LIVE REPORTING: WPT Prime Gold Coast Mystery Bounty Day 1B

Hoek bags overall chip lead after Day 1B; that’s a wrap!

Day 1B of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Mystery Bounty is now in the can, and it’s Steven Hoek who holds the overall chip lead, bagging 600,000 neat, followed by Simon Thwaites (535,000), Jamie Brown (517,000), Charles Tsai (399,000) and Noman Mirza (392,000).

The 27-year-old builder from Townsville, who broke through for his first major mid-tier title earlier this year after winning the APLPT Queensland Deep Freeze, was thrilled to learn that he now holds the overall chip lead and plans to play on through the rest of the week.

“Yeah, I’m pretty stoked, eh?” Hoek said during his post-match debrief with PokerMedia Australia.  “This was the first time I’ve had a chance to play since April, as I’ve been home with my little one … now that I reckon I’ve done well in this, I’ll stay on to play the Main Event too!”

In all, 34 survivors will advance through to Day 2, joining our 25 other Day 1A contenders as they battle it out for the first-ever Tier One Mystery Bounty title on Australian soil.


Steven Hoek600,000
Simon Thwaites530,500
Jamie Brown517,000
Charles Tsai399,000
Noman Mirza392,000
Wayde Rickhuss326,000
Lewis Murray305,000
Jason Anand275,000
Robert Damelian247,000
Ricardo Di Bella244,000
Matthew Tyrrell219,500
Shane Foglietta215,500
Izuchukwu ‘Bobby’ Oparaocha205,000
Rehman Kassam160,500
Nebojsa Blanusa157,000
Carlos Youssef155,000
Jonathan Portelli152,000
Mario Doria143,500
Giuseppe Gumina136,000
Mark Lasarow135,500
John Sormi131,500
Earlson Ecobiza126,500
Qi Xu122,500
Benjamin Keith112,000
Jonathan Pye110,000
John Parker109,500
Joshua Yeomans93,000
Linda Currie90,000
Marcelo Bocero81,000
Carmen Ling71,000
Scott Reid70,000
Brett Marshall64,000
Timothy Morck52,500
Kento Ito49,500

PokerMedia Australia will return tomorrow from 11:30am AEST to bring you all the action until the final river falls (and the last coin is drawn) before moving into our special feature article and social media coverage of the $1,500 Main Event, thanks to our friends at the World Poker Tour.

Until then, from all of us here at The Star Gold Coast it’s ‘bye for now!

Hoek, line and sinker

Gary Tomes was on a high earlier in a previous level after eliminating Alex Andrejev, however our reporter passed by again to see him head into a flop of 243 against Steven Hoek.

Hoek led for 10,000, Tomes committed his remaining 25,000 into the pot, only to be then snapped off; Tomes had flopped a straight with A5, but was pushed overboard by Hoek’s stronger 65.

The board completed 10, K to officially bring Day 1B to a close – and for Hoek, the overall chip lead heading into Day 2!

Our full wrap of today’s flight will be up shortly.

Steven Hoek600,000
Gary TomesBUSTED!

Easy does it

Over on Table 6, it was a battle of the blinds between Jamie Browne and Ricardo Di Bella on a flop of 1085.

Di Bella opened for 15,000, Brown re-popped to 45,000 and Di Bella smooth-called before Brown flicked out 50,000 after the turn of the 7.

Di Bella called, then both players checked the river A; Brown rolled over 108, which was good enough for Di Bella to muck his hand.

Jamie Browne455,000
Ricardo Di Bella244,000

Level 15: 3,000/5,000 (5,000)

Reid robs Rehman

Scotty Reid has managed to score a double-up through Rehman Kassam as the field is now reduced down to 36 players – just two away from stopping play for the night.

Action folded around to Kassam who raised to 10,000 from the button with A5; Reid shoved for his last 45,500 from the big blind with A10 and Kassam called, but the 10 on the board of 109KJ7 was enough to take the pot down.

Scotty Reid98,000
Rehman Kassam167,000

‘The Jeweller’ loses his lustre

Alex ‘The Jeweller’ Andrejev has been cleaned out after getting the last of his short stack in pre-flop against Gary Tomes. Tomes called with the lucky hand of 77, giving Andrejev’s J10 the cold shoulder as the flop read 372, with the remaining streets 4Q merely a formality.

Gary Tomes173,000
Alex ‘The Jeweller’ AndrejevTORPEDOED!

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

Browne takes one down

Another notch in the belt for Jamie Browne, who has just eliminated another opponent as we head into the 14th level of play for the night.

We caught the action as the cards were being tabled; the villain was at risk with 1010, but lost the flip for their tournament life against Browne’s AQ after turning top pair, top kicker on the board of 92JQ3.

Jamie Browne325,000

Number crunchin’

As our players returned from their break, PokerMedia Australia have been able to verify with Star Poker Gold Coast staff the total number of entries for today: 226, which means that play will stop once we reach 34 players.

Full payout dividends will be published tomorrow, but in the meantime, our friends from the World Poker Tour have sent through the updated leader board for the WPT Prime Gold Coast Player of the Festival.

After five events, Opening Event Champion Daniel Smiljanic still holds the lead with 600 points, followed by $1,100 NLH Champion Romain Morvan. Jerry Wang and Gregory Burgess hold third and fourth places respectively, while Luke Jackson and Alex Lee are currently tied on 400 points apiece.


1stDaniel Smiljanic600
2ndRomain Morvan500
3rdJerry Wang450
4thGregory Burgess425
5thLuke Jackson400
6thAlex Lee400
7thDean Stevenson375
8thWayde Rickhuss375
9thGavin Van Zyl350
10thElise Depauw325
11thNathan Telhado300
12thCharles Tsai300
13thCorey Van Jaarsveldt300
14thLuke Fong300
15thChin Wang250
16thSemsuain Sklocic250
POF leader board information available at

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

Break it down

Players are now on another 10-minute break.

Batoz busto

In one of the last hands before the break, the PMA Live Reporting Team caught up with WPTDeepStacks Gold Coast final tablist Josh Yeomans, who was involved in three-way action to a flop of 384 against Lewis Murray and Rod Batoz.

Murray checked from early position and Yeomans led out for 12,000; Batoz called from the button, but then Murray came back with a check-raise worth 48,000. Yeomans let his hand go, Batoz shoved and Murray insta-called.

Batoz: 44
Murray: K8

Batoz’s small set stayed ahead after the J, but he was hit hard by the 9 on the river which gave Murray a flush!

A clearly exasperated Batoz threw his hands up in the air and leaned back in his chair before he eventually stood up and walked out of the tournament area.

Lewis Murray218,200
Josh Yeomans124,800
Rod BatozBUSTED!

Rickhuss in the black

Under the sea of blue lighting on the feature table, a three-way all-in pot sparked as Wayde Rickhuss went all-in pre-flop before being called short by both Clint Taylor and Omer Sirianni.

Sirianni’s AA loomed large over Rickhuss’s 88 and Taylor’s KQ, but as the first window flashed a 8, followed by 97 for the flop, Rickhuss surged ahead.

The turn 10 teased a flush draw for Taylor, but it was not to be as the dealer rolled up the 9 and Rickhuss scored the double KO.

Wayde Rickhuss171,000
Clint TaylorBUSTED!
Omer SirianniBUSTED!
Wayde Rickhuss

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

Art of the … steal?

Our reporter stopped by Table 9 and witnessed action unfolding between Steven Hoek, Izuchukwu ‘Bobby’ Oparaocha and another player into a pot worth about 110,000 after a flop and turn of 47AQ.

Oparaocha opened from the small blind for 10,000, and got flat-called by the big blind, but Hoek got serious with a shove of 149,800.

After tanking for a good few minutes, Oparaocha asked Hoek, “Are you gonna show us if you fold?

Hoek flashed a cheeky grin.

“Nah!” was Hoek’s reply.

Oparaocha eventually decided to fold, and the big blind player open-mucked AK. As promised, Hoek sent his hand into the muck and raked in the pot.

Steven Hoek279,800
Izuchukwu ‘Bobby’ Oparaocha495,000
Steven Hoek

The life (and death) of Brian

After limping from under the gun, Brian Nguyen called Debbie James’ min-raise of 5,000 and two more followed in to make it four-handed to a flop of 897.

All players checked it down, but then Nguyen promptly shoved after the 5 on the turn for around 42,000. James took a moment before she called, showing 55 for a turned set against Nguyen who was looking up-and-down with 107.

No love on the river though, with the 8 giving James the boat and crippling Brian’s stack to a little over 5,000.

Brian ripped it in the very next and managed to double back up, but failed to gain any traction after that and has since departed.

Debbie James42,800
Brian NguyenBUSTED!

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

Kururangi routed

“All in, call!”

Our field reporter hot-footed it to Table 14, where Jonnie Kururangi had put his last 68,000 over the line, which had been called by Steven Hoek.

Kurunangi turned over AK, but was left for dead after the dealer fanned out a board of 10622J to give Hoek two pair with his AA.

Steven Hoek235,000
Jonnie KururangiROUTED!
Jonnie Kururangi

Emerton’s write-out

Josh Emerton looked despondent as he stood next to our hot desk, chronicling his tale of woe from the Mystery Bounty towards the end of the previous level.

As Emerton noted, Michael Mariakis raised to 2,500 from under the gun; he found three callers in Marcus Lasarow, Carlos Youssef and himself to go four-handed to a flop of KJ3, which they all checked.

Emerton then opened for 5,000 after the turn of the 9, which forced folds from both Mariakis and Lasarow before Youssef moved all-in. Emerton short-called.

Youssef: Q10
Emerton: J3

Drawing thin to a boat, Youssef’s straight held after the 6 came down the river, ending the PMA Protégé’s day.

Carlos Youssef67,600
Marcus Lasarow63,000
Michael Mariakis40,300
Josh EmertonDEMISED!

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

Watch out!

Izuchukwu ‘Bobby’ Oparaocha is absolutely dominating on Table 9, having built up a monster stack over 300,000 -well above the average of 80,000 – easily calling off players trying to flip for a double.

Giuseppe Gumina was the latest to try his luck, raising to 4,000 pre-flop; he was called behind by two players including Oparaocha to make it three-handed to a flop of AK4.

Oparaocha opened for 8,000, and the others flat called before the turn 9 appeared. Action then checked to Gumina, who shoved all in for 25,800, but Oparaocha was the only caller.

Gumina tabled AJ and found himself ahead of Oparaocha’s A8, taking a chunk of change off the table captain after the river 7 completed the board.

Izuchukwu ‘Bobby’ Oparaocha366,000
Giuseppe Gumina92,500
Izuchukwu ‘Bobby’ Oparaocha

Thaggard toppled, Furlong flicked

Adam Thaggard and Patrick Furlong have been confirmed as two of our most recent eliminations towards the end of the previous stanza as we now head into the start of Level 9.

Earlier on Table 8, Furlong found himself in a three-way all-in pre-flop situation for his last 55,400 with KQ, but found himself well trailing the A8 and KK of his two adversaries, with no change after the spread a board of J6474.

Thaggard then found himself in a similar scenario, risking the last of his stack with KJ; although he was ahead of one of his shorter-stacked opponent’s 85, Dion Mahutoto’s A10 rivered the nut flush, despite Thaggard flopping top pair on the 6J9103 board.

Dion Mahutoto59,000
Patrick FurlongBUSTED!
Adam ThaggardBUSTED!

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

Take 10!

Our remaining players are now on a 10-minute break.

The Hoek heist

Over on Table 14, Jason Anand raised to 2,500 and found three callers, including Steven Hoek and Duncan McKinnon to go four ways into a flop of Q24.

McKinnon and Anand checked to the middle position player who moved all-in for 30,000 effective; Hoek was the only caller.

Hoek: AQ

No change after the turn of the 5, but Hoek then hit two pair with the river A. Seat open!

Steven Hoek178,200

Blanusa and Parker on blast

Neb Blanusa has been on the right end of a three-way all-in pot on Table 9 that resulted in a double KO.

All the money was in the middle pre-flop and our reporter got there just as the cards were tabled; Aroha Ngata was ahead with her KJ and up against the K3 of Blanusa and another player’s QJ.

The flop of 669 was safe for Aroha, but Blanusa picked up two pair with the 3 on the turn before the 7 completed the board.

At the same time, John Parker completed a massive triple elimination to move up to more than 200,000 as we head into the final level before the break!

John Parker220,000
Neb Blanusa189,500
Aroha NgataBUSTED!
Aroha Ngata

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

Van Zyl-ched

Gavin Van Zyl got the last of his short stack pre-flop, looking for a double-up with Q9, but was quickly snapped off by Charlie Hawes who rolled up KK.

Zyl was behind the whole way across the board 7JA93, giving Hawes a sweet boost to over double the average stack.

Charlie Hawes106,000

Lewis and Kobbing cast asunder

Karsten Kobbing and Nikki Lewis have been amongst those to have been eliminated from Table 12 as play continues into Level 7.

Kobbing risked the last of his chips with A9, but trailed all the way behind Elise Depauw’s AQ after the board was spread 24673.

Lewis then put her tournament life on the line a short time later with JJ, only to then see Russell Watkins wake up with KK that improved to a full house after the board of 2K9Q9.

Russell Watkins68,400
Elise Depauw26,000
Karsten KobbingCLOBBERED!
Karsten Kobbing

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Marshall hollering

American import Brett Marshall has been making moves, taking out another opponent on Table 14 as the pace of play begins to speed up here at The Star Gold Coast.

An unknown opponent made their last move holding 55 after the turn on a board that read 10846, but Marshall called them down before showing 77, which held after the river K was peeled out of the shoe.

Our reporter then rushed over to Table 16, where Dennis Huntly had shoved after a flop of A10A with QQ, but despite trailing Jamie Brown’s KK, Huntly rivered a set as the board completed 7, Q.

Jamie Brown72,700
Brett Marshall46,600
Dennis Huntly30,900

Taking care of business

Dylan Desmarchelier was a late arrival today, but for good reason: he was teed up for a job interview which was rescheduled for the same time as today’s Day 1 flight.

But the Queensland grinder has got to work pretty quickly, decimating Victor Jaucian’s stack in a hand we caught on Table 17.

All the chips were over the betting line before the flop; Jaucian was at risk with pocket QQ, but Desmarchelier had him well covered with KK, which rivered a set on the board of 89610K.

Jaucian was sent down to Davy Jones’ locker a short time later.

Dylan Desmarchelier32,100
Victor JaucianMAROONED!
Dylan Desmarchelier

Level 6: 300/600 (600)


Luke Gregory-Young has just taken out Wayde Rickhuss as we head into Level 6 of this Mystery Bounty flight.

After Gregory-Young raised to 1,500 pre-flop from late position, Rickhuss three-bet it to 3,300 and Gregory-Young called to make it heads-up to a flop of QA5.

Rickhuss then check-raised to 6,000 after Gregory-Young opened for 1,500; Gregory-Young called, then Rickhuss check-called his bet of 8,000 on the turn of the K before all the money went in on the river 8.

Rickhuss tabled AK for a turned two pair, but he was straight out the door after Gregory-Young showed J10 for Broadway!

Luke Gregory-Young57,000
Wayde RickhussSCUTTLED!

Assorted chip counts

Alex Andreyev131,000
Neb Blanusa95,200
Jamie Browne92,000
Nuno Da Silva68,000
Octavian Voegele46,500
Josh Emerton44,600
Josh Norvock44,300
Chad Inabinet43,000
Bruno Da Silva38,400
Michelle Psarras37,300
Robert Damelian32,700
Luke Fong30,200
Elise Depauw30,000
Brendon Rubie30,000
Hussein Hassan23,600
Aroha Ngata21,600
Ali Ghezelbash18,500
George Psarras16,600
Nikki Lewis16,200
Jacob Faull15,600
Karsten Kobbing13,400

Level 5: 300/500 (500)

Break time!

Our Mystery Bounty players are now on a 20-minute break.

Stojkov’s conversation starter

Shortly after Nuno Da Silva scored his bust-out, his twin brother Bruno wandered over to check up on his progress.

Our reporter wandered over to his former table, which has plenty of big names, including Aroha Ngata, Neb Blanusa, and Elise Depauw, who were still chewing the fat over a hand that played out between Bruno, George Psarras and Mirko Stojkov prior to his elimination.

“How’s this for hand?” Ngata said. “Action folds to me, I raise to 1,000 with pocket jacks, Bruno flats but Mirko three-bets to 2,500 with A-Qo.”

“George then four-bets with nines, I tank fold and Mirko calls, then open-shoves after the flop of Q-10-3, George calls and Mirko holds … we’re still trying to decide if that was the right play!”

Psarras simply shook his head as he counted his reduced stack.

“If it makes you feel any better, I reckon you played it well!” Blanusa said as he pointed to Stojkov.

Depauw threw in her two francs, holding up her hands and quacked: “All I’m getting from this is blah, blah, blah …” which elicited a ripple of laughter from around the table.

“See, this is the type of stuff which would be great for the stream!” Ngata said.

Sadly, the feature table broadcast doesn’t start until the Main Event, but we’ll be sure to put in a good word!

Mirko Stojkov50,000
George Psarras31,000
Elise Depauw

A suite deal

Nuno Da Silva has eliminated Nick Williams as action continues in Day 1B of the Mystery Bounty.

Action folded around to Williams who open-shoved from the button with 22, but Nuno iso-shoved out of the small blind, forcing the big blind out of the way before he tabled QQ.

“I thought you were here to bring me luck!” Williams joked to our reporter before the dealer spread a board of A3384.

It hasn’t been a completely bad run for the South Australian though, as he started off his WPT Prime experience with a massive upgrade to one of The Star Gold Coast’s penthouse suites.  Must be nice!

Nuno Da Silva68,000
Nick WilliamsBUSTED!
Nuno Da Silva

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

Sit down!

We caught the action on the flop of 8Q5, as Damelian had moved all-in for a little over 20,000 and waited, to ultimately find a caller in Josh Van Jaarsveldt.

Damelian rolled over KK, which threw a shadow over Jaarsveldt’s QJ.

The turn Q spiked trips for Jaarsveldt, his two-outer prompting Damelian to stand up in readiness to depart, but the K put him back into the seat and the game!

Robert Damelian41,800
Josh Van Jaarsveldt7,100

Batten down the hatches!

A storm was brewing over on Table 19, where action was swirling up three-ways between Alex ‘The Jeweller’ Andrejev, Gary Tomes and 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event Champion Stewart Scott.

The flop of J7K was spread before a four-bet frenzy ensued; Tomes had opened under the gun for 700, raised by Scott’s 3,000, and answered by Andrejev’s bet of 7,000.

Tomes fired out the rest of chips for an all-in worth 33,200, Scott committed the remainder of his 27,000 stack as Andrejev wasted no time in calling.

Andrejev: JJ
Tomes: 77
Scott: 109

The turn 10 and river 9 offered no consolation to Scott or Tomes, consigning them both to rail.

Alex Andrejev110,000
Stewart ScottSCUPPERED!
Alex Andrejev

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

Taylor stitches one up

Clint Taylor is now up to almost double the starting stack after eliminating another player as we move into the third level of play.

After an early position raise, Taylor and two others called to go four ways to a flop of K1010, which tey all checked through before the villain opened for 500 on the turn of the 6.

Taylor raised to 1,500 and the original bettor called, then check-short-called to Taylor’s bet on the river A, tabling 109 for flopped trips, but was felted after Tayor tabled 66!

Clint Taylor55,000

Kia ora!

A very strong Kiwi contingent here today (now that the borders are back open), including Dion Mahutoto, who just clashed with Jonnie Kururangi in a big pot over on Table 14.

Our reporter caught the action on a board of 10529; Kururangi was deep in the tank, facing an all-in bet for around 12,800 from Mahutoto into a pot worth about 26,000. After a few minutes in the tank, Kururangi let his hand go.

Both players are still alive, and we’ve also picked up on another interesting development in that there are five Kiwis seated together on Michelle Psarras’s table.

And if you include the wonderful Stephanie from Best Hands Shiatsu Massage, that makes … wait, is there another word for half-a-dozen?

Dion Mahutoto67,900
Jonnie Kururangi19,700
Dion Mahutoto

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

Triple J

Lots of action over on Table 16, with PMA’s Josh Emerton, Jamie Brown and Jack Mardanbeigi all involved in a couple of hands early.

Our reporter picked up the action on a flop of 7J3, where Brown checked his option out of the big blind, as did Mardanbeigi from UTG+1 before Emerton opened for 900.

Brown check-called and Mardanbeigi mucked, then Brown check-called on the turn and river of 3, A after Emerton’s bets of 2,200 and 3,000 respectively, but mucked after Emerton tabled KJ.

A short time later, Mardanbeigi got all his money in after some heavy betting action pre-flop with 99, but Brown woke up with KK and held after the board ran out 87543.

Jamie Brown71,000
Josh Emerton37,400
Jack MardanbeigiBUSTED!

Shuffle up and deal!

Cards are now in the air for Day 1B of the Mystery Bounty! We have 115 players already seated, with plenty more queueing up at the rego desk, with Charles Chia, Karsten Kobbing, Jack Mardanbeigi, Aroha Ngata, Stewart Scott and the Da Silva twins – Nuno and Bruno – amongst the local contingent here today.

Amongst those from Sydney today include two of the most recent Sydney QPC Main Event finalists, Adrian Pachecho and Chad Inabinet, along with arguably the most formidable poker couple in the country: Michelle and George Psarras.

Level 1: 100/100 (100)

Back on deck

Ahoy there and welcome back to The Star Gold Coast as we weigh anchor for our second Day 1 flight of this week’s historic WPT Prime Gold Coast Mystery Bounty!

Last night’s Day 1A flight saw a total of 169 entries registered, with 25 players bagging through to Day 2. The man to catch is Dylan Wayne, who bagged 542,000 in chips, followed closely by Sal Fazzino (505,000), Martin Ward (412,000), Alan Gates (303,000) and Daniel Gabriel (286,000).

Given the calibre of last night’s field – which was chock-full of some the nation’s finest – we’re expecting even an even tougher field today as more begin to travel in from interstate in preparation for the Main Event later this week.

As was the case yesterday, we’ll be playing through 30-minute levels until we reach 15% of the total number of entries, so stay with us here at PokerMedia Australia as bring you the action as it happens!

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