LIVE REPORTING: Stacked Poker Championship Main Event Day 1A

Kit Manuel tops Stacked Poker Championship Main Event Day 1A

Almost 12 hours after play got underway, the opening flight of this year’s Stacked Poker Championship has been run and done with 20 of the 68 players who entered bagging a stack ahead of Day 2.

Leading the way is Kit Manuel with 219,500, who soared to the top of the pops late in the evening after a huge clash with Tony Xu. The chips went in on the turn with Xu holding A10 and Manuel AQ on a A1056 board. The 4 landed on the river to send the pot Manuel’s way.

He holds a narrow lead over Dion Mavrangelos and 2020 Stacked Poker Championship winner Michael Haddad, while plenty of big names are still in the running – Jonathan Karamalikis and Billy Argyros among them. Steve “The Big Show” Topakas also progressed after flying in from Melbourne Friday morning.

Saturday will see two flights running back-to-back with the second being a Turbo flight for those who bust out of the other two. Each flight allows for players to re-enter up to three times while a “Best Stack Forward” system allows those carrying a short stack to try and better it before Day 2 on Sunday.

As always, PokerMedia Australia will be on the floor from 12pm Saturday until finish to bring you all the live action.

Kit Manuel
Kit Manuel219,500
Dion Mavrangelos190,000
Michael Haddad186,500
Jamie Brown181,000
Christopher Colaneri109,500
Billy Argyros109,500
Jin Li102,500
Max Chea97,000
Obie Blanusa95,500
Samuel K94,500
Adam Lutley90,500
Michael Mariakis83,000
Joe Sanjaev65,500
Elliot Esca64,500
Adam Cusenza62,000
Zhiifan Ye Mata60,500
Daniel S57,000
Stephen Topakas55,500
Jonathan Karamilikis53,500
Gavin Best53,000

Done and dusted

And that’s all she wrote folks. The final level of the day has come to an end and remaining 20 players are now bagging and tagging.

We’ll bring you final chip counts for the day as soon as they become available.

Kit hits

Kit Manuel has just won a huge pot against Tony Xu to soar into the chip lead moments before the end of the day’s play.

The hand began with Xu opening from the button and Manuel 3-betting from the small blind. Xu called.

The flop fell A105 and Manuel led for 12,500. Xu called. On the 6 turn, Manuel checked and Xu bet 16,500. Manuel then announced he was all-in and Xu tank-called, showing A10 for top two.

Manuel still had plenty of outs, however, and binked one of them when the 4 landed on the river.

The huge clash sent Xu packing while Manuel soared to 225,000.

Are you serious?

It was folded around to Scott Calcogno in the cut-off who announced he was all-in for his last 21,600. Michael Haddad looked down from the big blind, looked at Calcogno, and said, “I’m sorry Scotty I have to call … I’ve got Kings.”

“Are you series,” Calcogno said as he rolled over K10. Unfortunately for Calcogno, Haddad was telling the truth and when the board ran out A4A75 Calcogno’s day was done.

Haddad moves to 185,000.

Michael Haddad

Last level

The clock has ticked over into the final level of the night, meaning players will be bagging and tagging in about 40 minutes’ time or 11.30pm Adelaide time.

This event is not only a re-entry event with each player allowed up to three bullets per flight, it is also best stack forward meaning anyone that survives today has the opportunity to play again tomorrow and try to build a bigger stack.

Level 13: 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

Croc and roll

Nick Williams was all-in for his remaining 20,600 and Billy Argyros made the call.

It was a classic race with Argyros holding 1010 and Williams the two overs with AQ

The board ran out K23K4 and Argyros moves to 107,000.

Billy Argyros

Level down

With a little over one level to play tonight, it’s looking like we’re going to finish the evening with 68 entries on Day 1A.

There are currently 26 players remaining and the tournament staff have just broken a table to take us down to three tables in play.

Roman wrecked

On a 10JQ flop, Michael Mariakis led for 6,000 and Roman Priplotski called. 

The turn was the 8 and this time Mariakis bet 15,600. Priplotski shoved for not a whole lot more and Mariakis made the call. 

Priplotski showed QQ for top set but needed help against the 89 of Mariakis. The river A changed nothing and Priplotski is goneski.

Mariakis now has 95,000.

To the Max

Max Chea can’t say he isn’t running good. We wandered by bis table just in time to see him getting it all-in against Stephen Bee on a board reading J45.

Bee showed AJ but was trailing Chea’s 45. The turn and river bricked to send Bee to the rail and lift Chea to around 140,000 in chips.

At the same time as Chea was winning that massive pot, he was also involved in a $220 flip for another Main Event seat. He was dealt 35 which quickly turned into the nuts on an A2Q47 board.

Max Chea

Level 12: 800/1,600 (1,600)


Obie Blanusa has rocketed into the overall chip lead following a massive all-in clash with former chip leader Stephen Bee.

The chips went flying pre-flop with Bee looking good to score the knockout with AA against the KK of Blanusa.

The J75 flop changed nothing but the K turn quickly shifted the power base. The river was the meaningless 8 as Blanusa soars up the leaderboard.

Obie Blanusa172,000
Stephen Bee53,000

Notable stacks

Stephen Bee132,000
Michael Haddad130,000
Obie Blanusa107,000
Tony Xu105,000
Jin Lee94,000
Joe Sanjaev93,000
Nick Williams83,000
Elliott Esca80,000
Jamie Brown76,000
Steve Topakas75,000
Adam Lutley63,000
Michael Mariakis55,000
Billy Argyros38,000
Scott Calcogno33,000
Jonathan Karamalikis23,000

Level 11: 700/1,400 (1,400)

Break time

Players are on their final 10-minute break of the day.

Around the room

Drawing strong 

On a K310 flop, Michael Mariakis led for 8,000 and Kim Nguyen jammed. Mariakis called all-in for around 40,000 and it was off to the races with Kim holding K10 for top two and Mariakis drawing strong with AJ.

The turn Q hit both of Mariakis’s draws to rocket him into the lead and he held as the river bricked.

Michael Mariakis85,000
Kim Nguyen23,000

Level 11: 700/1,400 (1,400)

Level 10: 600/1,200 (1,200)

Bee buzzing 

Neb Blanusa shoved for his remaining 11,500 and a player on the button called. Stephen Bee then shoved over the top, forcing the button to fold.

It was Bee out in front with QQ against the A7 of Blanusa, and when the board ran 9J9K8 Blanusa’s day was done – having already fired his maximum three bullets for the day.

Bee is up to 118,000.

Neb Blanusa has fired his three bullets for the day.

Drinks for all

Defending Stacked Poker Championship Main Event champion Michael Haddad is known for having plenty to say and he’s having a good time again in today’s flight. 

Moments ago he stood up and addressed the room with his booming voice, thanking everyone for their attendance and offering to buy the whole room a drink. He finished his speech by announcing, “And I raise … 2,500”.

Michael Haddad

The stacks

David Sun120,000
Tony Xu114,000
Joe Sanjaev105,000
Kim Nguyen94,000
Lionel Seah64,000

Kim gets it in

After Michael Mariakis opened to 2,500 and Kim Nguyen called, Neb Blanusa 3-bet to 10,000. Mariakis folded while Kim called.

The flop came 658 and both players checked. On the 3 turn Kim checked again and Blanusa jammed. Kim snap-called and rolled over 66 to be well out in front of Blanusa’s AK. The river bricked and Kim now sits with one of the big stacks.

Kim Nguyen94,000
Neb Blanusa11,000

JK in the house!

South Australian poker icon Jonathan Karamalikis has just arrived and is now seated at the “feature” table.

Karamalikis doesn’t play a whole heap these days – in fact he informed us this is his first tournament since the WPT DeepStacks Gold Coast Main Event last May – but his presence will no doubt still make his table mates nervous.

Long regarded as one of Australia’s best players, he was inducted into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame in 2019 on the back of a lengthy resume that includes an Aussie Millions ring, victory in the 2010 APPT Sydney Main Event (when he was a sponsored Full Tilt pro) and multiple high roller titles across Australia and Macau – not to mention his online exploits.

Karamilikis was also one of eight inaugural inductees into the South Australian Poker Hall of Fame just a fortnight ago.

Jonathan Karamalikis

Level 9: 500/1,000 (1,000)

Spike Mike

Michael Mariakis opened in early position and was one of two players to call after a player on the button 3-bet. On the K104 flop, both callers checked back to the button who continued for around 11,000. Mariakis then check-raised all-in. The original caller folded but the button called, showing AA to have Mariakis in trouble with his KJ.

Not to worry though – the K landed on the turn and when the river bricked it was Mariakis chipping up to 60,000.

Michael Mariakis

Ghinis downed

Alex Ghinis has been particularly aggressive with his 3-betting and 4-betting but he ran into a bit of trouble after trying to steal another pot.

After Andrew Michael opened to 2,000, Elliott Esca 3-bet to 4,800 from the button before Ghinis 4-bet to 11,100 out of the big blind.

Michael folded but Esca announced he was all-in for a total of 36,500. Ghinis thought briefly before letting it go.

Alex Ghinis55,000
Elliott Esca50,000
Alex Ghinis

We’re back!

Players are back from their dinner break and the cards are in the air!

Level 8: 400/800 (800)

Break it up

We’re seven levels down and the players are now going on a 45-minute dinner break. We’ll see you at around 7.15pm local time!

Numbers game

As the clock ticks down towards the dinner break, we have 57 total registrations for the day with 40 players remaining. Re-entry is permitted all the way through today so expect that number to grow.

By way of comparison, this same flight attracted 53 runners last year while the Main Event saw a total of 126 runners in total. With an extra flight added to this year’s schedule, the target number is 150 starters. Will we get there?

Notable stacks

Joe Sanjaev73,000
Obie Blanusa68,000
Lionel Seah65,000
Jamie Brown60,000
Michael Haddad59,000
Tony Xu54,000
David Sun46,000
Adam Cusenza41,000

Level 7: 300/600 (600)

Adam at’em

In a 3-way pot starting at a 1097 flop, Leeroy Turnbull shoved for his final 3,000 and Adam Cusenza called. The third player in the pot then shoved over the top for his remaining 12,000 and Cuzenza made the call.

The cards were turned with Cusenza showing QQ, Turnbull 

K2 for the flush draw and the third player 107 for two pair.

The turn 4 and river 4 was enough to lift Cusenza to the win as he moves to 40,000 and eliminates both opponents.

Huey goes hard

Huey Lam opened to 1,600 and position and received two callers, including Marcus Sisouphan from the blinds. 

On the 74A flop, Sisouphan checked to Lam who continued for 3,000. Sisouphan called.

The turn was the J and this time Sisouphan check-called a bet of 4,000. On the 4 river, Huey announced he was all-in, with Sisouphan eventually folding while flashing the A.

Huey Lam38,000
Marcus Sisouphan28,000

Joe felts Jin

Joe Sanjaev opened to 1,000 and Jin Lee called in the blinds. The flop fell 966 and Jin check-raised Sanjaev’s 600 continuation bet to 4,500. Sanjaev called.

The turn was the Q and this time Jin check-called a bet of 4,500. On the 10 turn, Jin again checked before calling when Sanjaev put him all-in.

Jin turned over A4 for the nut flush but Sanjaev had flopped massive holding 99 to scoop the pot.

He is our tournament chip leader with 90,000 while Jin returns to the cage to fire another bullet.

Joe Sanjaev

Late arrivals

Some late starters in today’s flight include Billy Argyros, Emmanuel Seal, Michael Mariakis and Scott Calcogno.

Calcogno, who finished runner-up in Wednesday’s Terminator event, seems tio enjoy that format having won a WSOP bracelet at WSOP APAC in a Terminator Bounty event in 2014.

Scott Calcogno

Max-imum impact

David Sun and Max Chea got it all-in on a Q106 flop with Chea the all-in player and in strong position holding QJ to Sun’s Q2

The turn J was enough for Chea to double through to 31,000, while Sun is still comfortable with 35,000.

We’re back!

The cards are back in the air and the length of each level has increased too. After the first four levels of the day’s play clocked in at 30 minutes each, the rest of the day will see levels extended to 40 minutes each.

We will be playing 13 levels in total today.

Level 5: 200/400 (400)

Break time

Players are on their first 10-minute break of the day.

Chip counts

Joe Sanjaev88,000
Michael Haddad57,000
Obie Blanusa52,000
Andrew Michael45,000
Alex Ghinis44,000

Action stations

After an early position open to 750, seven players went to the flop which fell 95J. It was checked to Pip Chea who bet 2,750. Jin Lee then announced he was all-in and Alex Ghinis went all-in over the top. Chea called and the cards were flipped.

It was Ghinis who had flopped huge with 55, while Jin showed AA and Chea A10 for the nut flush draw.

The turn was the 2 and the river the J to leave both Chea and Jin short while Ghinis moves to 50,000.

Level 4: 150/300 (300)

We’re gonna need a bigger boat

Leeroy Turnbull opened to 800 and was called by three players.

The flop fell 9J9 and it was checked around. 

On the K turn, it was checked to Obie Blanusa who bet 2,600. Roman Priplotski folded while Turnbull made the call.

When the river landed 5, Turnbull led foir 7,000. Blanusa then shoved and Turnbull quickly called.

Turnbull showed JJ for the flopped boat but it wasn’t enough to topple Blanusa who showed KK.

Blanusa moves to 58,000 while Turnbull is left very short.

Obie Blanusa

Bok back

We caught the action on a board reading 8K7A and Bunteon Bok having announced he was all-in. His opponent thought only briefly before making the call with AK but needed help against Bok’s 88.

The river bricked to move Bok back up to 35,000.

Lam forces the fold

On a board reading 9A2J, Jamie Brown fired 5,000 and Huey Lam made the call.

The river was the 2 and Brown led out for another 5,000. Lam then announced he was all-in and Brown quickly let it go.

Huey Lam41,500
Jamie Brown17,500

Level 3: 150/300

Faces in the crowd

Level 2: 100/200

Blanusa blown away

Neb Blanusa has demonstrated his willingness to push with any two playable cards and he wasted no time getting his remaining chips into the middle with 69.

Unfortunately he ran into the KK of Marcus Sisouphan.

The board ran out J7KAA to send Blanusa back to the rego desk to fire the second of the three bullets each player is allowed to fire in each flight.

Sisouphan moves back to 25,000.

Haddad off to flying start

On the first hand of the day’s play, Neb Blanusa out in a big opening raise to 3,500 from early position and received a call from both blinds, including defending champion Michael Haddad in the big blind.

The 945 flop was checked around as the K landed on the turn. Again it was checked around before the small blind led for 6,000 on the A river. Haddad made the call, while Blanusa folded.

The small blind showed 45 for a flopped two pair but Haddad had the better of it with A9. He immediately climbs to 42,000.

Shuffle up and deal!

The cards are in the air!

Level 1: 75/150

Delayed start

There is a slight delay here at Stacked Social due to the fact that only a handful of players are on time for the start of play! A few are starting to take their seats now and we’re expecting play to begin shortly.

Welcome back to PokerMedia Australia’s coverage of the Stacked Poker Championship (SPC), live from the Stacked Social poker room in North Adelaide.

Our team is fully recharged after a day off on Thursday, which we took full advantage of to try out some of the local cafés and restaurants, and we’re ready for a huge day of action as the $2,200 SPC Main Event gets underway from 2pm. 

Today is the first of three Day 1 flights with the other two both taking place on Saturday. They will include a standard flight starting at midday followed by a Turbo flight from 8pm.

Today’s flight will see 13 levels played, with the first four levels lasting 30 minutes each before the remaining nine levels of the day are extended to 40 minutes each. All levels from Day 2 onwards will be 45 minutes in length.

This is the second running of the SPC Main Event with last year’s inaugural series seeing Michael Haddad crowned champion and taking home the $100,000 top prize.

Who will collect this year’s $100k GTD first place prize?

Stay tuned to as we bring you all the action right through until we crown our champion on Monday.

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