LIVE REPORTING: Star Gold Coast Champs $660 Big Wave Day 1

Hovagimian leads into Day 2 of the Big Wave; that’s a wrap!

It’s been one helluva day at The Star Gold Coast, as a plethora of Aussie poker talent jumped in to ride the Big Wave here at the Star Gold Coast Champs.

After a frenetic day of action across the felt, Vahe Hovagimian will be returning tomorrow as our overall chip leader, bagging up 587,000 after hitting a purple patch in the closing stages.

Following close behind is Queensland poker stalwart Martin Ward with 306,000, while Peter Apostolou (266,000), Shaun Elliot (265,000) and Ricky Kroesen (247,500) round out the top five.

Other big names to have bagged up include Jennifer Cassell, Ken Demlakian, Josh Norvock, Bert Perry, Omer Silajdzija, Hussein Hassan and Anthony Cierco.

From the 161 total entries taken in today, only 37 remaining players will return tomorrow to their current seating positions and will pick up right where they left off, with recommencing blinds at 3,000/5,000 (5,000).

Play will kick off at 12:30pm AEST and PokerMedia Australia will once again be front and centre to bring you all the action as it happens.

Until then, thanks for tuning in and we look forward to having your company again soon. ‘Bye for now!

That’s it!

And just like that, Day 1 of the $660 Big Wave has come to a close!

As per Star Poker Gold Coast regulations, given that there was only a single Day 1 flight, the clock was run out to the end of the level before effectively being “paused” as is.

Our full wrap-up of today’s proceedings will be coming your way soon.

Hovagimian’s hoard

As we approached the end of Day 1, Russell Fogarty came over to the PMA hotdesk to recall how he had been crippled at the hands of Vahe Hovagimian before being sent to the rail.

“I raised with A-Q, he calls and the flop comes Q-K-8,” he explained. “He bets, I call, then he check calls my bet of 15,000 before pushing out 100,000 with the river four.”

“I tank for ages and then call – [Hovagimian] turns up K-Q … what can I do?”

Our reporter then approached Hovagimian who was sitting behind piles – and we got there just in time to see him call down Duncan McKinnon with AA against his QQ.

With no love on the KK879 board, McKinnon’s remaining chips were absorbed into Hovagimian’s stack.

Vahe Hovagimian450,000
Russell FogartyBUSTED!
Duncan McKinnonBUSTED!
Vahe Hovagimian

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

Thompson tops De Marco

Having fired another bullet into the Big Wave after being eliminated earlier in the day, Glenice De Marco has just fallen at the hands of Chris Thompson.

All their chips went in after the dealer spread a flop of A99; De Marco was gambling with J4 but Thompson’s AQ had already hit top two pair.

The turn and river blanked out 8, 5, ending De Marco’s run.

Chris Thompson130,000
Glenice De MarcoBUSTED!
Chris Thompson

Spin it up!

Martin Ward has just scored a massive double up through Lewis Spinazzola, getting his money in good pre-flop with QQ against Spinazzola’s 1010.

Ward stayed ahead all the way down the board of 493K3 to move past the 300K mark.

Martin Ward303,000
Lewis Spinazzola92,000
Martin Ward

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

Take 10!

Our remaining 55 players are now on break. Two more levels and then we bag and tag!

Huntly doubles

A timely double for Dennis Huntly as we approached the final break of the night, having gotten his money in good with AK against the Q9 of Chris Thompson.

Although Thompson picked up a flush draw on the flop of K63, Huntly’s hand held after the the turn and river bricked out J, 2.

Dennis Huntly192,000
Chris Thompson83,000


Ricky Kroesen has taken out another player, this time in the form of Star Gold Coast Opening Event final tablist Carlos Youssef.

All the money was in the middle after the dealer spread a flop of A56; Youssef had paired up with his A9, however Kroesen had hit two pair holding A6.

The turn of the J nor the river 8 did anything to change the outcome and Youssef was eliminated.

Ricky Kroesen284,000
Carlos YoussefBUSTED!
Ricky Kroesen

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

Demlakian dominating

Ken Demlakian’s stack has piled up to almost 200,000 after taking a huge chunk from Harrison Duce.

The PMA Live Reporting Crew came in after the dealer had a spread a board of 3J423; despite Duce having made two pair with his AJ, Demlakian had him well beat with AA.

Ken Demlakian193,000
Harrison Duce26,300
Ken Demlakian

Maddocks mauled

After a raise and a call in front of him, Mike Maddocks tried to steal after moving all-in for 30,200 with from the cut-off with 86, however Antoine Follet came back with an iso-shove out of the blinds with 99.

Although both players hit two pair on the board of 674KK, Follet was best and Maddocks’ run came to an end.

Antoine Follet102,000
Mike MaddocksBUSTED!
Mike Maddocks

Pongrass departs

Matt Pongrass has just been eliminated after having a chunk taken out of him by PMA‘s Josh Emerton.

Our reporter picked up the action on the river with a board that read 8753K with a pot worth approximately 29,000; Ricky Kroesen checked from the small blind before Pongrass open-shoved for 62,000 from middle position.

Emerton went deep into the tank, apologising to the table for taking so long, but after about three minutes or so he made the call before Kroesen quickly got out of the way.

Pongrass tabled A6 for a busted straight draw, but Emerton was best with his K9. Down to just 15,100 in chips, Pongrass was eliminated a short time later.

Josh Emerton124,000
Matt PongrassBUSTED!
Josh Emerton

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

Kroesen kicks one out

Another one from the Ricky Kroesen chronicles: this time, Rickwaa opened to 3,500 from under the gun with pocket tens and action folded around to the player in the big blind, who defended to go heads-up to a flop of J-10-3 with two spades.

The big blind player then check-raised to 10,500 after Kroesen led out for another 3,500. Kroesen called, and then called the big blind’s bet of 15,000 when an ace came down on the turn.

After a trey came down the river, the big blind jammed and Kroesen snap-called, his set good for the scoop and the bust-out.

Ricky Kroesen190,000

A jolt for Jalc

The cry of “all-in, call” went up from Table 18, where we saw an unknown opponent at risk with K10, but needed some help up against Michal Jalc’s KQ.

Jalc increased his lead after the flop of 8Q5, but despite the sweaty turn of the 2, the J on the river completed the board to give Jalc the K.O.

Michal Jalc71,000
Michal Jalc

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

Money, money, money!

The numbers are in for the Star Gold Coast Champs $660 Big Wave! 161 entries (including 54 re-entries) have generated a total prize pool of $96,600!

Top 21 players will be paid, with a min-cash worth $1,258 while our winner tomorrow takes home a tidy $25,675.



Gerges guts Bromley

In one of the first hands after the break, Jordan Bromley found himself all-in pre-flop with AQ, but had run smack-bang into the AA of Mina Gerges.

Nothing changed for either player after the board was spread 36KK10 and Gerges scored a much-needed double-up.

The PMA Live Reporting Crew can also confirm that Triple Crown winner Josh Norvock was amongst those to max late-reg, whilst Stewart Scott, and Minseok Kim are no longer with us.

Jordan Bromley

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

Break time

Players in the Big Wave are now on a 10-minute break. As soon as we get back, the tournament will be locked out and we’ll have the payouts for you soon after. Stay with us!

Hey Bert!

Just as our players began making their way out of the tournament area, action folded around to Bert Perry who popped it up to 2,000 from the small blind, only to see his opponent in the big blind shove over the top.

Perry called and rolled up K7, ahead of the big blind’s J9.

The flop of K6Q put Perry further ahead, but despite a glimmer of hope with the A, the 6 bricked out on the river.

“Sorry man,” Perry said. “I figured it was the last hand before the break, I had to have a go!”

Bert Perry99,400

Mulligan making moves

From under the gun, Scott Mulligan raised to 2,200 and action folded to Minseok Kim who three-bet to 7,600. Mulligan called after everyone else got out of the way before both players checked down the flop and turn of 98Q.

Mulligan then tossed in 7,000 after the dealer peeled off the river 5 and Kim called, only to muck after Mulligan turned over 33 for two pair.

Scott Mulligan230,000
Minseok Kim13,200

A double-up through Damelian

Having taken a big hit in an earlier hand, Ryan Stevenson gambled the last of his chips with A7, but found himself in a world of hurt against the KK of Robert Damelian.

However, the dealer spread a board of 37652 to give Stevenson the nut flush!

“I’m sorry guys, I’ll play better after the [re-entry],” Stevenson said. “You only get this version of me until the break!”

Ryan Stevenson61,000
Robert Damelian70,000
Robert Damelian

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

Feature table follies

Hassan Hussein has put on a show over on the feature table, now up to almost 90,000 in chips after getting busy in a few pots.

Earlier, Hussein raised to 1,800 from UTG+1 and Hasian Hyde came along for the ride; action then foleded around to Geoff Milner who defended his big blind to make it three-handed to a flop of 7K7.

Milner and Hussein checked, Hyde opened for 3,800, Milner folded and Hussein check-called before repeating the action after Hyde’s bet of 8,500 when the 7 appeared on the turn.

Both players then checked the river 6 and Hussein flicked up 77 for quads.

“Jeez, you got out of that light, huh?” quipped Hussein as he raked in the pot.

Hassan then found three callers after he raised to 2,000 in the very next hand to see a flop of 4Q10. After Patrick Coffey checked his option from the big blind, Hassan opened for 3,300 and both Hyde and Taylor Gruber called, forcing Coffey out of the way.

Hassan then fired out 7,000 after the turn of the 3; Hyde mucked and Gruber shoved, prompting Hassan to lob his cards into the muck.

Patrick Coffey145,000
Hussein Hassan86,000
Taylor Gruber58,000
Geoff Milner48,800
Hasian Hyde

Batoz goes bang!

After re-entering at the Star Poker Gold Coast rego desk, Andrew Topakas found himself back in the action early, limping in from UTG+1 before Mike Maddocks raised to 2,600. Action then folded to Rod Batoz who called from the cut-off, only to then see Jeremy Winlaw come in with a four-bet-shove from the small blind.

Topakas and Maddocks quickly got out of the way before Batoz made the call.

Batoz: KQ
Winlaw: 1010

Top-top for Batoz after the flop of K7A, which held all the way after the turn and river ran out 2, 3.

Rod Batoz58,000
Mike Maddocks48,200
Jeremy WinlawBUSTED!
Rod Batoz

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Topakas toppled

Massive three-way all-in pre-flop action over on Table 20, where Andrew Topakas found himself at risk with KQ and found himself up against the 1010 of David Sebesfi, but both players were trailing Omer Silajdzija’s JJ.

The flop of J2A hooked up Silajdzija with the set, which then held after the turn and river ran out 6, 5.

“Good game guys,” Topakas said as he headed to the exits.

Omer Silajdzija80,000
David Sebesfi22,000
Andrew TopakasBUSTED!
Omer Silajdzija

Quinn gets them in

After a pre-flop raise to 1,500 from under the gun, the action folded to Pico Stojanovski who called from middle position; Hayden Quinn then three-bet it to 5,200 from the button and the UTG player got out the way before Stojanovski called.

Stojanovski then check-called Quinn’s bet of 5,500 after the flop of 9K2 and checked again after the dealer produced the 2, only to toss his hand into the muck after Quinn shoved.

“Damn it!” Stojanovski exclaimed. “That’s what I planned to do on the river, but you beat me to it!”

Hayden Quinn45,000
Pico Stojanovski51,200
Hayden Quinn

Level 6: 300/600 (600)

Anunu ousted

Mishel Anunu and Ryan Stevenson were heads-up on the turn on a board that read J34J; Anunu check-raised all-in after Stevenson opened for 11,000, but Stevenson snapped him off, showing down KJ for trips, outkicking Anunu’s J8.

Down to just three outs, the river 5 was a blank and also the cue for Anunu to take his leave.

Ryan Stevenson89,000
Mishel AnunuBUSTED!
Ryan Stevenson

Assorted chip counts

Pico Stojanovski, Shem Goltz, Peter Apostolou, Bert Perry and APT Ambassador Mike Maddocks are just some of the most recent players to start riding the Big Wave today.

Matt Evans157,500
Peter Apostolou157,000
Ricky Kroesen110,000
Ken Demlakian106,000
Scott Mulligan80,500
Robert Damelian62,500
Stewart Scott60,000
Martin Ward59,300
Pico Stojanovski55,400
Angelo Schiccitano50,000
Mike Maddocks48,200
Shem Goltz46,600
Antoine Follet43,000
Dennis Huntly41,700
Duncan McKinnon41,000
Mina Elias38,100
Dylan Wayne37,500
Omer Silajdzija35,500
Jimmy Ghobrial33,900
Kiale Matthews31,700
Stephen Topakas28,700
Bert Perry28,200
Anthony Cierco24,600
Janet Wyvil22,500
Hussein Hassan22,500
Jennifer Cassell20,200
Liam Murray17,000
Jeremy Winlaw15,800

Level 5: 300/500 (500)

Break time!

Our Big Wave players are now on a 20-minute break. Back soon!

Furlong galloping along

Over on the Star Gold Coast Champs feature table, the player under the gun raised to 900 and Anthony Cierco called before action folded to Patrick Furlong who called from the hijack.

Hayden Rowe then raised to 2,000 from the small blind; Cierco and Furlong were the only two callers and then they all checked the flop of 6510.

Rowe then checked after turn of the 4; Cierco bet 5,500, Furlong called and Rowe check-folded before the remaining two players checked the river 77.

Furlong tabled 77 and Cierco mucked, but Rowe certainly wasn’t fazed after that hand, well past the 100K mark now as we head to the first break of the day.

Hayden Rowe130,700
Patrick Furlong51,000
Anthony Cierco35,000
Hayden Rowe

Mulligan looking the goods

Scott Mulligan was amongst the wave of late entries in this first stanza; he’s already been hard at work, tangling in a four-handed pot against Shaun Elliot, Andrew Topakas and Ian Logan.

After he min-raised from under the gun, the action folded around to Topakas who called from the cut-off; Logan and Elliot also called from the small and big blinds before they all checked the flop of 8Q9.

Elliot then opened for 1,400 after the turn of the 2; Logan called, Mulligan folded and Topakas called before the trio all checked on the river of the 9, with Elliot’s KQ good enough to scoop the pot.

Scott Mulligan105,000
Shaun Elliot59,600
Ian Logan33,500
Andrew Topakas25,100

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

‘Huss’ takes a hit

Our PMA Live Reporting team were alerted to another hand from Ricky Kroesen, who clashed in a big pot against Hussein Hassan.

Holding pocket fives under the gun, Kroesen min-raised to 400 and Hassan flatted, along with more players to go four-handed to a flop of Q56.

Hassan was the only caller after Kroesen’s bet of 2,300; Kroesen then fired a second shell worth 4,500 on the turn of the J before opening for 8,000 when the dealer produced the K.

Hassan raised to 26,500 and Kroesen thought about it for several minutes before making a crying call, only to find that his set was best.

Ricky Kroesen108,000
Hussein Hassan39,800

A friendly reminder to all: if you want to get yourself on the blog and help out the PMA Live Reporting Team, feel free to send us your hand histories and chip counts via the #submit-a-hand text channel on our Discord server!

Hussein Hassan

Elliot escalates

From under the gun, Josh Emerton min-clicked before Shaun Elliot three-bet it to 1,100; the big blind player, as did Emerton to make it three-handed to a flop of 4J4.

The big blind and Emerton check-called after Elliot led out for 1,100; after the K came down on the turn, Emerton check-raised to 7,900 after Elliot’s bet of 3,200, forcing the big blind player out of the way. Elliot shoved and Emerton snap-called.

“If you have aces, good on you,” muttered Emerton.

“I do,” Elliot replied as he revealed his pcn]AdAc[/pcn]. “King-jack?”

Emerton rolled over KJ.


The river 4 filled Elliot up and Emerton headed over to the cage to re-enter.

Shaun Elliot75,000
Josh EmertonBUSTED!
Shaun Elliot

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

De Marco done-ski

Over on Table 18, action was four-handed into raised pot pre-flop with a board of J106; Greg Shillig checked his option from the big blind, as did Glenice De Marco and another player in middle position before Matt Evans opened for 1,700.

Shillig called, but De Marco check-raised to 6,700. The middle position player folded, Evans called and Shillig check-folded before De Marco opened for 10,000 after the turn of the 9.

Evans insta-shoved and De Marco snap-called.

Evans: KQ
De Marco: 66

The river 7 completed the board to send De Marco to the rail.

Matt Evans80,400
Greg Shillig13,600
Glenice De MarcoBUSTED!
Matt Evans

Kroesen gets one early

In some early action we picked up in the previous level, our reporter came into four-way action on Table 19 on a flop of JAQ.

Nick Williams checked from the small blind, as did the player in the big blind before Ricky Kroesen opened for 2,300. Carlos Youssef made the call and both blinds got out of the way, making it heads-up to the turn of 5.

Kroesen then fired 4,500 and forced the fold from Youssef after a minute or so.

Ricky Kroesen50,000
Carlos Youssef34,300

Famous faces

Our first wave of notables, in living colour!

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

Mate versus mate, state versus state

Already up to 58 entries in the Big Wave so far, with Glenice De Marco, Janet Wyvil, Janice Butler, Omer Silajdzija, Kiale Matthews and 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event Champion Stewart Scott amongst those representing Queensland today.

Up from Sydney are best mates Ken Demlakian and Angelo ‘Angelfish’ Schiccitano, who have both experienced great success in the mid-tier circuit over the last two years.

After winning his first WPT League QPC ring in 2020, Demlakian went on to take out the Jackstar Super High Roller at the APLPT Queensland series back in June last year. Schiccitano has also been on a hot streak as of late, making four final tables of the most recent APLPT Sydney series.

We were also greeted warmly by Melbourne’s own ‘Clown Prince of Australian Poker’ Dennis Huntly, who came in last night along with fellow Victorians Mina Elias and Stephen ‘The Big Show’ Topakas, whose brother Andrew cashed in yesterday’s $330 Bounty.

Shuffle up and deal!

Cards are now in the air for Day 1 of the Big Wave! There’ll be a break after every four levels and we’ll be playing through until the end of Level 14, or until we reach our final table, whichever comes first.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

Level 1: 100/100 (100)

Good afternoon, and welcome back to PokerMedia Australia for our continued coverage of the Star Gold Coast Champs!

As you may have seen in our Facebook stories, the PMA Live Reporting Crew were given the night off to take part in the $440 buy-in Teams Event Wipeout, which brought in 42 pairings for an evening of fun and frivolity, including our lucky competition winner Kai Yeung.

Kai Yeung

Already in great form after her fourth-place finish in the $1,100 NLH Event the night before, Yeung admitted that this was the first time she’d ever played a Teams Event, but she had a formidable partner in the form of Josh Emerton, who is no stranger to success at The Star Gold Coast himself having final tabled the 2019 WPT Australia Main Event.

Normally content in being on the other side of the table, PMA Live Reporting Manager Landon Blackhall was also coaxed out from behind the laptop by Queensland’s Russell Fogarty.

Russell Fogarty

Although our second pairing were eliminated in the early stages, they stayed on to rally the PMA ‘A-Team’ through to the final two tables, but in a heart-breaking twist, Emerton and Yeung suffered a crippling loss after losing a flip holding pocket tens against K-J that hooked up on the river.

Down to less than 15,000 in chips, they then got it in with KQ, but their opponents woke up with AA out of the blinds, with neither hand improving on the J65108, ending Team PMA’s run in 10th place.

However, we are thrilled to see that the dynamic duo of Jaisan Patel and Lloyd Earl took it down; having put on a dominant display in the late stages of the tournament, they went on to defeat Andrew Fisher and Melissa Richardson heads-up for the title and a top prize of $6,552. Well played, gents!

Image courtesy of The Star Gold Coast

STAR GOLD COAST CHAMPS TEAMS EVENT WIPEOUT ($440 buy-in, 42 entries, six teams paid)

1stLloyd Earl / Jaisan PatelAustralia$6,552
2ndAndrew Fisher / Melissa RichardsonAustralia$3,864
3rdJustin Lowe / Geoff MilnerAustralia$2,352
4thJanine Butler / Twee LakinAustralia$1,680
5thDavid Sebesfi / Zac VigarAustralia$1,344
6thMostafa Shanasa / Qais ShanasaAustralia$1,008

Now that the Teams Event is done and dusted, all camaraderie will be set aside as our players ready themselves for Day 1 of the $660 buy-in Big Wave. Featuring a starting stack of 40,000, 30-minute levels and multiple re-entries available for 4.5 hours, things might get a little coco-nutty!

Follow us here on the PMA Live Reporting blog for all the updates and images from 3:30pm AEST. See you soon!

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