in for his remaining 14,000. Cavaiuolo thought for a while before calling.

The cards were flipped and it was Gainer’s AQ in great shape against the A9 of Cavaiuolo. 

The river was a repeat deuce as the remainder of Cavaiuolo’s early double-up is depleted. He heads to the cage to re-enter while Gainer moves to around 48,000.

Level 2: 100/200

Cavaiuolo scores early double

Sergio Cavaiuolo has scored a big early double up after picking off Neb Blanusa’s bluff.

The hand began with Blanusa opening and Cavaiuolo making the call from the big blind. The dealer spread a flop of [invalid notations] and Cavaiuolo check called a bet of 1,500. 

The turn was the4 and this time Cavaiuolo check-called a bet of 5,000. When the river was a repeat 3, Cavaiuolo checked again and Blanusa announced he was all-in.

Cavaiuolo thought briefly before making the call and tabling 45 as Blanusa mucked his cards.

Cavaiuolo doubles through to 50,000.

Shuffle up and deal

Our tournament director Chris has announced “shuffle up and deal” and we’re underway in the terminator!

Level 1: 100/100

Welcome once again to PokerMedia Australia and our live coverage of the Stacked Poker Championship.

The Stacked Social poker room, located in the heart of North Adelaide’s restaurant and café district, has been getting progressively busier in the lead-up to the Main Event – culminating with last night’s PLO5 which attracted a massive 121 entries and created the largest prize pool of the series so far.

Tonight we are back for the $550 NLH Terminator, which will see $250 from each player entered into the overall prize pool and the other $250 put aside as a bounty. Eliminate a player and you collect their $250 bounty!

It promises to be a lot of fun and if you find yourself with a short stack expect a target to be hovering above your head.

Players will start with 25,000 in chips while late registration and re-entry is permitted through to the end of Level 8. All levels are 25 minutes in length.

PMA will again be here to bring you all the live reporting action from 6pm local time (6.30pm AEDT) as we look to crown our fourth and final champion before the Main Event kicks off on Friday.

Just a reminder too – Thursday will see a massive Main Event Mega Satellite running at Stacked where event ambassador and Australian Poker Hall of Famer Billy “The Croc” Argyros will be giving away free drinks, bounties and a few extra seats to the big dance!

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