LIVE REPORTING: WPT League Championship Sydney Main Event Day 3

Emmanuel Derecho wins WPT League Sydney Championship Main Event ($105,000)*

Canberra’s Emmanuel Derecho has won the WPT League Sydney Championship Main Event, dominating an incredibly fast final table to take home the trophy and a first-place prize worth a total of $105,000.

The quietly spoken PLO cash game professional entered the final day with a commanding chip lead and didn’t look back, eliminating six of his eight opponents and sealing the deal within three hours of the first hand being dealt.

In fact, it took just 90 minutes for play to reach three-handed and although runner-up Prithvi Nejjur briefly threatened to make a contest of it, Derecho never surrendered the chip lead at any stage throughout.

“I’m feeling really good. I feel amazing,” the 30-year-old told PokerMedia Australia after claiming top prize, comprising $90,000 in cash, a $10,000 WPT Las Vegas package and a $5,500 diamond encrusted gold ring.

“I arrived today wanting to stay aggressive and to keep up the pace I was playing the past few days. I thought I should be able to take some chips that aren’t supposed to be mine and hopefully get into favourable situations.”

Asked if he had planned for his opponents to hit the rail so rapidly, Derecho replied, “I was very surprised how quickly it went down. After 90 mins we were already 6-handed and I think it was the quickest final table I’ve ever played.

“But I ran so good – I can’t complain., A lot of situations went my way and my flips were holding. That’s why I found myself in that position.”

Despite his dominant display, Derecho remained modest to the end and admitted he still has plenty to learn on the tournament circuit.

“I quite enjoy tournaments because I don’t play them as much as I play PLO,” he explained. “I still have a lot to learn and there are a lot of situations I’m not familiar with but I do strive to improve and during series I stop looking at PLO study and focus on tournament study. I’ve got a long, long way to go.

“So I’m just trying to make money and travel the world, all that stuff.”

As for where his winnings are headed?

“I’ll buy some crypto and some stocks that I hold as well, add on while the market is down. I’ll spend some money and enjoy myself too, then put some in my bankroll so I can play some higher stakes,” he said.

Congratulations once again to Bruno Rao and the team at Pavilion Poker Room in St John’s Bowling Club– home of WPT League Sydney – and specifically to Emmanual Derecho, our 2022 WPT League Sydney Championship Main Event winner!

* Prize includes $90,000 in cash, $10,000 WPT passport and $5,000 diamond-laden ring.

Prithvi Nejjur eliminated in 2nd ($60,000)

And in a flash it’s all over. Prithvi Nejjur limped in for 250,000 then called Emmanuel Derecho’s raise to 850,000 as they took a flop of 2K3.

On the flop, Derecho continued for 650,000 and Nejjur called. When the turn landed the repeat 3, Derecho checked and Nejjur announced he was all-in. Derecho quickly called and showed K6 to have Nejjur drawing dead with 810.

The river 10 changed nothing as Nejjur falls just short … Emmanuel Derecho is our Main Event Champion!

All the angles

Derecho extends chip lead

Emmanuel Derecho opened the button to 650,000 and Prithvi Nejjur made the call.

On a 1093 flop, Derecho bet 500,000 only for Nejjur to check-raise to 1.5 million. Derecho called.

The turn 7 saw Nejjur check-call a bet of 1.2 million from Derecho before Nejjur then led for 4.5 million on the A river.

Derecho quickly called and showed 910 for the flopped top two, while Nejjur showed K10.

Emmanuel Derecho27,300,000
Prithvi Nejjur10,100,000

Heads-up starting chip counts

Emmanuel Derecho23,000,000
Prithvi Nejjur14,400,000

Fadi Tabet eliminated in 3rd ($40,000)

Action had slowed before the break, but it didn’t take long once play resumed for us to reach heads-up play. With blinds at 125k/250k, Fadi Tabet shoved the button and Emmanuel Derecho made the call. Prithvi Nejjur quickly got out of the way as the cards were tabled:

Tabet: Q8

Derecho: KK

Tabet needed a lot of help but the board ran out J83410 to send him to the rail instead.

We are now heads-up!

Fadi Tabet

Level 30: 125,000/250,000 (250,000)

Break time

Players are now on a 10-minute break.

Chip counts

PlayerChip count
Emmanuel Derecho17,900,000
Prithvi Nejjur13,500,000
Fadi Tabet6,000,000

Derecho with the aggression 

Fadi Tabet limped the button and Emmanuel Derecho bumped it up to 800,000. Tabet called as they took a flop of J67.

Derecho fired out for 500,000 and Tabet called, however he quickly folded after Derecho bet another 1 million on the 9 turn.

Tabet doubles through

Fadi Tabet got his last 4.5 million in holding 33 and at risk against the AQ of Emmanuel Derecho.

His luck held when he needed it most as the board ran out K4899.

Tabet is now back in the game with 9 million and change.

Waiting game

With Fadi Tabet playing tight as the short stack, all of the action on the past 20 minutes or so has been between Emmanuel Derecho and Prithvi Nejjur, who have been battling back and forth.

We just caught the turn of as board reading 27104 as Derecho check-called a bet of 850,000 from Nejjur.

Both players checked the 6 river as Derecho turned over 108 for top pair.

“How do you have that?” asked Nejjur as he showed 88.

Derecho currently sits with around 25 million.

Level 29: 100,000/200,000 (200,000)

Xuzhou Wu eliminated in 4th ($27,500)

And just like that we’re down to three! In a huge pre-flop hand, Emmanuel Derecho over-shoved from the button to put both Prithvi Nejjur in the small blind and Xuzhou Wu in the big blind all-in should they call.

Nejjur quickly folded but Wu went deep into the tank, checking his opponents’ chip stacks and stating, “I don’t think I can call.”

But call he did, turning over AQ to be racing against Derecho’s 33.

The 4J10 flop gave Wu plenty of outs but the turn 6 and river 4 didn’t help him as he hit the rail.

Derecho now has around 24 million of the 37.4 million chips in play.

Xuzhou Wu

4-handed chip counts

PlayerChip count
Emmanuel Derecho18,400,000
Prithvi Nejjur10,500,000
Xuzhou Wu5,500,000
Fadi Tabet3,000,000

Marco Perri eliminated in 5th ($20,000)

The action is coming thick and fast with yet another elimination at the hands of Emmanuel Derecho. 

Marco Perri is Derecho’s latest victim and the third person to hit the rail in just 10 minutes – shoving pre with QJ and running into Derecho’s AK.

Once again the board did not favour the short stack as it fell A62KJ.

We are now down to four players remaining.

Marco Perri

Rory McAlister eliminated in 6th ($15,000)

We’ve had a sudden flurry of eliminations here on the final table, with Rory McAlister following Errolyn Strang out the door in the very next hand.

McAlister shoved his short-stack from the button and was called by chip leader Emmanuel Derecho.

The cards were turned to show McAlister ahead with AJ but against the live K9 of Derecho.

The flop fell 38KJ7 to end McAlister’s day early and send even more chips to Derecho’s growing stack. 

He now sits with 13,750,000.

Rory McAlister

Errolyn Strang eliminated in 7th ($11,000)

Errolyn Stran announce she was all-in for her last 1.75 million and was quickly called by Marco Perri.

The cards were turned and it was Strang’s QJ needing help against the AK of Perri.

The board ran out 845A6 to send Strang – winner of the 2011 Sydney Champs Main Event – to the rail.

Errolyn Strang

Level 28: 75,000/150,000 (150,000)

Steven Huynh eliminated in 8th ($8,500)

Steven Huynh thought he had found a perfect spot to steal a few chips when he shoved from the small blind holding JQ. Unfortunately for him, Prithvi Nejjur woke up with AQ and made the call.

Cruelly, the board ran out AA2JJ – enough to give both players boats but not enough to keep Huynh alive. Nejjur moves past the 8 million mark with that hand.

The elimination is also enough to see popular reg Tim De Pater win the Player of the Series race, with Huynh needing to finish seventh or better to steal that crown from De Pater’s grasp.

Steven Huynh

Rising tide

Xuzhou Wu has been our early mover today, making a big call early with top pair to pick off Emmanuel Derecho’s river bluff and getting aggressive to steal a number of smaller pots.

He began today with 6.8 million but is now sitting with more than 9 million – clearly second in chips behind Derecho.

Branko Usljebrka eliminated in 9th ($7,000)

After opening in early position and checking back the flop when called by our chip leader, Emmanuel Derecho, Branko Usljebrka then re-raised Derecho’s 250,000 turn bet to 500,000 on a board reading 57K10.

When the river landed the 5, Usljebrka announced he was all-in and Derecho quickly called.

It was Usljebrka looking sheepish as he showed J8 for a ballsy but ill-timed bluff, with Derecho showing K10 for top two.

With that we’re down to eight!

Branko Usljebrka

Eyes on the prize

Aside from the $90,000 in cash and $10,000 WPT Las Vegas package on offer, the winner of this Main Event will also take home this spectacular trophy and a $5,500 diamond ting courtesy of daniele jewellers.

Not bad for a meagre $675 entry!

Shuffle up and deal!

Play is underway here at the final table! The clock has been wound back and play will start with blinds as below. The average stack size is 4.15 million.

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

Cometh the moment!

Good evening everyone and welcome to PokerMedia Australia’s coverage of the WPT League Sydney Championship Main Event final table!

After five – yes FIVE – long days of action here in the Pavilion Poker Room at St John’s Bowling Club just nine players remain, all with dreams of becoming Main Event champion and taking home the $90,000 top prize. The winner will also score themselves a $5,000 diamond ring and a $10,000 WPT Prime package taking them all the way to Las Vegas!

Leading the way with around 30% of all the chips in play is Emmanuel Derecho, however he has plenty of big-time experience to contend with such as 2017 APL Million champion Branko Usljebrka and 2011 Sydney Champs Main Event winner Errolyn Strang. 

It’s been a record-breaking week here in Sydney, with 748 entries creating a $448,800 prize pool.

Make sure to tune in right here from 6pm AEDT as we play down to our WPT League Sydney Championship Main Event winner!

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

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