LIVE REPORTING: WPTDeepStacks Sydney $5K Challenge

That’s a wrap

After 11 levels of play, Day 1 of the $5K Challenge has come to an end with just 115 players remaining and set to return to play down to a winner on Monday.

Leading the charge is Peter Au, who bagged and tagged a whopping 603,300. However, he has plenty of big names on his tail including the like of Rehman Kassam, Andrew Hinrichsen, Sam Higgs, Vincent Huang.

Play resumes at 12.30pm AEST on Monday as we play down to our winner, who will collect a hefty $276,178 first prize. Join us once again at PMA as we bring you all the live reporting action from the $5K Challenge!

Peter Au603,300
Rehman Kassam567,500
Vincent Huang524,000
Edward Hatzakartzian508,800
Daneil Hinh474,000
Marc Seymour470,000
Michael Tomeny465,000
Billy Bremner465,000
Siyoung Lee447,000
Andrew Hinrichsen443,000
Jo Antar441,500
Sam Higgs438,500
Eualdas Sta410,000
Jonah Min406,500

2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney $5K Challenge payouts (258 entrants, 33 places paid)


Kassam kaboom

Rehman Kassam has enjoyed a massive final level courtesy of a huge bad beat at the expense of Daniel Veljkovic.

The hand began with Sam Higgs opening to 10,000 before a player in middle position shoved. Kassam then shoved over the top, as did Veljkovic. Higgs got out of the way.

The cards were flipped and it was Veljkovic in prime position holding KK against Kassam’s QQ and the other player’s A10. However, the Q landed in the window to rocket Kassam into the lead and when the rest of the board bricked he found himself suddenly shot up the leaderboard to 570,000.

Veljkovic is down to just 80,000.

Rehman Kassam

Final level

We are currently into our 11th and final level of today’s play, with the remaining players set to return tomorrow from 12.30pm to play down to a winner.

It’s going to be a big day too – with 258 entries into this event and a little under 200 still remaining, there is still a lot of action to come here in The Star Poker room.

Seymour and more

Mark Seymour has rocketed up to the top of the chip counts and has continued to pile on the aggression. We caught up with him as he called an open from Emmanuel Seal to see a 73Q flop. He then check-called Seal’s 15,500 c-bet before both players checked the K turn. 

On the 4 river, Seymour led out for 40,000 and Seal folded.

Next hand, Michael O’Grady opened to 15,000 and Seymour 3-bet from the button to 40,000. O’Grady folded as Seymour moves up to 650,000.

Level 11: 2,500/5,000 (5,000)


Stack it up

Mark Seymour610,000
Ken Demlakian608,000
Weihao Ma505,000
Christine Lu470,000
Attila Bognar420,000
Siyoung Lee420,000
Ben Heptinstall408,000
Matthew Ginn380,000
Paul Hoang370,000
Raman Shaqiri345,000
Dan Smiljanic295,000
Daniel Hachem295,000
Jim Pizanias290,000
Joe Antar196,000
Valentino Sibilla288,000
Edwin Chru285,000
Weng Wong228,000

Level 10: 2,000/4,000 (4,000)

Ward waving his wand

Martin Ward opened to 7,000 and was called by both Suzy Khoueis on the button and Ratul Sayak in the big blind.

The flop fell 4K10 and Ward continued for 8,000 with only Khoueis making the call.

Both players checked the A turn before Ward led for 45,000 when the J landed on the river. Khoueis thought briefly before dolding, proclaiming she folded two pair.

Martin Ward195,000
Suzy Khoueis170,000

Kharman carving

We caught the action just in time to see Rehman Kassam getting up from his chair and walking slowly off into the distance, while Adam Kharman was stacking up new chips.

As Kharman explained, it was a blind v blind battle with Kharman having flopped the flush holding Q6 on a 1029 board. Kassam had then check-called all three streets, including Kharman’s river shove, but mucked when he saw the bad news.

Kharman moves to 246,000.

Level 9: 1,500/3,000 (3,000)

Power Paul

Rich Davis opened to 5,000 and Paul Hoang 3-bet to 12,000. Amir Choudhary called on the button and they took a flop of K23.

Hoang continued for 12,000 and Choudhary called.

On the J turn, Hoang checked and Choudary bet 25,000. Hoang then announced he was all-in and Choudhary called, only to find his AK drawing dead against Hoang’s JJ

The river was the meaningless 4 as Hoang soars into the chip lead.

Paul Hoang355,000
Amir Choudhary121,000

Min moves past 300,000

Jinah Min has moved above the 300,000 chip mark, and with some ease as well.

We caught up with her table as Andre Dowling opened to 5,000 and received two callers before Min bumped it up to 19,000. All three players made the call but then mucked when Min fired another 25,000 on a K82 flop.

Jinah Min315,000

Level 8: 1,500/2,500 (2,500)

O’Kane and able

We caught the action on a board reading Q1026. Diarmuid O’Kane was all-in for his last 55,000 with both Robert Damelian and a third player making the call.

The river was the 3 and with no more action, O’Kane turned over Q10 for top two. His opponents showed missed Broadway and flush draws as O’Kane soars to 219,000.

Diarmuid O’Kane

Pick pocket

Joe Hachem opened to 4,000 in early position and received three callers, including Mata Ye on the button and Rahul Rastosi on the blinds.

The flop fell 679 and it was checked around to Mata who bet 6,000. Both Rastosi and Hachem called.

When the turn fell 3, it was checked around to Mata again who bet 15,000 this time. Only Rastosi called.

When the Q landed on the turn, Rastosi led for 7,000. Mata laughed and called but mucked when Rasotsi showed K9.

Rahul Rastosi190,000
Mata Ye23,000

The big stacks

Jinah Min273,000
Adam Kharman265,000
Valentino Sibilla255,000
Robert Damelian253,000
Edwin Chru219,000
Ratul Sayak210,000
Hassib Younan200,000
Phil Siddell199,000
Ben Heptinstall198,000
Joe Antar180,000

Level 7: 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

Break time

Players are now on their second 10-minute break of the evening.

The old 7-deuce

Andrew Michael opened to 3,200 in early position

and received two callers, including Hari Varma in the big blind. 

The flop fell 272 and Michael continued with only Varma calling. On the A turn, Michael bet for another 10,000 and Varma called.

The river was the K and this time Michael shoved.

Varma quickly called with 72 for the flopped boat, leaving Michael stunned after he had rivered the nut flush with AJ.

Hari Varma120,000
Andrew Michael17,000

Jim jams

Jim Pizanias was eager to tell us about a hand he just played to send an opponent to the rail. As he explained, he opened in late position with 1010 before his opponent 3-bet from the blinds to 7,000. Pizanias called and they took a 10J2 flop.

Pizanias called a c-bet of 7,000 before his opponent checked to him on the 2 turn. Pizanias bet 12,000 and his opponent called. When the river fell the 6, Pizanias announced he was all-in, and his opponent went in to the tank for a long five minutes before begrudgingly calling with KK and finding out the bad news.

Pizanias is now up to 250,000 and among our chip leaders.

Jim Pizanias

Level 6: 800/1,600 (1,600)

Min cashes

Jinah Min now sits atop the chip counts after a huge hand played against Slade Fisher.

The hand began with Min opening to 2,600 and Fisher 3-betting to 7,600. Min called and they took a flop of 1072. Min then led out for 15,000 with Fisher making the call.

When the repeat 10 landed on the turn, Min checked and Slade bet 15,000. Min then check-raised to 75,000 and Slade shoved for just a little more. 

Min called and tabled A10 – well ahead of Fisher’s QQ. The river bricked as Slade hit the rail.

Jinah Min

Sensual silverware

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what they are all playing for (and a bit of cash to go with it) …


“I’m angry” said Chao Tang after losing a chunk of chips. And with that she opened the pot to 3,000. Rich Davis then 3-bet to 11,000 before Tang announced she was all in for a little under 80,000.

Davis called and it was off to the races with Davis holding QQ against the AK of Tang.

The board ran out 39969 to fill Davis up and send Tang to the rail. Davis now has around 160,000.

Rich Davis

Level 5: 600/1,200 (1,200)

Candid camera

Young talent time

Siyoung Lee opened to 2,000 and Toby Giles called before Jin Li 3-bet to 6,500. Both Lee and Giles called to see a J210 flop.

It was checked around before the 5 landed on the turn. With that, Lee led out for 14,000 and Giles made the call. Li folded as the dealer peeled the K on the river.

Lee thought briefly before leading out for another 27,000, sending Giles into the tank. He eventually found a call but mucked when Lee showed 55 for the turned set.

Siyoung lee193,000
Jin Li90,000
Toby Giles66,000

The stacks!

Hassib Younan205,000
Adam Kharman203,000
Ratul Sayak197,000
Joe Antar179,000
Ben Heptinstall170,000
Weihao Ma165,000
Matthew Ginn163,000
Valentino Sibilla140,000

Level 4: 500/1,000 (1,000)

Break time

Players are on a 20-minute break

Yazbech finds the deck

A short-stacked Adam Yazbeck shoved for his last 12,900 from UTG and found a caller in Matthew Ginn. Robert Damelian then shoved over the top and Ginn folded.

When the cards were turned, Yazbeck’s cards were live with his 109 up against the AK of Damelian. That proved beneficial too as the board ran out [invalid notations] to give him a much-needed triple up.

Matthew Ginn145,000
Robert Damelian138,000
Patrick Yazbeck41,000

Up and Adam

Trevor Saunders opened to 2,000 from early position and received five callers to a flop of 234. It was then checked around to Adam Kharman who bet 3,400, with Ken Demlakian and Saunders both calling.

On the 9 turn, Demlakian led for 16,000 and only Kharman called. Demlakian then check-called a bet of 39,000 on the 2 river but mucked when Kharman showed 56.

Adam Kharman160,000
Ken Demlakian55,000
Adam Kharman

Level 3: 400/800/800

Faces in the crowd

No fear for Hassib

As the PMA live reporting team walked past Table 22, we were summonsed over as a number of players relayed the details of a hand that had just gone down.

As it was explained, a player in early position had opened to 2,000 and received three callers to see a flop of 1072. The UTG player continued for 2,000 and Hassib Younan called to see a 5

land on the turn. With this the UTG player bet 15,000, Younan announced he was all-in and the UTG quickly called, turning over 88.

Younan showed 79 for second pair and flush drawm which quickly turned into two pair when the 9 landed on the river.

Younan moves to 194,000 with that hand.

Hassib Younan

Level 2: 300/600/600


It didn’t take long for our first elimination of today’s $5K Challenge. 

The hand in question began with 2018 Sydney Champs Main Event winner Neb Blanusa opening to 1,400 before Slade Fisher 3-bet to 6,800. Blanusa then came over the top for 17,000 but Fisher wasn’t done yet, 5-betting to 34,000.

With that Blanusa announced he was all-in and Fisher quickly called:

Neb Blanusa: AA
Slade Fisher: AK

The board ran out J1066K as Blanusa sends Fisher to the rail.

Neb Blanusa200,000
Slade FisherBUSTED
Neb Blanusa

Who’s here?

It is a veritable who’s who of the Aussie poker scene here in the $5K Challenge.

On our first sweep of the room we came across Gary Benson, Tom Rafferty, Andy Lee, Hari Varme, Shivan Abdine, Mike Maddocks, Ken Demlakian, Andrew Michael, Neb Blanusa, Martin Ward, Jim Pizanias, Dejan Boskovic and Gavin Best.

There are currently 105 entries.

Shuffle up and deal!

Play is underway!

Level 1: 200/400/400

$5K Challenge

While the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event is continuing on, we’ve also reached the final event on the schedule – the $5K Challenge.

Sure to bring out some of the finest players in the country – and certainly those who have already busted the Main Event – the tournament clock is showing 76 players already registered but we expect that number to grow significantly over the next few hours.

Players will start with 100,000 in tournament chips with each level lasting 40 minutes. We’ll be playing 12 levels tonight, which should take us through until about 1am. 

Play gets underway from 4.30pm AEST so strap yourselves in for a long one as PokerMedia Australia brings you all the live action from the $5K Challenge!

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