LIVE REPORTING: Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event Day 3

Congratulations Jennifer Cassell ($96,571)*, 2022 Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event Champion!

Image courtesy of The Star Gold Coast


Jennifer Cassell has completed an epic all-female trifecta, joining Luci Bonaccorso and Michelle Cochrane in the winner’s circle after defeating a field of 495 entries to win the Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event!

The 23-year-old Queenslander was almost lost for words in the wake of her outstanding achievement, which saw her mount a huge comeback after bagging up short at the end of Day 2 before going on to defeat Craig Abernethy heads-up for almost $97,000 in total prize money.

Jennifer Cassell

“I was just so happy to make it [through to Day 3],” Cassell said during her post-match interview with PokerMedia Australia. “When I bagged for Day 2 I only had 14.5 big blinds, so to be honest I didn’t think I was going to even make a min-cash, but as soon as I made that I was just so happy … it’s just so insane to win it … the money is crazy, it doesn’t feel real to me.”

The win also adds to Cassell’s burgeoning poker CV, having taken out the APT Brisbane 6-Max Championship Event earlier this year and made all the more impressive given that she only took up the game four years ago.

Make no mistake, folks: this is only the beginning for Cassell and we are honoured to have shared in this historic victory. From all of us at PMA, congratulations Jennifer!

Image courtesy of The Star Gold Coast

STAR GOLD COAST CHAMPS MAIN EVENT – FINAL TABLE RESULTS ($1,500 buy-in, 495 entries, 62 players paid)

1stJennifer CassellAustralia$96,571*
2ndCraig AbernethyAustralia$100,000*
3rdLee BradburyEngland$86,000*
4thMichael BrahimAustralia$40,381
5thJarrod ThatcherAustralia$31,341
6thNajeem AjezAustralia$26,129
7thDenis JankovicAustralia$21,785
8thLei YangAustralia$17,441
*Denotes three-handed deal. Full results available at

And so, our time here at The Star Gold Coast has come to an end, but before we officially wrap things up, we’d like to thank the Star Poker Gold Coast team for their tireless work throughout the course of what was a fantastic series, bringing in close to $1.5 million in series prize pools.

Congratulations are also very much in order to all our Star Gold Coast Champs winners – we hope you enjoyed the series as much as we did!

Finally, we’d like to give our thanks and show our appreciation to the entire poker community for their support during PMA‘s Live Reporting coverage and we look forward to doing it all again when we head to the WPTDeepStacks Sydney series at The Star Sydney from 30 March to 11 April.

Until we next see you on the felt, no matter where you may be – thanks for your company and we’ll see you again very soon. ‘Bye for now!

Craig Abernethy eliminated in 2nd place ($100,000)*

With the chip counts virtually even going into heads-up play, both Craig Abernethy and Jennifer Cassell traded chips across the felt for a good 20 minutes, but after Cassell scooped two big pots and edged further ahead in the counts, the final hand of the tournament played out just after 6pm local time.

Cassell completed her small blind from the button and Cassell checked her option in the big blind big blind before calling Abernethy’s bet of 200,000 on the flop of 31010.

Both players then checked the turn of the 8 before Abernethy led out for 900,000 on the river of the A.

Cassell quickly moved in over the top and Abernethy snap-called short.

Cassell: 108
Abernethy: 102

A phenomenal effort from the founder of the Australian Poker Schedule, capping off his crystal wedding anniversary with silver in the Main Event. Well played, sir!

Craig AbernethyBUSTED!
Craig Abernethy

Lee Bradbury eliminated in 3rd place ($86,000)*

Our three players returned from the break and informed PokerMedia Australia that a three-way ICM chop had been agreed upon, with both Lee Bradbury and Jennifer Cassell locked up for $86,000 apiece, while Craig Abernethy takes home $100,000 straight with the remaining $10,571 to play for along with the trophy.

Then in the very first hand of Level 30, Bradbury open-shoved for his last 6.6 million with AQ, but Cassell woke up with AK, which then hit top pair, top kicker on the board of 5K872.

Another huge result for the Englishman, who adds to a string of big cashes and victories including the 2021 Ville 600 Main Event – no doubt there’ll be a massive celebration when he heads back home next week!

Jennifer Cassell13,400,000
Craig Abernethy11,335,000
Lee BradburyBUSTED!
Lee Bradbury

Level 30: 100,000/200,000 (200,000)

Break it down, chip ’em up

Our final three players have now taken another 10-minute break, which gave the PMA Live Reporting Team a chance to grab a fresh round of count.

Craig Abernethy11,335,000
Jennifer Cassell6,800,000
Lee Bradbury6,600,000

Cassell chipping away

Our remaining three players are all making moves at this final table, but Jennifer Cassell has been in control for the most part, taking down a couple of big pots late in this level.

In just some of the action we caught at our feature table, Cassell came in with button raise of 300,000 and Lee Bradbury folded his small blind before Abernethy called to go heads-up to a flop of 3510, which they both checked.

Cassell then called after Abernethy’s bet of 400,000 on the turn of the 2 and his bet of 525,000 on the river 9.

“Can you beat Queen-high?” asked Abernethy as he rolled up Q-Jo.

Indeed she did, as Cassell tabled. 102 for a turned two pair.

Michael Brahim eliminated in 4th place ($40,381)

We’re now three-handed in the Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event after Michael Brahim was eliminated in fourth place.

Brahim jammed the last of his chips into the middle pre-flp with AJ, however Lee Bradbury called him off with AQ.

Although both players made two pair on the board of 3Q3J4, Bradbury was best and Brahim was busto.

Craig Abernethy12,400,000
Lee Bradbury6,710,000
Jennifer Cassell5,600,000
Michael BrahimBUSTED!
Michael Brahim

Updated chip counts

Craig Abernethy has been taking control of this final table, now up to almost 12 million in chips after winning a few showdowns, while Lee Bradbury has stolen several sets of blinds and antes.

Jennifer Cassell has been hanging back after her successive double-throughs and Michael Brahim, who started this final table with the chip lead, is now the short stack coming into the new level.

And a friendly reminder that we still have plenty of action coming your way from The Star Gold Coast Champs, with PokerMedia Australia also bringing you Live Reporting coverage of Day 2 of the $2,500 NLH Shot Clock, as well results from the $350 Final Wave Wipeout.

Craig Abernethy11,850,000
Jennifer Cassell5,525,000
Lee Bradbury5,185,000
Michael Brahim2,475,000

Level 29: 75,000/150,000 (150,000)

Double-double for Cassell

Jennifer Cassell is well and truly back in contention at this final table after scoring two massive double-ups through Craig Abernethy and Michael Brahim!

Earlier, Cassell open-shoved from the cut-off for her last 1,185,000 with A2 and was at risk against Abernethy’s A4.

“Chop it up!” said Abernethy.

The J appeared through the window, but two little ducks 22 followed behind to complete the flop, before the turn and river 10, 8 completed the board. Quack, quack!

Then in the very next hand, action folded to Brahim who completed the small blind before Cassell fired out a raise worth 450,000 from the big blind, which prompted Brahim to shove over the top.

Cassell turned her head and gave her partner Bert Perry a wry smile as she dropped in the chips to call.

“Sorry coach,” she said.

Brahim: AK
Cassell: AJ

“Jacks for Jen!” cried one of her crew.

Board: J1064J

Cassell’s rail went ballistic.

“She’s running HOOOOTTTTT!” bellowed Perry as Cassell raked in the pot.

Craig Abernethy9,740,000
Jennifer Cassell5,100,000
Michael Brahim3,250,000

Abernethy hanging 10

Craig Abernethy is now the first player to move past 10 million in chips in the Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event.

In an earlier hand between him and Jennifer Cassell, there was action on all streets across the board of 3QQ69; Cassell led out for 550,000 into a pot worth 1.4 million, only to then see Abernethy raise to 1,800,000.

Cassell called, only to muck after Abernethy tabled Q3 for a flopped boat.

Craig Abernethy10,900,000
Jennifer Cassell2,580,000
Craig Abernethy

Updated chip counts

Craig Abernethy9,500,000
Lee Bradbury5,980,000
Michael Brahim4,980,000
Jennifer Cassell4,310,000

Level 28: 60,000/120,000 (120,000)

Pause for effect

Our final four have now taken an unscheduled 10-minute comfort break. Back soon!

Jarrod Thatcher eliminated in 5th place ($31,341)

Down to four players now in the Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event after Sydney’s Jarrod Thatcher was sent to the rail in fifth place by Jennifer Cassell.

All the money was in the middle pre-flop; this time Thatcher was at risk with JJ, but incredibly, Cassell had woken up with AA!

The board of 55442 improved neither hand, leaving Michael Brahim as the last player from Sydney still alive in this tournament.

Craig Abernethy8,200,000
Jennifer Cassell5,575,000
Lee Bradbury3,955,000
Michael Brahim4,730,000
Jarrod ThatcherBUSTED!
Jarrod Thatcher

Bullets for Brahim

Michael Brahim has scored two crucial double-ups through Jennifer Cassell and Lee Bradbury as action continues five-handed at the Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event final table.

Action folded around to Brahim who open-shoved for 1,095,000 from the cut-off before Jennifer Cassell called from the button.

Brahim: AA
Cassell: AJ

Brahim then doubled through after the board was spread QK756 to move up to 2.44 million.

Brahim then picked up AA in the very next hand, doubling through Bradbury who called him off with 88 with neither hand improving on the 6K329 board.

Easy game!

Michael Brahim4,755,000
Lee Bradbury4,100,000
Jennifer Cassell3,300,000

Another one for Abernethy

The action folded to Craig Abernethy who limped in from the cut-off before Jarrod Thatcher checked his option the big blind, making it heads-up to a flop of 266.

Thatcher then check-raised to 575,000 after Abernethy’s bet of 225,000 after the flop; Abernethy called, then both players checked down the turn and river of 3, 6.

Thatcher showed 97, however he threw his hand into the muck when Abernethy tabled 99. Abernethy’s stack increased to more than 9.5 million after that hand.

Najeem Ajez eliminated in 6th place ($26,129)

Najeem Ajez has been just been sent to the rail in sixth place, eliminated at the hands of Lee Bradbury.

Action folded to Jarrod Thatcher who came in with a button raise, only to then fold after Ajez open-shoved from the small blind and Bradbury’s snap-call from the big blind.

Ajez AJ
Bradbury: AK

Bradbury hit top-top on the K28, but although there was a bit of a sweat with the Q, the repeat Q ended Ajez’s run.

Lee Bradbury6,160,000
Najeem AjezBUSTED!
Najeem Ajez

Level 27: 50,000/100,000 (80,000)

Denis Jankovic eliminated in 7th place ($21,785)

Denis Jankovic had been fairly quiet during the early stages, but was eliminated just as the price of poker went up at the Star Gold Coast Main Event final table.

From under the gun, Craig Abernethy raised to 160,000 before Jankovic three-bet it to 500,000 from the +1 position. All the others got out of the way before Abernethy shoved over the top and Jankovic short-called.

Abernethy: QQ
Jankovic: AK

Although Jankovic picked up the wheel and nut flush draws on the flop of 432, the turn and river came running 9, J to send Jankovic packing as Abernethy’s stack moved up to almost 9 million.

Craig Abernethy8,850,000
Denis JankovicBUSTED!
Denis Jankovic

Ajez swinging

A few jabs here and there, with most of the chips moving in Jarrod Thatcher’s direction, but Najeem Ajez has just ridden the rollercoaster as we move up to Level 27.

Earlier, Ajez open-shoved from the small blind with 44 and found himself flipping against Lee Bradbury, who called all-in holding K7.

Bradbury then scored the double-up after hitting the overpair on the flop of J87 before the turn and river J, Q completed the board.

Down to 1.12 million in chips, Ajez jammed them in over the line with K10, but although he stood up to take his leave after Jarrod Thatcher called him with AK, he jagged two pair on on turn of the 68K10Q board.

Lee Bradbury3,440,000
Jarrod Thatcher3,340,000
Najeem Ajez2,400,000

Choppy choppy

From UTG+1, Craig Abernethy raised to 160,000 before Michael Brahim called from the cut-off, as did Najeem Ajez from the big blind to make it three handed to a flop of K6J.

All three players checked through, then action checked to Brahim who opened for 180,000 after the turn of the [invalid notations]. Both Ajez and Abernethy called, then all three players checked the river 8.

Abernethy turned up AJ, but Brahim also showed AJ. Welcome to Splitsville.

Updated chip counts

Jennifer Cassell5,955,000
Jarrod Thatcher4,510,000
Craig Abernethy3,915,000
Najeem Ajez3,210,000
Denis Jankovic2,780,000
Lee Bradbury2,190,000
Michael Brahim2,125,000
Jennifer Cassell

Level 26: 40,000/80,000 (80,000)

Take 10

Our seven Main Event survivors are now on a 10-minute break.

More for Thatcher

Jarrod Thatcher has continued to chip away at this Main Event final table, picking up a couple of pots off Craig Abernethy and Michael Brahim in the lead-up to the break.

Earlier, our reporter picked up the action into a raised pot heads-up between Thatcher and Craig Abernethy to a flop of 5JQ; Thatcher checked to Abernethy who led out for 80,000 and Thatcher check-called, then both players checked down the turn and river of K, 3.

Thatcher showed J8 and Abernethy mucked his hand.

Then in the last hand before the break, action folded around to Brahim who opened to 120,000 from the cut-off, but Thatcher three-bet it to 360,000 from the small blind and then forced Brahim to muck after firing out 250,000 on the flop of KJ5.

“Good fold Mick, that’s a really good fold!” Thatcher exclaimed as his raked in the pot.

Cassell cuts into Brahim

A few pots being traded between our Main Event final table players, with Jarrod Thatcher and Lee Bradbury taking down a few between them, but some big action between Michael Brahim and Jennifer Cassell has resulted in a big shift in the counts.

After a pre-flop raise to 125,000 from Brahim, Cassell re-raised to 350,000, only to then see Brahim four-bet it to 900,000.

Cassell called and then called Brahim’s bet of 300,000 after the flop of 109J before both players checked the turn of the 4.

Brahim then opened for 425,000 on the river 8 and Cassell snap-called before Brahim tabled KK, but Cassell rolled up AK. Ice cold!

Jennifer Cassell5,500,000
Michael Brahim2,415,000

Level 25: 30,000/60,000 (60,000)

Lei Yang eliminated in 8th place ($17,441)

We’ve had our first final table bust-out in just the fourth hand of play, with Lei Yang taken down at the hands of Craig Abernethy!

From under the gun, Abernethy raised to 105,000 and action folded around to Jennifer Cassell who called from the hijack; Yang then sat in the tank for about a minute before announcing a raise to 650,000, leaving about 480,000 behind.

This raised several eyebrows around the room, including Abernethy, who took a couple of minutes to think it over before he came back with a four-bet worth 1.42 million, which was more than enough to put Yang all-in.

Abernethy: JJ
Yang: AQ

Abernethy struck gold on the flop of J54, but the railbirds started chirping after the very sweaty 10 came down on the turn.

However, the river 8 was a brick and Yang was eliminated.

Craig Abernethy5,660,000
Lei Yang

First blood

After some additional final table portraits with the Velvet Rope Entertainment cast and Star Poker Gold Coast Crew, the Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event final table got underway, with the first hand of the Main Event final table awarded to Jarrod Thatcher.

Action folded to Craig Abernethy who raised to 120,000 from the hijack position; Jarrod Thatcher was the only caller out of the big blind before both players checked the flop of 5106, only to then see Abernethy fold to Thatcher’s bet of 80,000 after the turn of the J.

In the very next hand, action folded to Jennifer Cassell who min-clicked to 100,000 from the button and got no takers.

That was then followed by an open-shove from Lei Yang from the small blind, with Najeem Ajez open-folding 62.

Play resumed with 14m 45s remaining in Level 24 and we’ll be playing through 60-minute levels until we have a winner tonight.



Level 24: 25,000/50,000 (50,000)

One day more

Welcome back to The Star Gold Coast and to this, the final table of the 2022 Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event!

From 495 total entries, we’re now down to just eight, with Sydney’s Michael Brahim returning as chip leader with 4.67 million and looking for his first major title since 2020, where he pocketed $20,000 after taking down the $1,100 buy-in 6-Max High Roller at the Poker Palace.

He’s followed by the man behind the Australian Poker Schedule: Craig Abernethy, who has already ticked off the list of personal achievements in this event (including this, his biggest tournament result to date).

That said, his wife Amanda – who also works as a dealer here at The Star Gold Coast – will be keeping a watchful eye over the finale and writing up her own wish list of gifts for their 15th wedding anniversary, which is actually today!

However, there’ll be plenty of support on both the IRL and virtual rail for Jennifer Cassell, who after breaking through for her first major mid-tier title at the APT Brisbane series earlier this year, has proven beyond doubt that she is one of the country’s biggest rising stars after an incredible Day 2 performance.

Image courtesy of The Star Gold Coast


1Jennifer CassellAustralia3,805,00076
2Jarrod ThatcherAustralia3,050,00061
3Lei YangAustralia1,130,00023
4Najeem AjezAustralia3,030,00061
5Lee BradburyEngland1,580,00032
6Craig AbernethyAustralia4,465,00089
7Denis JankovicAustralia3,035,00061
8Michael BrahimAustralia4,670,00093

Our final table players are now opening up their bags and play will be underway very shortly, so stay with us here on PMA for our exclusive Live Reporting coverage. From all of us here at The Star Gold Coast, we wish all our Main Event players the very best of luck. May the flop be with you!

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