Ending on a high: Joe Sandaev wins second WPT Australia title and Player of the Festival

By Landon Blackhall & Jeramie Williams

Joe Sandaev has scored his second Tier One title in as many weeks, taking down the WPT Australia High Roller and in doing so, cruised through to victory in the Player of the Festival leader board race.

The Adelaide grinder, who won the $2,500 8-Max earlier in the series, took down the $10,000 buy-in tournament against heads-up opponent Vincent Huang after the pair agreed to an ICM deal before playing off for the trophy.

Sandaev’s incredible performance throughout the series – which also included another two final table berths in the PLO events – resulted in a total of 1,625 ranking points, which was 650 points clear of his closest opponent, $550 PLO Champion Leo Kamiya.

Sandaev was almost lost for words, telling PokerMedia Australia that it was “surreal to have run so well” throughout the course of the series.

“To be honest, it’s pretty ridiculous really,” Sandaev said. “There were some key spots where I should have been out. I ran Ace-Queen into Ace-King on the this final table and rivered a chop, and also counterfeited the same guy’s two pair on the river … I just ran so good, this whole series has been unbelievable!”

Sandaev was also grateful for the support from his fellow South Australians that railed him throughout the course of the final table, including WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge Champion Gavin Best and WPT Australia Main Event finalist, Emanuel ‘Curly’ Seal.

WPT AUSTRALIA HIGH ROLLER ($10,000 buy-in, 147 entries, 19 players paid)

1stJoe Sandaev$296,589*
2ndVIncent Huang$340,000*
3rdAnthony Xu$145,354
4thSean Ragozzini$88,200
5thHarish Bhat$68,433
6thSherif Derias$56,589
7thZhifan Ye$49,392
8thDaniel Hachem$44,171
9thKen Demlakian$38,949
*Denotes heads-up deal. Final table results shown; full results available at starpoker.com.au

Rounding out the WPT Australia series was the $550 Finale, which almost brought with it another series double through Jonathan Levy, who won last week’s $550 NLH Turbo, however he was denied heads-up by Queensland Poker veteran Robert Damelian.

PMA will return to The Star Sydney next week to provide exclusive media coverage for the 2022 Deaf Poker Australia (DPA) Championship from 6-9 October; for more information, including images and results from the WPT Australia series, log onto starpoker.com.au.

PokerMedia Australia: Official Media Partners of the WPT Australia series

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