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

Ben Turner leads after Day 1B, that’s a wrap!

Ladies and gents, Day 1B of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event is in the can, and having flown under the radar up until now, Ben Turner has finished on top of the counts with 543,000!

Not far behind is Zheming Zhu, who bagged up 468,000, while Meerwais Hussaini (381,000), Kenny Wang (372,000) and Wayne Clinch (370,000) completed the top five.

Plenty of big names also inside the top 10, including Charles Tsai and Adam Thaggard, who featured prominently throughout the course of the day, along with reigning Star Gold Coast Champs Main Event winner Jennifer Cassell, Luke ‘Psyduck’ McCredie and Aroha Ngata.

In all, 48 players survived today’s flight, giving us a total of 77 players who will be returning tomorrow for Day 2. The full seat draw will be made available on the Star Gold Coast Facebook page and on our Live Reporting blog for Day 2.

Ben Turner – Day 1B chip leader


Ben Turner543,000
Zheming Zhu468,000
Meerwais Hussaini381,000
Guangyu (Kenny) Wang372,000
Wayne Clinch370,000
Charles Tsai366,000
Adam Thaggard344,000
Jennifer Cassell336,000
Luke McCredie328,000
Aroha Ngata324,000

And that concludes our broadcast day! Join the PMA team once again from 11:30am AEST tomorrow (Sunday) as we continue our coverage of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event, but until then, from all of us here in Queensland, it’s ‘bye for now!

Bag ’em!

After floor staff called for three more hands, our remaining players have now bagged and tagged, and it’s Ben Turner who has emerged as today’s chip leader!

We’ll have our wrap-up of today’s proceedings coming your way soon. Stay with us!

“Some shall be pardoned, and some punished”

A flurry of action in the closing stages of Day 1B have seen both Charles Tsai and Adam Thaggard both able to take their curtain call, while Mark Montague took his final bow.

Tsai was the first player sighted by our team to move beyond 300,000, crippling Monil Gohil down to less than 30K after his K10 “did a Fetineiai” and flopped Broadway on the board of QJA23 against Gohil’s AQ.

Montague then took a stab with his remaining chips with Q9, however Adam Thaggard’s holding of AK found another Ace on the board of A7J82.

Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.

Charles Tsai367,000
Adam Thaggard267,000
Monil Gohil27,000
Mark MontagueBUSTED!

None for Nuno

Having been as low as 5,100 in chips, Nuno Da Silva managed to run it back up to as much as 150,000, but has just fallen at the hands of Dean Stevens.

Da Silva put the last of his money in holding AQ, however found no love against Stevens’ 44, with neither hand improving on the board of 97J35.

Dean Stevens163,000
Nuno Da SilvaBUSTED!

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

Kwok sets up, holds on

Nigel Kwok has found a timely double up through Mose Jang as we moved into the 16th and final level of Day 1B.

The money was all in the middle pre-flop with Kwok at risk.

Kwok: 77
Jang: 33

Board: 109847

Mose Jang94,000
Nigel Kwok59,000
Nigel Kwok

Hoek broke

After delivering a crippling blow in an earlier hand, Zac Fetineiai has scooped the remainder of Steven Hoek’s chips.

Hoek put his tournament life on the line with KJ and found himself trailing Fetineiai’s AK, which remarkably, hammered Broadway against Hoek again on the flop of QJ10!

The J brought a glimmer of hope, however the river 6 was a brick and Hoek’s day was done.

Zac Fetineiai149,000
Steven HoekBUSTED!
Steven Hoek

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

Rotus routed

Just as the blinds ticked over into the penultimate level of the night, Rotus Zhang moved his remaining chips into the middle pre-flop with the holding of 98, only to see Anthony Harach call him down with KJ.

Harach turned a pair on the board of A37K, but although Zhang picked up outs to a chop, the river 2 wasn’t one of them.

Anthony Harach149,000
Rotus ZhangBUSTED!
Anthony Harach

Stayin’ alive

Plenty of double-ups around the felt here at The Star Gold Coast, which is appropriate given that the eponymous Bee Gees song is now playing through the overhead speakers.

Earlier, Marimko Vulic doubled through Luke McCredie to break the 100K barrier after getting his money in good with KK, which led all the way down the board of 103627 against McCredie’s AQ.

Zac Fetineiai then found himself in an all-or-nothing coin flip, holding AK against Steven Hoek’s 55, however Fetineiai drilled Broadway on the flop and held after the dealer fanned out a board of Q10JJQ.

Luke McCredie244,500
Zac Fetineiai121,000
Marimko Vulic103,000
Steven Hoek80,500
Zac Fetineiai

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

Kobbing clobbered, Berdugo busto

Two more major eliminations from the Opening Event, with Jeison Berdugo and Karsten Kobbing both sent to the rail as the clock ticked over into Level 14.

Kobbing was the first to depart after moving his last 44,000 into the middle pre-flop with AJ, only to then see Mario Faure shove over the top with AQ, which rivered two pair on the board of 4K94Q.

Anthony Cierco’s stack then moved up to almost 300,000 after he sent Jeison Berdugo packing, with the Colombian crusher’s AJ losing the do-or-die flip against the 99 of Le Concasseur, after the board was spread K4102K.

Anthony Cierco293,000
Mario Faure154,000
Jeison BerdugoBUSTED!
Karsten KobbingBUSTED!
Anthony Cierco

Vasquez vanquished

Andres Vasquez – who won the WPT Australia $550 Action Clock here at The Star Gold Coast last year – has just been eliminated from this Opening Event over the space of two hands.

In earlier action, Vasquez found himself amongst a huge four-way all-in-pre-flop showdown and our reporter was there capture the action.

Jim Giannoukos: QQ
Vasquez: JJ
Jenny Phillips: A4
Opponent: 75

Board: 3K423

As a result of that hand, Jenny Phillips was sent to the rail, but Vasquez followed her soon after moving his remaining 49,000 into the middle with A8, but was edged out by Charles Tsai’s A9 after the board came down JJ23Q.

Jim Giannoukos278,000
Charles Tsai245,000
Andres VasquezBUSTED!
Jenny PhillipsBUSTED!

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

Break time!

Our players are now on their final 15-minute break of the evening.

Charles in charge

Charles Tsai has been doing some serious damage, eliminating both Vera Milinkovic and Adrian Sportelli out on the feature table to move up to more than 200,000 in chips!

All the money was in the middle before the flop and our reporter was on the scene to capture the action.

Tsai: 44
Sportelli: AJ
Milinkovic: A8

Sportelli got the best of it on the flop of 3J10, with Milinkovic also hitting a pair on the turn of the 8, but it was clear that The Force was strong with Tsai.

River: 4

Charles Tsai215,400
Vera MilinkovicBUSTED!
Adrian SportelliBUSTED!

Double stuff

Another couple of short-stack double-ups, with Ching Hsin and Lucas Ribic both keeping themselves alive in this Opening Event as we head towards the last break of the night.

Hsin was the first beneficiary, doubling through Meerwais Hussaini after his Q2 made two pair on the board of 72886 against Hussain’s A5.

Ribic then found himself in a do-or-die flip holding AK against Owen Whish’s 1010, but took a commanding lead after hitting top-top on the flop of 4AQ, which then made the better two pair as the board completed 9, 4.

On an unrelated note, does anyone else have a hankering for Oreos?

Meerwais Hussaini92,500
Lucas Ribic73,000
Owen Whish70,800
Ching Hsin44,800

The all-important numbers

Our friends at Star Poker Gold Coast have already crunched the numbers, and they’ve confirmed that a total of 455 entries have been taken in for this year’s WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event. From the $409,500 prize pool, the top 57 players will be paid out a minimum of $1,495, while our champion will take out a top prize of $82,001. The full list of payout dividends will be made available early tomorrow morning.

And on the subject of numbers, there’s also been some very important ones revealed today, as it was announced that the WPT Australia Main Tour stop will be returning to The Star Gold Coast, with the full series dates (subject to final regulatory approval) confirmed for 14-27 September.

It’s also been confirmed that the WPT Australia Main Event buy-in will be increased to $8,000, which is sure to bring even more of the world’s best players back to Aussie shores. The full schedule will be released at a later date, but in the meantime, follow the Star Poker Gold Coast Facebook page or visit to find out more.

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

Adams smashed

Mark Montague has woken up with a monster to eliminate Cam Adams as we move into the final level of play before the break.

Adams had moved in all in before the flop with 66, but ran head-first into Montague’s JJ, which flopped a set and held on the board of JQA35.

Mark Montague125,400
Cam AdamsBUSTED!
Mark Montague

Not over yet for Omer

Omer Silajdzija and David Croucher have both kept their Opening Event chances alive as we now move into the 11th level of play here in at The Star Gold Coast.

In earlier action, Silajdzija found himself all-in-pre-flop with AK against Mladen Strinovic, who called off with A9, but Silajdzia never lost his lead, making the bigger two pair on the runout of 9K477.

David Croucher then found himself in a flip for his tournament life against Richard Tang, but his 55 held up against Tang’s AQ, with no change to either hand after the board was spread 63974.

Mladen Strinovic151,000
Richard Tang74,500
Omer Silajdzija54,000
David Croucher40,400
Omer Silajdzija

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

No Sizzler tonight

Liam Murray has been amongst those to have hit the rail, taken out at the hands of Ren Wang.

All the money had gone into the middle pre-flop; Murray’s A10 needed some help against Wang’s JJ, but although he found it on the flop of 32A, Wang hooked the set on the turn with the J, which held firm despite Murray making two pair with the river 10.

Ren Wang63,000
Liam MurrayBUSTED!
Ren Wang

Nil and Majid on the move

Nil Esteve and Majid Saab are now both on six figures as Opening Event Day 1B action continues through to Level 10.

In an earlier hand before the blinds went up, Serge Mazza managed to triple up against Esteve after winning a do-or-die flip with AK, which turned the bigger two pair on the board of 366KQ against Esteve’s 22.

But although it wasn’t a big chunk of change lost by Esteve, the same couldn’t be said for Da Silva after he called Saab’s all-in bet of 50,200 on the river with a board of AJ102Q, only to muck as soon as Saab rolled up K3 for the Ace-high straight.

Nil Esteve136,800
Majid Saab123,400
Serge Mazza16,200
Nuno Da Silva5,100
Nuno Da Silva

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

Bocero goes bang

Marcelo Bocero has rocketed up the leader board after scoring two successive eliminations as we move into the ninth level of play.

In earlier action, an opponent raised to 2,600 in early position and another player called before Ehsan Amiri re-raised to 5,000. Bocero four-bet it to 14,000 and Amiri was the only caller, making it heads-up to the flop of 892. Bocero then shoved and Amiri called short.

Bocero: JJ
Amiri: J10

Amiri missed his open-ender and Bocero improved to two pair after the turn and river ran out 6, 2, but only moments after Amiri hit the rail, Bocero was all-in again, Bocero found himself up calling off Rene Pesur’s all-in bet pre-flop.

Bocero: AJ
Pesur: KQ

Despite rivering two pair, Pesur’s tournament life was ended after Bocero turned Broadway on the board of AQ10K10.

Marcelo Bocero176,800
Rene PesurBUSTED!
Ehsan AmiriBUSTED!
Marcelo Bocero

Cotton on

Siana (Sharna) Cotton has managed to secure a full double through Jesper Henrich in one of the first hands after the dinner break.

All the money was in the middle pre-flop; Cotton had got her chips in with 1010, but found herself ahead of Henrich’s 88, with neither hand improving on the board of A5QJ2.

Jesper Henrich157,300
Siana Cotton21,800
Siana Cotton

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

Dinner break!

Our players are now heading out of the tournament area to get themselves fed and watered. Back in half an hour!

Tam slammed

Tam Nguyen has been eliminated by Yitian Fan as we approached the dinner break in this Opening Event.

Our reporter caught the action heads-up between Nguyen and Yitian Fan to a flop of 6Q5; Nguyen had moved all-in with KQ, but Fan had him outkicked with his holding of AQ, which held after the turn and river ran out J, 4.

Yitian Fan147,500
Tam NguyenBUSTED!

Berdugo back from the brink

After a UTG raise of 2,200, Jeison Berdugo three-bet-shoved for his last 10,400 from the +1 position. The action then folded around to the player on the who called, as did the UTG player before they check-called the button’s bet of 7,500 after the flop of AK8.

Both players then checked the 5 on the turn before the UTG player led out for 15,000 on the river 5. The button flat-called.

Berdugo: 88
Button: AQ

A chop for the sidepot, while Berdugo scooped the main pot. Vamooooooooo!

Jeison Berdugo38,800
Jeison Berdugo

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


Despite getting a small double-up in the previous level, Joel Perez has now fallen at the hands of Ben Pe.

All the money was in the middle pre-flop and we got there as they went to showdown.

Pe: AK
Perez: AQ

Board: 3K9104

Ben Pe38,200
Joel PerezBUSTED!

Ria sets up, Zenenos zilched

Plenty of action over on Table 12, with Francesco Ria managing to score a double-up before Chris Zenenos was eliminated.

Our reporter picked up action as Ria and Mick Galligan went to a showdown after a flop of J32; Galligan had hit top-top with his AJ to move ahead of Ria’s 44, but Ria turned a set and held as the board completed 4, 9.

A short time later, Ben Thomas got the last of his money in good holding QQ, and filled up against Zenenos to send him to the rail, despite Zenenos flopping a flush on the board of Q6476.

Francesco Ria87,100
Mick Galligan26,100
Ben Thomas23,800
Chris ZenenosBUSTED!

Level 7: 400/800 (800)

Faraz felted

Over on Table 23, the cry of “all in, call” went up as Jim Giannoukos and Faraz Ayyaz rolled their cards up with the board showing 73510.

Giannoukos had bet enough to put Ayyaz all-in, but although he did take a long time to think it over, that decision would be his last, as Faraz’s A7 was no good against Giannnoukos’ 55.

River: 6. Brick.

Jim Giannoukos87,100
Faraz AyyazBUSTED!

Perez picks up a pot

Joel Perez has managed to secure a crucial double against Ruiyang Wang as action continues in Day 1B of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event.

All the money was in the middle before the flop; Perez had got his money in with A8, but he won the fair fight against Wang’s KQ after neither hand improved on the board of 910259.

Ruiyang Wang151,100
Joel Perez19,800

Sportelli gets some Coffey

After an early position raise of 1,500, the action folded to Patrick who three-bet it to 4,500; Sportelli called, as did the original raiser to make it three-handed to a flop of 8KA.

The early position player checked their option to Coffey who then continued for 3,500. Sportelli raised to 11,000, forcing the fold from the OP and Coffey called before check-calling Sportelli’s bet of 25,000 after the turn of the 6.

Coffey check-folded, however, after Sportelli open-shoved for his last 25,200 on the river of the 4.

Adrian Sportelli108,000
Patrick Coffey79,600

Level 6: 300/600 (600)

Kalin calls with Kings

Another elimination has seen Michael Kalin move closer to the 100K mark. Edward Kodlia moved all in with the best possible starting hard AA, and met Kalin heads up as he snapped with KK.

Kalin hit the set on the flop, 48K, with the J and 2 offering no improvement for Kodlia who was shut out and sent to the rail.

Michael Kalin98,000
Edward KodliaBUSTED!

Credit for McCredie

Anthony Harach went all in preflop with a little over 1BB at 1,200, and Luke McCredie raised to 4,800, with the action folding around to make it heads up.

Although Harach held KJ, he was outmatched by McCredie’s AJ, and the board didn’t do him any favours as it ran 63676.

Luke McCredie80,000
Anthony HarachBUSTED!

Level 5: 300/500 (500)


Players have left the felt for a quick 15 minute break, so we bring you a quick round of the top counts in our growing field of 177 entries:

Ruiyang Wang122,400
Luke McCredie121,400
Wayne Clinch114,300
Malden Strinovic109,600
Mario Faure106,800
Marcelo Bocero92,700
Adrian Sportelli83,300
Majid Saab82,600
Kenny Wang77,300
Anthony Cierco67,000

It’s A-Me, Mario

Another player all in pre-flop after running their stack short, this time in the form of Qais Shanasa who moved his 10,900 chips into the middle and found 2 callers.

On the flop of 5910, Mario Faure and another player checked to the J turn and 10 river.

Faure turned up Q10 for the set, against Shanasa’s 66 pockets which fell behind on the flop and never recovered, and the third player simply mucked as Faure scooped the pot to move past the 100K chips mark.

Mario Faure130,000
Qais ShanasaBUSTED!

Haven’t seen the last of Ye

Sheng Ye went all in on button with a very short stack of 2,700 and was called off by Lee Holtz in the blinds. Ye’s A8 faced up against Holtz’s J10 for the showdown.

Neither player hit on the board 4364Q, with Ye’s Ace-high holding for a double up to continue and build up more chips.

Lee Holtz44,600
Sheng Ye6,000
Sheng Ye.

Level 4: 200/400 (400)

Cierco scoops

Cierco opened to 800 UTG, with Lee Holtz calling on the button. On the flop of J8K, Cierco bet 1,200, then called Holtz’s raise to 3,200 after a beat.

On the 6 turn, both players checked to the 5 river, where Cierco bet 1,500 and Holtz called. Cierco showed KQ, leaving Holtz to muck his hand.

Anthony Cierco43,800
Lee Holtz22,900

Don’t go chasing water-Faulls

After pre-flop action built the pot to 3,600 with four runners, Jacob Faull bet 800 on the flop 6810, before action quickly heated up as Nick Bazin raised to 3,500, and Sam Haddad went all in for 8,700.

Faull called as Bazin eventually folded, with the remaining streets played through J and Q to eliminate Haddad holding 67 and give Faull the win with his JJ spiking the set on the turn.

Jacob Faull52,700
Nick Bazin34,400
Sam HaddadBUSTED!

Level 3: 200/300 (300)

Wayne’s world

Our reporter caught the action on the river, with a spread of 1010685 laid up and roughly 8,000 in the pot. Wayne Clinch bet 10,500, putting Andrej Senic in the tank, before he called.

Clinch showed AK for the nut flush, prompting Senic to muck, chipping Clinch up ahead of the average stack.

Wayne Clinch67,100
Andrej Senic23,300

Hearts for Hussey

Ian Hussey is trying to stay alive after finding himself extremely short with only 2,000 in chips. Hussey went all in, called by Adrian Sportelli, before Sportelli called a further raise to 7,300 from Nick Bazin.

On the flop 3Q5 Sportelli check-folded to Bazin’s 6,000, leaving the action heads up between Bazin’s AJ and Hussey’s AK. The turn peeled a Q, and with the 3 river, Hussey improved to a nut flush to triple up and stay in the game.

Adrian Sportelli97,200
Nick Bazin41,200
Ian Hussey8,600

Bonte busts one

Liang He has emerged as one of the early eliminations, after moving all in pre-flop with a short stack and was snapped up by Lauren Bonte whose stack covered.

Bonte: 77

He: QJ

Bonte spiked a set in the first window, improving to a straight on a board of 796A8.

Lauren Bonte39,200
Lauren Bonte.

Level 2: 100/200 (200)

Good Sport-elli

A bit of friendly action in the early levels after a pot was built to 15,200 amongst three runners on a spread of 7K8Q5 .

Adrian Sportelli bet 10,000 on the river to fish out a call, but was only met with a fold and a tank-fold from Jacob Faull. Sportelli in good sport showed QQ.

Adrian Sportelli84,000
Jacob Faull31,600
Adrian Sportelli.

A Thornhill in the side

Leo Kamiya’s stack has been left severely short after a clash with Kayne Thornhill.

Our reporter found the action all in on the river, blind-vs-blind, with the board spread 87J68, and about 35,000 built into the pot.

Kamiya was all in with 1010, but ran smack-bang into Thornhill who snapped with AA overpair for the top-two pair, leaving Kamiya with only 2,000.

Kayne Thornhill67,800
Leo Kamiya2,000

A list of who’s who

There is a strong group of star players amongst our growing field of 119 entries and counting. Know that face, but just can’t recall the name? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

Kenny Wang and Sheng Ye have been spotted, along with Yang Lei, the reigning champion of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event, a very strong contender and one to watch this series.

Ehsan Amiri has also been found on the felt, fresh from his performance in the Pokerstars Carribean Adventure Main Event where he cashed.

Level 1: 100/100 (100)

Let’s go, Gold Coast!

Hello and welcome to the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event Day 1B, live from the poker room here at The Star Gold Coast! We are ready to bring you the action from the felt as the cards fall, and after a lot of swings late in yesterday’s Day 1A action we’re excited to see how our field develops today.

91 players have been seated as the cards were shuffled up and dealt, and we are now officially underway!

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 relax. Late registration and re-entries will be open until the end of Level 9.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

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