LIVE REPORTING: 2022 Sydney Champs Main Event Day 1A

Daniel Louis-Awad bags the chip lead after Day 1A; that’s a wrap!

The first flight of The Star Sydney Champs Main is now officially in the books, and after a frenetic final stanza, Sydney’s Daniel Louis-Awad has come out on top, bagging 664,000!

The 32-year-old commercial brick cleaner was delighted to learn the news that he’d finished the day as chip leader, telling PokerMedia Australia that it was a tough day at the office, negotiating his way through arguably one of the toughest Day 1A fields ever assembled in recent years.

“It’s beautiful to be back playing in the Sydney Champs, and I felt really good all day,” Louis-Awad said. “This is the best tournament structure I’ve played in a while … I admit I was a bit nervous going in, but I just played my game.”

“Now that I’ve bagged, I can go away and work on my game plan, then come back for Day 2 and just take it as it comes.”

Louis-Awad is hopeful that a deep run in the Big Dance will lead to him being able to live out the ultimate dream of becoming a full-time poker player. Judging by today’s performance though, that dream could become a reality in the not-too-distant future!

This concludes our broadcast day, but the PMA Live Reporting team will be back tomorrow (Friday) from 12:30pm AEST as we continue our coverage with Day 1B of the Star Sydney Champs.

We’ll also have our full wrap-up of the Mystery Bounty coming your way shortly, so be sure to bookmark and follow us on our socials to keep up with all the latest from on and around the Aussie felt.

Until next time, thanks again for joining us and we’ll see you again soon. ‘Bye for now!

Three more hands!

Tournament staff have paused the clock with 10 minutes remaining and we’ll be playing through three more hands before we bag up for the night.

McCully gutted

Daniel Louis-Awad is now right up in the counts after eliminating Josh McCully.

It was another battle of the blinds, with action folding around to McCully who raised from the small blind before Louis-Awad shoved from the big blind.

McCully called all-in and turned over 1010, but he lost the flip for his tournament life after Louis-Awad’s AK flopped top-top on the board of Q2K57.

Daniel Louis-Awad627,000
Josh McCullyBUSTED!

Ogilvy on cloud nine

Gavin Ogilvy has picked off another player as our Main Event field is reduced to five tables.

Action on Table 9 folded around to Ogilvy who min-clicked from the small blind before the big blind player moved all-in with KQ.

The big blind lost the flip for their tournament life, however, after Ogilvy called them off with 99 and turned a set on the board of 628910.

Gavin Ogilvy357,000

Level 15: 3,000/6,000 (6,000)

A Yazbeck trifecta?

Mark Yazbeck is now on the verge of joining sons Alex and Patrick in the PMA headlines this series after taking out another player.

Action folded to the player in the lojack who opened for 10,000, however the cut-off player called out of turn before Yazbeck came in with his three-bet of 35,000.

The cut-off player still called, but the lojack folded, making it heads-up to the flop of 42K. Yazbeck checked, the cut-off jammed and Yazbeck snap-called, turning over pocket twos for bottom set against the cut-off’s AK, which held after the turn and river bricked.

Mark Yazbeck900,000

Giles retired

Despite a small double-up, Toby Giles’ run in Day 1A of the Sydney Champs Main Event has come to an end.

Earlier, Giles jammed his last 20,000 into the middle from under the gun with 55, and action folded around to Mateo Echauge who called him off with K3, but Giles flopped a set on the board of A45, which improved to a full house as the turn and river came running 7, 7.

A short time later, WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event Champion Dan Smiljanic ripped it in from the button with 77, and Giles elected to call short with his K5 but Smiljanic was still best after the dealer spread the board of 889J5.

Mateo Echauge412,000
Dan Smiljanic130,000
Toby GilesBUSTED!

LoRusso busto

Sam Vakili has just taken out Joseph LoRusso just as the clock ticked over into the penultimate level of the night.

All the money was in the middle on the turn on a board that read 47894; LoRusso had rolled over K10 for a busted straight draw, but Vakili had him crushed with his 104 having rivered trips.

Sam Vakili113,000
Joseph LoRussoBUSTED!

Level 14: 3,000/5,000 (5,000)

Gray gets away from D.L.A.

Over on Table 6, our reporter caught up with Daniel Louis-Awad, who was heads-up against Australian Poker Hall of Famer Jason Gray with a board that read 93Q67.

Louis-Awad opened after the river, but after Gray raised to 45,000, he mucked when Louis-Awad returned fire with a bet worth 125,000.

“Flopped it bro!” Louis-Awad said proudly as he rolled up AJ for the stone cold nuts.

Daniel Louis-Awad452,000
Jason Gray120,000

Kamiya cut back

Hasan Onay has managed to score a crucial double-up through Leo Kamiya.

After Onay fired out a pre-flop shove from the +2 position, the action folded around to Kamya who iso-jammed from the button with KQ, however he found himself trailing the AK of Onay.

The dealer then fanned out a board of 104410J and Onay’s Ace kicker gave him the scoop.

Hasan Onay120,000
Leo Kamiya30,000

Assorted chip counts

Just three more levels to go until we bag and tag for the night!

Marc Seymour533,000
Yita Choong513,000
Mark Yazbeck415,000
Mateo Echauge415,000
Michael O’Grady396,000
Charbel Boustani322,000
Paul Hoang315,000
Charles Chiha308,000
Romain Morvan270,000
Hasan Onay229,000
Tim Plunkett199,000
Brett Marshall162,000
Daniel Louis-Awad110,000

Level 13: 2,000/4,000 (4,000)

Break time

Our final 70 players are now on their final 10-minute break of the evening. Back shortly!


John Nguyen is now running on fumes after taking a huge hit against Yita Choong.

After Choong came out of the cut-off with a pre-flop raise to 12,000, the button and small blind folded before Nguyen three-bet it to 38,000 out of the big blind.

Choong made the call, then called Nguyen’s bet of 45,000 after the flop of 797 before insta-calling Nguyen’s open-shove on the turn of the 4.

Choong: AA
Nguyen: KK

The river 5 finished the board to give the 2022 WSOP Millionaire Maker fourth-place finisher the double-up.

Yita Choong359,000
John Nguyen30,000

Rubie on a roll

Brendon Rubie has won two pots in a row over on Table 12 as we headed into – coincidentally – the 12th level of the night.

Earlier, action folded around to Romain Morvan who raised to 5,000 from the small blind; Rubie defended his big blind, and then both players checked the flop of 696 before Morvan check-called Rubie’s bet of 7,000 on the turn of the 9, only to check-tank-muck to Rubie’s bet of 35,000 on the river 5.

Rubie then eliminated a player in the very next hand, which was enough to move him up to 300,000 in chips.

Brendon Rubie300,000
Romain Morvan165,000

Level 12: 1,500/3,000 (3,000)

Onay’s okay

Hasan Onay is now back up to almost 100,000 in chips after taking out another player as action continues in Day 1A of the Sydney Champs Main Event.

From under the gun, Onay limped and action folded to the hijack who called before the player in the cut-off moved their last 17,500 into the middle.

Onay overshipped, which forced the hijack to fold and the hijack turned up A10 to find themselves flipping for their tournament life against Onay’s 88.

The 8 in the window was enough to prompt the villain to pick up their coat and quickly make their way to the exits.

Hasan Onay99,000

Tsai and Stephenson riding high

Another elimination for Charles Tsai, taking out another opponent over on Table 8.

The action folded around to the player in the hijack who raised to 5,000; the small blind player called, but Tsai then re-raised to 25,000 out of the big blind.

The hijack then jammed and the small blind folded before Tsai snap-called with his KK, which then rivered a boat on the board of 96JJK against the hijack’s 55.

And with another double KO under his belt, Lawrence Stephenson has now been confirmed as the first player to reach the half-million chip mark!

Lawrence Stephenson520,000
Charles Tsai401,000

Capra cuts down Zhou

After moving up to the top of the chip counts earlier in the day, Zhang Zhou has dropped back below 100,000, taking another hit at the hands of Justin Capra.

Action folded to Toby Giles who opened for 6,000 from middle position before Capra jammed for his last 23,000 from the lojack. Zhou called out of the blind and Giles folded before Capra turned over 66 and found himself flipping against Zhou’s AK.

Capra then improved to two pair after the flop of 5QQ, but although there was a bit of a sweat with the 10 on the turn, the river 3 was a brick and Capra doubled up.

Justin Capra56,000
Zheng Zhou84,000

Level 11: 1,500/2,500 (2,500)

Tran canned

Tim Plunkett has just taken out Tam Tran as our remaining 100 players head into the 11th level of play.

After the UTG player limped in, Tran raised to 5,000 from the +1 position before Plunkett three-bet it to 16,000. Action then folded back around to Tran who responded with a four-bet-jam and Plunkett called.

Plunkett: AQ
Tran: QJ

Plunkett then paired his Ace on the flop of KA7, but Tran whiffed on his Broadway and backdoor flush draws, as the turn and river ran out 6, 9.

Tim Plunkett126,000

McCully gets one through

The Aussie talent is clearly on tap here at The Star Sydney Champs Main Event, with Josh McCully and Alex Yazbeck just two more of the big names spotted in a hand on Table 10.

Action folded around to McCully who raised to 4,600 from the cut-off; Yazbeck called from the big blind, but then both players checked down all streets on the J84J10 board.

McCully turned over A9, which enough against Yazbeck’s K6 to take it down.

Josh McCully51,300
Alex Yazbeck74,600

Assorted chip counts

Day 1A of the Sydney Champs Main Event has now been locked out at 312 entries, good for $561,600 in the prize pool with two flights remaining.

Marc Seymour424,000
Lawrence Stephenson375,000
Mata Yu297,000
Michael Seymour259,000
Charles Chiha250,000
Romain Morvan249,000
Gavin Ogilvy249,000
Daniel Louis-Awad246,000
Gavin Best230,000
John Nguyen220,000
Tom Maguire200,000
Gordon Day194,000
Brett Marshall134,000

Level 10: 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

Dinner break

Time to rustle up some grub! We’ll see you back here in 30 minutes.

Stephenson sailing

Lawrence Stephenson is now well on top of the counts, picking up more chips through Omar Chalghin as we head into the dinner break.

The action folded around to Stephenson who raised to 5,100 from the small blind; Chalghin defended his big blind, then after Stephenson opened for another 5,000 after the 6Q5 flop, Chalghin called before both players checked the turn of the 4.

Stephenson then fired out 15,000 on the river of the 8 and Chalghin called, only to throw his hand away after Stephenson tabled 1010.

Lawrence Stephenson330,500
Omar Chalghin79,700

Oh, Mai!

Van Mai has been crippled down to less than 20,000 in chips at the hands of Khac-Trung Tran.

After Mai opened for 3,500 from under the gun, the +1 player flat-called before action folded around to the small blind, who also completed before Tran shoved for 24,700 from the big blind.

Mai quickly called and forced the others out of the way before the cards were tabled.

Tran: AJ
Mai: A10

Tran then turned the nut flush on the K372Q and doubled through.

Khac-Trung Tran62,300
Van Mai17,800

Lasso ropes in some chips

Over on Ted Hatzakortzian’s table, action folded to Mark Lasso who min-clicked to 3,500 from middle position before the flop; Hatzakortzian flatted from the lojack and the big blind defended to make it three-handed to the flop of 7A4.

The big blind checked, Lasso bet 7,000 and Hatzakortzian called, forcing the big blind out of the way before Lasso open-shoved on the turn of the Q.

Hatzakortzian called him off, turning over A10 but found himself trailing Lasso’s AQ, which held for the double after the dealer peeled out the 7 for the river.

Mark Lasso46,200
Ted Hatzkortzian185,000

Level 9: 8,000/1,600 (1,600)

Zenenos smashed

Marc Seymour has padded his stack with Chris Zenenos’ chips in a had that played out just as the blinds ticked over into Level 9.

Action folded to Seymour who opened for 2,700 from the lojack; the hijack player called, but then Zenenos ripped in the rest of his stack from the button.

Both Seymour and the hijack called, going heads-up into a sidepot on a flop of 364. Seymour then led out for 15,000, forcing the hijack to fold before going to showdown against Zenenos.

Seymour: 88
Zenenos: K9

Seymour’s snowmen held after the turn and river ran out 2, J to send Zenenos to the rail.

Marc Seymour280,000
Chris ZenenosBUSTED!

Rodden robbed

Johnny Rodden has been amongst the latest wave of players to hit the rail in this Main Event, taken out by Mikkael Lorensen.

After Lorensen min-clicked to 2,500 from under the gun pre-flop, Rodden three-bet to 8,500 from the +1 position before Lorensen came back over the top.

Rodden called short and showed down QQ, but found nothing against Lorensen’s AA on the board of 35J4K.

Mikkael Lorensen138,000
Johnny RoddenBUSTED!

Bono on song

Ricky Bono has just got himself a big double-up through Tim Middleton as play rolls on in Day 1A of the Sydney Champs Main Event.

Action folded to Bono who raised to 2,500 from the button before Middleton called out of the big blind before they checked down a flop of Q44.

Middleton then checked his option on the turn of the 2; Bono opened for 5,000, but Middleton check-raised to 15,000. Bono called, and after Middleton checked again on the river 10, Bono fired 10,000.

Middleton called, but released his hand into the muck after Bono showed Q10 for two pair.

Ricky Bono128,000
Tim Middleton41,500

Level 8: 600/1,200 (1,200)

Blatt flattened

Dean Blatt has just hit the rail after being eliminated by Charles Tsai in the moments leading up to the start of Level 8.

After Tsai opened pre-flop, Blatt went all-in over the top holding AJ, but was quickly called by Tsai who rolled up AK.

Both players paired up on the 10K37J, but Tsai was best with top-top and thus put the stop on Blatt in this Main Event.

Charles Tsai95,500
Dean BlattBUSTED!

Big game, bigger names

Day 1A of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event is now up to 278 total entries, with Rod Meneses, Ken Demlakian, Milan Stojkovic and Toby Giles just some of the new faces we’ve spotted in an ever-growing list of notables.

We also managed to pick up a bit of action over on Table 6, where Jamal Ishac managed to double up against Mark Yazbeck.

Action folded to the player in the hijack position who limped in, as did Yazbeck from the cut-off before Ishac raised to 5,000 from the button. Michael O’Grady called from the small blind, the hijack folded and Yazbeck also called, making it three-handed to a flop of 26A.

O’Grady then checked to Yazbeck who continued for 5,500, only to then see Ishac shove from the button, forcing O’Grady out of the way before Yazbeck called.

Ishac: AJ
Yazbeck: 54

Ishac’s top pair held against the gut-shot straight flush draw after the turn and river ran out K, 10.

Jamal Ishac68,000
Mark Yazbeck26,800

Level 7: 500/1,000 (1,000)

Break it down

Time for another 10-minute break. See you shortly!

Seymour’s soaring

Our reporter stopped by Table 9, where we met up with Marc Seymour, who’s sitting behind an absolute monster stack after winning two big hands against Romain Morvan and Elisa Onay.

Earlier, Seymour, Morvan and another player in middle position went to a flop of 5106, which they all checked before Seymour checked his option again on the turn of the 4.

Morvan led out for 2,000, forcing the MP to fold, but Seymour called before both players checked the river 10; Seymour turned over 96 for the flush, pipping Morvan at the post, who flashed the 8 before sending his hand into the muck.

Seymour then clashed with Onay in the very next hand, with the money all in the middle on a Q-5-5-X-X board, but Onay took her leave after Seymour showed down A-5o for trips.

Marc Seymour268,000
Romain Morvan83,000
Elisa OnayBUSTED!

Lynskey finds some chips

Alex Lynskey is still amongst the 249-strong field here at the Star Sydney Main Event, which is bringing in a lot of big names – Chris Zenenos, Brett Marshall, Luis Arrilucea, Steve Tambouras and Brendon Rubie amongst those to have recently taken their seats.

Action folded around to Lynskey who raised to 1,800 from middle position before the big blind called, making it heads-up to the flop of 458.

The big blind check-called after Lynskey’s bet of 1,100, and then checked again after the turn of the 10, only to fold after Lynskey fired out 3,000.

Alex Lynskey62,800

Level 6: 400/800 (800)

Glee for Lee

Singapore’s Alex Lee has just taken out another player as we head into the sixth level of play.

Lee came out with a UTG raise worth 1,600 and the player in the +1 position flat-called before action folded around to Christopher Bassil who defended his big blind to go three-handed to a flop of 568.

Bassil checked over to Lee who opened for 2,700; the +1 player called, and after some time Bassil let his hand go, making it heads up to the turn of the 5.

Lee then opened for 6,500 and the +1 player raised to 20,000, Lee shoved and the +1 player called short.

Lee: AA
UTG +1: 42

Lee’s bullets managed to dodge the gut-shot straight and flush draws though, as the J bricked out on the river.

Alex Lee182,000

Sandaev back on track

Having lost his wallet en route from Adelaide to Sydney, Joseph Sandaev’s day is looking a little brighter after being able to sort out his Main Event entry and is now sitting behind a stack after doubling through Alan Sanders.

Sandaev raised from under the gun to to 2,500 and action folded around to the player in the hijack position who called before Sandaev three-bet it to 8,500 from the big blind.

Sanders and the hijack player called, and then Sandaev continued for another 8,500 after the flop of 2J7. Sanders raised to 28,000, the hijack folded and Sandaev jammed before Sanders called.

Sandaev: AA
Sanders: 99

Sandaev held after the turn and river completed 3, 7 to secure the double-up.

Joe Sandaev88,000
Alan Sanders35,000

Level 5: 300/600 (600)

Assadourian gets one through

Over on Table 12, action folded to Jie Cui who raised to 1,200 before Eric Assadourian made it 4,000 to go from the cut-off; Cui called, and then both players checked after the flop of A99.

Cui then opened for 2,000 after the turn of the 6 and Assadourian flatted before check-folding to Assadourian’s bet of 6,000 after the river Q.

Eric Assadourian48,800
Jie Cui75,700

Lei-d to rest

WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event Champion Yang Lei has been eliminated at the hands of Shane Khouiss over on Table 27.

After Lei ripped in his remainder from under the gun, Khouiss iso-shoved from the +1 position before the action folded around to Hasan Onay.

“I want it to be known that I’m folding the best hand here!” Hasan said as he open-folded 77.

Khouiss: AQ
Lei: KJ

Board: 7610810

Hindsight: both a blessing and a curse.

Shane Khouiss60,0000

Wayne vs Yang

Our reporter caught up with Dylan Wayne, who was amongst those to late-reg along with WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge Champion, Gavin Best.

Wayne popped it up to 1,300 from under the gun and found three callers in Best, Travis Endersby and Jiapeng Yang to go four-handed a flop of 8310, which was checked through.

Yang then led out for 1,500 after the turn of the 5; Wayne raised to 4,500, forcing Best and Endersby out of the way and Yang called before both players checked the river 9.

Yang tabled J9, but Wayne was good with his J10.

“That was a weird hand,” he said as he raked in the pot.

Dylan Wayne44,400
Jiapeng Yang46,300
Gavin Best38,700

Level 4: 300/500 (500)

Break time!

Time for our first 10-minute break of the day. Back soon!

A Rodden way to go

Travis Endersby has just had his tournament life ended at the hands of Johnny Rodden as we head to the first break of the day.

Action folded around to Rodden who raised to 1,000 from the cut-off before Endersby re-raised to 4,500 from the button, forcing the blinds out of the way before Rodden returned fire with a four-bet of 16,000. Endersby shoved and Rodden beat him into the pot.

Rodden: AA
Endersby: KK

“Bye guys!” Endersby quipped as the dealer spread the board of Q3828.

“Gonna have another go today, are ya?” asked one of his tablemates.

“Yeah, may as well!” was Endersby’s reply.

Johnny Rodden119,000
Travis EndersbyBUSTED!

“Family” drama

Karam Bahi and David Sebesfi are already butting heads over on Table 14 as action continues in Day 1A of the Sydney Champs Main Event.

After a pre-flop raise of 1,000 by Rehman Kassam, Debbie Linan called, as did Bahi from the small blind before Sebesfi three-bet it to 4,000. Kassam folded, Linan called and Bahi also called to go three-handed to a flop of 656.

Bahi then checked to Sebesfi who opened for 4,500, which forced Linan out of the way before Bahi check-raised to 13,000.

“Faaaaaar out, you peeled the six, didn’t ya, you banana?!” Sebesfi cried before eventually mucking his hand.

“You ready for this?” Bahi asked our reporter, as he turned over his hand. “J6! Boom!”

The rest of the table started laughing and chatting amongst themselves, with Andrew Scarf clearly sensing there was no love lost between the pair.

“There’s gotta be a rule where fathers and sons don’t sit together, surely!” Scarf joked.

Karam Bahi38,400
David Sebesfi14,900

Level 3: 200/400 (400)

Welcome to Zhou town

Table 6 isn’t the best place to be right now, unless you’re keen on taking on the monster stack that is Zhang Zhou, who’s hit his third set of the day to take out another player.

After Zhou raised to 1,200 from early position, Ashton Campbell re-raised to 2,400 before the cut-off player four-bet it to 5,300. Zhou shoved over the top, forcing Campbell out of the way and the cut-off called short and quickly showed QQ, but reeled after Zhou turned over AA.

The cut-off was cut out after Zhou flopped top set on the board of 52A96, and as a result Zhou is now sitting behind a stack worth more than four times the starting stack – and it’s not even Level 3 yet!

Zhang Zhou173,000

Lau takes one down

Jason Lau has taken a huge chunk out of Lloyd Locsin after catching him with his hand in the cookie jar over on Table 12.

After Lau raised to 800 from middle position pre-flop, the action folded to Chao Duan who called, along with Locsin from the button and both the small and big blinds to make it five-handed to a flop of J33.

Action then checked to Lau who opened for 1,500; Locsin was the only caller, making it heads-up to the turn of the K, where Lau check-called Locsin’s bet of 4,000.

Lau checked again after the river 8, and Locsin fired out a bet worth 8,800, leaving 5,300 behind.

After a couple of minutes, Lau made the call, and Locsin showed down Q2 for a busted flush draw, which was no good against Lau’s two pair with AJ.

Jason Lau71,000
Lloyd Locsin5,300

Level 2: 200/300 (300)

Some sound advice

Hasan Onay has scored himself some chips early through Debbie Linan as we head into the second level of play.

We picked up the action on the river with a board that read A76109; Onay had open-shoved for his last 20,600, which put Linan into the tank for about four minutes before she decided to lay it down.

“Mate, I folded the winning hand there!” exclaimed Joe Cristallo.

“Can’t win tourneys if you’re doing that!” Onay replied he raked in the pot.

Hasan Onay54,000
Debbie Linan22,600

The Big Dance begins

Already up to 131 entries so far in Day 1A in the Main Event, with plenty of feature players amongst the action early, including 2011 Sydney Champs Main Event winner Errolyn Strang, Deedee Chen, David Hirst, Yor Ecobiza, and Travis O’Grady.

Yita Choong, fresh from his Millionaire Maker final table appearance in this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas, has also taken his seat, along with Alex Lynskey, who’s now parlayed his winnings from Day 2 of The Star Sydney Champs Mystery Bounty.

Shuffle up and deal!

The Star Sydney Champs Main Event is now officially underway!

118 players have already been seated, each starting with 40,000 in tournament chips. Late entry and unlimited re-entries will be available until the start of Level 10, and we’ll be playing through 15 levels, each 40 minutes in duration, until we bag and tag tonight at around 11:30pm local time.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

Level 1: 100/200 (200)

Welcome back to PokerMedia Australia and our coverage of the 2022 Sydney Champs Main Event!

It’s been more than three years since The Star Sydney last welcomed players to its expansive poker room for the Sydney Champs and after a huge week in the lead-up, today sees the one we’ve all been waiting for finally get under way.

First held in 2009, the list of winners of the Sydney Champs Main Event is a who’s who of the Australian poker scene with the likes of Jarred Graham (2009), Daniel Laidlaw (2013), Martin Kozlov (2014) and Kahle Burns (2016).

Who will add their name to this distinguished list in 2022? Join us from 12.30pm AEST as we bring you all the live action from the Sydney Champs Main Event!


2009Jarred Graham$121,500 
2010Andrew Capelin$136,942 
2011Errolyn Strang$119,542 
2012Dean Yuen$127,133 
2013Daniel Laidlaw$165,000 
2014Martin Kozlov$171,080 
2015Ben Jee$200,634 
2016Kahle Burns$297,203 
2017Henry Tran$300,000 
2018Neb Blanusa$314,265 
2019Hamish Crawshaw$352,800 

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