LIVE REPORTING: WPT League Championship Sydney Main Event Day 2

Emmanuel Derecho takes chip lead to Final Table of WPT League Championship Main Event; that’s a wrap!

After five days, including four Day 1 flights, and today’s 12 hour Day 2, we have reached our top nine to close Sunday’s play.

The remaining runners will be back at the St Johns Park Bowling Club Pavilion Poker Room for a 6pm AEDT start, and it’s Emmanuel Derecho with the chip advantage going into the final day of a hugely successful series. Confirmation of an 11,210,000 stack for Derecho means he holds over 30% of the chips in play in a tournament that has broken the record for both number of entries and total prize pool in WPT League Sydney history.

The 30 year old took a moment to chat with PokerMedia Australia, reflecting on his journey to reach this stage.

“It feels really good cause I launched like four or five bullets at this thing,” Derecho began with a chuckle,”This has gotta be one of the biggest leads I’ve had, I think the biggest.”

Derecho spoke highly of his experience with WPT League, with this series being his first time at the venue. “In terms of the way it’s run, everyone here’s really professional. It’s almost like a casino standard.” Derecho enjoyed the relaxed blind structure and forty-minute levels, usually seen at much higher entry games.

His best cash to date came in the 2017 APL Million, a 5th place finish in the same event Branko Usljebrka happened to win. The two now meet again at another Main Event Final Table.

In terms of his approach to tomorrow, Derecho kept it simple, “keep the aggression up and try to run as good as I can… though I can’t control that.” Typical of his friendly nature, and constant smile at the felt, he added, ” and try to keep the mood light on the table!”

If he were to claim first place, it’s no surprise Derecho would be most happy with the huge amount of cash up for grabs, but for a heartwarming reason. “I told my partner if I bink a big one, we’re gonna go overseas, she wants to go on a holiday. All I’ve been doing is grinding, so she’s kind of annoyed.”

Coverage of the Main Event will pick back up from 6pm tomorrow, when our finalists return to fight for the big money up top, and the WPT Prime Las Vegas package, trophy and ring to match. See you then!

Emmanuel Derecho

Final Table

An official Final Table photograph will captured at the start of play on Monday, once the players have drawn their seats. For now, let’s meet our top nine combatants and the number of chips they’ll each begin tomorrow’s play with.

Despite holding the shortest stack, Steven Huynh is shaping up as one of the biggest winners from this final table appearance already, earning enough competition points to leap past Tim De Pater on the Player of the Series leaderboard. This nets Huynh a $10,000 WPT Prime Championship Las Vegas package for this coming December.

Emmanuel Derecho11,210,000
Xuzhou Wu6,825,000
Prithvi Nejjur6,305,000
Fadi Tabet4,240,000
Branko Usljebrka2,455,000
Errolyn Strang1,750,000
Rory McAlister1,710,000
Marco Perri1,650,000
Steven Huynh1,210,000

Mark Green eliminated in 10th place ($5,800)

Mark Green has fallen agonisingly short of a Main Event Final Table qualification, finding himself eliminated on the bubble in an unlucky cooler against Fadi Tabet.

Action on Table 6 saw play fold to Tabet in the small blind, who raised to 500,000. Green moved all in for 1,525,000 total with 1010 and was delighted to see that he was called by Tabet’s 88.

Delight turned to dismay when the window card was an eight on what spread to be a 827AA board.

Fadi Tabet4,240,000
Mark GreenBUSTED!
Mark Green

Level 27: 75,000/125,000 (125,000)

Levy paid, Diab nabbed

In the space of two minutes, two more players have exited the Main Event.

Michael Levy’s J5 was essentially forced into the middle from the big blind, with his short stack unable to beat Marco Perri’s AA on 79105A. Levy cashed in 21st place.

Almost simultaneously, Michael Diab’s decision to slow play his KJ backfired when it allowed Branko Usljebrka to see a flop with K8.

Diab moved all-in on the flop of K68, but it was too late as Usljebrka had already made two-pair and held on the 6,A runout to eliminate Diab in 20th position..

Branko Usjlebrka
Marco Perri1,255,000
Michael LevyBUSTED!
Michael DiabBUSTED!

Emmanuel labor

Emmanuel Derecho is putting in the work and grinding up a huge stack, with the aid of having the right cards fall his direction.

Earlier, another all-in pre saw a flip for someone’s tournament life, this time it was Brooke Loka needing to survive.

Loka: 99
Derecho: K10

Board: 84107K

Loka was eliminated in 27th place.

Emmanuel Derecho4,350,000
Brooke LokaBUSTED!
Emmanuel Derecho

Limping Louis

Ammar Louis got sneaky in a hand against Jarrod Cunningham, limping from the button with AA.

Cunningham took the bait and jammed from the small blind for 720,000, to which Louis quickly called.

Cunningham’s 66 were not able to improve to beat Louis as the board spread 710JKJ.

Ammar Louis1,645,000
Jarrod CunninghamBUSTED!
Jarrod Cunningham

Level 24: 30,000/60,000 (60,000)

More KO’s

Adrian Pacheco was eliminated in 25th place when Neng Zhao opened from UTG with Ace-Queen and held when he called off Pacheco’s big blind jam with Ace-Ten.

Rebal Bou Fakhreddine went shortly after in 24th, also at the hands of Zhao.

Fakhreddine: A3
Zhao: K9

Board: 4104QK

Rebal Bou Fakreddine

Rabie robbed

Rabie El Hage fell in 26th place, counterfeited against Prithvi Nejjur.

El Hage: 55
Nejjur: A8

Board: QQ9910

Prithvi Nejjur1,159,000
Rabie El HageBUSTED!
Rabie El Hage

Level 23: 25,000/50,000 (50,000)

Pacheco runs it up

Adrian Pacheco has had a rollercoaster level so far. One hand saw Pedro Ledesma find a double-up through Pacheco when Ledesma’s AQ won a flip against Pacheco’s JJ on a board that spread 39Q48.

Pacheco’s stack wound down to 330,000 and that amount was soon pushed forward from the small blind into Neng Zhao’s big blind. Zhao made the call to see Pacheco had him well out-kicked.

Pacheco: A8
Zhao: 98

Board: A10106J

Adrian Pacheco

Level 22: 20,000/40,000 (40,000)

PoulivAAti vanquished

More and more eliminations are taking place as we have four tables now in play.

Mele Poulivaati was felled in 28th place, her pocket Aces going down to Michael Diab’s Pocket Queens.

This remarkably completes a statistic where all three Poulivaati’s made it to Day 2, and each were eliminated with their final hand being pocket Aces.

Mele PoulivaatiBUSTED!
Mote PoulivaatiBUSTED!
Watson PoulivaatiBUSTED!

Mock trial

Gregory “The Mock” Tzanakes was set to learn his fate when he got all his chips in the middle against Justin Wong.

Down to less than ten big blinds, he made the move in late position with KQ only to be snap called by Wong.

Wong’s AQ had Tzanakes crushed, and the board 7255A offered no help.

Justin Wong830,000
Greg TzanakesBUSTED!
The Mock

Level 21: 15,000/30,000 (30,000)

Buraga grows larger

Jerry Buraga has taken the rest of Wesley Guo’s stack with an all-in preflop on the Feature Table.

Buraga: AA
Guo: 88

Baord: KK34A

Jerry Buraga415,000
Wesley GuoBUSTED!

Birdal kept at bay

Birdal Ilbday has handed a double-up to Wanyang Liu. Action folded to the short-stacked Liu who jammed from the cutoff, finding a call from Ilbay to get their chips in the middle before the flop.

Ilbay: AA
Liu: AK

Board: 810QJ9

The severe underdog manage to spike a broadway straight to keep Liu’s tournament alive.

Wanyang Liu540,000
Birdal Ilbay

Level 20: 15,000/25,000 (25,000)

Millionaires looming

Neng Zhao’s hero call on the bubble made him the first player to tip over the one million chip mark, and since then many have made ground on him to catch uo.

Mark Yazbeck currently holds the chip lead with 1,630,000, marginally ahead of Adrian Pacheco’s 1,615,000.

Mark Yazbeck1,630,000
Adrian Pacheco1,615,000
Neng Zhao1,480,000
Emmanuel Derecho1,305,000
Paul Sammour1,260,000
Errolyn Strang1,189,000
Khal Fayad1,150,000
Rory Mcalister1,135,000
Adrnan Al-Maliki1,140,000
Qile Liao1,090,000
Suzy Koueis7,000

Level 19: 10,000/20,000 (20,000)

Dong hit

A raise from early position on Table 2 saw the action fold to Ivan Alloshe in the small blind, who jammed into Dong Zhao’s big blind.

Zhao called and it was just those two going to showdown, with Alloshe at risk.

Zhao: 99
Alloshe: 22

Board: 8J10A2

The flop gave Zhao a taste of everything, with an open-ended straight draw and a backdoor flush draw to add to the fact he had a bigger pair. Though the river decided to grant Alloshe the chance to stay in the tournament with the arrival of the two-outer.

Ivan Alloshe209,000
Dong Zhao95,000
Ivan Alloshe

No melee for Mele

A play of aggression from Daniel Awad has backfired after running into Mele Poulivaati.

Preflop action saw Awad raise to 35,000 from the cutoff and Poulivaati re-raise to 100,000 from the small blind.

Awad called to see the flop spread 1073. Poulivaati checked the action to Awad who moved all-in, covering Poulivaati.

The call was made and their two showed their hands.

Poulivaati: QQ
Awad: 75

Turn: 4, River: K

Mele Poulivaati580,000
Daniel Awad369,000
Mele Poulivaati

Level 18: 10,000/15,000 (15,000)


After a series of further short stack double-ups being announced, many of which leading to a collective groan from the rest of the field when Bruno Rao would say, “Aces at risk!”

This time, it was a short stack at risk against Aces. Cameron Chen has his last 14,000 in the middle against Wyn Pham pre-flop.

The whole room perked their ears as the announcement was made over the microphone, with the turning of the cards revealing the bubble was on the brink of bursting.

Pham: AA
Chen: Q4

An Ace in the window all but buried Chen’s chances as the rest of the board spread AK467.

We are now in the money! 90th place will receive $1,000, but sadly for the 91st placed Chen, there’s no payout ticket waiting for him.

Wyn Pham270,000
Cameron ChenBUSTED!
Cameron Chen

Hung up on a call

The bubble is well and truly still alive, 91 players waiting for someone else to get knocked out.


There was a bit of that on Table 6. One hand saw Neng Zhao open from the hijack to 29,000. Hung Pham three-bet from the big blind to 76,000, Zhao called and the two went to a flop of A35.

Pham continued, establishing a price of 90,000 for Zhao to see a turn. The call was made and the 6 followed, when Pham pulled the trigger and put enough chips in the middle to cover Zhao.

After two minutes in the tank, our reporter started a watch timer, as hand-for-hand play meant more people were waiting for Table 6’s action to complete before resuming.

Five minutes had passed and Zhao apologised to his table mates, “Sorry guys, I’m gonna need a couple more minutes.”

After ten minutes had passed since the action fell to Zhao, tournament directors advised the table that it would be reasonable to call the clock.

One player did, and barely after the countdown had begun, Zhao through in chips and heard from Hung, “Good call.”

Zhao: A9
Hung: K7

There was still one card to come, Zhao needed to avoid a four to stay in the tournament.

River: 2

Hand-for-hand play shall continue!

Level 17: 6,000/12,000 (12,000)

Many a double on the bubble

We’ve been on the bubble for over half an hour now and in that time we’ve seen multiple double-ups for players who nearly went home without a prize.

Mark Yazbeck sat in the big blind, facing an all-in from the small blind.

Antonio Tavella pushed all in with AQ and Yazbeck made the call to put himself at risk with Q10. The flop spread 74J83 to hand Yazbeck a huge chip-up.

Over on Table 8, we saw Rellim Clark move all-in from under-the-gun. Sammy Bagdhadi made the call from the small blind and Mote Poulivaati open folded AK.

Baghdadi: KK
Clark: AQ

Board: A105106

Mark Yazbeck

Soft bubble burst

Michelle Foster has been eliminated in 92nd place, falling at the hands of Greg Tzanakes.

Foster made the move all-in for her remaining 151,000 with top pair on the flop. With a pot of over 60,000 in the middle already, Tzanakes decided to make the call with a flush draw.

Flop: J38

Foster: J9
Tzanakes: A9

Turn: 4, River: K

Greg Tzanakes810,000
Michelle FosterBUSTED!
Greg Tzanakes

No show?

After losing four players since the break, we are now at 92 remaining entries, with top 90 getting into the money. One of the recent eliminations included Trong Nguyen in 94th place, who never took his seat on Day 2.

If Nguyen is following our coverage, wherever he may be, we’d like to let him know that he almost made $1,000 without doing any work on Day 2!

Trong NguyenBUSTED!
Trong Nguyen’s appearance today

Bird’s the word

Birdal Ilbay leads the way at the break, by our unofficial counts. His 889,000 looks to be the top stack at the moment, with no one to have tipped over the one million mark.

Average stack at just about the 390,000 mark, so the players below are sitting comfortably.

Birdal Ilbay889,000
Rabie El Hage835,000
Qile Liao822,000
Khal Fayad811,000
Errolyn Strang799,000
Ben Jee780,000
Daniel Awad758,000
Adrian Pacheco745,000
Tim De Pater725,000
Birdal Ilbay

Level 16: 5,000/10,000 (10,000)

Break time

We head in to the break with 96 runners remaining, just six left until we reach the money!

We’ll go around the tables and count up some of the big stacks!

Quad’s going on?

Table 12 has witnessed a hand where someone has made four-of-a-kind for the fourth time today.

This time saw a short-stacked Teddy Estrada move all-in from the button with Q9. Michael Levy then woke up to JJ in the small blind and made a quick call.

Board: 93969

Teddy Estrada140,000
Michael Levy520,000

Tso good

Three-way all-ins appear to be the order of the day, with plenty of them taking place within the first two hours of Day 2.

Dominc Tso found a caller from Joseph Nati and a rejam from Frank Spataro, though only 5,000 more than Tso’s 66,000 shove.

Tso: 1010
Nati: AK
Spataro: AQ

Board: 6Q9102

Dominic Tso206,000
Joseph Nati82,000
Frank Spataro10,000
Dominic Tso

Record crushing

With 748 entries across four Day 1’s, a prize pool of $448,800 has been generated. A record field and prize pool for any Main Event here at WPT League St Johns Park.

The top 90 placed players today will find themselves in the money, with first prize being the centre of attention with not only $90,000 cash up for grabs, but also the trophy, a $5,000 diamond ring, and a $10,000 package. The package includes flights + accomodation and entry into the WPT Prime in Las Vegas this December!

Full payout structure below:

10th -12th$5,800
22nd – 24th$2,900
25th – 27th$2,500
28th – 30th$2,200
31st – 33rd$1,900
34th – 36th$1,700
37th – 45th$1,550
46th – 54th$1,400
55th – 63rd$1,300
64th – 72nd$1,200
73rd – 81st$1,100
82nd – 90th$1,000
*First place includes $90,000 cash + $5,000 ring + $10,000 WPT Prime Las Vegas Package

Level 15: 4,000/8,000 (8,000)


WPT League Sydney Operations Manager, Bruno Rao, picked up the microphone to announce an all-in on Table 11.

Michelle Foster had shoved pre-flop, and got a call from Tim De Pater.

De Pater: QQ
Foster: AK

“We have Ace-King at risk,” Rao began.

The first two cards of the flop being the A and A prompted Rao to continue, “Well not at risk any more.” The flop then completed with the Q.

“Oh wait yes it is!”

The Pavilion Room reacted with a collected gasp to hear of the flopped trips versus boat hand.

The turn came the 5, meaning Foster needed any Five, King, or the unlikely case Ace.

River: A


Michelle Foster161,000
Tim De Pater500,000

Pockets, pockets, pockets

Table 6 played host to a three-way all-in. With Jie Cui and Rebal Bou Fakhreddine at risk against Glenn Marsom.

All the chips got in the middle pre-flop and the players turned over their hands.

Bou Fakhreddine: QQ
Marsom: JJ
Cui: 1010

Board: K4697

Marsom took a small side pot in eliminating Cui, whilst Bou Fakhreddine found a huge triple-up.

Rebal Bou Fakhreddine563,000
Glenn Marsom34,000
Rebal Bou Fakhreddine

Level 14: 3,000/6,000

Big Wyn

Sam Hermon was amongst our next victims, eliminated in a three-way all-in on Table 16.

Action folded to Hermon on the button, who moved all-in for his remaining 48,000. Branko Usljebrka flatted from the small blind when Wyn Pham raised to 130,000 total from the big blind.

Usljebrka made the call to build a hefty side pot, and the flop spread 1052.

Usljebrka checked to Pham who pushed her last 141,000 forward. Usljebrka tanked, and eventually made the call. The three turned over their cards.

Pham: 55
Usljebrka: QQ
Hermon: K7

Turn: A, River: K

Hermon couldn’t hit a spade, and Usljebrka couldn’t hit the two outer, enabling Pham to take both pots.

Wyn Pham597,000
Branko Usljebrka115,000
Sam HermonBUSTED!

First to go

Jaclyn Zammit is the first elimination of Day 2.

After Jerry Buraga opened the action on Table 17 with a bet to 16,000, Zammit made the call along with Prithvi Nejjur.

The flop came 24Q and Zammit open-jammed for 28,000. Buraga made the call but Nejjur moved all-in over the top to isolate. Not wanting to put himself at risk, Buraga folded to let the other two battle it out.

Nejjur: 44
Zammit: Q10

Turn: 2, River: 9

The runout did Zammit no favours, as the field compressed from 168 starters, down to 167.

Prithvi Nejjur435,000
Jaclyn ZammitBUSTED!

Level 13: 3,000/5,000

Day 2 seat draw

Play will resume at 12pm AEDT, with recommencing blinds at 3,000/5,000 (5,000). Please ensure you have your photo ID with you for verification purposes, and should you have any questions regarding your seat allocation, please approach the team at WPT League Sydney. Best of luck to all players!

To assist our WPT Live Reporting Team, please ensure your PMA ID cards are kept close to your stack, face-up and visible at all times.

Players are also asked to move their PMA IDs with them when broken or balanced to another table, and they must be left on the table to be collected after an elimination and at the end of day’s play.

Table 1

NameChipsSeatPMA ID
Marco Perri688,00010101
Ammar Louis320,00020102
Xuzhou Wu181,00030103
Daniel Veljkovic244,00040104
Robert Liu128,00050105
Duy Quang Nguyen291,00060106
George Mitri87,00070107
Vanig Kalpakian129,00080108

Table 2

NameChipsSeatPMA ID
George Boustani128,00010201
Rory Mcalister271,00020202
Phuc Hoang127,00030203
Paul Sammour86,00040204
Declan Russel181,00050205
Dean Boskovic319,00060206
Visal Kim240,00070207
Daniel Awad609,00080208

Remaining Tables

NameChipsTableSeatPMA ID
Alex E126,000310301
Zoran Tosic180,000320302
Eric Fajardo78,000330303
George Paravinja318,000340304
Fletcher Smith238,000350305
Emmanuel Derecho260,000360306
Matthew Rolfe128,000370307
Jayden Zalac580,000380308
Mark James Green315,000410401
Frank Maltese231,000420402
Fereydoun Lazar260,000430403
Jason Brown179,000440404
Collin Tran123,000450405
Kris Lee568,000460406
Libo Wang123,000470407
Tofick Galiell78,000480408
Fadi Tabet564,000510501
Khal Fayad296,000520502
Shengning Yang177,000530503
David Nguyen221,000540504
Aleix Castro123,000550505
Fendy Fendy252,000560506
Claudio Arena74,000570507
Ren Wang123,000580508
Pedro Ledesma122,000610601
Jie Cui250,000620602
Neng Zhao122,000630603
Joseph Nati177,000650605
Glenn Marsom291,000660606
Brian Gu221,000670607
Peter Brikha491,000680608
Nick Roth120,000710701
Laurence Hall172,000720702
Henry Tran65,000730703
Cameron Chen289,000740704
Watson Poulivaati221,000750705
Nathan Jenkins246,000760706
Robert O’neill118,000770707
Adnan Al-Maliki484,000780708
Michael Diab288,000810801
Sailendra Sha218,000820802
Sammy Baghdadi237,000830803
Sam Capra170,000840804
Rellim Clark120,000850805
Domenic Galati483,000860806
Justin Wong113,000870807
Alan Wilson58,000880808
Adrian Pacheco477,000910901
Jarod Cunningham285,000920902
Nenad Vujancevic164,000930903
Michal Jalc212,000940904
Ray Mcphee118,000950905
Ali Khouiss232,000960906
Pooria Asaadi56,000970907
Alan Casas112,000980908
Uno Uka105,0001011001
Suzy Khoueis213,0001021002
Jamal Ishac113,0001031003
Lachlan Swann835,0001041004
Bas Hegge164,0001051005
Steven Huynh285,0001061006
Rob Ovseev212,0001071007
Birdal Ilbay477,0001081008
Tim De Pater454,0001111101
Michelle Foster102,0001121102
Antonio Tavella282,0001131103
Mark Yazbeck575,0001141104
John Caridad112,0001151105
Gregory Tzanakes162,0001161106
Kresimir Kardum212,0001171107
Danny Wood208,0001181108
Ben Jee417,0001211201
Mark Green272,0001221202
Hai Vu159,0001231203
Andrew Lynch211,0001241204
Brock Munro110,0001251205
Timo Hettinger203,0001261206
Michael Levy455,0001271207
Charles Tran92,0001281208
Steve Chebib90,0001311301
Theo Dharmasaputra185,0001321302
Hung Pham107,0001331303
Michael Doumani414,0001341304
Harry Basle158,0001351305
David Hirst270,0001361306
Sarie Habbi204,0001371307
Ivan Z413,0001381308
Robert Jemison Budd269,0001411401
Marino Begue204,0001421402
Robert Spano177,0001431403
Trong Nguyen157,0001441404
Walter Bennett105,0001451405
Qile Liao369,0001461406
Dean Condello72,0001471407
Andreas Vasiliou402,0001481408
Lavinia Van Bokhoven268,0001511501
Andriy Chernysh203,0001521502
Dong Zhao175,0001531503
Duane Takiari155,0001541504
Ming Zhu102,0001551505
Andres Vasquez351,0001561506
Jim Kanan62,0001571507
Essam Polis392,0001581508
Wyn Pham266,0001611601
Arsn Younadem201,0001621602
Craig Austin171,0001631603
Cezary Klimczak154,0001641604
Yu Han98,0001651605
Bolosaikhan Galzad349,0001661606
Sam Hermon61,0001671607
Branko Usljebrka371,0001681608
Wanyang Liu95,0001711701
Wesley Guo196,0001721702
Sal Ali141,0001731703
Jaclyn Zammit49,0001741704
Jerry Buraga262,0001751705
Young Chung160,0001761706
Prithvi Nejjur348,0001771707
Yu Li367,0001781708
Frank Gorial336,0001811801
Daniel Tolomeo260,0001811802
Xin Qi189,0001821803
Brooke Loka150,0001831804
Dominic Tso141,0001841805
Manoj Kapoor95,0001851806
Kevin Nguyen41,0001871807
Mele Poulivaati325,0001881808
Simote Poulivaati339,0001911901
Stefan Todorovic29,0001921902
Zongyi Ji256,0001931903
Richie Samia316,0001941904
Brendan Chio90,0001951905
John Nguyen137,0001961906
Daniel Trivuncevic185,0001971907
Frank Spataro149,0001981908
Adam Khalidi144,0002012001
Francesco Riservato312,0002022002
Teddy Estrada90,0002032003
Rabie El Hage335,0002042004
Ali Alzuhairy183,0002052005
George Alam255,0002072007
Kenta Ito137,0002082008
Elie Boustany183,0002122102
Rebal Bou Fakhreddine247,0002132103
Mai Nguyen137,0002142104
Errolyn Strang89,0002152105
Madi Kishore328,0002162106
Ivan Alloshe131,0002172107
Darko Popovic303,0002182108

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