LIVE REPORTING: 2022 Star Sydney Champs Main Event Day 3

Congratulations Qi Xu ($382,973), 2022 Star Sydney Champs Main Event Champion!

Qi Xu has broken through for his first major Australian poker title, defeating Yita Choong heads-up in the record-breaking Star Sydney Champs Main Event!

The Queenslander, who has been playing poker for almost 13 years, only started hitting the felt again late last year after focusing on looking after his wife and young child at home.

There’s certainly been no stopping Xu today, as he revealed to PokerMedia Australia that his day started early at 6am processing company payroll before returning for Day 3 of the Big Dance.

No doubt that his career-high score will have been worth it – and to top it all off, he’ll also be heading over to Las Vegas in December to take part in the WPT World Championship!

We’ll have more on Xu’s story in our feature article later on, as the feature table stage is now being set for the finale of the $5K High Roller, so stay with us here at PMA as we bring you all the action right up until the final river falls!

STAR SYDNEY CHAMPS MAIN EVENT ($2,000 buy-in, 1,277 entries, 160 players paid)*

1stQi Xu$382,973
2ndYita Choong$268,734
3rdMilan Stojkovic$173,987
4thJimmy Tran$128,772
5thPhat Nguyen$97,369
6thGavin Best$78,670
7thTrent Miller$64,923
8thAJ Antonios$51,358
9thYu Chen$38,296
*Final table results shown; full results available at

Yita Choong eliminated in 2nd place ($268,734)

After Qi Xu was able to secure his first big double, he was able to wrestle the lead back from Yita Choong before the final hand of the night played out just before 8pm local time.

Xu completed his small blind from the button pre-flop, and then called Choong’s raise of 1 million before seeing a flop of 1042.

Choong fired out another million, Xu quickly shoved and Choong beat him into the pot, flipping up A10 for top pair, top kicker, against Xu who tabled Q4 for middle pair and a backdoor flush draw.

Turn: K

“Hoooooold, Yita!” cried Choong’s rail.

River: 3

A stunned silence fell over the room, but it was broken soon after by a warm round of applause for both players as Star Poker Sydney floor staff congratulated our final two.

Yet another massive effort for Yita, who finishes with almost $270,000 in cash from this Main Event after what has been a huge couple of months for the Sydney crusher.

Yita ChoongBUSTED!
Yita Choong

One and done?

For the first ever, Star Poker Sydney were given approval to bring out the cash to set up behind the Main Event trophy. After the floor staff and security dumped the bricks onto the table, the media and the railbirds crowded around to take photos before the players were formally introduced to the crowd.

It didn’t take long, however, for the players to get all their chips into the middle; after Yita Choong raised from the button to 400,000 in the very first hand, Qi Xu shoved for his last 7.55 million from the big blind.

Choong paused for a moment and then quickly called, turning up A2 and found himself in a fair fight against the K10.

“We need to hold here!” Yita said to his rail.

He almost did, with the flop and turn of 46J3 keeping him ahead until the dealer peeled out the river K, which resulted in a full double for Xu.

Qi Xu15,100,000
Yita Choong36,100,000

Milan Stojkovic eliminated in 3rd place ($173,987)

We’re now into the closing stages of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event title after Milan Stojkovic’s run ended in third place!

After Qi Xu folded from the button Stojkovic moved his last 5.1 million into the middle from the small blind with 44, but Yita Choong woke up in the big blind with 55.

A slim chance for a chop appeared on fourth street with the board of JQ109, but the river 3 saw Choong take it down and with it, a monstrous chip lead into the heads-up battle against Qi Xu.

Yita Choong43,650,000
Qi Xu7,550,000
Milan StojkovicBUSTED!
Milan Stojkovic

Level 33: 200,000/400,000 (400,000)

Xu cuts into Choong

Qi Xu managed to find against Yita Choong in one of the last hands before the break.

After raising to 600,000 from the button, Xu shoved for 5.9 million effective from the small blind and Milan Stojkovic folded his big blind before the hands were tabled.

Choong: A8
Xu: KQ

Although Xu got it in behind, he managed to turn Broadway on the board of 2JA10K.

With our last three players now on a 10-minute break, we took the time to grab a full round of counts.

Milan Stojkovic7,900,000
Qi Xu12,450,000
Yita Choong30,850,000
Yita Choong

Jimmy Tran eliminated in 4th place ($128,772)

Another KO for Yita Choong, who now holds more than half the chips in play after felting Jimmy Tran!

After Choong raised to 600,000 from the button before Tran shoved for his last 4.8 million from the big blind.

Choong quickly called, tabling A10 and once again found himself ahead as Tran showed KJ.

The dealer then fanned a board of 92728, confirming Tran as our fifth-place finisher.

Yita Choong26,000,000
Jimmy TranBUSTED!
Jimmy Tran

Phat Nguyen eliminated in 5th place ($97,369)

Yita Choong has extended his chip lead after eliminating Phat Nguyen in fifth place.

All the money was in the middle before the flop; Nguyen was at risk with A4, but found himself well behind Choong’s 77

Nguyen fell further behind after the flop of 6108, and left drawing extremely thin after the K came down on the turn.

“Seven’ll do!” shouted one of Choong’s rail.

River: 7Bink!

Yita Choong21,000,000
Phat NguyenBUSTED!
Phat Nguyen

Level 32: 150,000/300,000 (300,000)

Yita’s chip leader!

We have ourselves a brand-new chip leader at the final table of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event, and it’s none other than Yita Choong, who has just doubled through Qi Xu!

All the money was in the middle before the flop; Xu had called Choong off with AQ but Choong had him dominated with KK.

Xu did pick up a possible backdoor flush draw after the flop of 9710, but the [invalid notations] completing the board.

Yita Choong18,625,000
Qi Xu10,900,000

Round two!

In just the second hand after the break, Phat Nguyen doubled through Milan Stojkovic again to move up to more than 4 million chips.

All the money was in the middle before the flop; Nguyen was at risk with A6 and found himself ahead of Stojkovic who tabled KJ.

This time, Stojkovic picked up an open-ended straight after the flop of 10Q6, bit Nguyen’s small pair was still good after the turn of the 8 and then improved to two pair with the Q on the river.

Phat Nguyen4,725,000
Milan Stojkovic3,525,000

Chip counts at the break

Qi Xu19,850,000
Jimmy Tran12,575,000
Milan Stojkovic9,600,000
Yita Choong6,875,000
Phat Nguyen2,300,000

Level 31: 125,000/250,000 (250,000)

Take 30

Time for lunch! We’ll be back with updated chip counts after the break.

Nguyen swinging

The last half of this level has been rough for Phat Nguyen, who took a massive hit through Milan Stojkovic, but he’s managed to double up through him twice to keep his Main Event hopes alive.

Earlier, Nguyen raised to 450,000 from under the gun holding 1010 and action folded to Milan Stojkovic, who shoved from the button with QQ.

Nguyen called, but Stojkovic was best, hitting the bigger two pair on the board of 7636.

Down to just 600,000, Nguyen ripped it in the very next hand with KQ and found himself ahead of Stojkovic, who called him off with QJ.

Stojkovic then turned two pair on the board of A5JA board, but the river 10 sailed down the river to save Nguyen.

Some time passed before Nguyen got his money in again, moving all-in for 1.1 million with J10, but although Stojkovic called with K3, a Jack on the board of 8JQ69 was enough to take it down.

Phat Nguyen2,300,000
Milan Stojkovic9,600,000

Gavin Best eliminated in 6th place ($78,670)

It’s been another huge run from Gavin Best, however, he has just been sent packing from this Main Event at the hands of Jimmy Tran.

Action folded to Tran who raised to 450,000 from the button before Best shoved for his last 4.3 million from the small blind; Milan Stojkovic mucked his hand from the big blind and Tran quickly called.

Tran: AK
Best: KQ

The dealer then spread the board of 9J582, with Best narrowly missing his flush draw to depart in sixth place.

Jimmy Tran15,000,000
Gavin BestBUSTED!
Gavin Best

Stojkovic back in contention

Milan Stojkovic is now back up to almost 6 million in chips after scoring a crucial double through Gavin Best.

Action folded around to Best who min-raised to 400,000 from the cut-off before Stojkovic ripped in his last 2.725 million from the button with KQ.

Yita Choong and Qi Xu gave up their blinds and Best called, but despite being ahead with his AK, Stojkovic rivered a Queen to complete two pair on the board of 4J24Q.

Milan Stojkovic5,950,000
Gavin Best3,700,000

Trent Miller eliminated in 7th place ($64,923)

Despite finding a double-up through Qi Xu earlier, Trent Miller gave up his remaining chips to him, finishing his Main Event run in eighth place.

Just before play entered into Level 30, Xu raised to 350,000 from the button before Miller shoved for his last 3.5 million from the small blind.

Jimmy Tran looked down at 99 in the big blind, but after some time Tran laid his hand down before Xu snap-called.

Miller 107
Xu 77

The board of A3264 was clean for Xu, and Miller stepped out to collect his winnings, worth almost $65K.  Well played, sir!

Qi Xu20,000,000
Trent MillerBUSTED!
Trent Miller

Level 30: 100,000/200,000 (200,000)

Another double for Miller

Trent Miller has managed to find a double-up through Qi Xu as play continues here in the final table of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event.

After Xu raised to 400,000 from the button, Miller shoved his last 1.8 million from the small blind with Miller with KQ and found himself in a fair fight against Xu’s 98.

Xu picked up the flush draw after the flop of 56J, then paired up with the 9, but Miller took it down with the river K to stay alive.

Trent Miller4,400,000
Qi Xu16,000,000

AJ Antonios eliminated in 8th place ($51,358)

AJ Antonios has just departed The Star Sydney Champs Main Event final table in eighth place, busted at the hands of Jimmy Tran.

Antonios shoved for his last 1,800,000 from the +1 position before action folded to Tran who flat-called from the button.  Phat Nguyen and Gavin Best mucked their blinds, Antonios tabled his A8, but found himself behind Tran’s AK.

Antonios then headed off to collect his $51K payday after the board ran out 55922.

Jimmy Tran6,300,000
AJ AntoniosBUSTED!
AJ Antonios

Phat doubles through Best

After a pre-flop raise from Gavin Best 325,000, Milan Stojkovic called before action folded around to Phat Nguyen three-bet-shoved out of the big blind for 1.9 million effective.

Best made the call and Stojkovic got out of the way before the cards were tabled.

Nguyen: 1010
Best: 99

No change after the board was spread 38K75, and Nguyen secured the double to drop Best’s stack below 10 million.

Phat Nguyen4,400,000
Gavin Best9,900,000

Yu Chen eliminated in 9th place ($38,296)

Yu Chen has added to her third-place finish in the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Opening Event, bowing out in ninth after being eliminated at the hands of Qi Xu just as the blinds ticked over into Level 29.

Chen raised to 250,000 from the +2 position with JJ and action folded to Xu who three-bet to 800,000 from the button with KK.

Chen quickly shoved for her last 2 million and Xu snap-called called, with neither hand improving after the board was spread 4510QA.

A great run from both Chen and her partner Jun Wang, who between them have earned a total of $60,904 in this Main Event, which will undoubtedly set them up for the imminent arrival of their new bundle of joy.

From all of us at PMA and Star Poker Sydney, congratulations and best wishes to you both!

Qi Xu16,000,000
Yu Chen

Level 29: 75,000/150,000 (150,000)

Star Sydney Champs Main Event final table

Here they are folks, without any further ado … your final nine of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event!

So you don’t miss a minute of the action, tune in now to to watch all the action, with commentary and analysis from our friends at LCAPoker, and check back regularly here at PMA for major updates and highlights here on our blog*, along with with our Day 2 Live Reporting coverage of the $5K High Roller.

*Main Event updates now aligned in stream time (30-minute delay) to ensure game security and integrity.

1Trent Miller5,150,000
2Phat Nguyen2,300,000
3Jimmy Tran5,575,000
4Gavin Best10,800,000
5Yu Chen1,050,000
6Milan Stojkovic6,875,000
7Yita Choong3,900,000
8AJ Antonios2,450,000
9Qi Xu9,500,000

Justin Layden eliminated in 10th place ($29,093)

The final table of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event has now been confirmed after Justin Layden was eliminated by Jimmy Tran in 10th place!

The PMA Live Reporting Team picked up action on the flop of 654, where Tran had led out for 350,000 before Layden shoved for his last 1,975,000. Tran thought about it for a good 90 seconds or go before making the call.

Tran: A6
Layden: 63

Layden still had hope with the open-ended straight draw, but that diminished with the A on the turn, giving Tran two pair which held after the 10 bricked out on the river.

Jimmy Tran5,575,000
Justin LaydenBUSTED!

Our remaining nine players are now taking a 30-minute break to prepare the feature table stream. Once we resume, we’ll play through the remainder of this level (around 17 minutes) and the next two levels after that. Stay with us!

Justin Layden

Phat chance of winning that one

Back over on the feature table, our reporter picked up action three-handed between Gavin Best, Phat Nguyen and AJ Antonios to a flop of KK10, which was checked through before the dealer produced the turn of the 7.

Nguyen checked his option again, which prompted a bet of 350,000 from Best that forced Antonios out of the way before Nguyen called, making it heads-up to the river J.

Nguyen then check-folded to Best’s bet of 475,000, dropping below 3 million in chips as Best moved up to jus shy of 11 million.

Gavin Best10,950,000
Phat Nguyen2,600,000

Xu got it

Justin Layden has taken a huge hit against Qi Xu as action continues hand-for-hand between our remaining 10 players in this Main Event.

After Xu min-raised to 250,000 from under the gun, Layden re-raised to 800,000 from the small blind and Xu called, making it heads-up to a flop of 3K6.

Layden checked over to Xu who moved all-in.

“Did you get it?’ Layden asked as he open-folded A6.

No way of knowing though, as Xu moved his hand into the muck before raking in the pot.

Qi Xu9,450,000
Justin Layden2,875,000

A tribute to Trev

Play is now hand-for-hand across both tables in The Star Sydney Champs Main Event, but as play continues, we’d thought we’d take an opportunity to show our appreciation for the late, great Trevor Saunders.

Trevor was a Sydney poker regular and the life of every table he sat at, always engaging in passionate conversations about the industry and always had a smile on his face, even through the adversity of his ongoing cancer treatment that required three major operations and 33 radiation sessions.

Trevor sadly passed away last month, but his memory was honoured yesterday by the city’s poker community, observing a moment’s silence after the first break on Day 2 of the Main Event.

From all of us here at PokerMedia Australia, thanks for you kindness and support Trev. Give ’em hell in the Big Game in the Sky.

Vale Trevor Saunders

Level 28: 75,000/125,000 (125,000)

Travis O’Grady eliminated in 11th place ($29,093)

Travis O’Grady has been eliminated over the space of two hands, and we’re now one bust-out away from our final table!

In earlier action, Qi Xu opened from under the gun and action folded to O’Grady, who three-bet from the small blind to force Trent Miller out of the way before Xu called to go head-up to a flop of A6A.

Xu then checked over to O’Grady who bet 875,000, only to then see Xu check-raise to 2 million straight. O’Grady went all-in and Xu called short for 3.5 million.

“I’ve got an Ace,” said O’Grady.

“I’ve got an Ace!” Xu replied.

“Oh! Then you’re probably good.”

Xu: A10
O’Grady: A9

Xu pipped O’Grady at the post as the turn and river ran out 4, 7 to leave O’Grady with just 625,000, which he shoved from the button a short time later with A4 before Trent Miller called with QJ from the big blind.

Miller then hit two pair on the board of 98Q78 to send O’Grady to the rail.

Qi Xu8,150,000
Trent Miller4,400,000
Travis O’GradyBUSTED!

Layden fills up

Plenty of action on Table 31, with Justin Layden getting some chips back through Trent Miller.

After Layden raised to 250,000 from under the gun, action folded to Miller who three-bet it to 500,000 from the button; Layden flatted, then both players checked down the flop and turn of JQQA before Layden bet 1,000,000 on the river 10.

Miller called and tabled KK for Broadway, but Layden had flopped gin with his QJ.

Justin Layden5,175,000
Trent Miller4,000,000

More chips for Choong

Yita Choong has extracted a chunk of change off Justin Layden after being moved from the Star Poker Sydney feature table, now streaming on Twitch.

Chong min-clicked to 200,000 from under the gun and action folded around to Layden who called from the cut-off; Qu Xi defended his big blind, making it three-handed to the flop of A98.

Xi checked to Choong who opened for 450,000, Layden called and Xi folded, so it was heads-up to the turn of the 6, which both players checked before the dealer produced the Q on the river.

Choong fired out 475,000 and Layden called, only to muck after Choong showed down AK for top-top.

Yita Choong4,450,000
Justin Layden3,475,000

Roman Priplotski eliminated in 12th place ($29,093)

Another elimination at Table 31, with Roman Priplotski having bowed out in 12th place in this Main Event.

Action folded to Priplotski who open-shoved for his last 900,000 from the button with A3; Justin Layden folded his small blind and Travis O’Grady called from the big blind holding A9.

The board of K57J8 improved neither hand, leaving chip leader Gavin Best as the lone South Australian in the field.

Travis O’Grady3,950,000
Roman PriplotskiBUSTED!
Roman Priplotski

It’s Miller time

Trent Miller has just found a double-up through Travis O’Grady as play continues between our final 12 players in this Main Event.

Action folded around to O’Grady who raised to 425,000 from the small blind before Miller jammed for 2,525,000 from the big blind. O’Grady called and revealed K10, trailing the KJ of Miller.

The dealer then spread the board of 34A52 to give Miller the nut flush.

Trent Miller5,150,000
Travis O’Grady3,000,000

Sammy Ioannou eliminated in 13th place ($22,608)

Shortly after Jung Wang was sent to the rail, Sammy Ioannou found himself all-in on the feature table against Day 3 chip leader Gavin Best.

Our reporter picked up the action on a flop of 89K; Ioannou opened for 750,000 and Best called, then open-shoved after the turn of the 7. Best snap-called.

Ioannou: 88
Best: K10

Best’s straight held after the dealer peeled the river 7 from the shoe, and Ioannou calmly headed out to collect from the cage.

Gavin Best10,750,000
Sammy IoannouBUSTED!

Sammy Ioannou

Jun Wang eliminated in 14th place ($22,608)

Jun Wang has been confirmed as our first elimination from Day 3 of The Star Sydney Champs Main Event, taken out at the hands of Qi Xu.

Wang moved all-in pre-flop for his last 575,000 holding 44 and found himself flipping for his tournament life against Xu, who called him down with 107.

Xu then hit the lead after the flop of 310J and held as the board completed K, 2.

Qi Xu4,500,000
Jun Wang

Shuffle up and deal!

Cards are now back in the air for The Star Sydney Champs Main Event!

Once again, we’ll be playing through 60-minute blind levels and right through until we find a winner tonight.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

Level 27: 50,000/100,000 (100,000)

Day 3 seat draw

Play will resume at 11am AEST, with recommencing blinds at 50,000/100,000 (100,000). Please ensure you have your Star Club Card and photo ID for verification purposes.

Should you have any queries regarding your seat allocation, please approach one of the team at Star Poker Sydney. Best of luck to all players!

Table 31

1Justin Layden4,350,000
2Travis O’Grady5,000,000
3Jun Wang675,000
4Trent Miller1,900,000
6Qi Xu3,750,000
7Yita Choong4,225,000
9Roman Priplotski1,400,000

Table 32 (Feature Table)

1AJ Antonios2,800,000
3Milan Stojkovic5,175,000
4Sam Ioannou2,850,000
6Yu Chen1,525,000
7Liem (Jimmy) Tran7,075,000
8Phat Nguyen2,275,000
9Gavin Best8,150,000

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