Return of the Mack: Sean McKenzie wins Star Sydney Champs Opening Event

Sean McKenzie has emerged victorious in the Opening Event of the Star Sydney Champs after a 10-year hiatus from the game.

The Sydneysider, who first began playing online some 15 years ago, defeated Nicholas Roth heads-up for the trophy and $101,161 in prize money, with the third and final day of play ending in less than seven hours.

Speaking to PokerMedia Australia after his win, McKenzie admitted that the grind through Day 2 was tough, where he spent most of his time on the Star Poker Sydney feature table to finish second in chips overall before returning today.

“Playing the whole day, I was exhausted by the end,” McKenzie said, “but the structure of the tournament was really great, [allowed for] plenty of play but not too slow, and all the staff were fantastic!”

The win in this tournament is the largest payout achieved by McKenzie either live or online, telling PMA that his previous best result was for USD $5,000 on PartyPoker back in the early 2000s.

Star Poker Sydney Opening Event final table

STAR SYDNEY CHAMPS OPENING EVENT ($750 buy-in, 848 entries, 106 players paid)*

1stSean McKenzie$101,161
2ndNicholas Roth$70,897
3rdNurlan Boobekov$45,815
4thJackson Hardy$33,880
5thNathan Sawyers$25,758
6thSuzy Khouiss$20,492
7thJiapeng Yang$16,960
8thDaniel Zhou$13,491
9thRabie El Hage$10,114
*Final table results shown; full results available at

Meanwhile, Hauman Darbarni took down the second event on the schedule: the $660 Big Bounty for $20,462, defeating Sydney veteran ‘Toothpick’ Tony Kambouroglou heads-up for the title.

The win adds to a string of five-figure sums won at The Star Sydney by Darbani, including his career-best cash for $38,000 in the 2016 WSOP International Circuit Opening Event, where he finished third.

Hauman Darbani – $660 Big Bounty Event

STAR SYDNEY CHAMPS BIG BOUNTY EVENT ($660 buy-in, 312 entries, 39 players paid)*

1stHauman Darbani$20,462
2ndTony Kambouroglou$14,353
3rdGeorge Psarras$9,232
4thBenjamin Lam$5,855
5thBenjamin Surtees$4,517
6thObrad Milinkovic$3,740
7thTrudie Sultana$3,142
8thDean Yuen$2,581
9thJarred Grimshaw$2,047

PMA’s Live Reporting coverage continues tomorrow with Day 2 of the $1,100 NLH Event, followed by the $1,000 buy-in Mystery Bounty on Tuesday. For more information and the full schedule for The Star Sydney Champs, log onto

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