LIVE REPORTING: 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event Day 1A

Image courtesy of The Star Gold Coast

That’s a wrap!

A total of 29 players have survived and bagged Day 1A of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event.

The top ten chip leaders features some very strong contenders, with Jason Anand standing at the half-Million chips mark, in hot form after top finishes in the recent APT Brisbane series events The Goliath and The Beast.

At the top of the field for Day 1A is Michael Falcon with 857,000 in chips, with a strong enough lead to run deep for Day 2. Does Falcon have what it takes to go all the way to the champion title and trophy?

Adrian Pacheco and Win Meng Tan are also well positioned in the counts and not far behind Anand’s half-Million chip mark. Tan, who ran deep with a 7th place finish in the WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event last year, is a very strong contender for Day 2.

Below is a short-list of the top 10 chip counts surviving Day 1A:

Michael Falcon851,000
George Archer550,000
Jason Anand501,000
Shane Thompson485,000
Adrian Pacheco474,000
Win Meng Tan466,000
Mark Ericksen393,000
Kiyo Puyat385,000
Andrew Batey301,000
Brandon Bailey282,000
Michael Falcon.

“Give me the honey!”

Mark Eriksen was feeling pretty confident after winning a hand off the current chip leader, Michael Falcon, and Jason Anand.

The flop was spread 224 with 45,000 splayed in the pot, and three runners. Anand bet 17,000 on the flop, with Eriksen and Falcon calling.

On the Q turn, action checked to Anand who bet 23,000, Eriksen called, before both players called Falcon’s raise to 58,000.

With the 3 river, action cooled off considerably as all three players checked.

Anand: 1010
Eriksen: QJ
Falcon: mucked.

Eriksen appeared relieved as he scooped the pot, saying, “Give me the honey(!)”

Michael Falcon840,000
Mark Eriksen440,000
Jason Anand376,000

Level 16: 3,000/6,000 (6,000)

Haddad enough

Over on the feature table, Sam Haddad has closed out for the night after being eliminated at the hands of Brandon Bailey who has been surely and steadily grinding through the day’s play.

Action was all in on the turn 9K35, with Sam Haddad sending the last of his stack into the middle, snap-called by Bailey.

Bailey’s J6 had already flopped the flush, with Haddad’s K8 drawing dead on the turn 5 and K river.

Michael Falcon is on a heater after calling off Patrick Meng who went all in pre UTG+1 with AQ for 70,000.

Falcon rolled up KQ which flopped the straight on a board of 10JA95, sending his intimidating chip lead soaring even higher.

Michael Falcon862,000
Brandon Bailey250,000
Sam HaddadBUSTED!
Patrick MengBUSTED!
Brandon Bailey.

Archer finds another mark

We moved back over to George Archer’s table, where the flop had already been dealt Q3K, with four runners.

Archer bet 45,000, finding a caller before Jackie Thorby moved all in, with action folding back to George as the lone caller.

Thorby was chasing nut flush with A2, needing only one more diamond to complete and beat Archer’s AK.

Unfortunately for Thorby, she bricked out as the board offered a backdoor flush to Archer instead in the form of 10 on the turn and 7 on the river, eliminating Thorby.

George Archer534,000
Jackie ThorbyBUSTED!
George Archer.

Level 15: 3,000/5,000 (5,000)

Anand cruising

After calling a short stacked opponent’s all in pre-flop for 40,000, Mark Eriksen and Jason Anand called to see a flop of 89Q.

Both players checked through to the 3 turn, with Anand calling Eriksen’s 45,000 bet. The 10 river saw Eriksen check, before folding to Anand’s 200,000 bet, leaving the action to complete between the short-stacked opponent with 40,000 on the line.

As Anand peeled over A10, his opponent simply mucked and walked away to the rail, leaving Anand to take the pot.

Jason Anand390,000
Mark Eriksen215,000
Jason Anand.

Falcon Punch

We’re seeing massive swings in chip leads as we approach the final levels of the day’s play, with another massive pot taken down.

Ken Marcum, seen at the last break topping the chip counts, led out on the 245 flop with a hefty 50,000 bet from the button, finding a call from Michael Falcon on the Hijack.

On the 3 turn, Marcum plonked 150,000 to bet and Falcon punched all in, snapped by Marcum.

Falcon: A2
Marcum: 73

Falcon had already turned the straight, with Marcum needing any club or a higher straight with a 6, instead bricking as the river closed out 9, giving Falcon the dominating chip lead over the remaining field.

Michael Falcon530,000
Ken MarcumBUSTED!
Michael Falcon.

Level 14: 2,000/4,000 (4,000)

Archer shoots down two

Having earlier built a strong chip lead, Swami Kumar was nowhere to be seen on the last round of chip counts, with his stack having dwindled down over the last few levels, having lost a big pot with Ace-Queen and losing to a bottom two-pair.

Kumar went all in for the last of his 68,500 stack holding KQ, and was tank-called by George Archer with 55.

Kumar couldn’t find a hit on the board of 310410J, with Archer’s hand improving to two-pair on the turn to seal the deal.

Not long after on the same table, Antoine Follet followed Kumar to the rail, moving all in for 38,500 and meeting Archer’s call for the heads up.

Follet’s 108 barely got a lift of wind on the flop 358, before being blown away entirely to the rail as Archer’s AQ made a backdoor nut flush on the pcn]4c[/pcn] turn and 6 river.

George Archer392,000
Antoine FolletBUSTED!
Swami KumarBUSTED!
Antoine Follet.

Attila Hunting

Attila Bognar has struck again, stealing a good chunk of change off Gary Lin for a double up. Bognar went all in for 37,500 on the flop 5K4, with Gary Lin tanking before making the call with AJ.

Bognar had already made the top pair and second nut flush with [/pcn]Kh9h[/pcn], and the 2 turn and 8 river kept Lin at bay for Bognar to scoop the double up.

Gary Lin170,000
Attila Bognar101,000
Attila Bognar.

Yay for Del Rey

“I’m a lucky guy for winning that hand!” Yann Del Rey admitted after busting Sean Ragozzini, the formidable player best known for his hot performance at the 2021 WSOP Main Event, having finished to within a whisker of the prestigious final table.

Both players went heads up pre-flop, with Ragozzini blazing ahead with cowboys KK, against Del Rey’s suited A9.

Ragozzini was making a clean run through the board 7593, but the river abruptly turned fortune’s favour to Del Rey with the A gifting him the two-outter to crack Kings.

Yann Del Rey100,000
Sean RagozziniBUSTED!
Yann Del Rey.

Level 13: 1,500/3,000 (3,000)

Quick break!

Time for one last 15-minute break for the night before we play down the last four levels to bag & tag for Day 1A.

It’s been a great start to the Opening Event for the 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast series, with a total of 191 entries taking to the felt and the prizepool already reaching $171,000.

Below is a list of the top counts amongst the field vying to finish their night on a high:

Ken Marcum355,000
Mark Eriksen313,000
Adam Rayner286,000
Anthony Maglicic280,500
Shane Thompson260,000
Kiko Puyat237,000
Mishel Anunu213,000
Gary Lin209,000
Jerome Tan208,000
Mitchell Frost174,000

No Gamble, No Future

Over on Table 8, we found Patrick Meng had jammed all in on the river, with time eventually called on Mark Eriksen who was busy deliberating over the spread of 1010A89, with various potential hands from straight, flush, two-pair, or trips to name a few.

After time was called on Eriksen, however, he queried himself aloud in soliloquy, “Do I want to gamble?” before answering himself, “Yes, I do,” to the amusement of the table, calling and rolling over 22.

Meng’s AK had him resoundly beaten, although the table was left in awe of Eriksen’s ballsy move to call.

Mark Eriksen307,000
Patrick Meng115,400
Mark Eriksen.

Sayonara, Saab

Our reporter caught the action late as Majid Saab was all in on the river for 99,400 on the board of 8Q2410. Ken Marcum called from the button.

Saab seemed to have been caught trying to steal the pot as he rolled over A9, but Marcum’s JJ held through a Queen-high board and a flush draw to the river, eliminating Saab.

Ken Marcum325,000
Majid SaabBUSTED!
Ken Marcum.

Level 12: 1,500/2,500 (2,500)

Kiko kickin’ on

Kiko Puyat is building up an impressive stack, eliminating an opponent who went all in on the river of 75AK9.

Puyat went in the tank before making a call, showing A7 for the two pair against a possible nut flush, or any higher club for the flush. The opponent well behind with only a second-top pair K6, leaving Puyat to rake in their stack.

Kiko Puyat223,700
Kiko Puyat.

Cassell cut down

More heated all-in and call action pre-flop over on Table 14, which saw Michael Clair heads up against Jennifer Cassell.

Clair: KK
Cassell: AQ

Incredibly, Clair hit a set on the first window of the flop KQ5, with Cassell’s hand improving to a set on the turn with Q but still left her stranded as it gave Clair the boat, with the 6 river as a formality.

Michael Clair100,800
Jennifer Cassell45,000

Level 11: 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

KO by Kiko

Cam Adams has busted in brutal fashion, after re-raising all in pre-flop against Kiko Puyat who didn’t miss a beat in calling.

Both players hit a set on the A89 flop, with Adam’s 88 quickly outranked by Puyat’s AA top set, and left for dead as the dealer peeled 10 and Q for the remaining streets.

Kiko Puyat139,400
Cam AdamsBUSTED!

Swami swallows more chips

Swami Kumar is on fire, collecting more chips after fiery pre-flop betting action prompted Tam Nguyen to move all in for 44,800, snapped up by Kumar.

Kumar’s QQ quickly moved out the front gate, shutting out Nguyen’s AK as the board was dealt JJ324.

Swami Kumar231,600
Tam NguyenBUSTED!
Swami Kumar.

AAyo, Daniel!

Action quickly fired up preflop after UTG+1 jammed 23,300 short stack, cut-off called, before Daniel Ao iso-shoved on the button for 85,200, forcing a tank-fold from the cut off on his right.

Ao’s monstrous AA was revealed as he went heads up against his opponent’s strongly suited KJ. The board did his opponent no favours and granted Ao a clean run through 481027.

Entries for Day 1A have now been locked out at 191 entries, playing down to level 16.

Daniel Ao131,800

Level 10: 800/1,600 (1,600)

Angel dusted

Swami Kumar has claimed another tournament life, after raising to 11,000 pre-flop from the button before slowly calling Angel Guillen’s all in for 42,700.

Guillen: KJ
Kumar: AQ

Guillen stood up from his seat as the dealer spread A92 for the flop, and with the Q turn and 2 river, walked off to join the rail.

Swami Kumar163,000
Angel GuillenBUSTED!

Whish not granted

Owen Whish has been eliminated after going all in pre for 38,000 following heavy pre-flop action with Rotus Zhang, who had woken up in the small blind with KK.

As Whish turned up AQ, he was behind Zhang’s dominating pockets, but found top pair on the flop 4A8. The lead quickly swung back to Zhang as the turn K delivered the two-outter to hold and outlast on the 3 river.

Rotus Zhang119,100
Owen WhishBUSTED!

Perry pickin’

Bert Perry went all in pre-flop for 21,100 after middle position opened the action early. Ben Turner on Lo-Jack went all in over the top for 49,400, with the action folding to sent him heads up with Perry.

Perry: QQ
Turner: AK

The dealer spread J36107, awarding the pot to Perry, his overpair winning the boost his stack very much needed. Registration remains open until the end of Level 9.

Bert Perry45,200
Ben Turner28,300

Level 9: 600/1,200 (1,200)

Dinner break counts

Quick look at the top 10 chip leaders at dinner break, in our growing field of 140 entries and with an average stack at the 70K mark:

Mark Eriksen179,000
Anthony Maglicic177,000
Sam Haddad173,000
Qais Shanasa149,000
Adam Rayner135,700
Rauran Toye134,600
Travis Endersby120,500
Adrian Pacheco119,200
Jason Giuliano118,800
Jennifer Cassell112,300

Swami Upstream

Swami Kumar has scored a double-up through Antoine Follet. Follet opened to 2,000 pre-flop, finding 3 callers before Kumar moved all in from the big blind for 42,000 over the top and Follet called.

Follet: QJ
Kumar: Q10

Both held strong suited hands, however Kumar hit early on the board and held through 610996, raking in the pot and boosting his stack back to average.

Swami Kumar94,000
Antoine Follet67,000

Attila strikes back

Jan Koss as been eliminated after moving all in pre-flop with a short stack, snapped up by Attila Bognar in late position. Koss turned over K5, which hit on the board of 10A6K7, but unfortunately for him, Bognar rivered a set with 77 to eliminate him.

Attila Bognar46,500

Up-ended by Endersby

Carlos Sabate ripped all in for 20,000 from the small blind on the flop of 1057, snapped up by Travis Endersby. Sabate had hit the top pair on the flop with K10, but Endersby’s AA were too strong and held out on the 7 and 3 river, sending Sabate to the rail.

Travis Endersby107,000
Carlos SabateBUSTED!

Level 8: 500/1,000 (1,000)

Frost warming up

Mitchell Frost has scored a double through Sam Haddad, after jamming all in on the river for 26,700 on the board of 2AK7J.

Haddad snap-called and both players rolled up their cards for the showdown, with Haddad showing QQ but Frost’s JJ spiking a set on the river to steal the pot and make a small dent in Haddad’s stack.

Sam Haddad109,100
Mitchell Frost73,000

Trim for Barba

Keying Li went all in pre-flop for 22,300 and was called by Patrick Barba who iso-shoved to take the action heads up.

Li: KK
Barba: 1010

Both players hit a full house on a spread of 79J77, with Li holding the upper hand to take the pot.

Keying Li53,000
Patrick Barba22,500

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Chuck chips up

Dylan Wayne opened from the cutoff to 7,500, called by Chuck Caris from middle position. On the flop of 43K, Chuck Caris check-called for 4,500. Both checked the 2 turn, and the J river.

Chuck Caris showed 77 for the winning hand as Wayne mucked.

Dylan Wayne65,800
Chuck Caris63,000

Ah, Ayyaz!

Steven Gluyas opened from UTG to 1,600 pre-flop, with the action folding around to the players in the blinds who called.

On the flop of A83, both blinds checked, before Gluyas bet 3,200 and only found one caller in the small blind, Ayyaz Faraz. Both players checked the 2 turn, before Faraz dropped a bet of 4,500 on the J river.

Gluyas called, before mucking as Faraz turned over A9 for the top pair.

Ayyaz Faraz57,000
Steven Gluyas53,000

Level 6: 300/600(600)

Follet follows through

Antoine Follet sent the last of his 13,400 stack all in the river, with the board spread Q23Q4. Jenny Phillips faced him for the heads up, going deep in the tank before calling.

Follet turned over KQ for the turned trips, leaving Phillips to muck her hand.

Antoine Follet60,800
Jenny Phillips11,200

Lin lines ’em up!

We crossed over to Table 12 where, incredibly, a four-way all-in had fired off in the pre-flop action. Mick Galligan limped in, Jarrod Thatcher jammed all in from the cutoff for 6,600, Gary Lin on the button raised to 12,000 before Swami Kumar went all in over the top, Galligan called behind all-in for the ride, and Lin went all in with 40,400 behind.

Swami Kumar: KK
Gary Lin: 66
Mick Galligan: AJ
Jarrod Thatcher: A4

Kumar’s Kings led through the flop 993, although the nut flush draw beckoned for Galligan’s suited-Ace Jack and improved to a higher top pair A, Galligan was gone as the river rolled a 6, leaving his nut flush dead as Lin snagged a two-outter for the boat.

Gary Lin98,000
Swami Kumar14,500
Jarrod ThatcherBUSTED!
Mick GalliganBUSTED!

Level 5: 200/500 (500)

Time for a quick break!

Our players have left their seats for their first break, so we take this opportunity to bring you a quick round of counts to see how our field of 126 players are doing.

Rauran Toye is our current chipleader, followed by Cam Adams and Jennifer Cassell, the reigning Star Gold Coast Main Event Champion.

Rauran Toye190,000
Cam Adams153,800
Jennifer Cassell153,000
Michael Gregurek136,000
Dimitrios Theodorikakos99,000
Dylan Wayne93,200
Cam Lopez91,400
Kade Mills79,800
Ricky Krosen72,200
Mark Eriksen71,500

Angelic fold

A lot of interest in one hand preflop on table 16 saw a nice pot building up, with two players folding after Angel Guillen 3-bet to 6,500 and was called by Majid Saab on the button.

On the flop of 6A6, Guillen fired out a bet of 12,000 and was called by Saab. The 2 turn quickly saw things heat up after Guillen bet 15,000, and was answered with an all-in shove from Saab for 32,000.

Guillen mulled the decision over as players from the other tables stood up for the break, before ultimately folding.

Saab turned to Guillen and complimented him on his good fold, saying “You’re better than that,” as he revealed 22 for the turned full house.

Majid Saab62,800
Angel Guillen18,500
Angel Guillen

Kumar coming up

Our reporter caught the action on the river where the dealer had laid AAJ93, and the pot had built up to approximately 20,000.

Swami Kumar bet 16,600 on the river, and was snap-called by Jarrod Thatcher, who reeled as Kumar revealed JJ for the flopped boat, and quickly mucked his hand.

Swami Kumar58,000
Jarrod Thatcher17,800

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

Batey busts two

Action has heated up on table 17 with a three-way all-in ending in a double elimination. The board was spread K3Q8, with Cam Adams raising before seat 8 was all in, and Andrew Batey went all in over the top, covering the best stack by a margin of 10,000.

Batey: 33
Adams: KQ
Opponent: A8

Batey scooped the pot, eliminating Cam Adams and another opponent, moving his stack to almost four times the current average stack.

Andrew Batey160,000
Cam AdamsBUSTED!

Haddad it coming

Sam Haddad has emerged as one of the early eliminations from the field which has now grown to 119 entries. Our reporter arrived to the cards spread Q7826 on the felt, and received the recollection of the hand from the table.

Haddad was all in on the turn for 19,100 with A8 and Rauran Toye played for the pot heads up, his KQ having already hit top pair to bust Haddad.

Rauran Toye103,000
Sam HaddadBUSTED!
Rauran Toye.

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

Busy Mills

Some interesting pre-flop action building up on table 16 with Kade Mills opening to 500 UTG+1 for 500, raised by the button to 1,000 and 3-bet from the small blind to 2,500, before Mills 4-bet to 7,600 and found a caller in the small blind, Jenny Phillips.

The flop spread 693, and Phillips check-called 5,800. The the 9 turn only saw both players check, before the 8 river saw Phillips check and slowly call Mills’ bet of 11,700.

Mills turned over QQ, prompting Philips to muck her hand and leaving her short with only a quarter of the average stack.

Kade Mills80,000
Jenny Phillips13,500

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

A taste for Tang

Our reporter arrived to a QA4 flop already laid on the table, with an approximate 8,000 pot. Gary Lin fired out a 2,000 bet from middle position, called by Richard Tang in the cut off. Both players checked down the 6 turn, and Q river.

Lin: JJ

Lin’s pocket Jacks had built a nice pot pre-flop, but Tang’s top pair on the flop which improved to two-pair on the river was enough to scoop the pot.

Richard Tang44,000
Gary Lin33,200

Stars at the Star

Our reporter has spotted a few stars on the felt today, including Ali Zebarjad, Carlos Youssef, Charles Tsai, along with Andrej Senic and Johnathon Levy, who both ran hot here at Star Gold Coast in the WSOP International Circuit series at the end of last year.

Sam Haddad, Elise Depauw and Chuck Caris are also amongst the 96 entries now seated, along with Dylan Wayne, and Adrian Pacheco, who was amongst the group of Australians who played in the inaugural WPT World Championship in Las Vegas late last year.

Level 1: 100/100 (100)

Get Ready, Get Set, Gold Coast!

Hello and welcome to the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event Day 1A, live from the poker room here at The Star Gold Coast! The room lights are glittering, the arenas are decked in colourful WPT red and blue – get ready for what is going to be an absolute block buster series, jam-packed with 14 events across the 12-day festival. With tournament buy-ins ranging from $330 to $10,000, there’s something for everyone!

PMA will be providing live update and articles throughout the course of the series, including the Opening Event, the $5K Challenge, Mystery Bounty Day 2, the $3K PLO Day 2 and the $10K Super High Roller, as well as social media coverage for the Main Event, which starts next Thursday. For the full series schedule, click here.

76 players have been seated as the cards were shuffled up and dealt, and we are now officially underway in the opening event!

The field will undergo 16 levels at 30 minutes each through until the end of play today, with some breaks in between to stretch their legs and have a breather.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBig Blind Ante

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