Congratulations Mark Fester, WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event Champion! ($413,006)
Mark Fester has defeated the largest ever WPTDeepStacks Main Event field in global history.
A total of 2,023 entrants, including Fester, took their shot at history over the course of the last five days, but it’s Fester who will take home the coveted title, the $413,006 prize money that comes with it, and his name etched into history.
Not only is it the largest, but it’s also one of the last, as WPTDeepStacks will be re-branding to WPT Prime next month, following the conclusion of WPTDeepStacks Thunder Valley in late April. The first WPT Prime series will be WPT Prime Vietnam (May 19-30), followed by a return to Australia for WPT Prime Gold Coast in June.
For Fester, it hasn’t sunk in yet, as he said to Ashleigh Lawrence of the WPT Royal Flush Crew in his post-tournament interview. “It all happened very quickly, three hands into heads up and it was all over … Everyone is very excited, I’m very excited, but I think when the dust settles that I’ll realise that I’m a WPT Champion, and that’s awesome!”
When asked how it felt to say those words – I’m a WPT Champion – out loud, he continued, “I’ve been playing poker casually for so many years, I got involved during the poker boom and at that time, WSOP and WPT were the big names. I watched so many tournaments, and all of my favourite players, through the years, so to now say that I am a champion when I thought that it was just a dream that would never be achieved … and it’s now come true, that’s amazing.”
Fester had a large rail cheering him to victory, including his fiance. When asked how the rail had felt he said he “usually is with one friend who comes, and we occasionally play a tournament or two, but this time everyone’s come out when they heard I was on the final table, it’s amazing to have that support.”
Fester said his strategy coming into the final day, and subsequently the final table, was just to have fun, try to play well, and don’t get too nervous. In terms of following his own strategy; “I played well at times, I played terrible at times, I played average at times, I got lucky. Its like with anything, you make your own luck, you make your own pathway, in the end I think my play was pretty solid.”
Asked if he would be taking part in the upcoming WPT Prime Gold Coast in June, or perhaps even the WPT Main Tour (also taking place at The Star Gold Coast, in September) he couldn’t hold back laughs as he joked “Definitely, I think now because I’ve won this tournament my fiance will allow me to go and take part!” He continued, “I think now I’ve won this one, no excuses, I have to go there, I have to go and try and defend my title.”
WPT also celebrates their 20th Anniversary in May. The brand, synonymous with poker worldwide, has been evolving constantly and has awarded in excess of $1b in prize money over its history. Throughout the weekend, WPT’s Royal Flush Crew have been running promotions for players on Table 20, seat 2, who’s birthday was on May 27 (the true Anniversary date). These promotions will continue at WPT events throughout the year.
Danny McDonagh, Live Events Specialist for WPT, said that to coming into this weekend, WPT staff had an inkling that we might be looking towards the global record for WPTDeepStacks, previously 1,684 entries at WPTDeepStacks Seminole. “To have smashed past it and hit 2,000 is amazing,” said McDonagh “We definitely weren’t expecting that, and to hit 2,000 on the 20th Anniversary is special in itself. It blew our minds, and to everyone who took part, thank you. You made this series special.”
Nick Wright eliminated in 2nd place ($275,328)
On the third hand of heads up play, Nick Wright flat-called from the button and Mark Fester raised to 2,000,000, with Wright calling. The two saw a flop of K♦5♣Q♦, and Fester continued for 1,200,000.
Wright called, the J♥ hit the turn, and Fester slowed, checking the action across to Wright, who fired for 4,000,000. Fester called.
The river was the 8♥ and Fester checked again. Wright slid out almost a full stack of the magenta chips, a bet of 9,000,000.
After a small eternity, Fester sprung, jamming with Wright well covered. Wright snap-called.
Wright had flopped top set, but the turned Broadway enough to vanquish Wright in three quick hands, an absolute cooler.
With the button now on Mark Fester, he decided to complete with Q♠9♦. Nick Wright was having none of that holding K♣Q♣, upping the ante to 1,600,000.
Fester came along, making the call to see a flop of 10♥10♦J♣. Wright bet 900,000 with his open-ender, and Fester with an open-ender of his own made the call.
The turn 4♠ changed nothing, but Wright did slow down, checking now. Fester fired 1,500,000, and Wright flat called.
A 2♦ graced us on the river, and Wright again checked. This time, Fester fired 4,000,000, earning a quick fold from Wright as he got one through to extend the lead.
Round two, Fester.
Ding ding! Fight!
Star Head of Poker Operations came to advise the players that the blinds were being reduced to 30-minute levels as per the Terms and Conditions of the tournament, then got action underway.
Just a reminder, for heads up play, the button acts first preflop, but last after the flop.
The button started on Nick Wright for heads up, and he got straight into it, raising to 1,300,000 with K♦3♠. Mark Fester called from the big blind with 6♦2♦.
Fester flopped three on a flop of 6♥6♠Q♦, and checked over to Wright, who checked behind, electing not to continue the line immediately.
Fester checked again on the A♠ turn and this time Wright did elect to fire a delayed continuation bet on the scare card, but was of course called by Fester.
The 5♦ river didn’t really change anything on board and Fester tried to induce with a check, but Wright refused to take the bait and checked back.
Round one, Fester.
Heads Up – The Stage Is Set
And then there were two. The elimination of Anthony Cierco means that we are now heads up in WPTDeepStacks Sydney.
The 20th Anniversary of the WPT has been marked in fine style, with a global record-setting field for WPTDeepStacks of 2,023 entrants, and only two are left.
Mark Fester holds the chiplead at the moment. The Sydneysider’s previous best result was in 2018, when he finished 2nd in the PLO event at the Sydney Championships. Prior to that score, his only other five-figure score was back in 2009, when he was victorious – again at the Sydney Championships – taking out the Eric Assadourian Double Chance $770 PLO event. One could argue he’s a PLO specialist from those results, but this score will absolutely dwarf both, whether he finishes first or second.
Nick Wright is currently second, but only just. In terms of pedigree, though, Wright may well be striking fear into Fester. Wright previous best cash was when he finished 9th in the 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event for $155,000, but he also has final table appearances at the 2015 ANZPT Sydney $5K Challenge, the 2021 Marconi Poker Palace Christmas Cup, and the $1,100 buyin NLH event at the 2011 Sydney Championships, with a total of over US$300k in lifetime tournament earnings.
It’s worth noting that Wright also ran deep in the last Australian WPTDeepStacks Main Event at the Gold Coast, finishing 22nd.
Current chip counts
WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event payouts remaining (2,023 entrants, 253 places paid)
It’s not always about the money though. At the end of the day, there is a title on the line. Who will win the biggest WPTDeepStacks Main Event of all time?
Anthony Cierco eliminated in 3rd place ($204,270)
Nick Wright jammed from the small blind against the shortening stack of France’s Anthony Cierco’s big blind.
Cierco peeled, and quickly called to go to showdown with Nick Wright with life changing money on the line.
Cierco’s rail, consisting of many Brisbane and Gold Coast regulars including Anya Azimai, Mina Gerges, Mike Maddocks, Sheraton Hall, and Chad Awerbuch immediately started making noise, calling for a six.
They would be quickly disappointed, as the J♦ appeared in the window, followed by the 8♠K♠.
The turn was the 10♣ and Azimai could be heard calling hopefully for a Queen, to chop the pot. Not to be, as the 4♣ appeared on the river to eliminate Cierco in 3rd place.
It’s a career best score on a career best year for Cierco, who truly is having an amazing 2022. Cierco was victorious in the APLPT Jackstar Super High Roller in January for $36,035, then emerged as champion of the Alpha3 event at the WPTL Quarterly Poker Championship for $61,360 in February, his career best score at the time.
He wasn’t done there, though, finishing 2nd in the Star GC Champs Opening Event in March for another $34,750, with a smattering of other cashes in 2022 as well, before making the trip to Sydney this weekend.
Congratulations, Anthony Cierco, on a fine performance!
Level 35: 300,000/600,000 (600,000)
Mark Fester has been rocketing up in the last level, taking another pot from Anthony Cierco just before.
Nick Wright folded his button, Cierco opened to 1,500,000 from the small blind and Fester called.
Both checked the flop of K♥3♦5♥ before Cierco check-called a bet of 1,500,000 from Fester on the 10♥ turn.
Cierco checked again on the 4♦ river, prompting Fester to to fire 2,500,000. Cierco tanked and let it go to a “Yes!” from Matt Pongrass, a close friend of Fester’s, on the rail.
Pongrass, incidentally, is one of the biggest stacks in the $5K Challenge, taking place across the room with only 10 players remaining.
Up and down for Cierco
Anthony Cierco has been getting very involved after the break, first calling a 2,500,000 bet from Nick Wright on a board of K♥8♦7♠2♥2♦ and tabling 3♣3♠ to take it down after Wright tabled 9♥6♦ for a missed straight draw.
Cierco then limp checked after Wright completed the small blind. The two checked through a board of 3♠10♦3♥7♠ before Wright check-called a thin value 500,000 bet from Cierco on the 7♥ river. Cierco tabled A♠2♥, Ace high enough to win it.
Cierco then completed his own small blind, and Mark Fester checked his option. Cierco then fired 500,000 and 1,200,000 respectively on the Q♠2♠4♣ flop and A♥ turn, called by Fester both times, before both checked the 7♦ river. Cierco tabled 10♠3♦ for a stone cold bluff, and Fester tabled 4♥5♦ for a successful bluff catch.
Cierco then opened from the button to 1,100,000. Fester 3-bet from the small blind to 2,700,000 and Cierco quickly called once Wright folded inbetween. Fester led out for 1,300,000 on the 8♠6♠4♦ flop, then 2,800,000 on the 9♥ turn, before both checked the A♦ river. Cierco then found out Fester had had nothing, but had caught an Ace on the river with A♥J♥ to take it down.
2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event Final Table – 5 players remaining
Level 34: 250,000/500,000 (500,000)
The players have departed on a 10-minute break. We’ll have a round of counts performed during the break for you all.
Two for Cierco
On a board showing 7♠Q♣9♠9♣, Nick Wright fired a bet of 600,000. Anthony Cierco made the call, and the two both checked the 5♣ river.
Wright tabled A♣8♠, missed draws everywhere but Cierco’s 4♥4♠ was best.
Cierco then opened his button to 900,000 and both Mark Fester and Wright called.
Action checked to Cierco on the 4♣K♠8♥ flop, and he obliged, continuing for 1,100,000 and getting folds from both players.
Four bet jam
Nick Wright folded his button and Anthony Cierco seized the moment, opening to 1,200,000 against Mark Fester’s big blind.
Fester responded with aggression, 3-betting to 3,000,000, but it wasn’t long before Cierco 4-bet, jamming all in for a total of 12,525,000.
Fester asked for a count and thought it over before sliding his cards two-fingered face-down into the muck.
Fester said something we didn’t catch to Cierco that must have been along the lines of ‘What did you have?’ because Cierco responded in his usual dulcet tones with “You’ll see it on stream. I cannot tell you.”
Cierco, who started three way action at the bottom of the table, moves almost level with Fester after the pot.
Luke McCredie eliminated in 4th place ($152,906)
Luke McCredie, crippled just a couple of hands ago, jammed under the gun and action folded around to Mark Fester in the big blind.
Fester asked for a count, then called when he realised it was ‘around 2mil’.
Fester found himself in front, and went way in front on the flop of 8♠10♠K♥ flop, with McCredie already congratulating his opponents and preparing his exit as the runout came 3♠, K♠.
It’s a massive score for McCredie, whose previous best cash was for $10,200 just two months ago, when he came 4th in the JDUB Double Bucks tournament at the APL NQ Poker Classic in Townsville.
The Wright call
It was blind on blind action with Luke McCredie in the small versus Nick Wright in the big.
With a board showing 5♥2♦K♦8♣, McCredie fired 1,800,000. Wright mulled it over and slid in calling chips.
When the river landed the 4♥, McCredie fired again, this time for 3,300,000.
Wright made the call in short order, and after McCredie tabled 9♠2♣ for bottom pair, tabled his own K♥9♦ to claim the pot as his own, whilst McCredie is crippled.
Benedikt Eberle eliminated in 5th place ($115,507)
Anthony Cierco opened from the button to 900,000. Austria’s Benedikt Eberle – chip leader for most of today until recently – elected to jam from the small blind, and Mark Fester asked for a count.
After getting a count, Fester re-jammed over the top, with Cierco very quickly getting out of the way as they went to showdown.
The flop spread A♣4♣K♣ and Fester was immediately on his feet, calling for the hold. Top pair, but three clubs and Eberle with plenty of outs to hit.
The board completed 3♦, J♦ though, and Eberle is eliminated in 5th place. The six-figure pay day should help ease the pain, though!
Eberle’s biggest cash is still the $250,897 he won when he emerged victorious at the 2018 Aussie Millions Opening Event, but this is easily his second biggest cash all time. Congratulations, sir!
Level 33: 200,000/400,000 (400,000)
McCredie picks his spot
Luke McCredie opened to 650,000 and was 3-bet by Nick Wright to 1,600,000. McCredie flat-called when action folded back around to him, and the two saw a 10♥3♠6♦ flop.
McCredie check-called a bet of 1,100,000 from Wright, and both players checked the 7♠ turn.
McCredie checked the 6♠ river, and Wright elected to slid in a bet of 2,500,000, putting those new magenta chips to work.
McCredie asked the dealer to spread the pot around a bit so he could see what was in the pot, then moved all in to a quick fold from Wright.
The Wright fold
Nick Wright and Anthony Cierco checked through a K♥3♦4♥ flop before Wright led out for 400,000 on the K♣ turn.
Cierco applied some pressure, raising to 1,300,000, and Wright quickly called.
The 7♠ river attracted a check from Wright. Cierco then started stacking chips, and slid in a bet of 3,500,000. We have to pause here to applaud the dealer, who expertly cut both stacks down two-handedly.
Wright hit the tank, but eventually folded to cheers from Cierco’s rail.
Benedikt Eberle open jammed from the button for 4,050,000 and Luke McCredie, fresh off having obtained a chunk of new chips from Mark Fester, snap-called from the big blind.
The dealer put down Q♥7♠9♣ on the flop and Eberle started to rise out of his chair, only to sit straight back down again when the A♥ hit the turn. An 8♠ no good for McCredie.
In a change of fortune’s, start of Day 3 chip leader Benedikt Eberle is now the short stack, while New Zealand’s Nick Wright has charged ahead.
France’s Anthony Cierco has been repeatedly in the action, and has lifted himself off the bottom, though still below average stack.
Tournament staff have also introduced the magenta T500,000 chips into play.
2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event Final Table – 5 players remaining
Level 32: 150,000/300,000 (300,000)
WPT Live Events Specialist Danny McDonagh has sent the remaining 5 players on their scheduled 10-minute break at the end of Level 31.
As mentioned earlier, all the remaining players are guaranteed a six-figure score.
We’ll check, but we’re pretty sure this would be a career-best result for most of our players regardless of where they finish now!
Lirui Zhang eliminated in 6th place ($88,090)
Lirui Zhang jammed his last 3,000,000 from the button the very next hand, with a dead small blind where Bucinskas used to be.
Nick Wright mulled his options over in the big blind, but found a call.
“Picture, picture!” yelled Zhang; the flop had other ideas though, top two for Wright as it spread 5♠A♣8♥.
“That’s not a great flop” was heard from Zhang’s rail, before the 8♦ turned him dead and the 4♠ completed the board.
Darius Bucinskas eliminated in 7th place ($67,803)
Darius Bucinskas jammed for 3,600,000 and Nick Wright snap-called from the next seat over.
A nightmare scenario for Bucinskas, who had nothing going for him on the 6♥3♥8♦2♥Q♣ board, eliminated in 7th. Still a tidy pay day though!
Five minutes with Cierco
No, it’s not being auctioned off. It’s how long Cierco was in the tank on the river in a recent hand with Luke McCredie.
McCredie raised under the gun to 550,000 and Cierco called from the cutoff before both blinds folded.
On a flop of 2♥8♦6♣, McCredie check called a bet of 1,000,000 from Cierco, and both players checked the Q♠ turn.
McCredie then took back the betting lead, firing 1,800,000 on the river, and sending Cierco into the tank for five whole minutes before he released his cards.
Level 31: 125,000/250,000 (250,000)
Wright and Eberle tangle
Nick Wright opened the cutoff to 475,000 and Benedikt Eberle raised the pressure, 3-betting to 1,900,000 from the small blind.
Wright took his time before matching the bet, and the pair saw a flop of J♣7♠Q♦.
Eberle continued for 1,350,000. Wright decided now was the time to pull the trigger, raising to a round 3,000,000. Eberle released his cards relatively quickly, but now drops below 10mil.
Spencer Davies eliminated in 8th place ($52,655)
Spencer Davies jammed his last 1,400,000 from the cut off, and got through everyone except Benedikt Eberle.
Eberle peeled A♦5♦ in the big blind and called in short order. Davies tabled A♠3♦ and needed help.
The board was the opposite for Davies, pairing Eberle’s kicker in the window as it spread J♣7♠5♣7♦3♣, sending Davies to the rail.
Cierco rolls up
Anthony Cierco is making a case, first doubling through Benedikt Eberle and then taking a decent pot from Nick Wright.
Eberle opened the action to 475,000 UTG and Cierco defended his big blind with K♠10♣, before check-calling a bet of 375,000 on the flop of Q-J-4 rainbow.
Cierco then check-jammed the 650,000 turn bet from Eberle on the Ax turn card (“The magic card” according to Cierco) and was called, Eberle tabling A♦9♦. By Cierco’s own admission, “I have no idea what the river card was, he was drawing dead!”
Cierco then called from the small blind when Nick Wright opened button to 475,000, with Eberle coming along for the ride from the big blind as well. On a flop of 3♥9♠K♣, Cierco and Eberle checked and Wright continued for 350,000, with only Cierco calling.
Both players checked the 8♠ turn, and Cierco opted to lead out on the 10♥ river, sending Wright right into the tank. He eventually released.
Level 30: 100,000/200,000 (200,000)
McCredie jacks up the price
On a flop of 6♠5♥J♣, Luke McCredie and Darius Bucinskas tangled in dramatic fashion.
Bucinskas fired for 275,000, McCredie upped the ante to 650,000, and Bucinskas hit the accelerator, jamming, having McCredie well covered.
McCredie didn’t care; he snap called, tabling J♥J♦. Bucinskas tabled 8♠7♠, an open ended straight draw, hoping to eliminate McCredie.
It wasn’t to be – McCredie turned Bucinskas dead on the 6♣ turn, although Bucinskas DID actually get there on the 4♥ consolation prize.
The players have departed for a 10-minute break.
It’s Cierco time!
Anthony Cierco, quiet so far, has been involved in three quick pots.
Firstly, Mark Fester opened to 350,000 and Cierco flatted from the big blind. On the 2♣Q♦5♠, Cierco check folded to a bet of 250,000.
Cierco then had a controversy of his own, as the cards were dealt out. Spencer Davies, in seat 1, indicated that he’d seen a flash of Cierco’s first card – not enough to identify the card, but enough to eliminate half the deck from contention, saying he’d seen the colour.
This was considered at the time to be exposed and before Cierco could call for the floor, the hands were mucked; being the first card out of the shoe, an automatic misdeal if exposed. Cierco angrily flicked A♠A♦ face up into the centre of the table.
On technically the same hand, Cierco then jammed for 875,000 over an open from Mark Fester. Fester made the call.
Cierco, who had turned away when he’d been called, returned quickly as a “Yes!” was called out from railbird Anya Azimai (a role reversal from the other day!).
Cierco held through on the 10♠J♥10♥3♠A♣ board to double through Fester.
On the very next hand, Luke McCredie opened to 350,000, only to then fold when Cierco jammed again. You don’t mess with the Cierco.
Marco Perri eliminated in 9th place ($41,274)
Nick Wright opened the action, only for Marco Perri to jam his remaining chips in from the next seat over.
Action folded all the way back around to Nick Wright, who made the call.
Chopportunities on the 8♥8♠Q♣ flop for Perri, but the 5♥ turn missed both only for Wright to pair up on the J♥ river to seal the deal, and we are officially down to 8.
Perri breathes easier
Marco Perri jammed for 1,500,000 from middle position and was called by Benedikt Eberle before both blinds folded and cards were tabled.
Both players with the same holding, a chop almost a certainty, until the dealer spread the 5♦Q♦9♦ flop. Not like this!
The board ran out 10♥, 6♠. And breathe.
Level 29: 75,000/150,000 (150,000)
Eberle versus McCredie
Benedikt Eberle and Luke McCredie clashed twice on back to back hands.
First, Eberle opened the action to 275,000 and McCredie called, with both blinds folding, and we saw a flop of 2♦Q♦J♦.
Eberle continued for 300,000 and McCredie called, then folded to Eberle’s 950,000 bet on the 3♠ turn.
On the next hand, Eberle opened action, this time under the gun, to 250,000, prompting McCredie to 3-bet to 700,000.
Again, both blinds folded, and this time the flop was 6♠6♣3♦. Both players checked, and Eberle led out for 825,000 on the Q♠ turn.
McCredie upped the ante, raising to 1,800,000. Eberle took his time before releasing his cards.
A minute of silence
WPT Royal Flush Crew member Ashleigh Lawrence held court as she introduced the WPTDeepStacks Final Table with Star Head of Poker Operations Martin Coughlan, before the entire Star Sydney poker room stood in a minute of silence to remember the great Shane Warne.
Aside from his achievements in the world of cricket, Warne was a poker aficionado and finished 12th in the first Australian WPTDeepStacks Main Event, held in the Gold Coast in October 2019.
Shane would have surely been here today, and whilst pictures of the great sportsman in action on the tables flashed through the screens, the poignant silence was truly something to behold.
Shortly afterwards, we are away here in Sydney. Action continues in Level 28, with blinds at 75,000/125,000 (125,000) and 25 minutes left before the next level.
Shuffle up and deal!
The final table is set!
Our players have gone on a break, with the final table is set to commence at 15:00 AEST.
The final table will be on Star Sydney’s one-of-a-kind feature table, which will be streamed on a 30-minute delay via the Star Poker Sydney Facebook page.
Austria’s Benedikt Eberle still carries the chiplead – but only just, as Sydney’s Nick Wright, who finished 9th in the 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event for $155,000, is only a single T25,000 chip behind!
More than 50% of the remaining field is now guaranteed a six-figure pay day, with $41,274 for the next player out, laddering up to $115,507 for 5th place before our winner taking a massive $413,006.
2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event Final Table
WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event payouts remaining (2,023 entrants, 253 places paid)
Chuck Caris eliminated in 10th place ($41,274)
Action folded around to Spencer Davies in the small blind, who applied maximum pressure to short stack Chuck Caris, open jamming his stack.
Caris, who had just secured a pay jump, made the correct call.
Unfortunately for Caris, Davies flopped not one Jack, but two – J♥J♠9♠, and Caris was left drawing very thin, only running cards to survive.
The board completed 7♦, A♥ and Caris is our final table bubble.
Nathan Hill eliminated in 11th place ($32,664)
Darius Bucinskas opened from the button and Nathan Hill called in the big blind, the pair seeing – and checking – a flop of K♦J♠4♦.
The turn fell the 7♣ and Hill fired, a bet of 300,000. Bucinskas made the call.
With the river repeating the 7♥, all draws missing, Hill jammed for approximately 1,200,000 and Bucinskas called off.
Middle pair no good for Hill, and Bucinskas claimed a scalp.
Todd Bailey eliminated in 12th place ($32,664)
Mark Fester opened to 275,000 and Todd Bailey jammed from the next seat over for 1,800,000.
Action folded back around to Fester who made the call.
Fester flopped top pair on the 7♣9♥Q♠ flop, and although Bailey picked up outs to Broadway on the K♣, the K♥ repeating on the river was no help, as Bailey hits the rail.
Wright amount of pressure
With 1,600,000 already in the pot, Darius Bucinskas bet out 1,200,000 on the turn with a board showing 3♦6♦J♠7♠.
Nick Wright considered all options before electing to flat call, sliding out some chips.
On the 2♠ river, Bucinskas slowed down, checking his option.
Wright took the initiative, a bet of a cool 1,000,000 enough to force the fold from Bucinskas.
It’s also worth noting that the average stack is now over 5,000,000!
Level 28: 75,000/125,000 (125,000)
The players have left for a 10-minute break, here’s a full round of accurate counts.
Table 32 (Feature Table)
“I might call you with Jack high!” said Liriu Zhang while he was tanking, as Luke McCredie fired 850,000 on the river, with a full board showing Q♣K♦2♥A♠K♠.
Zhang continued to tank for several minutes, apologising to the table in general, while McCredie maintained composure, staring at a fixed point in the table.
At some point, someone called a clock, with Tournament Director Andrew stepping over to count Zhang down. Zhang used up every available second, finally sliding his cards in with no time left.
“Come on, give me some respect!” said McCredie, “I was trying to push you off a chop, I thought we both had a Queen!”
“It couldn’t find a combination you might be bluffing with,” said Zhang “I thought it was either air, or king deuce, or you had it.”
Caris finds a double
Chuck Caris got the remainder of his chips in from the small blind, a total of 600,000, finding a call in Todd Bailey, who had originally opened from the button.
Caris flopped Bailey almost dead and held through the 2♠3♦A♥6♥2♥ board.
Ross Coveney eliminated in 13th place ($26,099)
Ross Coveney recently lost a large percentage of his stack in a previous hand, and got the remainder in preflop, shoving for 660,000 over an open from Mark Fester.
Both blind folded, and Fester immediately called to put the chip leader coming into Day 2 at risk.
Coveney was on his feet immediately as the flop came down 9♠7♠4♠ with a “Well, that’ll do it!” only to return to his seat with a “Chop it?” as the 5♠ hit the turn.
The river ran black, but the 2♠ was the wrong suit for Coveney, who hits the rail.
Chuck Caris and Mark Fester tangled, getting it all in preflop.
The board ran out 9♥Q♣5♣K♦2♣, top two pair enough for Fester to double through Caris, taking a large chunk out of him in the process.
David Nirens eliminated in 14th place ($26,099)
David Nirens called a 400,000 bet from Liriu Zhang on a flop of 8♦J♣5♣, for the two to see a turn of 4♦ fall.
Zhang jammed, and Nirens short-called for 1,205,000.
The river 7♣ not enough for Nirens, whilst padding Zhang’s stack nicely.
Li Yang eliminated in 15th place ($21,040)
All in and a call! from Table 30, where two very similar stacks had collided in Li Yang and Nick Wright.
Wright had Yang slightly covered, and the better hand to start with, another case of 10♥10♦ versus A♥Q♠.
Wright fared better than the below Leo Boxell, turning a set on the board of J♠8♥6♦10♠A♣ to eliminate Yang.
Steven Cappelluto eliminated in 16th place ($21,040)
Steven Cappelluto jammed against Ross Coveney, who gave a shrug and called off the short stack of Cappelluto.
Coveney looked in good shape to recover some chips after his earlier bad beat, and sealed the deal on the river with a board of 7♠5♦Q♠Q♥A♦.
Level 27: 50,000/100,000 (100,000)
Leo Boxell eliminated in 17th place ($17,139)
It was battle of the blinds on Table 31, where Leo Boxell opened from the small blind to 275,000. Darius Bucinskas then 3-bet from the big blind to 750,000.
Boxell picked up a full stack of dark blue T100,000 chips and placed them over the line – a 4-bet to 2,275,000. Bucinskas went into the tank. Eventually, Bucinskas announced all-in, and Boxell snap-called, with most of his chips already over the line from the previous bet.
Boxell needed to fade the over cards for a huge double up, but it wasn’t to be as Bucinskas flopped it with a Queen in the window – 7♠5♦Q♠ – before driving the hammer home with a Q♥, A♦ run out.
That hand made Darius Bucinskas our new chip leader and the first over 10m, and the tournament clock has been paused to re-draw to two tables – but not before “All in and a call!” was heard from the next table.
Huge double for McCredie
Luke McCredie opened to 175,000 and Ross Coveney 3-bet out of the blinds to 550,000.
McCredie took his time before shoving, only to see Coveney snap-call.
With WPT Live Events Specialist Danny McDonagh calling the action on the mic, McCredie watched as his tournament life was at risk with five cards to come. The flop spread 9♥2♠10♦, the turn a J♣ giving McCredie additional outs to a straight.
The river a dagger to Coveney’s heart – the Q♥ giving McCredie a set as he yelled “YES!” and slammed a fist down on the table, knocking over his trusty Psyduck in the process. Poor Psyduck!
Lei Yang eliminated in 18th place ($17,139)
Lei Yang was eliminated on the Feature Table recently, getting the chips in against start of day chip leader Benedikt Eberle.
Yang hits the rail as Eberle soars above 7m.
Najeem Ajez eliminated in 19th place ($17,139)
“Two side!” came the cry from the rail as Najeem Ajez was all in and at risk preflop against Darius Bucinskas.
Ajez picked up additional outs on the flop of 7♣5♣8♥, but lost a couple when Bucinskas hit top set on the A♦. Now needing a six and only a six, but a deuce on the river changes nothing as it fell the 2♥.
Martin Sagradian eliminated in 20th place ($17,139)
All in and a call! came the shout from Table 30, where Martin Sagradian was at risk against Todd Bailey.
The full board was already out, with the chips going in on the river.
Two pair not enough for Sagradian, as Bailey had flopped top set to literally rocket up the counts.
Luke Martinelli eliminated in 21st place ($14,099)
Luke Martinelli jammed his remaining 410,000 and was snap-called by Todd Bailey.
Looking to eliminate a player and secure a pay jump, Bailey loved the sight of the A♦ in the window. The full board ran out 3♦A♦3♥10♣10♠ and Martinelli hits the rail.
As mentioned, that does mean a pay jump – our remaining 20 are now guaranteed $17,139.
Dean Boskovic eliminated in 22nd place ($14,099)
Dean Boskovic was crippled and then finished off in two consecutive hands.
Initially, Liriu Zhang opened and was called by David Nirens, before Boskovic shoved from the blinds. Zhang short-called and Nirens got out of the way.
A nightmare spot for Boskovic, who gave up 1,870,000 to Zhang after the board fell 2♥10♥K♦A♠8♣.
Boskovic then got his last 240,000 in the middle the very next hand, after Steven Cappelluto opened under the gun, and Cappelluto snap-called when both blinds folded.
That’s all she wrote for Boskovic, who was eliminated after Cappelluto found Aces full on the board of A♦8♠8♦5♥A♥.
Big double for Coveney
Luke McCredie opened to 150,000 in the cut-off before Luke Martinelli 3-bet to 375,000. Ross Coveney then announced he was all-in for 1.36 million with only McCredie making the call.
The cards were flipped and it was Coveney with 4♥4♦ racing the A♣K♣ of McCredie.
The J♣K♥3♥ rocketed McCredie into the lead, but the 8♥ turn and Q♥ river gave McCredie the flush and the double.
|Ross Coveney||2.9 million|
|Luke McCredie||2.2 million|
Mina Elias eliminated in 23rd place ($14,099)
Mina Elias jammed his remaining 985,000 from the button. Chip leader Benedikt Eberle folded in the small blind, only for Nathan Hill to peel his cards and then snap call from the big blind.
Elias was already standing with a “Good game, guys” as the flop spread J♦2♦5♠, leaving him with not much hope.
The board completed 9♦, 9♣ and Elias is today’s first to fall. Spencer Davies has been moved to the Feature Table to balance the tables.
Level 26: 50,000/75,000 (75,000)
After four long days of poker action at The Star Sydney, the finale has arrived.
From a record-setting field of 2,023 entrants, just 23 will return today as we prepare to play down to our 2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event.
Leading the way into the final day is German-born Austrian resident Benedikt Eberle, who will sit behind 6,190,000 in chips- just ahead of Darius Bucinska with 5,560,000.
Also in the mix is Irishman Ross Coveney, who was the overall chip leader going into Day 2. He heads into Day 2 with 1,260,000 while another European, Frenchman Anthony Cierco, has bagged 3,855,000 on Sunday.
In terms of big names, it doesn’t get bigger than Leo Boxell. Boxell was an Aussie Millions Main Event Champion in 2000 – back when it was known as the Australasian Poker Championships – with final tables in the same event in 1998 and 2003, though Boxell’s biggest victory came in the 2011 APPT Melbourne Main Event for $330,000.
All remaining players are guaranteed a minimum $14,099 payday but they will be eying the top prize of $413,006. Our top five players will all receive a six-figure score.
PMA will be bringing full Live Reporting of Day 3 from 11:30 AEST, and feature table coverage will be available on Twitch.
Day 2 Seat Draw
Table 32 (Feature Table)
WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event payouts remaining (2,023 entrants, 253 places paid)