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

Day 1B in the books

Chips are in bags! The chipstacks somewhat evened out throughout the last level, and with no real action to speak of in the last three hands, players seemed happy to get through to Day 2 unscathed.

Yitian Fan has emerged as the Day 1B chipleader, bagging 294,000. He is closely followed by Mitchell Frost, who bagged 281,500.

Yitian Fan

Fan took the time to speak to PMA afterwards, saying that he “didn’t have any huge hands, just a slow gradual increase over the end of the day” to explain why he hadn’t attracted our attention so far.

Asked if he had any strategy for Day 2, Fan said he just wanted to “take each hand as it comes, focus on my game and not do anything crazy.”

Also bagging large was Sal Fazzino (252,500), Mirko Stojkov (235,500), Paul Whiteman (231,000), and Faraz Ayyaz (227,500), though it will be Day 1A chipleader Michael Clair (325,000) carrying over the lead into Day 2 tomorrow.

Mitchell Frost

Play will recommence from 11:30 AEST at The Star Gold Coast and we look forward to bringing you all the action.

Three more hands

The tournament clock has been paused and staff have announced three more hands to finish the flight.

Ngata big deal

Kris Cunz opened to 8,500 from middle position, and Aroha Ngata called from the button before both blinds got out of the way.

Cunz continued for 9,500 on the A6J flop, and Ngata flat-called again.

The Q turn was no cause for Cunz to slow down, betting again for another 22,500 and again getting a call from Ngata to see the 3 on the river.

Cunz announced all-in, sending Ngata into the tank.

“Do you have an Ace?” She enquired, continuing “I can beat a bluff…”

Eventually, after confirming that Cunz did in fact have her covered, Ngata placed her chips over the line, only to see Cunz table JJ for a set. Ngata quickly mucked and left the area.

Kris Cunz238,000
Aroha NgataBUSTED!
Kris Cumz

When there’s a Williams, there’s a way

Another Williams, this time Justin, jammed from the blinds after Joe Ricciardello opened to 8,000.

Ricciardello snap-called to find himself well ahead.

Ricciardello: AK
Williams: QJ

Williams flopped well, the 869 giving him additional outs to the straight. They weren’t needed, as he turned the Q to take the lead and the river 8 changing nothing.

“Come on… you’re kidding” Ricciardello was heard to say as he shipped the chips across.

Joe Ricciardello157,500
Justin Williams80,000
Justin Williams

Williams steamrolling

After getting really short and chopping a pot with 83 just before the break, Andrew Williams is back in business, doubling up twice before being moved and immediately getting involved on his new table.

Luke Fong opened the action to 7,500 and was called by Williams in the cutoff, before Phillip Nguyen called to defend his big blind.

On the J83 flop, Nguyen checked and Fong continued for 12,000. Williams called, and then Nguyen counted out a check-raise to 30,000. Fong tank-folded, and Williams again called.

On the 7 turn, Nguyen again checked, and Williams wasted no time, shoving the remainder of his chips to put the ultimate pressure on Nguyen and his “Lucky Monkey”.

Nguyen eventually folded, flashing the J as he mucked.

Andrew Williams152,500
Luke Fong82,000
Phillip Nguyen77,500
Phillip Nguyen

No mercy

Noman Mirza, in the small blind, took one look at John Corr’s stack in the big blind when action folded around to him before jamming all in.

Corr picked up his cards, peeked, and immediately called to put himself at risk.

Mirza: 44
Corr: KQ

Mirza flopped gold on the A54 flop and was shaking Corr’s hand as the 6 hit the turn, the meaningless 10 completing the board.

Noman Mirza124,000
John CorrBUSTED!
Noman Mirza

Caris sets up

After losing a huge pot to Mirko Stojkov just prior to the break flush under flush, Chuck Caris sent us one of his first hands back after the break where he found himself all in and at risk.

An unnamed gentleman had shoved all in preflop and had already been called by Stojkov in late position, before Caris under-called as well to put himself at risk.

Caris: 1010
Stojkov: 33
Opponent: KJ

The flop of 9610 gave Caris top set, and a gut shot to the unnamed opponent, but the 5, 8 changed nothing, guaranteeing survival for Caris for now whilst Stojkov took the side pot.

Mirko Stojkov181,500
Chuck Caris52,000
Chuck Caris

Break time!

Players have departed on their final break of the day.

Mitchell Frost331,800
Joe Ricciardello289,700
Attila Bognar221,000
Sal Fazzino194,900
Paul Whiteman160,300
Brett Marshall140,500
Matt Vowles127,500
Carlos Youssef123,500
Nick Williams110,200
Chuck Caris107,300
Jenny Chhauv105,000
Jason Anand102,500
Aroha Ngata101,000
Adrian Sportelli88,200
Cheng-Tse Chen81,000
Wayde Rickhuss74,800
Will Wong60,900
Lloyd Locsin56,800
Mitchell Frost


Mitchell Frost opened under-the-gun to 5,000 and action folded around to Jason Anand in the small blind. Anand 3-bet to 15,000.

Andrew Williams, short stack in the big blind, elected to jam for 27,500 total. Frost folded, and Anand called it off.

Anand: 88
Williams: 83

“This isn’t Blackjack!” called out Anand when he saw Williams’ hand.

The board ran 2QKQ and Williams stood to leave, not seeing the K hit the river.

“Chop, chop! Kings and Queens with an 8!” said a tablemate, alluding to the chop that neither player had noticed. “You’re kidding me…” said Williams, as he accepted his half of the pot.

Jason Anand106,000
Andrew Williams30,000
Jason Anand

Tsai-nami washed out

Charles Tsai jammed his now-short stack of 26,800 from middle position, and was called by Matt Vowles from the button before both blinds folded.

Vowles: KQ
Tsai: QJ

No help for Tsai on the run out of 38398, despite picking up a straight draw on the turn for additional outs, and he hits the rail.

Matt Vowles115,900
Charles TsaiBUSTED!
Matt Vowles

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

The Ricciardello show

Joe Ricciardello squeezed to 8,000 after Justin Williams limped preflop and the small blind completed. Williams then 3-bet to 16,000, prompting a fold from the player in the small blind before Ricciardello 4-bet to 32,000. Williams called.

The flop spread AQ4 and Ricciardello announced all in, sliding his chips forwards. Williams thought it over for a minute or so, and then said “I call”.

Ricciardello: KK
Williams: A10

Ricciardello didn’t have to wait long for his diamond, the 2 hitting the table followed immediately by Ricciardello hitting the table in celebration, jumping to his feet and walking away jubilantly before returning to see the 7 on the river.

“I knew you had something, but I was like man I gotta go for it!” said Williams, “One of those hands that can go either way”
“It’s not like it was a bad call” said a tablemate.”
“Yeah, but like, just instantly dead. At least do it on the river, give me some hope!” responded Williams

Joe Ricciardello180,000
Justin Williams32,800
Joe Ricciardello

One of those days

Monil Gohil was lamenting what might have been as he shipped across some chips to Ben Setta after an unfortunate river card.

Gohil opened from the button to 4,500 and Setta jammed his short stack of 27,200 from the big blind. Gohil called to put Setta at risk.

Gohil: AJ
Setta: 910

Gohil flopped top top on the J54 flop but there were hearts live for Setta, and whilst he missed the turn 4, the river 8 was exactly what Setta needed to secure the double up.

“It’s just not my day!” Gohil complained to our Live Reporter.

Ben Setta55,300
Monil Gohil20,800
Monil Gohil

Ricciardello rescued

Joe Ricciardello, who had been getting dangerously short, just got a full double at the hands of Robert Damelian.

Going three ways to a flop of 572, Damelian had fired in position for 4,100. Ricciardello called, and Justin Williams folded.

The turn fell the 10 and Ricciardello checked again. Damelian asked to see Ricciardello’s stack, then announced all in. Ricciardello couldn’t call fast enough, triumphantly tabling his 77 for a flopped set.

He wasn’t out of the woods though, as Damelian tabled AK for a turned flush draw. The river 5 paired the board instead though, sending Ricciardello up the counts.

Joe Ricciardello87,000
Robert Damelian24,100
Joe Ricciardello

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

Kroesen kicking

Ricky Kroesen has re-entered and was recently in action on Table 11.

Kroesen opened the action UTG+1 and was calling by James Ewing in the cut-off. Lloyd Locsin, who bagged the chip lead on Day 1A of the GC Champs Main Event in March, folded his big blind.

Kroesen continued for 2,500 on the 37Q flop and Ewing decided to make a move, raising to 5,000. Kroesen made the call.

Kroesen opted to check on the 3 turn, and Ewing bet again, this time for 6,000. Kroesen jammed for 29,700 and found a fold from Ewing.

Ricky Kroesen56,800
James Ewing16,000
Ricky Kroesen

Williams applies pressure

Justin Williams limped UTG+1, and action folded around to Joe Ricciardello on the button, who raised to 7,000. Both blinds folded their hands and Williams through out a single chip to signify a call.

The flop came down 8KQ and Williams checked. Ricciardello fired for 8,000, only to see Williams min-click, check-raising to 16,000.

Ricciardello called after a short while, and Williams continued his story on the 6 turn, jamming for 22,500 effective.

Ricciardello thought about it, counted out the chips, but eventually folded.

Justin Williams72,500
Joe Ricciardello54,900
Justin Williams

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

Reid rinsed

Going heads up to a flop of 4210, Jenny Chhauv checked across to Scott Reid, who fired a continuation bet.

Chhauv check-raised and Reid jammed. Chhauv called to put Reid at risk.

Reid: 99
Chhauv: Q10

Reid was on his feet immediately as the 10 hit the turn, and the 8 river sealed it.

Chhauv then immediately won the next hand as well, 3-betting to 8,100 out of the blinds and taking the pot uncontested, then tabling QQ.

Jenny Chhauv99,100
Scott ReidBUSTED!
Jenny Chhauv

Andrejev annihilated

Alex “The Jeweller” Andrejev jammed his remaining 9,200 from under-the-gun and action folded around the table… almost. Robert Damelian, in the big blind, snap-called when it got back around to him, and the cards were tabled.

Damelian: AQ
Andrejev: K9

Andrejev was on his feet watching as the board ran out JJ73 and though it wasn’t needed, the Q paired Damelian to seal the deal.

Robert Damelian43,400
Alex AndrejevBUSTED!
Robert Damelian

Reid lays it down

On a flop of 7104, Scott Reid led out for 3,000, only to see Janine Butler raise to 7,200 from the next seat over.

Reid made the call and the pair saw a turn A, which Reid immediately checked. Butler fired again, this time for 11,000, and Reid hit the tank for a minute or so before sliding his cards forward face down.

Janine Butler54,400
Scott Reid24,600

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

Break time!

Here are some assorted counts while the players are on a 10-minute break.

Brett Marshall117,100
Sal Fazzino114,400
Michael Mariakis96,700
Attila Bognar88,900
Wayde Rickhuss77,600
Matt Pongrass63,400
Adrian Sportelli56,700
Mario Stanic55,500
Robert Damelian55,200
Ricky Kroesen54,000
John Corr47,900
Yitian Fan45,300

Fazzino flies

We were called over to Table 13 where Amir Heravi was all in and at risk against the superior stack of Sal Fazzino on a board showing 92910.

Fazzino: 22
Heravi: 97

Heravi had flopped trips but Fazzino had out-flopped him, flopping a full house. Heravi needed the board to pair, but the 3 river was not enough, and he hit the rail.

Sal Fazzino106,200
Amir HeraviBUSTED!

Stanic goes runner runner

Attila Bognar min-raised UTG to 2,000 and Shan Sokhanvar 3-bet jammed for his remaining 6,800.

A player who had already left the table by the time we got there then re-jammed for approximately 40,000 from the small blind, with both Mario Stanic and Bognar calling.

Sokhanvar: AA
Bognar: JJ
Opponent: 66
Stanic: A9

The hand grew quite a rail, with Tournament Director Anthony Fantini calling the action on the microphone as the board ran out 4Q7, Q, 3, with Stanic hitting backdoor hearts to scoop the main pot.

Bognar’s Jacks held for the sizeable side pot.

Attila Bognar66,700
Mario Stanic66,500
Shan SokhanvarBUSTED!

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

“All in and a call”!

That was the cry from right in front of the PMA desk on Table 14, as Ricky Kroesen had jammed over the 1,800 open from Kai Yeung.

Yeung, who played as part of Team PMA in the GC Champs Teams Event, had made the call.

Yeung: KK
Kroesen: 88

The board missed both, running out 3A3610 to pad Yeung’s stack.

Kai Yeung38,400
Ricky KroesenBUSTED!

Cannon shoots and misses

Ali Ghezelbash raised to 2,300 and was met with an all-in from Chris Cannon in the blinds.

“I think I’m behind” said Ghezelbash, as he made the call for his tournament life.

Ghezelbash: AJ
Cannon: A10

Ghezelbash was in fact not behind, and stayed ahead throughout on the complete board of 74J4J to double through.

Ali Ghezelbash30,900
Chris Cannon9,800

Vowles takes two

Charles Tsai opened the action and was called by Antonios Fares in middle position before Matt Vowles squeezed from the big blind.

Tsai jammed, Fares re-jammed, and Vowles called both.

Vowles: QQ
Tsai: 99
Fares: AJ

The board ran out 10A7K2 and Vowles, with the only diamond anyway, scored the double knockout with the nut flush.

Matt Vowles69,400
Charles TsaiBUSTED!
Antonios FaresBUSTED!
Matt Vowles

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Dream flop

Chuck Caris raised UTG to 1,600 and was met with a 3-bet to 4,500 from Charles Tsai in middle position. Action folded all the way back around to Caris, who made the call.

Caris then check-jammed on the flop of 567 and was called by Tsai.

Tsai: KK
Caris: 89

Caris had flopped the world, nuts with a redraw to a straight flush, not that he needed it as Tsai needed running cards. Not to be, as the board completed 3, 3.

Chuck Caris48,800
Charles Tsai19,000
Chuck Caris

Ewing and a prayer

Jerry Wang limped under-the-gun and James Ewing raised to 1,200 from the cut-off and received three callers, including Wang, before seeing a flop of 8A6.

Wang took the lead, betting out 2,000. Ewing raised to 6,000, which got folds from the other two players, and Wang flatted.

The 10 fell on the turn and Wang checked, Ewing continued to 6,000, then Wang upped the ante, check-raising to 15,000. Ewing jammed and Wang immediately called.

Wang: 66
Ewing: AK

The river was again a 2 that changed nothing, and Wang doubled through.

Jerry Wang71,000
James Ewing7,400
Jerry Wang

The dangers of acting first

A player, who refused to provide his name, shoved under-the-gun and, after action folded through a few players, Mike Ivin tossed in calling chips.

Jacob Faull quickly relinquished his blind, and cards were tabled for showdown.

Ivin: KK
Opponent: K10

Ivin flopped top set on the KJQ flop, but the A spelled momentary disaster. The J saved Ivin though, pairing the board to give Ivin a full house and the knockout.

Mike Ivin58,900
Mike Ivin

Set, Schmalkuche

Lindsay Schmalkuche opened from the hijack to 1,500 and was called by the player on the button before Alex Hockey squeezed to 4,000 from the small blind. Schmalkuche called, and the button folded.

Both players checked the flop of 9K3, which prompted Hockey to lead out for 3,000 on the A turn. Schmalkuche made the call.

The 2 river changed nothing and Hockey jammed, only to see Schmalkuche snap call.

Schmalkuche: AA
Hockey: AK

An unfortunate turn card for Hockey, who shipped a full double across to Schmalkuche.

Lindsay Schmalkuche54,200
Alex Hockey3,600
Lindsay Schmalkuche

Back to the writing board for Blaschke

PokerMedia Australia’s Ben Blaschke found himself all-in pre-flop in three way action on Table 13.

Short-stacked Qais Shanasa and Cheng-Tse Chen were also involved in the hand.

Blaschke: AJ
Chen: KJ
Shanasa: 45

Chen’s sun run continues as he flopped top pair on the complete board of 9K3Q9 to score the double knock-out.

Cheng-Tse Chen85,700
Ben BlaschkeBUSTED!
Qais ShanasaBUSTED!
Cheng-Tse Chen

Level 6: 300/600 (600)

Haddad marshalled

Sam Haddad stopped by the PMA desk to recount what happened to him after we left the table just before.

According to Haddad, Brett Marshall opened to 1,300 from under-the-gun, followed by a 3-bet to 3,600 from Jigsy Reyes in the hijack.

Haddad, who finished runner-up in the Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event earlier this year, then 4-bet jammed for approximately 40,000 from the button. Marshall called, and Reyes folded.

Marshall: A-A
Haddad: J-J

The board ran out 9-2-4-7-2, no help to Haddad as Marshall cruises past the 100k mark.

Brett Marshall101,200
Sam HaddadBUSTED!
Brett Marshall

All smiles for Kossyrev

George Psarras, who finished runner-up in the first WPTDeepStacks Main Event on Australian soil back in October 2019, limped the button, Jan Kossyrev completed the small blind and Jigsy Reyes elected to check his option.

The trio saw a flop of 469 and action was checked to Psarras, who fired for 800. Kossyrev immediately check-raised to 2,500 and Reyes folded. Psarras shot Kossyrev a look, before calling.

The pair checked down the run out of Q, K.

Kossyrev tabled 97 and Psarras spun his cards through the air into the muck.

Jan Kossyrev37,500
Jigsy Reyes35,500
George Psarras22,100
Jan Kossyrev

Level 5: 300/500 (500)

Break and assorted counts

The players have departed on their first break of the day, 20 minutes to rest and recover.

Alex Andreyev63,500
Wayde Rickhuss58,500
Faraz Ayyaz53,600
John Corr50,000
Elvis Earle49,900
Ashley Volks46,300
Chris Savelle44,500
Ben Blaschke31,000
Robert Damelian30,800
Will Wong27,100
Ricky Kroesen21,000
Hussein Hassan9,700

Lewis misses everything

Ching-Tse Chen opened to 700 and received three callers to see a flop of 452. He then continued for 1,000 and got raised by Nikki Lewis in late position to 3,500.

The other players dispersed quickly and Chen made the call to see the 10 hit the turn.

Chen checked and Lewis continued the story, firing 6,500 into the pot of 10,200. Chen pulled the trigger, jamming for approximately 28,000. Lewis hit the tank for a little over a minute before calling for her tournament life.

Chen: 44
Lewis: 76

The river 2 was the ultimate brick, never changing anything (according to Norman Chad) and Lewis took her leave.

Cheng-Tse Chen48,500
Nikki LewisBUSTED!

Ain’t nothin’ but a full house

Elvis Earle opened the action to 1,000 and was immediately 3-bet to 3,000 by John Corr on his left. Action folded back around to Earle, who made the call.

Earle then check-called a bet of 2,000 from Corr on the flop of 102A. The turn 2 paired the board, and Elvis again checked. Corr continued for 5,000 and Earle tanked, but called again.

Earle again elected to check on the 6 river, and Corr fired a third barrel, for 10,000 this time. Earle again tank-called, but mucked after Corr tabled 1010.

Elvis Earle52,300
John Corr51,800
John Corr

Late arrivals

More players are turning up, with plenty of late registration still available up until the start of Level 9.

Craig Abernethy, who was runner-up in the GC Champs Main Event in March, has taken his seat, next to Cyprus Poker head honcho Chuck Caris.

Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event Champion Adrian Sportelli has been seated on an outer table, and we spied All Bets Count Poker and travelling dealer Jacob Faull. Dominic Fieldhouse has also opted to take another shot after “not feeling it” yesterday (in his words).

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

Savelle turns it

Picking up the action on a board of 42A, where Andrew Braun had 3-bet to 7,000 and been called by Chris Savelle in the small blind, whilst action was pending on Andrew Williams.

Williams had already invested 1,500 on the flop, but let his hand go for Savelle and Braun to see the K turn heads up.

Savelle checked, Braun jammed, and Savelle instantly called.

Braun: A4
Savelle: Q6

Braun’s flopped two pair had been outdrawn by the flush of Savelle, and the river 7 changed nothing as Savelle doubled through.

Chris Savelle43,700
Andrew Williams20,400
Andrew Braun14,200
Chris Savelle

Lewis makes her case

Cheng-Tse Chen opened the action to 700 preflop UTG+2 and was called by Qais Shanasa in middle position and Nikki Lewis on the button before Ben Blaschke opted to defend his big blind.

The action really heated up on the 644 flop, as Chen continued for 1,100 only to see Shanasa raise to 3,000. Lewis then immediately jammed her remaining 11,100 and Blaschke couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. Chen relinquished his cards as well.

Shanasa thought it over for a few seconds before sliding out calling chips, only to freeze when Lewis tabled 66.

“Uhh… I’m drawing dead.” said Shanasa, attempting to muck his cards. The dealer turned them over for the showdown, however, the 75 indeed drawing dead as the board meaninglessly completed 2, 9.

Ben Blaschke32,300
Nikki Lewis26,400
Cheng-Tse Chen21,800
Qais Shanasa16,000
Nikki Lewis

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

Notables in the field

Day 1B is fast approaching yesterdays field size and we’re not even done with Level 2 yet. Several faces jumped out at us on our first pass through the room.

WPTDeepStacks Opening Event winner Michelle Psarras is, unsurprisingly, enjoying a massage from Best Hands Shiatsu Massage over on Table 17. She’ll be hoping to repeat the feat here over the next couple of days.

Hussein Hassan and Jigsy Reyes are seated next to each other further down the room, and Poker Palace grinder Rehman Kassam was also spotted in that direction, along with Attila Bognar.

PokerMedia Australia’s own Ben Blaschke is taking a shot, and has already doubled up. Wayde Rickhuss and Robert Damelian are also vying for glory today.

Will Wong and Aroha Ngata have just walked in. Wong’s new license plate says “BLUFF ME”. That sounds like an invitation to us. Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event Champion Adrian Sportelli has also entered the building.

And last but certainly not least, Ricky “RICKWAA” Kroesen is in the house, seated directly in front of the PMA team. Fresh back from a small tour of Vegas where he played a couple of WSOP events, Kroesen is once again in the hunt for home town victory.

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

Williams wins one

South Australian crusher Nick Williams has picked up a few chips early against Mario Stanic in one of the first hands of the day.

From early position, Williams raised to 300 before Stanic re-raised immediately to 800. Action folded around to Williams who called, making it heads-up to a flop of 663.

Williams then check-called Stanic’s bet of 800, and the action repeated after Stanic’s bet of 2,500 on the turn of the 7 and again for another 7,500 on the river 9.

Stanic showed down J8, but Williams had him well beat with his 22; Stancic was eliminated a few hands later, but has since re-fired.

Nick Williams32,500
Mario Stanic25,000*

Shuffle up and deal!

Cards are now in the air for Day 1B!

There’s 110 players already seated, with Hussein Hassan returning for another crack, while Matt Pongrass, Michael Mariakis, Rob Damelian and Todor Kondevski are also in the mix.

Ricky Kroesen is also back on home soil after a brief visit to Las Vegas, which was sadly cut short due to illness, however we have it on good authority that he’s now fully recovered and intent on heading back after the end of the series.

Once again, we’ll be playing through 14 half-hour levels until we bag and tag for the night (approximately 11:30pm local time).

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

Level 1: 100/100 (100)

Good afternoon and welcome back to The Star Gold Coast for our continued coverage of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event!

Last night’s Day 1A flight saw 166 total entries brought in for the start of the $750 buy-in tournament, with 27 survivors bagging through to Day 2 on Sunday. The man to catch is Michael Clair, who has brought in his good form from last month’s WPT League QPC Super High Roller to end the session with 325,000 in chips.

It was also another epic Day 1 run from Romain Morvan, with the Frenchman busting in the first orbit on his starting table before running pure to finish second overall, while Star Gold Coast Champs Big Wave Champion Chin Wang finished in third.

We’re now just moments away from what will be another frenetic day of action across the felt, so bookmark your browsers and keep your eyes peeled as PokerMedia Australia brings you every flop, sweat and tear until the final river falls!

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