LIVE REPORTING: WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event Day 1A

Clair bags huge on Day 1A

We can confirm that the chip leader after the days play is Michael Clair, who bagged up 325,000 to take into Saturday.

When speaking to PMA afterwards, Clair said that he had actually late registered today, choosing not to even take the day off work and simply come after work instead. His goals, humble; “My goal was just to make it to final table; good start!”

Asked if he had any strategy for Day 2, Clair said “Nothing in particular, just stick to my game. Might have to be a bit of a bully if I’m still chip leader.”

He said there wasn’t any real turning point throughout the day, just a lot of patience followed by rush of good hands late in the day. One hand in particular did come to mind where “an opponent shoved 80,000 into me and I called with top pair. I had a feeling he was flushing and I was right, but it was still a big call. My pair held and that was a big pot, contributed largely towards building the stack at the end.”

Clair also added that he really enjoyed the structure and venue.

Chin Wang (289,000), Nathan Telhado (250,000), Romain Morvan (242,000), and Peter Apostolou (239,000) round out our unconfirmed top five, whilst it was a rough day on the felt for Troy Mclean, Josh Van Jaarsveldt, Sam Haddad, Chuck Caris, and Tim O’Shea.

It’s especially special for Morvan, who almost repeated his impressive feat from WPTDeepStacks Opening Event in Sydney, where he busted first hand only to bag the chip lead on Day 1A there.

Romain Morvan

That’s all from us at PMA for today. We’ll be back tomorrow from 15:30 AEST to bring you all the action from Day 1B!

Chips in bags!

Players have bagged up their chips from the days play – 29 players remain to return at 11:30 AEST on Saturday for Day 2!

We’ll have a chip leader and some counts for you shortly.

Furlong falling

Armon van Wijk found himself all in pre-flop against Paddy Furlong and was decidedly animated as the board ran out.

van Wijk: 33
Furlong: KJ

The flop dropped 9510 and van Wijk immediately cried “Oh no, he’s even got a backdoor spade draw!”

The prophecy appeared to actualise as the 7 hit the turn, indeed giving Furlong a flush draw, along with a double gutshot and two overcards to hit. “I asked for it” lamented van Wijk.

He faded everything, however, as the river came the A and Furlong shipped some chips across.

Paddy Furlong112,000
Armon van Wijk106,000
Armon van Wijk

“All in and a call!”

That was the cry from Table 9, where Izzy Kranz had jammed his remaining 70,000 pre-flop only to see Dustin Jung call-all-in from late position.

Jung: JJ
Kranz: A9

Jung’s jacks held all the way through on the board of 7KK10Q to double through and cripple Kranz.

Dustin Jung126,000
Izzy Kranz12,000
Izzy Kranz

Final level

The remaining 31 players have entered the final level of the day. The clock will be paused at the 10-minute remaining mark and we will play three more hands.

Alternatively, according to tournament staff, if we reach 24 players remaining, play will immediately stop, with all 24 to return for Day 2.

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

Anunu takes one

With a complete board showing 103258 when we arrived, and Danny Harper checked the action across to Mishel Anunu.

Anunu seized the initiative, firing 15,000 into the pot of approximately 28,000.

Turner made the call, and Anunu tabled 35 for two pair. Harper mucked his cards.

Mishel Anunu110,500
Danny Harper75,000
Mishel Anunu

Troy Mcleaned up

Dylan Wayne also added a scalp before the break, eliminating Troy Mclean. Wayne opened to 5,500 preflop and was called by Mclean, before both checked through the flop and turn of 788J.

On the 10 river, however, Wayne jammed, and was called by Mclean. Mclean tabled Q8 but Wayne had been in front the whole way, tabling 77 for a flopped full house.

Tournament staff removed the black T100 chips during the last break, which should make counting Wayne’s stack a little easier.

Dylan Wayne190,000
Troy McleanBUSTED!
Dylan Wayne

Van Jaarsveldt eliminated

Some more action from Level 12, when Josh Van Jaarsveldt shoved his remaining 55,000 from the cut-off after George Kabourakis opened UTG+1 to 5,500. Kabourakis made the call.

Van Jaarsveldt: 77
Kabourakis: AK

Kabourakis hit top-top on the flop of 6K10, and Van Jaarsveldt couldn’t catch up as the board completed Q, 2 to bust before the break.

George Kabourakis239,000
Josh Van JaarsveldtBUSTED!
George Kabourakis

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

Chip leaders

Here are some of the biggest stacks in the room with an hour to go. George Kabourakis and Michael Henderson lead the field, with Chin Wang coming back from less than starting stack to a top ten stack in one level.

George Kabourakis239,000
Michael Henderson238,000
Peter Apostolou219,000
Dylan Wayne198,000
Dan Smiljanic195,000
Mishel Anunu182,500
Chin Wang172,000
Josh Norvock166,000
Dustin Jung158,000
Nathan Telhado155,500
Lawrence Stephenson128,000
Jack Mardanbeigi100,500
Nuno Da Silva86,500
Tom Maguire77,000
Michael Henderson

Break time!

The remaining 41 players have left on their last break of the day. 10 minutes to rest and recover before they play their remaining two levels of the day.

Wang takes off

Immediately after his quadruple up, Chin Wang was again back in action in another three-way all-in pre-flop pot with Luke Fong and Harry Basle, this time with the best of it.

Wang: QQ
Basle: JJ
Fong: AK

Everyone missed everything on the 599510 board, with Wang’s over-pair holding to secure the knockout of Fong – though Basle had just 100 left over, which was swallowed into tablemate Karsten Kobbing’s stack a few hands later.

Chin Wang203,800
Luke FongBUSTED!
Harry BasleBUSTED!
Chin Wang

Apostolou apocalypse

“Four way all in” came the cry and we rushed over to the Feature Table, where a short stacked Chin Wang had shoved, been called by Jack Mardanbeigi, Alex Li and Peter Apostolou had then both re-jammed, and action was pending on Jack Mardanbeigi.

Mardanbeigi eventually opted to fold, and the three others went to showdown.

Apostolou: QQ
Li: 99
Wang: 22

Gin for Wang with bottom set on the 23K flop, and the 3, J turn and river changed nothing, sending a quadruple up Wang’s way.

The stacks of Li and Apostolou were counted, with Apostolou covering Li by only 300 chips to eliminate him and win the much larger side pot.

Peter Apostolou206,500
Jack Mardanbeigi87,800
Chin Wang79,800
Peter Apostolou

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

Barrett sniped

Josh Barrett shoved his remaining chips preflop and Dylan Wayne made the call.

“Please have King Queen” said Barrett.
“Ok, just for you” laughed Wayne.

Barrett: A9
Wayne: KQ

The board looked safe enough for Barrett, coming down 46J, 9, before Wayne hit the target with a K on the river.

Dylan’s stack is a little bit of guesswork on our part, as he has literally stacked his chips to the moon.

Dylan Wayne165,200
Josh BarrettBUSTED!
Dylan Wayne

Vaughan vanquished

Luke Vaughan jammed his remaining 37,400 on the flop, with a board showing 7510. Dustin Jung tanked and called all-in before the remaining player in the pot released their cards.

Jung: K10
Vaughan: Q6

The board completed J, 9 and Vaughan stood up, before saying “Nine ten jack queen!” excitedly, followed quickly by “Oh wait, that’s four…” as he broke into laughter.

The stacks were counted down only to reveal that Jung actually had Vaughan covered, by less than one big blind.

Dustin Jung96,600
Luke VaughanBUSTED!
Dustin Jung

Thaggard claims a scalp

Adam Thaggard eliminated a player recently after winning a flip. With all the chips in preflop, both hands were tabled.

Opponent: 88
Thaggard: AJ

The board ran out QJ1043 with Thaggard pairing up to win the pot.

Adam Thaggard35,600
Adam Thaggard

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

Fong gets funky

Luke Fong raised from the “low-jack” to 3,300 and was only called by Armon van Wijk in the big blind.

The flop of 6QA prompted a check from van Wijk, and Fong continued for 3,000, with van Wijk making the call.

The action would then repeat on the 9 turn, this time van Wijk check-calling a bet of 9,000 from Fong, before van Wijk would again check-call on the 7 river. Fong’s third barrel was for 25,000.

Fong tabled 22 but van Wijk was miles ahead, tabling Q9 for two pair.

Armon van Wijk126,100
Luke Fong49,000
Armon van Wijk

Mardanbeigi gets feisty

Jack Mardanbeigi opened the action from the hijack on the Star Gold Coast feature table to 5,500. Alex Li called from the button, and both blinds, including Peter Apostolou, released their cards.

Mardanbeigi checked-called a bet of 7,000 on the 108J flop, and both players checked the 4 turn.

Mardanbeigi then turned on the afterburners, firing 25,500 on the K river. Li placed his cards face down over the line, only for Mardanbeigi to cheekily table 23 for the nut low.

Jack Mardanbeigi165,500
Alex Li107,300
Jack Mardanbeigi

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

Viva Van Jaarsveldt

Josh van Jaarsveldt was kind enough to send the PMA team a hand via Facebook messenger.

If you have a cooler on your table, or want your brilliant bluff featured, feel free to message us, or put your hand in our Discord!

A player opened the button to 2,500 and Van Jaarsveldt called from the small blind, with Sam Haddad completing from the big blind.

On a flop of 4-5-K rainbow, action checked to the button, who continued for 3,500. Van Jaarsveldt called before Haddad ripped it for 22,000. The button folded and Van Jaarsveldt entered the tank, before calling off.

Van Jaarsveldt: Q5
Haddad: 24

Both players missed the turn and river and Van Jaarsveldt held to move up the chip counts.

Josh Van Jaarsveldt91,000
Sam HaddadBUSTED!
Josh Van Jaarsveldt

Vogt reverse kicker problems

On a board showing J63, action checked around to Steven Vogt, who fired 1,200 and was called by both Paddy Furlong and Jonnie Kururangi.

The turn A was again checked to Vogt, who sized up, betting 8,000 into both players. Furlong wasted no time in shoving, and Kururangi got out of the way before Vogt snap-called.

“You have a set, do you?” said Furlong.
“No, I have Ace King.” stated Vogt.
“Well I have Ace six” replied Furlong as he tabled his cards.

Vogt: AK
Furlong: A6

The 5 river changed nothing, a full double padding Furlong’s stack.

Paddy Furlong55,800
Steven Vogt24,700
Steven Vogt

Late registration concluded

Level 9 has commenced, which also marks the end of late registration for the Opening Event Day 1A. 110 unique entries, with 56 re-entries, makes a total of 166 entries for a prize pool of $112,050 so far, with more to come in tomorrow’s flight.

Dan Smiljanic

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

Assorted counts

Dan Smiljanic leads the field at the second break, whilst Josh Norvock is looking none the worse for wearing after being eliminated earlier in the day, now over the 100k mark.

Dan Smiljanic186,400
Jack Mardanbeigi157,500
Dylan Wayne155,500
Tom Maguire122,200
Josh Norvock116,100
Danny Harper114,700
Alex Andreyev104,800
Nathan Telhado84,600
Chin Wang71,000
Lawrence Stephenson64,500
Josh Norvock

Break time!

Our players have departed on a 10-minute break. We’ll have some counts for you shortly.

Dylan Wayne

Harper doubles up

Our Live Reporter walked past a battle of the blinds in it’s conclusion, with Danny Harper shoving all in after Mathew Tyrrell bet 6,000 on the river, with a complete board showing 4Q533.

Tyrrell made the call, but mucked when Harper tabled 62 for a turned straight.

Danny Harper

Stephenson snaps it off

Lawrence Stephenson squeezed to 6,000 from the small blind after a couple of limps from the cut-off and button, before Rod Kisar elected to put his entire stack in from the big blind.

The limpers got out of the way, and Stephenson snap-called.

Stephenson: KK
Kisar: AK

The board completed 4Q1074 and Kisar quipped “Wow, the best hand wins for once” as he departed.

Lawrence Stephenson64,500
Rod KisarBUSTED!
Lawrence Stephenson

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

D’oh! for Doughty

Sydneysider Ali Ghezelbash jammed his remaining chips in on a flop of 10JA and was snapped off by Hayden Doughty.

Ghezelbash: A2
Doughty: 86

Ghezelbash had paired his Ace but was no match for the flopped flush of Doughty, and was actually walking away from the table as the board ran out A, 10. Tournament staff had to call Ghezelbash back to the table!

Hayden Doughty29,500
Ali Ghezelbash18,900
Ali Ghezelbash

Thomas terminated

Ben Thomas got his short stack all in preflop and received two callers in the shape of Wu Zesong and Armon van Wijk.

Both Zesong and van Wijk checked the dead side pot on the 223 flop, and then van Wijk jammed on the 9 turn. Zesong quickly folded.

van Wijk: AK
Thomas: KJ

The river was paint but not the Jack that Thomas so badly needed; a Q to seal his fate as he took his leave.

Wu Zesong

Nine minutes

That’s how long Josh Norvock was in the tank against Dylan Wayne, as a rail grew around the table.

Norvock had checked the action on a board of 55QAA, with a pot of around 19,000 already in the middle. Wayne over-shoved, sending Norvock into the longest tank of today so far, as he mulled over the tough decision for his tournament life.

Norvock made the call and Wayne quickly rolled over AK to a muck from Norvock before his cards could be tabled for the showdown.

Dylan Wayne154,000
Josh NorvockBUSTED!

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Furlong wins by a furlong

A short-stacked Paddy Furlong and Carlos Youssef clashed, all in preflop in another instalment of ‘the classic race’

Furlong: QQ
Youssef: AK

Our attention was attracted on the actual flop, however, as the dealer spread the KQQ to a noise from the whole table. Youssef, drawing only to running Kings, could not catch up.

Editors note: I really thought a furlong was a long way.

Paddy Furlong

Level 6: 300/600 (600)

The Jeweller’s here to play

Action aplenty on Tom Maguire’s table, where Maguire, Alex Andreyev, and Troy McGlone had all found themselves all in after a furious round of betting on a 785 flop.

Maguire: QQ
McGlone: 108
Andreyev: 64

In true Andreyev style, he’d gone from worst to best to have both McGlone and Maguire on the ropes, both needing running cards to win.

The 8 actually was one of those running cards, but the K on the river ended matters.

Alex Andreyev86,000
Tom Maguire74,800
Troy McGloneBUSTED!
Alex Andreyev

Schwarz gets Henrich-er

A big pot had developed on an outer table when our Live Reporter walked past, spying Manuel Schwarz firing 11,000 into a pot of over 20,000 after both Jesper Henrich and Tim O’Shea had checked the action across to him.

The board was showing J2210A.

Henrich hit the tank but eventually slid out calling chips, before O’Shea released his cards quickly.

Schwarz tabled JJ to consternation from Henrich, who commented “The one hand… the only hand” before mucking.

O’Shea, dangerously short, got the remainder of his chips in the very next hand, raising to 1,500 UTG and receiving multiple calls. Everyone checked the 8J4 flop and then O’Shea jammed his remaining 8,100 on the 4 turn.

Schwarz got out the way, but O’Shea did receive one caller further round the table.

O’Shea: 99
Opponent: 108

The river was a complete brick, the 3, and O’Shea chipped back up to starting stack.

Manuel Schwarz73,100
Jesper Henrich32,000
Tim O’Shea25,200

Level 5: 300/500 (500)

Assorted counts

Players are off on a 20-minute break. Tom Maguire heads the field at the break.

Tom Maguire75,300
Nathan Telhado59,000
George Kabourakis58,300
Nuno Da Silva57,600
Kerry Chambers57,300
Dylan Wayne57,300
Jimmy Ghobrial49,800
Lawrence Stephenson47,200
Ben Turner47,000
Sam Haddad45,000
Hasian Hyde44,200
Corentin Hillion41,800
Omer Silajdzija30,000
Chuck Caris27,600
Romain Morvan27,500
Tim O’Shea21,800
Hussein Hassan20,200
Craig Abernethy19,600
Attila Bognar19,500
Karsten Kobbing7,200

Nice hand, Maguire

Tom Maguire took his seat sometime in the last couple of levels and is off to a flyer, amassing a formidable stack.

Maguire recently check-raised to 8,000 over the 1,800 bet of his opponent on a board showing 36KQ and got a call, before unceremoniously slamming his stack of yellow T5,000 chips over the line on the 5.

“Nice hand” quipped his opponent, as he spun his cards face down into the muck.

Mardanbeigi in the mixer

Jack Mardanbeigi found himself in a world of hurt on the river against Nuno Da Silva in a recent hand.

Preflop, Mardanbeigi limp-raised to 5,800 after Da Silva opened from the button to 1,200, with the big blind calling in-between.

Da Silva made the call and the big blind got out of the way, then both players checked the AA5 flop. Mardanbeigi again checked the [invalid notations] put two pairs on the board, and Da Silva jammed after Mardanbeigi checked.

“Do you have an Ace?” queried Mardanbeigi, as he instantly started talking, mulling over the decision. “I don’t have an Ace.”

He continued “You have Queens. Jacks or Queens. I have Kings. I can’t fold…. I know you have Ace Jack or Queens. It’s one or the other.” before sliding the remainder of his stack into the pot.

It was the other, as Da Silva tabled AJ. “Well… that happens.” lamented Mardanbeigi as he tabled his losing KK before walking off to the registration desk.

Nuno Da Silva43,600
Jack MardanbeigiBUSTED!
Nuno Da Silva

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

Late entries

Plenty of late entries today as the field is approaching 100 players, with Dylan Wayne, Ali Ghezelbash, Peter Apostolou, Rehman Kassam and Jack Mardanbeigi all seated since the start of play.

Brisbane’s Jacob Faull has just been seated – and has got all of his bad luck out of the way right at the start, taking a seat on what is quickly becoming table of death alongside Hussein Hassan, Josh Norvock, Dylan Wayne, and Rehman Kassam, replacing the recently eliminated Attila Bognar.

Dylan Wayne

Fieldhouse felted

Dominic Fieldhouse has hit the rail, eliminated recently in a classic race, 5-betting all in after a raising war versus an under-the-gun open and getting snap called.

Opponent: Q-Q
Fieldhouse: A-K

The board was no help to Fieldhouse, running out T-8-6-2-4, failing to connect in any way.

“I wasn’t feeling it!” said Fieldhouse to our PMA Live Reporter, as he is now sitting on a cash table across the room.

Dominic FieldhouseBUSTED!
Dominic Fieldhouse

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

Max pressure

Hussein Hassan opened to 600 and was 3-bet by Attila Bognar in late position before Max Wilson flatted out of the big blind.

Hassan was having none of that, 4-betting to 7,500. Bognar thought it over before releasing his cards, though Wilson quickly called behind.

The flop dropped K34 and Wilson checked over to Hassan. Hassan fired a continuation bet of 2,500 and Wilson went straight to Hollywood, shaking his head several times before announcing all-in to a very wry smile from Hassan.

Hassan spun his cards into the muck.

Attila Bognar34,200
Max Wilson34,000
Hussein Hassan13,200
Max Wilson

The Right Time for Corr

On a board showing AKQ5, Conrad Cassaniti checked the action across to John Corr, who fired a bet of 3,800.

Cassaniti made the call, and the two saw the 7 drop on the river.

Cassaniti fired for 6,500 and Corr considered his options before calling.

Corr: AK
Cassaniti: A10

Top two pair good for Corr, who scooped the pot to move up the chipcounts.

John Corr41,200
Conrad Cassaniti11,300
John Corr

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

First blood

In a repeat of his Opening Event performance at the WPTDeepStacks Sydney, Romain Morvan has hit the rail, busting out first. He was quick to stress, however, that it wasn’t the first hand this time!

“First orbit”, he conceded, as he regaled his tale of woe to the PMA desk.

According to Morvan, the big hand which cost him was when he 4-bet to 1,600 from the big blind over a small blind 400 open.

The small blind, George Kabourakis, came along and both saw a flop of A-8-7 rainbow. Kabourakis check-called a bet of 1,200 from Morvan, then check-raised to 15,000 as Morvan bet 4,500 on the 2 turn. Morvan jammed, and Kabourakis called.

Kabourakis: A-K
Morvan: A-Q

The river 6 was no help, and Morvan hit the re-entry desk with a “GG”. In Sydney, he came back to bag the Day 1A chip lead – so if history is anything to go by, we’ll see more from Morvan!

George Kabourakis43,000
Romain MorvanBUSTED!
George Kabourakis

Notable names

Halfway through the first level and many notable names have already taken their seats.

Cyprus Poker is out in force, with Brisbane Poker Festival runner-up Sam Haddad, Chris “Dipper” Zenonos, and Chuck Caris, who enjoyed a deep run in the WPTDeepStacks Sydney earlier this year and will be hoping to repeat the feat. Caris and Haddad have been seated on the same table to face off today.

Team PMA’s Russell Fogarty has entered the tournament during late registration. Other names in the field include Queensland poker ace Josh Norvock, and Hussein Hassan, who have been seated next to each other. Elise Depauw is in the field, and other sightings include Paddy Furlong, Ben Turner, Mike Rowley, and Nuno Da Silva.

Shuffle up and deal!

Play has commenced in the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event – 70 players have taken their seats so far, and cards are in the air!

We’ll bring you a round of notable players shortly.

Level 1: 100/100 (100)


A new name. A new logo. A new era.

As Queensland shivers through its coldest start to winter since 1904, the poker community will descend upon The Star Gold Coast seeking warmth and trophies in the latest instalment of the partnership between WPT and Star Entertainment Group.

The Star Gold Coast is playing home to the inaugural WPT Prime series on Australian soil, which will include 11 events across 12 days starting with today’s Opening Event and leading up to the prestigious $1,500 Main Event next week. The winner of the Main Event will also win an entry into the US$10,400 WPT World Championship in December, which features a US$15,000,000 guaranteed prize pool.

There’s points for consistency as well, with all 11 events counting towards the “Player of the Festival” trophy – the winner of that will win entry into the Main Event of the first WPT Australia Main Tour stop in September at this very same venue.

Another highlight to come this series will be the first Mystery BountY event on Australian soil. The $1,000 buy-in event, which starts on 14 June, introduces a concept to Australian players where there are no bounties awarded on Day 1, but all survivors into Day 2 earn a random bounty upon knocking out another player that can be worth anywhere from $300 to just over 25% of the total bounty prize pool.

WPT’s new Prime brand is a re-imagination of the former WPTDeepStacks name. WPTDeepStacks has been run three huge events in the last three years in Australia, with Mark Fester being crowned the latest Main Event Champion at WPTDeepStacks Sydney earlier this year. At the time, Fester assured us at PokerMedia Australia that he would be attending the WPT Prime Gold Coast to defend his title.

Today’s Opening Event is a $750 buy-in No Limit Hold’Em Event kicking off at 15:30 AEST, with 30-minute levels and late registration available up until the start of Level 9 (roughly 20:00 AEST). Players will play a total of 14 levels in Day 1, which means play will conclude at approximately 23:10 AEST.

The full schedule for the series, including satellites, is available here, and tournament structures can be found here.

Bookmark this page and we look forward to you joining us as we bring you all the action from buy-in to bust out!

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