LIVE REPORTING: Star Gold Coast Champs Opening Event Day 1A

Day 1A in the books

Day 1A is officially done and dusted with 26 survivors after starting with 156 entries, including 52 re-entries, to generate a current prize pool of $105,300 and one more flight left to play.

Antoine Follet has emerged as chip leader after securing a massive double-up with one of the last hands of the day with pocket kings. Brenton Buttigieg, Nathan Harvey, Anthony Cierco and Mark Ericksen round out our top five, however tomorrow is another day for Ricky Kroesen, Mike Maddocks, Mina Gerges and Jaisan Patel, who were amongst those to have hit the rail.


Antoine Follet454,000
Brenton Buttigieg398,000
Nathan Harvey 337,000
Anthony Cierco330,000
Mark Ericksen285,000
Abdul Nooroin250,000
Josh Gold231,000
Bert Perry223,000
Harrison Kelly214,000
Hung-Ta Shih199,500
Michael Richards196,000
Geoff Milner196,000
Ben Margin149,000
Mick Glen145,500
Chris Zenonos133,000
Cam Lopez124,000
Jeison Berdugo113,000
Jacob Faull112,000
Martin Ward108,000
Robert Damelian99,000
Sam Haddad84,500
Wai Kin Cheung82,000
Alex Vidler70,000
Alexander Portelli66,000
Constantine Sincari59,500
Mark Crier30,000

Day 1B kicks off tomorrow at 11.30am, followed by Day 1 of the $1,100 NLH at 5:30pm. PokerMedia Australia will be here to cover the entirety of Day 1B.

Antoine Follet

Kroesen konquered

Ricky Kroesen has been eliminated in the final hands of play. Recounted to PMA by Antoine Follet, Bert Perry opened to 10,000 from middle position and Follet 3-bet to 30,000 from the cut-off. Kroesen then shoved all in from the button for approximately 210,000, action folded back around and he was snap called by Follet.

Follet KK
Kroesen A9

The board ran completely clean for Follet, though he could not recall it’s exact contents, sending Kroesen to the rail and making Follet our chip leader.

Follet – 454,000
Kroesen – BUSTED!

Ricky Kroesen

Berdugo heroes

Anthony Cierco had put Jeison Berdugo to the ultimate test with 10 minutes left to go on Day 1A when our Live Reporter spotted the all in triangle in play.

The board showing 4823 and Berdugo was deep in the tank with 55,000 behind and approximately 90,000 in the middle.

Eventually Berdugo made the call and Cierco immediately tabled [invalid notations], prompting tablemate Chris Zenonos to cry “That is sick!”. The meaningless 10 changed nothing, with Cierco and Berdugo splitting the pot.

With that, the tournament clock has been paused – three more hands announced by tournament staff.

Anthony Cierco – 334,000
Jeison Berdugo – 103,000

Harvey hardly felt that

Nathan Harvey 3-bet to 30,000 over Bert Perry’s 10,000 open, and action was on Antoine Follet in the small blind when our Live Reporter walked over.

Follet counted his stack a few times before flat calling the raise. Ricky Kroesen folded the big blind and Perry immediately folded behind.

Both Follet and Harvey checked the flop, before Follet led out for 22,000 on the board now showing 8JKJ. Harvey took a second, but released his cards.

Harvey has apparently had a good session though, now one of our leaders.

Harvey – 349,000
Follet – 230,000

Nathan Harvey

Final level

Level 15 has commenced – this is the final level for Day 1, as players seek to bag and tag to come back on Sunday. There are 34 players remaining at this stage.

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

Tangiiti takes some from Ericksen

Brian Tangiiti open shoved his remaining 32,000 from middle position. Action folded around to Mark Ericksen in the small blind, who made the call, before Anthony Cierco gave up his big blind.

Tangiiti KQ
Ericksen Q9

Tangiiti had a moment of despair when the A9A spread on the flop as Ericksen paired his 9 – but the board completed 10Q – Aces and Queens with the King kicker proving superior.

Ericksen won’t mind though – he’s been building a wall and that hand barely made a dent.

Ericksen – 394,000
Tangiiti – 72,000

Brian Tangiiti

Richards rises

Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event 3rd place finisher Jaisan Patel has hit the rail, busting shortly after the below hand – getting it in with Q8 on a board of 5Q68.

His opponent, Michael Richards, had A3, however, and the 3 on the river not enough to save Patel.

Michael Richards – 198,000
Jaisan Patel – BUSTED!

Michael Richards

“Where did you learn to do that?!”

Martin Ward opened to 6,500 from the hijack and received calls from Chris Zenonos on the button, Jaisan Patel in the small blind, and Harrison Kelly in the big blind.

The flop spread 352 and action checked through to Zenonos on the button. Zenonos asked how much Ward had behind, before betting 20,000. Patel quickly folded, Kelly tanked but shortly folded as well. Ward had other ideas, though, counting down his stack several times before putting Zenonos to the test, pushing it all in.

“How much?” said Zenonos immediately.
“60.5 more… 80.5” responded Ward.

Zenonos thought it over, counting out his own stack several times, before saying “I’m folding sixes to you Martin” and letting it go.

Martin didn’t hesitate, slamming KJ face up in the centre of the table. “Where did you learn to do that?!” exclaimed tablemate Bert Perry. Perry has been on a heater of his own lately – he now has one of the bigger stacks in the room.

Perry – 226,000
Zenonos – 194,000
Ward – 127,500
Kelly – 56,000

Martin Ward

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

Cowan bows out

Graham Cowan has been eliminated in the final stanza of play, meaning he’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s Day 1B to try to emulate his performance from the Brisbane Poker Festival last month.

Brenton Buttigieg opened to 6,000 under the gun, and Cowan shoved his remaining 12,000 from the hijack. Jacob Faull called from the button, and Buttigieg 4-bet to to 31,000, prompting Faull to get out the way. The hands were tabled and Buttigieg found himself well in front, as Cowan put it.

Buttigieg AQ
Cowan A6

Buttigieg flopped gold and stayed ahead on the board of 83Q108 to eliminate Cowan.

Buttigieg – 244,500
Faull – 124,000
Cowan – BUSTED!

Jacob Faull

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

Break and assorted counts

Players have left on the final 10 minute break of the day – we have three 30 minute levels to go after the break, before bagging and tagging for the night.

Some chip counts below – a familiar face with Mark Ericksen once again at the top of the counts, echoing his Day 1 performance in the GC Summer Series Main Event.

Mark Ericksen251,000
Brenton Buttigieg223,000
Chris Zenonos222,000
Ricky Kroesen185,000
Ken Demlakian148,000
Lien Phan141,000
Constantine Sincaro130,000
Jaisan Patel128,000
Jonny Rodden126,000
Alex Vidler125,000
Jacob Faull122,000
Ben Margin111,000
Dylan Wayne100,000
Martin Ward94,000
Anthony Cierco91,000
Bert Perry69,000
Mark Ericksen

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

Zenonos zilches Lewis

Nikki Lewis has been eliminated in brutal fashion at the hands of Chris Zenonos. Both players got it all in for Lewis’ 46,000 stack.

Zenonos QQ
Lewis 1010

Lewis flopped best as the dealer spread 10J3 but Zenonos caught a miracle Q on the turn and held on the 2 river to eliminate Lewis.

Zenonos – 187,100
Lewis – BUSTED!

Chris Zenonos

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

Vidler on the roof

Alex Vidler found a full double just before, getting it all in with 910 against the QJ of Attila Bognar and needing help.

The board ran out K5983 and the lone pair of nines enough to survive.

Vidler – 51,000
Bognar – 112,000

Alex Vidler

Furlong flies

All in preflop action on Table 13 where Jonathan Portelli had limped the cutoff, Jonny Rodden had raised the button to 3,200, and Patrick “Paddy” Furlong had shoved for 15,600 from the small blind.

Portelli re-jammed over the top, and Rodden tanked over the decision for most of his stack, before asking if he could fold face up. Confirmed by the floor that he could, he proceeded to fold AK face up.

Portelli 77
Furlong A9

Racing but behind with an Ace gone in Rodden’s folded hand, Furlong needed help to survive, which arrived on the turn as the board ran 1041096 to give Furlong a much needed double up.

Furlong – 34,400

Paddy Furlong

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

King Buttigieg

Brenton Buttigieg found himself in position on a flop of 2A7, where 3 players had all invested 6,500 preflop. Carlos Youssef checked his action and Gareth Dennis continued for 10,000. Buttigieg immediately slid in a full twenty stack of yellow chips – a raise to 100,000 effectively all in vs both other players.

Youssef considered his options for a while before eventually releasing his cards, and Dennis immediately flipped KK face up into the muck. “Yeah I knew that!” agonised Youssef “I folded Ace Queen. Not worried about you. But he could have anything, even a flush draw!”

Buttigieg opted to send Youssef into further consternation, flashing the K as he mucked the winner.

Buttigieg – 169,000
Youssef – 107,000
Dennis – 21,100

Brenton Buttigieg

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

Break time

Players are on a ten minute break. Here are some assorted counts.

Brenton Buttigieg

Zenonos takes some

On a board showing 79KJ3 with approximately 40,000 in the pot already, Chris Zenonos bet out 11,000.

Jaisan Patel, next to act, thought about it briefly before making the call, and then a third opponent got out the way.

“Straight” announced Zenonos, tabling 810. Patel mucked and Zenonos scooped the pot.

Zenonos – 150,000
Patel – 68,000

Chris Zenonos

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

Six figures!

The prize pool for the Star Gold Coast Champs Opening Event has just eclipsed $100,000, with 45 minutes left of late registration still available today, and another flight tomorrow.

So far today 103 unique entrants have bought in, with 45 re-entries.

Aiiyaa, Ayyaz!

Rob Damelian checked across to Faraz Ayyaz on a board showing QAJ8. Ayyaz fired, betting 4,400 into the pot of approximately 9,000.

Damelian decided to play for all his chips, sliding out an all in bet totalling around 22,500. Ayyaz tanked and eventually released his cards reluctantly, surrendering the pot to Damelian.

It’s not all bad for Ayyaz, who has accumulated a stack over the last stanza of play.

Ayyaz – 116,500
Damelian – 36,000

Farad Ayyaz

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Maddocks multiplies

Mike Maddocks has doubled following a face off with Jeison Berdugo. Lee Bradbury had actually opened the pot from middle position before Berdugo 3-bet to 5,700. Maddocks then shoved his remaining 28,800 from Berdugo’s immediate left and Bradbury got out the way.

Berdugo took his time with the decision, trying to get some read on Maddocks. Exactly what was said first was unclear, but Maddocks responded “Oh, you have Jacks?”. Berdugo said something back, and Maddocks then said “Queens? Nah you’d have called already.” Floor staff then had to remind both players they cannot talk about the hands whilst action is still pending, even though it is heads up.

Berdugo eventually made the call, and Maddocks immediately tabled QQ. Berdugo tabled JJ to an amused-but-kind-of-evil giggle from Maddocks.

The board ran out 89443 and Maddocks earns a full double on the right side of the cooler.

All’s fair in love and poker though – both posed for a photo for us after!

Maddocks – 60,600
Berdugo – 78,900

Left to right – Jeison Berdugo, Mike Maddocks

Kroesen eliminates Ward

Martin Ward has been eliminated at the hands of Ricky Kroesen in a recent hand.

Kroesen kindly sent us the details via Facebook Messenger – according to him the player to his immediate right opened from the hijack to 1,500, and Kroesen 3-bet to 6,000 in the cut-off. Both blinds (including Ward) called Kroesen’s bet, and the original raiser completed.

The flop spread Ax-8x-Ax and action checked to Kroesen, who continued for 7,500. Ward called from the small blind, with the other two opponents getting out the way.

Ward then open jammed for 16,000 on the 6x turn, which Kroesen immediately called.

Kroesen – AxKx
Ward – QxQx

Trip aces held as the board completed with a 4x.

Kroesen – 65,000
Ward – BUSTED!

Ricky Kroesen

Level 6: 300/600 (600)

O’Shea loses some

Constantine Sincari opened to 1,800 and was called by Tim O’Shea, the button, Jonny Rodden, and the big blind to see a flop five ways. The dealer spread QK5 and action checked to O’Shea, who bet 2,800. Only Rodden and Sincari called.

The turn 2 was again checked to O’Shea, who bet 6,500 into the pot of 17,900. Rodden called, and Sincari thought about it, but relinquished his hand. Both Rodden and O’Shea then checked the 10 river and O’Shea sent his cards aerially spinning into the muck when Rodden tabled K10 for two pair.

No damage to Sincari, however, who still had piles and is one of the larger stacks in the room.

Sincari – 97,000
Rodden – 49,000
O’Shea – 15,500

Constantine Sincari

Level 5: 300/500 (500)

Chip counts

Nikki Lewis123,00
Ben Margin80,000
Hussein Hassan69,000
Ken Demlakian65,000
Mike Maddocks30,000
Aleksander Andreyev30,000
Tim O’Shea29,800
Martin Ward29,100
Nikki Lewis

Break time

The players are now on a 20 minute break. Some assorted chip counts coming shortly.

Margin, Demlakian clean up

Four way action developed on a nearby table, where Ben Margin had bet 1,200 on a flop of AQ4. Sam Haddad had raised to 3,500, Ken Demlakian and Aleksander Andreyev made the call before Margin completed the bet to see a turn of 3. Andreyev checked, Margin led out for 5,500. Haddad folded and both Demlakian and Andreyev called. The river 6 was then checked by all three players. Andreyev tabled A5 but Margin’s A3 for two pair on the turn was good enough take the pot as Demlakian mucked behind.

Whilst writing up the above hand, we were called back over to the same table for an all in and call showdown – with the board showing A108210.

Demlakian had flopped a set and rivered a full house with 88, besting the 99 of Haddad and Q4 of Andreyev to score a double knockout.

Demlakian – 65,000
Margin – 80,000
Andreyev – BUSTED!
Haddad – BUSTED!

Ken Demlakian

Bradbury tries his luck

Brenton Buttigieg squeezed from the big blind to 4,000 after an UTG+1 open to 900 was called by the cutoff and Lee Bradbury in the small blind before him.

The original raiser and caller got out the way before Bradbury made the call. Buttigieg stifled a laugh, saying “You’ve probably got the worst of all of them!” Bradbury didn’t hesitate to respond “I know I do!” as the dealer spread a flop of 54K.

Bradbury checked, and Buttigieg continued for 2,500. “Yeah… my nine ten offsuit ain’t gonna do it” sighed Bradbury as he surrendered the pot.

Buttigieg – 39,000
Bradbury – 20,300

Lee Bradbury

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

Miked up

With 3,000 in the middle, Mike Maddocks checked across to Mike Bavin on a 210K flop. Bavin promptly fired 1,500, which Maddocks called.

Both players checked the 8 turn before Maddocks led out for 6,000 on the 10 river. Bavin let it go.

Maddocks – 25,500
Bavin – 28,200

Mike Bavin

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

Kroesen flushes

Ricky Kroesen had moved all in for about 16,000 on a board of 7104J9 action was on Brenton Buttigieg. Buttigieg asked how much it was, and agonised a little before making the call.

Kroesen quickly tabled 78 for a runner runner flush. Buttigieg mucked before commenting “Yep, you’re never going anywhere”.

Kroesen – 56,000
Buttiegieg – 14,500

Brenton Buttigieg

Some more late arrivals

The tables in Star Gold Coast are filling up as the Opening Event has now eclipsed 100 total entries. Some big names starting to come in – French wunderkind Anthony Cierco, fresh from winning the Alpha3 Event at the recent WPTL QPC for $61,360 has been seated on Table 13. Brisbane Poker Festival headliner Alex Vidler, Timothy O’Shea, Antoine Follet, Mark Ericksen, Kiale Matthews, and APT Ambassador Mike Maddocks have also all taken their seats in the last level.

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

What would Jonny Rodden do?

Jonny Rodden is relaxing on Table 18 getting a massage from one of the Best Hands Shiatsu Massage crew wondering the floor. He opened the action to 300 and received calls from both blinds, before all three players checked a flop of 95A.

Ljubomir Grifunovic led out from the small blind for 600 on the 2 turn. The big blind got out the way before Rodden raised to 1600, which was quickly called. Grifunovic checked to Rodden on the 3 river, prompting Rodden to fire 2,000, again quickly called.

Rodden tabled 22 – good for the turned set and the pot.

Rodden – 19,000
Grifunovic – 25,600

Jonny Rodden

Late arrivals

Seats are slowly starting to fill up as the Opening Event reaches 75 entries.

Some late arrivals filtering in include Ricky Kroesen, Bert Perry, Jen Cassell, Phil Neville, and Liam Murray. Kroesen has actually re-entered, quickly coolered before being re-seated on Table 16. He was not the first out, however, as there have already been 4 re-entries.

Familiar faces and notables

Seats are filling up fast, but there are plenty of familiar faces already in the room for the start of this tournament that we will be keeping on eye on as the day progresses.

Just within reach of our live reporting station, we have eyes on Hussein Hassan, Johnny Rodden, and Brenton Buttigieg. Moving around the room, notables spotted include Elise Depauw, Rob Damelian, Mina Gerges, Daniel Saifiti, Martin Ward, Charles Caris and Chris Zenonos. An interesting battle may develop between Brisbane Poker Festival final tablist Graham Cowan and Brisbane Poker Festival runner up Sam Haddad, who are sitting next to each other on Table 13.

The Star Gold Coast Champs is officially underway!

Following a pre-flight entertainment routine by Velvet Rope Entertainment, the Star Gold Coast has announced shuffle up and deal – officially marking the start of the Star Gold Coast Champs. Blinds commence at 100/100 with a 100 big blind ante, and we will be playing 30 minute levels for the entirety of Day 1.

Level 1: 100/100 (100)

On behalf of the entire team here at Star Poker Gold Coast, it gives us great pleasure in welcoming you all to the Star Gold Coast Champs!

It’s shaping up to be yet another massive and memorable series for Australia’s new home of poker – and for us too – as PokerMedia Australia will be providing Live Reporting coverage from start to finish!

This is the first time PMA has provided coverage of an entire series for Star Entertainment Group and expands the growing relationship between two of the poker industry’s leading companies.

PMA’s Live Reporting of the Star Gold Coast Champs will include full coverage of today’s $750 Opening Event, the $600 Big Wave and the $1,500 Main Event.

We’ll also be bringing you final table coverage of the $1,100 NLH, the $440 PLO, the $550 Big Bounty Shot Clock and the $2,500 Shot Clock and results from both the $440 Teams Event and $350 Final Wave Wipeout Events.


DateTime (AEST)Tournament
Fri 11 Mar2:30pmOpening Event – Day 1A
Sat 12 Mar11:30amOpening Event – Day 1B
Sun 13 Mar11:30amOpening Event – Day 2
12:30pm$1,100 NLH – Day 2*
Tue 15 Mar3:30pm$660 Big Wave – Day 1
Wed 16 Mar12:30pm$660 Big Wave – Day 2
Thu 17 Mar12:30pm$440 Pot Limit Omaha – Day 2*
Fri 18 Mar11:30am$550 Big Bounty Shot Clock – Day 2*
12:30pmMain Event – Day 1A
Sat 19 Mar11:30amMain Event – Day 1B
Sun 20 Mar11:30amMain Event – Day 2
Mon 21 Mar11:30amMain Event – Day 3
12:30pm$2,500 Shot Clock – Day 2*
*Final table coverage only.

Bookmark and follow us for all the action from 2:30pm AEST. Don’t forget that you can also follow us on Discord, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube so you can interact with our team and talk about all things poker with the PMA community.

To everyone taking part in the Star Gold Coast Champs, we wish you all the very best over the next 11 days. Run pure, play well and may the flop be with you!

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