South Australian poker maven Jon Stark has officially etched his name into the history books, ending the Southern Poker Tour (SPT) Barossa series with a comprehensive victory in the $200 buy-in Main Event.
The state’s most prolific poker blogger, storyteller and historian broke through for his first major mid-tier title in a virtually effortless performance in the closing stages of the Big Dance to cap off a massive week at the Lambert Estate Winery in Angaston.
Although he started the final table with more than 40% of the chips in play, Stark did cop a few hits in the short-handed battle between runner-up Johnny Reilly and third-place finisher Matt Roesler, but the 67-year-old drew upon his wealth of knowledge and experience to win more than $11,000 in prize money.
” I don’t think I made too many errors,” Stark told PokerMedia Australia. “It was looking a bit shaky when we were three-handed, but great to get the job done … yeah, very happy.”
Stark praised the efforts of SPT organisers, who have been at the forefront of establishing the SA Poker Team alongside MatchrooM Poker, Stacked Social and Gambier Poker (formerly Jens Poker), with the collective aim to preserve the history and legacy of the poker industry in the Festival State.
“The SPT have only been around for two years, but what they’ve done in that short amount of time is amazing,” Stark said. “Their first series [in Barmera] started with a $40,000 guarantee, and now here [in Angaston] they’ve hit almost a quarter-million.”
“The biggest thing though is that [the SPT does] everything well. The dealers, the TDs … all the staff, they’re all great people.”
SPT BAROSSA MAIN EVENT ($200 buy-in, 352 entries, 35 players paid)
These were sentiments echoed by many, including 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event Champion Shurane Vijayaram, who emerged victorious in the Super High Roller Event after defeating Shane Baxter heads-up for the title and close to $24,000 in cash.
Vijayaram then almost completed an SPT quinella but was pipped at the post by Ryan White in the $350 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha Event, which subsequently locked up Amin Chehade as the SPT Barossa Player of the Series.
In other major news and results, APT Players Championship winner Chris Skinner was named as the SPT’s first Brand Ambassador. In a statement released by SPT management, the Victorian truckie and APT Players Championship winner was considered the perfect choice, given both his track record on the felt and his dedication in helping behind the scenes.
“I’m excited to come on board with the SPT family,” Skinner told PMA. “I’ve always loved playing in these events since the first one in Barmera back in 2020 and look forward to seeing them grow their brand.”
It was also a very profitable weekend for the Tasmanian contingent representing the Bullets Poker League, who have recently formed a strategic partnership with the SPT as they begin to expand into the South Australian market.
Comprised of more than 30 qualifiers from venues across Launceston, Devonport and Hobart, the ‘Apple Isle Invaders’ raked in more than $40,000 in ITM finishes throughout the week, capped off by BPL director John Allmark’s victory in the Big Bounty.
Victoria’s Kelly ‘Princess’ Davis also proved a popular winner in the Short Deck, as did Tong Bok, who felted every player in the finale of the $400 buy-in High Roller to win $12,290 from a field of 121 entries.
The SPT will return to the Hahndorf Old Mill Hotel for the third rendition of the ‘Havoc in the Hills’ series from 24-28 August. For more information, including full results and images from the SPT Barossa series, follow the SPT Facebook Page or log onto www.southernpokertour.com.au.