LIVE REPORTING: 2022 Star Sydney Champs Main Event Day 1C

Yu Chen leads, that’s a wrap!

Melbourne’s Yu Chen, who bagged the Day 2 chip lead before going on to finish 3rd in the 2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Opening Event in April this year, has come out on top of Day 1C here at the Star Sydney Champs Main Event.

Chen bagged 672,000 to carry the lead, followed by Chris Yu (596,000), Qais Shanasa (588,000) Phat Nguyen (555,000) and Evaldas Stanevicius (539,000) for our unofficial top five. In all, 91 players found bags today.

Yu Chen

It’s Day 1B chip leader Nurlan Boobekov who will carry the overnight chip lead into Day 2, bagging 787,000 yesterday, followed by Stan Levitin (700,000), whilst Day 1A chip leader Daniel Louis-Awad trails Chen ever-so-slightly, carrying over 664,000 into tomorrow.

Chen took some time to speak to PokerMedia Australia following the conclusion of the day’s play, saying she “hoped the run good would continue through to tomorrow”.

Chen also told us that she very nearly didn’t play this event; saying that she and her partner of six years Jun Wang, who she met through poker and also bagged for Day 2, were expecting a baby girl in the “very near future … I’m feeling good, I’m not feeling stressed, felt happy to give it a crack today!”

A late registrant into today’s flight, Chen expressed a little surprise at her result today, saying she “didn’t know she got here, I woke up, I just had a feeling, maybe I should give it a go” and came down to play!

Chris Yu bagged 596,000

Given she’s expecting, Chen added that this would be the last tournament she’s going to play for the foreseeable future, and that she just “wants to enjoy it, very excited to see a lot of my friends here, not too stressed about the result or anything, just want to play!”

Wherever Chen finishes, we at PMA would like to wish her and her family all the best in the future!

For tomorrow, PMA will be here from the start – Day 2 will commence at 11:00 AEST with a total of 199 players to start with, playing 60-minute levels throughout the day, and we’ll bring you all of the action from the beginning to the end.

O’Grady sends Bognar river reeling

On the very last hand of the night, Travis O’Grady and Mitch Bognar got everything in the middle, with O’Grady the one at risk.

The board displaying 9Q54, O’Grady tabled J9 and found himself behind the AQ of Bognar.

The river had other ideas though, the 9 saving O’Grady’s tournament life. As it’s the last hand of the night, both players will be back tomorrow.

Travis O’Grady222,000
Mitch Bognar125,000
Travis O’Grady

Hou needed that?

He needed that. Stan Hou shoved with just a couple of hands remaining, and when the action was on big blind Ryan Hong, Hong entered the tank.

Thinking over it for several minutes, Hong eventually made the call to see the bad news.

Hou: QQ
Hong: AJ

“Yes!” cried Hou, with a clap of his hands, jumping to his feet as the window card gave him a set.

The full board ran out K4Q2J.

Ryan Hong404,000
Stan Hou198,000
Stan Hou

Three more hands!

Tournament staff have just paused the clock and announced that the 97 remaining players will be playing three more hands before bagging and tagging.

Skalrud squeeze slammed

George Kanan opened and had a caller before Sasha Skalrud decided to shove his shortening stack from the button, hoping to squeeze and steal.

Kanan, however, iso-shoved, forcing out the player inbetween and sending Skalrud to showdown at risk.

Kanan: 1010
Skalrud: 55

Dominated, Skalrud saw his Main Event chances disappear rather quickly as Kanan hit a set in the window; the full board running out 8J106K.

Perhaps the real story here though is Jimmy Ghobrial – Ghobrial found himself coolered earlier, running Ace King into Aces and left with just 4,000 – he’s now spun that up to an over average stack!

George Kanan297,000
Jimmy Ghobrial236,000
Sasha SkalrudBUSTED!
Sasha Skalrud

Vargas sickness

Lucho Vargas shared with us how he busted earlier in the day.

According to Vargas, he had 3-bet to 25,000 with AK from the small blind after the cut-off initially raised to 7,000 and been called.

Both players had checked the A58 flop and the J hit the turn; Vargas bet 18,000, his opponent went all-in, and Vargas of course snap-called.

His opponent rolled over JJ … and of course the river was a 5, pairing the board to vanquish Vargas.

Lucho VargasBUSTED!

Bognar priced in

Jack McPhee shoved for his last 41,000 in middle position and action very quickly folded around to Mitch Bognar, who looked at his cards and quickly said “Oh no, how much!”

Apologising to McPhee for the predicted ‘dirtiness’, Bognar said he couldn’t fold, calling to put McPhee at risk.

McPhee gave a shrug and indicated he’d shoved light, tabling K8. Bognar flipped over 107, and promptly completely missed everything on the JA2Q6 board.

“How do I miss there!?” he quipped.

Jack McPhee91,000
Mitch Bognar

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


Luca Borreggini shoved from the cut-off for 70,000 on the table of laughter that is Table 3. Mitch Bognar quickly mucked, but Sammy Salha tanked from the small blind before eventually slamming his remaining stack in the middle.

Salha then asked floor if he could leave and run to the bathroom – he was advised by floor that he would have to remain present for the all-in, even though his hand technically cannot be mucked if he is all in.

Whilst that discussion was raging on – Josh Hutchins suggesting that Salha just go and “test the theory” to laughter from the whole table – Anban Subramoney slammed HIS stack in the middle, covering both Salha and Borreggini.

Subramoney: 1010
Salha: 99
Borreggini: KJ

“Jack!” cried Borreggini as the flop spread 106J, before he spotted Subramoney’s hand “Oh ****, the Ten came in!”. The turn 7 gave Salha a gutshot opportunity and turned Borreggini dead, then the 3 on the river settled things, a double knockout for Subramoney.

Anban Subramoney254,000
Sammy SalhaBUSTED!
Luca BorregginiBUSTED!
Sammy Salha

Stanevicius pays taxes and Levys

Jonathan Levy opened to 10,000 and immediately faced a 3-bet from Evaldas Stanevicius to 35,000. Levy jammed, Stanevicius snap-called, and they went to showdown preflop.

Stanevicius: 1010
Levy: AK

Levy didn’t need to wait long, spiking an Ace immediately on the 3A632 board to fully double through Stanevicius – who won’t be bothered too much, he still had a monster stack.

Evaldas Stanevicius444,000
Jonathan Levy218,000
Jonathan Levy

Hutchins heist

Josh Hutchins shoved back from the button for 48,000 after Anban Subramoney opened to 12,000.

Subramoney snap-called the boisterous Hutchins, who has been having the time of his life on Table 3, laughing, cracking jokes, playing hands blind, you name it he’s done it.

On this occasion, Hutchins found himself behind with KJ to the AQ of Subramoney and immediately called for friend Najeem Ajez to “come and rail your horse!”

The noise hit the roof when Hutchins found a pair on the J6578 board to double through Subramoney.

He then folded the next hand – “We play disciplined now”, he reckons. Wonder how long that will last!

Josh Hutchins109,000
Josh Hutchins

Faura felted

Louis Luo and Riccardo Faura wound up all-in pre-flop on Table 7.

Luo, on the button, tabled A8 and needed some help against the JJ of Faura.

Unfortunately for Faura, that help would arrive immediately – two pair on the A84 for Luo and the run-out of K, 9 changing nothing.

Louis Luo303,000
Riccardo FauraBUSTED!

Aw, Awerbuch

Chad Awerbuch has been confirmed as eliminated, running Jacks into Tens (yes, you read that right).

Awerbuch sent us the details via Facebook Messenger, letting us know that it was WPTDeepStacks champ Mark Fester who had the Tens in question.

It was looking like a great spot for Awerbuch – until Fester flopped Quads on the T-T-4-8-6 board.

It’s the second time that Awerbuch has been eliminated in such a fashion this week, after being eliminated from the $1,100 NLH Event by Zhengmin Zhang’s Tens when he held Queens – Zhang flopped a boat and turned Quads in that case.


Chad AwerbuchBUSTED!
Thousand yard stare? Can’t blame The Chad 🙁

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

Logan lynched

We were following the action on Table 3, where laughter was aplenty after Josh Hutchins had shoved blind from the cut-off expecting Sammy Salha to call blind from the big blind. The button inbetween, however, went into the tank to the immense amusement of Mitch Bognar and, on a neighbouring table, Najeem Ajez.

Whilst we were watching that action (everybody ended up folding, with a “Meow meow meow” from Salha before he folded), Ian Logan had shoved for his last 15,000 on Table 4, and had been called by Ren Wang on his left.

Evaldas Stanevicius had then called as well, defending his big blind, only to check on the 2J4 flop. Wang fired 15,000 and Stanevicius folded after a brief moment.

Logan went to table his cards, but Wang beat him to it, tabling AA. A defeated looking Logan then tabled K9, spinning them face up into the middle whilst standing up at the same time.

The J, 7 run out changed nothing but confirmed the elimination of Logan; but it’s Stanevicius who is the news on the table, now over half a million!

Evaldas Stanevicius524,000
Ren Wang181,000
Ian LoganBUSTED!
Ian Logan

Aww, Jee

Remoon Karim opened to 9,000 and was called by Martin Stewart on the button, before Ben Jee shipped his stack of 130,000 in from the small blind.

Karim gave it up, but Stewart snap-called to put Jee at risk.

Jee: QQ
Stewart: AK

A classic race, which after the board of 6K426 Stewart would win on this occasion as he flopped top pair and held through.

Martin Stewart342,000
Remoon Karim168,000

New Sydney Champs Main Event record

Registration closed earlier today and the numbers have now been confirmed by Star Sydney. The following is taken from the Star Poker Sydney Facebook page.

“With 548 entries today, joining the 312 from Day 1A and 417 from Day 1B, we have a grand total of 1,277 entries in the Main Event.

This gives us an incredible $2,298,600 prize pool – our biggest Sydney Champs Main Event prize pool, EVER!

The top 160 players will finish in the money, securing a min-cash of $2,740, with first place taking home a mammoth $382,973 payday – also a Sydney Champs Main Event record.

$15,000 of this first place prize is issued in the form of an exclusive direct entry into the WPT World Championship being held in Las Vegas in December.”

All of youAWESOME!
Packed house!

Some counts from the break

The players have just had a 10-minute break and we got some chip counts for you all.

The average stack is now about T140K.

If you have a big stack, by all means, please let our roaming reporter know your name and count and we’ll add you in!

Najeem Ajez495,000
Justin Wong380,000
Jiapeng Yang301,000
Dylan Nguyen289,000
Qais Shanasa267,000
Jane Howard257,000
Jensen Sodicta250,000
Richard Tang246,000
Ian Logan218,000
Yung Ching215,000
Malcolm Trayner204,000
Joel Turner200,000
Josh Hutchins193,000
Mitch Bognar187,000
Phillip Nguyen178,000
Josh McCully143,000
Carmen Bieber122,000
Jimmy Ghobrial119,000
Luke Jones113,000
Sammy Salha92,000
Jonathan Levy92,000
Michael Clair88,000
Ehsan Amiri85,000
Kai Yeung79,000
Mark Fester51,000
To the moon! Powerstack mode for Naj

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

Endersby rivered

Yet another ultimate cooler, this time on Table 2 as Travis Endersby found himself on the right end of Aces versus Kings against Musang Kim.

Endersby: AA
Kim: KK

Endersby saw no danger as the board ran out 10J42 until the K sent shockwaves to his soul.

“It’s always the last three levels!” claimed Endersby.

“Technically not the last three levels yet.” said someone nearby.

“Good, saved myself ten or twenty minutes of pain!” quipped Endersby in reply.

Musang Kim155,000
Travis EndersbyBUSTED!
Visible pain

Sodicta dictating

Alex Lee raised from middle position to 6,500 and found three callers; Jay Satchi in the cutoff, Jensen Sodicta on the button, and Jane Howard in the small blind.

On a flop of 2102, Howard checked it to Lee, who continued for 9,500. Only Sodicta made the call to see the 6 turn. Lee led out for 19,000 and Sodicta flat-called again.

When the river came K, Lee took his time, putting some chips together before firing a third barrel of more than half of his remaining stack. The bet, for 28,000, sent Sodicta into the tank for a couple of minutes.

Sodicta eventually called, and after Lee tabled Q7 for a busted flush draw, tabled his own A3 for his own busted flush draw – but the best hand with Ace high. What a call!

Jensen Sodicta294,000
Jane Howard285,500
Alex Lee13,000
Jensen Sodicta

Fester now festering

Everybody folded all the way around to Josh Hutchins in the small blind. Hutchins looked across at 2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event Champion Mark Fester in the big blind and made it 10,000 to go.

Fester called, and both checked the 8AA flop.

Hutchins then led out for 6,000 on the 9 turn, called by Fester after a brief moment.

On the K river, Hutchins threw in a bet of 18,000 and Fester paused for thought. After a minute or so, Fester slid out a raise to 40,000. Hutchins took a beat, then shoved, with Fester covered.

Fester tanked for a while, but eventually folded.

Josh Hutchins220,500
Mark Fester68,500
Mark Fester

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

Navid King II

Navid King the Second?

“It happened again!!” said an excited Navid King, running across to our Live Reporter with an incredulous look on his face.

Coming across to King’s table, we were able to ascertain that almost the exact same situation as earlier with Yu Chen had unfolded.

Not only that, but again, it was Kwun Tsang that had called the shove of King, this time with 1010, King had KK, and then Nathan Goodall had said he folded 1010!

To top it off, King proved he really is the King of Kings, hitting the K on the river for another unnecessary set.

As for poor Tsang, he’s looking a little shell shocked!

Navid King95,500
Nathan Goodall84,500
Kwun Tsang49,500

Doumani doneski

Michael Doumani put his last 9,500 into the middle, a 3-bet after Lee Van opened for 5,000 UTG+1. Action eventually folded back around to Van, who made the call.

“I’ve gotta get lucky for this one, what have you got?” remarked Doumani.

Doumani: A5
Van: KJ

“Well, I’ve got a better starting hand, but I like yours more!” laughed Doumani.

The board got interesting for both hands, Doumani flopping a gutshot to Van’s top pair on 3K2, then the J giving Van two pair. Needing a four and a four only, the Q sunk Doumani’s boat and he departed.

Michael DoumaniBUSTED!

Value for McCully

Picking up the action on a board showing 1066K4 with about 40K in the pot by the river, Ryan Hong was facing a bet of 38,500 from online tournament grinder Josh McCully.

Hong would eventually make the call, only to muck when McCully tabled KJ – a flush draw indeed, but one that picked up a sneaky top pair to go with it!

Josh McCully251,000
Ryan Hong94,500
Josh McCully

Elias eliminated

Leo Kamiya opened to 5,000 from UTG+1 and Mina Elias jammed for 9,500 from the next seat over.

Travis O’Grady made the call to put Elias at risk from the hijack, but when action folded back around to Kamiya, Kamiya put phase two of his plan into action, 4-betting to 34,000.

A quick muck from O’Grady saw Elias and Kamiya go to showdown.

Kamiya: AA
Elias: 106

Elias really couldn’t ask for a much better flop, save for maybe a spade, when he flopped a double gutshot on 874.

The 2 and 7 on the turn and river were no help, though, and Kamiya sent Elias to the rail on Day 1.

Leo Kamiya159,000
Travis O’Grady108,500
Mina EliasBUSTED!
Mina Elias

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

A King amongst men

Kwun Tsang opened with a min-raise under-the-gun and action folded around to Yu Chen on the button, who flatted. Navid King then squeezed, shoving from the big blind for 23,000.

Tsang iso-shoved, forcing Chen out of the pot. Chen folded, saying she folded 88.

King: KK
Tsang: 88

“I’d better not lose this one then,” King chuckled at Chen, before turning to Tsang. “She said she had 8s, pretty sweet, freeeeeroll!”

Not that he needed it, King King King for King on the 10K34Q board to double through. King of Kings. King. Can I stop saying King yet?

Yu Chen149,000
Kwun Tsang76,500
Navid King53,000

Lackovic, not lack of chips

Stev Lackovic 3-bet shoved from the blinds after an open from lojack Wai Au was flat-called by Luke Jones in the hijack.

Au folded, but Jones made the call after a few moments to consider it.

Lackovic: AJ
Jones: A9

The flop missed everyone, coming down 433, but the J at first glance appeared to lock up the hand for Lackovic. Always a sweat though, and Lackovic still needed to avoid a spade … which he did on the Q river to double through.

Luke Jones114,500
Stev Lackovic68,200
Wai Au52,500

Some chip counts

Najeem Ajez is still going strong, but it’s Vincent Choi who appears to have taken the chip lead at this stage in proceedings.

Late registration has also now closed – Day 1C appears to have fallen just shy of the milly, $986,400 added to the prize pool from today alone (subject to official confirmation)!

We’ll get the full prize pool when available.

Vincent Choi317,500
Najeem Ajez295,600
Mark Lasarow243,100
Mitch Bognar203,200
Ian Logan191,700
Pete Moore176,000
Josh McCully167,000
Qais Shanasa162,000
Nathan Bartley160,400
Jiapeng Yang142,500
Roy Agresta132,500
Ennaria Rourke125,000
Mark Fester117,100
Jane Howard111,200
Malcolm Trayner98,200
Kai Yeung90,600
Jeison Berdugo87,500
Tony Hachem82,900
Travis Endersby80,300
Carmen Ling76,500
Daniel Hachem59,600
Jonathan Levy59,300
Leo Boxell54,000
Phillip Nguyen42,900
Michelle Psarras40,100
Lloyd Locsin37,000
Roland Foster37,000
Josh Norvock26,500
Al Josue25,500
Lucho Vargas17,300

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

Dinner break!

The players have departed for a 30-minute break.

Locsin runs into it

Lloyd Locsin 3-bet to 10,500 over a preflop open from Pete Moore. Jiapeng Yang flat-called out of the big blind, and Moore called behind to make it three ways to a flop of 98-X.

Locsin led out for 25,000, called by Yang. Moore wanted no more part of it and folded.

On the 10 turn, Locsin shoved and Yang snap-called, tabling T-T, well ahead of the AK of Locsin.

No spade would come for Locsin on the river and he’s outta here!

Jiapeng Yang189,600
Lloyd LocsinBUSTED!
Lloyd Locsin

Foster freebie

Roland Foster re-jammed his short stack over an cut-off open from Queensland grinder Josh Norvock.

Norvock made the call and saw he was well ahead with AK after Foster tabled Q4.

Once the dust settled though, it was Foster who took the pot on the board of 1043910, prompting one of Foster’s table mates to remark “Dirty, dirty, dirty boy!” much to Foster’s amusement.

“I just was going for a free rebuy!” he laughed back.

Norvock, meanwhile, stoic, and immediately back in the action the next hand. He’s proven over the last year or so that he’s definitely one to watch, utilising pressure play in late stages to great advantage.

Roland Foster45,200
Josh Norvock34,600
Roland Foster

Logan lopped

Hai Vu found himself all-in pre-flop with three callers, all of whom checked the 10KA flop.

On the 8 turn, Jonathan Levy check-called a bet of 4,000 from Ian Logan, whilst the other player folded.

Levy then bet 5,000 to a snap fold from Logan on the J river.

Levy tabled 97 for the rivered straight to consternation from Logan.

“I had an Ace!” he said; but then Vu tabled his own Q7 to take the main pot. “I had an Ace and the Jack gives you both a straight!” continued Logan.

No real sweat for Logan though, his stack was around triple average at time of writing. Just a little lop off the top.

Ian Logan145,600
Jonathan Levy37,300
Hai Vu18,000
Jonathan Levy

Nothing but love

Vahe Hovagimian and Rob Ovseev clashed on the Star Sydney Feature Table, both getting it all in pre-flop with the same hand!

Hovagimian: AQ
Ovseev: AQ

No trump suits in poker so it was looking like a split pot; that is, until the flop spread 234!!

The nut flush for Ovseev sending him back over starting stack.

Vahe Hovagimian64,000
Rob Ovseev45,000
Rob Ovseev

Level 9: 800/1,600 (1,600)


A raising war on Michelle Psarras’ table, where Michal Jalc and Jacob Fulop had both put in multiple raises preflop before Jalc shoved for 38,500.

Fulop hit the tank and found a call before exclaiming “No!” as Jalc tabled QQ, the pocket pair dominating his own JJ.

Queens stayed ahead on the K10473 board and Fulop shipped some chips across to Jalc, lamenting the call as he did so.

“Find a fold one time!”

Michal Jalc85,500
Michelle Psarras52,400
Jacob Fulop18,900
Michelle Psarras

Five hundo!

We’ve smashed through the 500 entry mark for Day 1C, with 380 unique entries and 135 re-entries already meaning the prize pool for today alone is sitting at $927K!

Combined with 312 entries from Day 1A and 417 entries from Day 1B, that means the total prize pool sits at $2,239,200.

There’s still 90 minutes left of late registration as well, with registration expected to close at 19:20 AEDT. We’re sure we can expect a few more late entries chasing a piece of of the pool before then!

Borg busto

William Borg shoved for his last 12,500 under-the-gun, with only Jensen Sodicta making the call from the button.

Sodicta: JJ
Borg: K9

Sodicta hit a set immediately on the 7AJ flop. Borg was on his feet and shaking hands as the turn 5 rendered him dead in the water, before the J gave Sodicta quads!

“Overkill!” remarked tablemate Phillip Nguyen.

Jensen Sodicta82,800
Phillip Nguyen39,600
William BorgBUSTED!
Nguyen watches on

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

Josue joshing around

It’s all laughs on Table 5, where Najeem Ajez has a monster stack and is animatedly chatting with tablemates. No surprise either, as those tablemates include jokester Al Josue, along with Poker Palace’s Rod Meneses.

On a recent hand, Meneses opened to 2,200 from the button. Josue, in the small blind, quickly asked how much the big blind Kevin Liu had behind, before making the call. Liu defended his big blind as well.

The flop of AA2 was met with a “Pretty suspicious if I bet this flop…” from Josue … before he did, indeed, bet this flop.

Quick folds from Liu and Meneses then had Josue exclaiming to Ajez; “Naj, my first bluff!”

“Go on then, flip it over!” laughed Ajez, though Josue refused.

Najeem Ajez249,500
Al Josue116,400
Rod Meneses40,300
Kevin Liu16,300
Al Josue

Fogarty gets one through

Catching the action on a board showing K5310, and about 23,000 already in the pot, Ken Demlakian bet out 8,000 against Russell Fogarty.

Team PMA‘s Fogarty has had a rough few levels, but on this occasion he shoved over Demlakian, all-in for 22,400.

Demlakian hit the tank and eventually released his cards.

Russell Fogarty55,400
Ken Demlakian17,000
Russell Fogarty


Dean Condello opened to 2,300 under-the-gun and action folded around to a short-stacked Glenn Marsom. Marsom shoved.

“Watch me film myself get bad beat!” remarked Marsom, after Condello made a crying call, standing up to film the run-out with his phone.

Marsom: QQ
Condello: 44

“Such a positive attitude, this guy!” laughed tablemate Roland Foster.

Marsom would actually film himself double up, as the board completed 97K2A.

Dean Condello59,400
Roland Foster51,400
Glenn Marsom29,900

Counts at the break

Players had a 10-minute break prior to Level 7, we went around and got some chippies!

Najeem Ajez233,900
Mitch Bognar227,000
Nathan Bartley223,900
Yong Chung162,400
Kai Yeung135,000
Ehsan Amiri111,200
Victor Oquena101,300
Rehman Kassam96,900
Travis Endersby91,300
Qais Shanasa87,600
Natalia Rosova87,200
Nick LoRusso86,600
Tony Hachem79,600
Jane Howard79,500
Lloyd Locsin77,400
Malcolm Trayner72,500
Mark Fester72,300
Jeison Berdugo61,800
Frank Martino60,200
Leo Boxell58,000
Daniel Hachem58,000
Michelle Psarras57,900
Roland Foster56,300
Chad Awerbuch54,600
Lucho Vargas49,300
Russell Fogarty46,400
Jonny Rodden42,000
Phillip Nguyen38,200
Jonathan Levy32,400
Alba Qi32,200
Attila Bognar25,500
Najeem Ajez

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

Salt-y river

Table 31 played host to a three way all-in preflop as Adrian Salter, Andre Dowling, and Pete Moore were all tabling their cards for showdown.

Dowling: 88
Moore: AK
Salter: AK

Both Moore and Salter picked up additional outs on the 1010J flop, and although Dowling faded the 4 turn, the Q on the river gave both Moore and Salter a Broadway straight.

“Unbelievable! Always the last card!” cried out Dowling, “Luckboxes, seriously!”

Dowling has since been eliminated by Moore in a separate hand.

Pete Moore51,300
Adrian Salter41,500
Andre DowlingBUSTED!

A very South American flavour

An unknown player shoved from the button for 40,300 and sent both players in the blinds into the tank one-by-one over on Table 1.

The small blind player eventually folded, then Victor Oquena called from the big blind to put the button at risk.

Oquena: AJ
Opponent: A10

The small blind lamented that he’d folded Ace Queen as the flop spread 9K5.

The button player immediately picked up his Ace of Diamonds and held it up – “Come on baby, get me there!” he said.

Not to be, as the 7, J only served to pair up Oquena and send him flying up the counts.

Oquena, who hails from Peru, is joined on Table 1 by not one, but two Los Parceros, as both Jeison Berdugo and Lucho Vargas have been seated together! VAMOS!

Victor Oquena114,700
Lucho Vargas49,500
Jeison Berdugo22,600
Lucho Vargas

Chung chomps on Fogarty

Yong Chung opened to 1,200 in early position, before Russell Fogarty 3-bet to 3,500. Action folded to Luke Jones in the blinds, who flat-called.

It wasn’t enough for Chung, who 4-bet to 12,000, called only by Fogarty as Jones scarpered.

Chung then slowed down and checked the 75Q flop, only to snap-call for his last 32,000 when Fogarty shoved on him.

Chung: KK
Fogarty: AQ

Chung held through on the 9, 8 run out to take a bite out of Fogarty.

Yong Chung92,700
Luke Jones53,400
Russell Fogarty48,400

Level 6: 400/800 (800)

Dug out

Action was opened by Nick Velcic, who finished runner-up in the Star Sydney Champs Mystery Bounty event this week. The initial raise of 1,500 was met by a 3-bet to 4,200 by Nathan Bartley.

A short-stacked Peter Brickha then jammed for approximately 11-12K to Bartley’s left. Velcic let his hand go, and Bartley quickly called.

Brickha: AK
Bartley: K3

Brickha found himself well ahead of Bartley’s holdings – but hope on the flop for Bartley with 629 giving him a flush draw to dig himself out of trouble with spades. The 4 turn no help, but the 4 river handed Bartley an unlikely win to send Brickha to the dugout.

A good atmosphere on the table as the players laughed among each other, Bartley firing out some wisecracks for our Live Reporter. Among our favourites were “I had spade equity!” and “That spot, give me spades every time.”

Nick Velcic84,300
Nathan Bartley59,600
Peter BrickhaBUSTED!
Nathan Bartley

LoRusso has risen

Catching the action on a flop of 10J6, where Lee Van had bet 2,700 from the hijack after Greg Russell in UTG+2 and a player in the lojack had checked to him. Nick LoRusso made the call from the next seat over, then Greg Russell called as well.

The player in the lojack, who refused to be named, then 3-bet to 11,000. Van folded after a minute or so and LoRusso jammed. Russell gave an exasperated look to the dealer and said “Just get rid of my hand!”.

“You fold?” responded the bemused dealer.

“Yes, yes, I fold!” laughed Russell – and the player in the lojack slapped his short stack into the middle immediately.

“Good luck!” quipped LoRusso, tabling his cards.

LoJack: 1010
LoRusso: A2

Instant bink for LoRusso as the 3 peeled on the turn, before the 4 completed the board, eliminating the lojack. “Unlucky mate.” said LoRusso.

“You’ve been hitting everything!” said LoRusso’s seat neighbour, “You’re running like God!”

Nick LoRusso160,200
Lee Van64,500
Greg Russell18,800

Level 5: 300/600 (600)

Fester not festering

Mark Fester, 2022 WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event Champion, has been quietly building a stack behind the PMA Live Reporting Desk, sitting at over 90,000 come the first break.

We took a moment to speak to Fester, who won the WPTDeepStacks event with A10 back in April, only to see his best mate Matt Pongrass – who he started playing poker with years ago – win the $5K Challenge minutes later, amazingly also with A10.

Pongrass hasn’t shown this series so far, and Fester confirmed that was because he was still overseas on a trip to Europe with his fiancé that was planned well before WPTDeepStacks – though his share of Fester’s victory certainly helped to pay for it!

Fester shared with PMA that he has bought himself a house – of course with the aid of mortgage broker Pongrass – in Rose Bay, and confirmed that both he and Pongrass would be attending the WPT Main Tour at the Gold Coast in September.

Mark Fester80,300
Pongrass (left) and Fester (centre) celebrating the Main Event victory earlier this year

Martino mauled

Frank Martino flat-called from the lojack, prompting Mitch Bognar to size up his open from the cut-off, raising to 2,300.

The player in the small blind called Bognar’s raise, and with action back on Martino following a fold from the big blind, Martino elected to wager the remainder of his stack.

Bognar asked for a count – 16,300 it was – before flat-calling. The player in the small blind released his cards.

Bognar: AQ
Martino: Q10

Needing clubs, Martino wouldn’t even see one as the board rained red, the 556J no help to him at all before the 8 on the river saw him to the rail.

Mitch Bognar73,000
Frank MartinoBUSTED!
Frank Martino

Break time and assorted counts

Players have had a 10-minute break. Here are some assorted counts.

Travis Endersby103,000
Russell Fogarty101,900
Mark Fester94,100
Lloyd Locsin73,200
Rehman Kassam71,000
Qais Shanasa55,400
Mitch Bognar53,900
Chad Awerbuch50,900
Jonathan Levy50,500
Alba Qi43,300
Michelle Psarras41,100
Sammy Salha33,300
Shem Goltz32,500
Attila Bognar28,200
Roy Agresta22,300
Aurelian Chenais20,900
Phillip Nguyen18,300
Travis Endersby

Level 4: 300/500 (500)

Six bet stacked

Phat Nguyen opened to 800 and was immediately 3-bet by Rehman Kassam to 2,500.

Action folded to Cam Adams in the big blind, who 4-bet to 7,500, prompting Nguyen to run for the hills from the trouble brewing.

Kassam wasn’t done, 5-betting to 17,900, and then snap-calling when Adams 6-bet shoved.

Kassam held AA, Adams held KK, yet another ultimate cooler on the Star Sydney Feature Table and Aces held once more to send Adams to the rail.

Rehman Kassam70,000

Fogarty flying

Team PMA‘s Russell Fogarty is off to a flying start, and regaled a hand to us recently.

As Fogarty recalled, he’d gone to a flop heads up versus Peter Gray holding AJ, and flopped a flush draw as it came down 2910.

Bets of 2,000 and 6,000 on the flop and J turn from Gray were called by Fogarty, who noted that he even turned top pair to boot, and was feeling pretty good about the hand at that point!

The river made him feel even better – the K giving him the stone nuts. Fogarty fired 20,000, Gray hit the tank before calling off.

Gray has since doubled up, hitting his own flush with A10 whilst our Reporter was waiting to get his name!

Russell Fogarty110,000
Peter Gray16,000
Russell Fogarty

Shen sent off

Picking up the action on the J3J flop, we saw Lui Marinic and Rick Shen check before Gordon Xu bet 1,600 from late position.

Lui Marinic made the call, then Rick Shen decided to check-raise to 6,000. Xu let it go, and Marinic, looking almost surprised to be check-raised to begin with, made the call.

The 7 turn card was checked by Marinic, shoved by Shen for 10,600, and basically snap-called by Marinic.

Shen: J10
Marinic: J9

Things were looking pretty good for Shen, having Marinic out-kicked with one card to come … but the 9 on the river disastrous, sending Shen to the rail.

Lui Marinic43,500
Gordon Xu11,300
Rick ShenBUSTED!

Level 3: 200/400 (400)

Rodden gets one through

On a full board showing 2JJ57, Jonny Rodden and Nam Nguyen had clashed to create a pot of approximately 33,000 up to that point.

Rodden jammed the river, shoving all in for a total of 22,800, and Nguyen hit the tank for several minutes.

A taaaaaaank-fold from Nguyen saw Rodden move above 50K.

Jonny Rodden55,800
Nam Nguyen28,700

Alba Glee

Alba Qi remarked to our Live Reporter happily “I busted her!” as we looked quizzically at the seat previously occupied by Michelle Psarras.

Qi explained that there had been an under-the-gun raise to 700, and she had just flat-called, before Psarras shipped her last 10,000. It had folded back around to Qi who had snap-called.

Qi: JJ
Psarras: AQ

The flop spread out 876 and with neither player holding a club, Psarras still needed to hit an overcard. The turn 2 and river 6 pairing the board were no help and Psarras departed.

Alba Qi50,700
Michelle PsarrasBUSTED!
Michelle Psarras

Toomemagi mucks

Ashleigh Tran has taken down a pot without needing to show a card. After Estonia’s Ranno Toomemagi opened to 1,200 preflop, Tran was the only caller to see a flop of 2J10

Tran called Toomemagi’s 1,200 continuation bet, then both players checked on the 2. The 6 on the river prompted a 2,000 bet from Toomemagi, to which Tran shrugged and then called to see Toomemagi immediately muck.

Tran slid her cards in face down as the pot was pushed towards her. Meanwhile, Roy Agresta, on the same table, certainly seemed to prefer playing by himself as he is now down from his earlier high.

Ashleigh Tran42,300
Roy Agresta30,000
Ranno Toomemagi22,600
Roy Agresta

Level 2: 200/300 (300)

Hachem down

Daniel Hachem has been short for the entire level thanks to an earlier cooler, and got it in versus Ashish Gupta towards the end of Level 1.

Gupta: 77
Hachem: AJ

Despite flopping a draw to Broadway on the 6QK flop, Hachem was unable to catch up on the 2, Q run-out and departed the Star Sydney Feature Table.

He has since been replaced on the Feature Table in the one seat by Jonny Rodden, whilst Nam Nguyen has filled the empty Seat 8, and Rehman Kassam the empty seat 2 to fill the table.

Jonny Rodden40,000
Rehman Kassam40,000
Nam Nguyen40,000
Daniel HachemBUSTED!
Kassam’s cards take flight

Osalian catches one

Conor Oregan raised to 500 pre-flop UTG+1 and got a standard four callers; Chen Yuanfei (UTG+2), Tommy James (HJ), Serg Osalian (button), and Dominic Wang from the small blind.

Action checked to James on the 3910 flop and James through out a bet of 1,000. Only Osalian and Wang stuck around for the J turn.

Wang and James checked it to Osalian, and Osalian wasn’t going to let anyone see a free card, betting 2,700. Wang folded and James matched the bet after a moment to consider.

James then fired 6,100 after the 4 hit the river and it was Osalian’s turn to hit the tank. After a brief minute or so, Osalian made the call and James tabled K9 for third pair. Osalian looked at the board, then rolled over his own 108 for second pair and the pot.

Serg Osalian52,700
Conor Oregan43,900
Dominic Wang40,700
Chen Yuanfei39,000
Tommy James31,200

Hachem heist

Mata Ye has robbed Daniel Hachem on the feature table within minutes of starting. Tournament Director Keiran Moore called our Live Reporter over and regaled the details to us.

Both Hachem and Ye had got it all-in pre-flop, and tabled their cards for an ultimate cooler.

Ye: A-A
Hachem: K-K

Aces held on the run-out and Hachem was crippled. Since then, Hachem got his short stack in with QJ against the Q2 of Phat Nguyen, doubling through on the 552Q4 board.

A long road ahead for Hachem, but why bother doing anything the easy way?

Mata Ye81,200
Daniel Hachem2,400
Yep, that sucked

Dream start for Agresta

Or at least, a dream start for anyone with social anxiety – no one to play with!

Roy Agresta took his seat on Table 27 – but for the first 10 minutes of play, he was very much alone. As tournament staff confirmed that every other seat had actually been paid for and was therefore in play, he was left to steal blinds to his hearts content!

The dream is over for now though – first to join him was Sammy Salha, who shared a laugh with Agresta about the situation before immediately raising to take the first pot Agresta hadn’t won.

The pair have now been joined by more players.

Roy Agresta43,300
Sammy Salha40,500
Roy Agresta and friends(?)

Star Sydney Feature Table

The only permanently installed Feature Table in Australia will once again be in use today. The play and action on the table will be streamed to Twitch on a 30-minute delay.

At the start of play today, our Feature Table line-up looks like this, headlined by one Daniel Hachem. Hachem, son of 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem, has just returned from a Vegas trip for the WSOP, which included a cash in the Main Event, and is a previous winner of APT’s ‘The Grind’ tournament for $36,200.

1Daniel Hachem40,000
3Joshua Hutchins40,000
4Mata Ye40,000
5Cam Adams40,000
6Ashish Gupta40,000
7Fabian Craib40,000
9Phat Nguyen40,000

Level 1: 100/200 (200)

Onwards and upwards!

Hello there and welcome back to PokerMedia Australia‘s continued coverage of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event!

Today is shaping up to be the biggest and most star-studded day of the series yet, with the Main Event prize pool now in excess of $1.3 million. Sources close to PMA are quietly confident that the number of entries taken in today will take us past the two-million dollar mark, making this the richest Sydney Champs Main Event in history.

It’s yet another positive indicator of how strong the poker scene is here in the Harbour City, which also comes off the back off the record-breaking WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event earlier this year, as well as mirroring global trends that were reflected in the numbers at this year’s WSOP in Las Vegas.

Naturally, that means that today’s Day 1C will be jam-packed full of action, so stay with us right here as we bring you live updates from 12:30pm AEST and right up until the final river falls!

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