Congratulations Brandon Bailey ($70,000*), 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Even Champion!
After one of the most action-packed final tables we’ve ever witnessed, Brandon Bailey has broken through for his biggest career score, defeating Tu Le heads-up for $70,000 in the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event!
The affable Queenslander has made quite a splash on the local poker scene since 2020, winning his first major mid-tier title at the APT Brisbane series last year, but has quickly risen through the ranks to feature regularly in high stakes tournaments, his previous best being a runner-up finish for $21K in the WPT League Championship at the Seagulls Club in Tweed Heads.
Speaking with PokerMedia Australia in the wake of his victory, Bailey was quick to admit that he “ran really good”, having picked up pocket Kings at least six or seven times over the last two days and hitting a set or trips with four of them, but it still felt even better to win it all.
Bailey was also full of praise for Tu Le, who he said was a “really nice guy” and was only too happy to share the prize money with him after a see-sawing heads-up battle that lasted more than two hours.
A fantastic result all round, and one that will be celebrated long into the night. From all of us here at PMA, congratulations Brandon!
WPT PRIME GOLD COAST OPENING EVENT: FINAL TABLE RESULTS ($1,000 buy-in, 445 entries, 57 players paid)*
And so, our time in the Opening Event is now officially at an end, but stay with us at PokerMedia Australia as we continue to bring you more action from the WPT Prime Gold Coast series when we return tomorrow from 11:30am AEST for start of the $5K Challenge.
Our team will then bring you our recap of all the other side event results on Wednesday, before we’re joined once again by our friends from the World Poker Tour on Thursday as they bring you live updates for the WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event, alongside our coverage of Day 2 of the Mystery Bounty.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Discord for all that’s happening on and around the Aussie felt, but until then, from all of us here at The Star Gold Coast, it’s ‘bye for now!
Tu Le eliminated in 2nd place ($69,503*)
With the pace of play moving so quickly after the dinner break, it didn’t take long at all to crown our Opening Event Champion.
Although the counts had only been just brought back to virtually even, Brandon Bailey turned the screws on Tu Le, chipping back up to more than a 2:1 chip lead before the two players decided to renegotiate on a new deal that would see only a small difference between second and first.
All that was left to do now was bring forth a result, and that they did, with Bailey jamming in from the button pre-flop before Le called short.
Le was in great shape to double up, but Bailey’s supporters went nuts after the dealer produced the flop of 10♠A♣4♣. The 3♣ on the turn left Le with just one out, but the river 9♦ completed the board and Le had to settle for second place.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a winner! PokerMedia Australia will be back shortly to wrap this up – stay tuned!
There appears to be no end in sight, with Tu Le doubling through Brandon Bailey twice more as this heads-up battle enters into its third hour.
Earlier, Le jammed from the button with 6♦5♦ and Bailey snap-called after a quick beat holding A♥K♦, however Le rivered two pair on the board of 5♠7♥J♠8♠J♥ and took it down.
A short time later, Le raised to 1,000,000 from the button and then called after Bailey shoved out of the big blind.
Bailey no longer on the rocks
Brandon Bailey has found two successive double-ups through Tu Le to snatch back the chip lead as we return to heads-up action in the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event.
In one of the first hands after the break, Bailey open-shoved from the button holding K♠Q♣ and found himself in a fair fight against Le’s A♠2♥, but given that Bailey had a King in his hand, the result was all but foretold, with Bailey doubling through after flopping top pair on the board of 7♣5♠K♥3♠6♦.
A short time later, Bailey completed and Le checked to see a flop of 3♣8♦6♥; Le check-raised to 1.1 million after Bailey’s bet of 400,000, Bailey shoved and Le quickly called.
Bailey’s better two pair stayed ahead as the turn and river completed 5♠, 2♣, increasing his stack to almost 14 million.
Level 34: 200,000/400,000 (400,000)
Our players are now on a 30-minute dinner break.
Last laugh for Le?
After a short break was taken by our heads-up players, Star Poker Gold Coast staff have informed PMA that Tu Le and Brandon Bailey have agreed to flatten the payouts slightly, with first place now worth $77,001, while second will take home $62,502.
There’s still plenty of fireworks between the pair though, with Le having just scored a massive double through Bailey as we head towards the next break.
In earlier action, Le raised to 600,000 from the button and Bailey called out of the big blind before leading out for 500,000 after the flop of 4♠2♦2♣. Le raised it up to 1.4 million, but Bailey forced the fold after coming back with a re-raise of 2.8 million.
A short time later, Bailey raised to 600,000 from the button, Le jammed and Bailey snap-called.
Le improved to two pair after the dealer spread the board of 10♠5♠6♣2♠5♦, and couldn’t help but laugh after a round of Bronx boos came up from Bailey’s rail.
Bailey battles back
This heads-up battle has taken another twist, with Brandon Bailey taking back the chip lead over Tu Le just after the start of the new level.
Bailey completed from the button and Le checked the big blind before leading out for 350,000 on the flop of 5♠7♥10♠.
Bailey called, and then Le check-called to Bailey’s bet of 500,000 on the turn of the 4♥, but check-folded to Bailey’s open of 1 million river after the river 10♥.
Level 33: 150,000/300,000 (300,000)
Le applies more pressure
Having chipped back up to as much as 9 million, Brandon Bailey has dropped another pot to Tu Le as this heads-up battle continues.
Bailey completed from the button and Le checked his option on the big blind before both players checked down the flop of 7♠5♣10♦. Le then opened for 350,000 and Bailey called on the turn of the 8♥, and then the action repeated after Le’s bet of 800,000 after the river 9♠.
Le showed down 6♠2♣ for the straight and Bailey shook his head before mucking his cards.
Brandon bailed up
Plenty of small-ball being played between our two heads-up combatants, but Tu Le has managed get one through against Brandon Bailey to extend his chip lead.
After Le raised from the button to 500,000, Bailey defended his big blind before check-calling Le’s bet of 450,000 after the flop of 3♠5♦J♠.
The action then repeated after Le’s bet of 800,000 on the turn of the 6♣, but then after Bailey checked again on the river 2♣, Le fired out a bet of 2 million.
Bailey look puzzled, shaking his head and began cutting down his chips as he thought it over.
“He raised pre,” Bailey muttered, “but if I win this hand I’ll be in a good position though.”
It may not have been though, as Bailey eventually decided to let his hand go.
Zheming Zhu eliminated in 3rd place ($36,978)
Down to his last 1.5 million in chips, Zheming Zhu ripped them all in from the button, Tu Le folded his small blind and Brandon Bailey snap-called.
A fantastic run from Zhu, who is now almost $37,000 richer for his third place finish – and with that, we’re now officially heads-up for the 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event title!
Level 32: 125,000/250,000 (250,000)
Et tu, Le?
Zheming Zhu is now down to just eight big blinds after losing a massive post against Tu Le.
After Zhu opened to 400,000 from the button, Le three-bet it to 1.05 million from the small blind to force the fold from Bailey on the big blind before Zhu four-bet-shoved. Le snap-called.
As a result, Le has now taken back the chip lead as we head into Level 32. What a battle!
Zhu no longer snoozin’
It’s been a heck of a grind for Zheming Zhu, who has been playing quite passively up until this point, but he’s managed to bring the chip counts back to almost even as we continue three-handed at this final table.
In earlier action, Tu Le folded on the button and Brandon Bailey completed the small blind before Zhu checked his option in the big blind before Bailey check-called Zhu’s bet of 200,000 after the flop of A♠2♣9♥.
Both players then checked the 3♠ on the turn before Bailey led out for 400,000 after the river 7♣. Zhu thought about it for a moment before he made the call, showing down 5♠4♠ for the wheel, which was more than enough to scoop the pot.
A few hands later, Bailey completed the small and Zhu checked the big, with both players checking the flop of K♣4♠5♥ before Bailey opened for 300,000 on the turn of the 10♥. Zhu called, but was forced into the tank against after Bailey fired 1,000,000 straight after the river 7♥.
Zhu eventually made the call, tabling 10♠7♦ for two pair against Bailey’s busted straight draw with Q♣J♣. Ship it!
Level 31: 100,000/200,000 (200,000)
Break it down, count ’em up
Our final three players are now on another 15-minute break, which allowed us to get a complete round of counts. Back soon!
Olé, Tu Le!
Still no shortage of action at this final table, but Tu Le is not going anywhere anytime soon after finding two big double-ups to keep himself in contention for the Opening Event title.
Earlier, Le open-shoved from the button with 4♠4♥ and Brandon Bailey folded his small blind before Zheming Zhu tank-called out the big blind holding A♣10♥. Le would win the crucial flip though, hitting a boat on the turn after the dealer spread the board of Q♣4♦9♥Q♠8♥.
A few hands later, Bailey folded on the button before Zhu raised to 400,000 from the small blind; Le defended his big blind and then called Zhu’s bet of 200,000 after the flop of J♥A♠7♣, but after Zhu led out for 450,000 on the turn of the 9♦, he was forced to fold after Le shoved for 2.6 million.
The button went around once more, and this time Zhu completed the small blind before Le raised to 500,000 from the big blind. Zhu called, and then check-called to Le’s bet of 400,000 after the flop of 9♣2♥4♦ before both players checked the turn of the 10♠.
Zhu then fired out 600,000 on the river 10♣ and Le quickly called, turning over A♠9♦, which had Zhu’s Q♥9♠ outkicked.
Adrian Pacheco eliminated in 4th place ($25,102)
It was another valiant effort from Adrian Pacheco, but ‘The Illawarra Warrior’ has just fallen in fourth place to Brandon Bailey, who is now holds almost half the chips in play.
Down to his last 1.15 million in chips, Pacheco open-shoved with A♣5♣, but Bailey woke up with K♥K♣ and drilled a set on the flop of 10♣K♠6♣.
Despite picking up the nut flush draw, the repeat 6♥ on the turn gave Bailey the book and left Pacheco drawing dead, with the river 10♥ merely a formality.
Level 30: 75,000/150,000 (150,000)
Anthony Cierco eliminated in 5th place ($19,287)
Down to the final four in this Opening Event, with Anthony Cierco’s remaining chips swallowed up by Zheming Zhu.
Action folded to Zhu who open-shoved out of the small blind with A♥6♣, but despite Cierco getting the last of his money in good holding A♦K♥, Zhu jagged a six on the turn to make two pair on the board of 5♥10♦10♠6♥2♥. C’est la vie.
Nil Esteve eliminated in 6th place ($16,032)
Nil Esteve has now departed in sixth place from the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event finale, giving up the remainder of his chips to Anthony Cierco.
Down to half-a-million in chips after being crippled by Brandon Bailey, Esteve elected to min-raise out of the small blind in the very next hand, but put himself into the hands of fate after Cierco ripped in over the top from the big blind.
Poker gods: Merciless.
Down to Nil … almost
Brandon Bailey has now well and truly taken back the lead, moving past seven million in chips after crippling Nil Esteve.
Earlier, action folded to Pacheco who raised to 250,000 from the small blind and Bailey defended before he check-called Pacheco’s continuation bet of 125,000 after the flop of 4♥Q♠A♥. Both players then checked the turn of the K♠ before Pacheco led out for 200,000 on the river 6♦. Bailey called, but found that his J♠4♠ was best against Pacheco’s 5♥3♠.
“I wasn’t sure which way that was going!” Bailey chuckled.
There was no doubt as to the new direction that Bailey’s stack was taking, however, as despite getting his money in behind with A♣9♣, both he and his supporters went ballistic after he turned an Ace on the board of 5♥Q♦2♠A♠8♥ to crack Esteve’s K♠K♥.
“It’s bin day, baby!” Jason Anand cried as he high-fived Bailey from the rail.
From Nil to riches
Nil Esteve had been relatively quiet at this final table up until this point, but he’s managed to find a double-up through Brandon Bailey after the clock ticked over to Level 29.
Just before the blinds went up, action folded around to Esteve who min-raised from the small blind before Anthony Cierco shoved from the big blind for 1.925 million. With both players’ stack at around the same amount, Esteve thought better of it and let his hand go.
It didn’t take long to find that better spot though, as Esteve would then come out with UTG raise a short time later before action folded to Bailey, who three-bet-jammed out of the small blind. Esteve snap-called.
Level 29: 75,000/125,000 (125,000)
No monkey business here
Brandon Bailey has now taken over as the new chip leader final table as we approach the 29th level of play.
In earlier action, play folded around to Tu Le who raised to 500,000 out of the small blind; Adrian Pacheco defended his big blind, but then both players checked through the board of 9♦10♣4♣A♦K♥ before Lu showed K♦3♥, which was enough to take the pot down.
A few hands later, Bailey and Zheming Zhu clashed in a big pot, with action through to fourth street on a board of 10♥5♣4♠K♠; Bailey checked and Zhu led out for 550,000, but folded after Bailey check-raised all-in. Bailey flashed the K♦ before adding his newly acquired chips to his stack.
Andrew Batey eliminated in 7th place ($13,419)
Down to six now at this final table, with Andrew Batey having been felted by Zheming Zhu as play rolls on here at The Star Gold Coast.
The action folded around to Zhu on the button who open-shoved for 3.45 million effective before Batey called short out of the big blind for his last 950,000.
Zhu then filled up on the flop of A♣8♠A♥, which held as the turn and river blanked out 9♦, 6♣ to confirm Batey as our seventh place finisher.
Le trips up Zhu
Tu Le has chipped up to 2.5 million through Zheming Zhu in one of the first hands after the break as the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event continues.
Le min-raised to 200,000 from under the gun and Zhu was the only caller from the cut-off, making it heads-up to the flop of A♦6♠8♦; Zhu check-called Le’s bet of 175,000, and then both players checked the turn of the A♥ before Zhu checked his option again after the river 2♥.
Le fired out 375,000, which prompted Zhu to ask the dealer to spread the pot before making the call, only to muck after Le rolled over A♠10♦ for three-of-a-kind.
Updated chip counts
Level 28: 50,000/100,000 (100,000)
Our remaining seven players are now on a 15-minute break.
David Luong eliminated in 8th place ($10,811)
David Luong’s Opening Event has come to a close after being felted in one of the last hands before the break at the hands of Brandon Bailey.
After Luong opened to 160,000 from early position, the action folded around to Bailey who defended his big blind to go heads-up to a flop of 10♥J♦8♥. Bailey then check-raised to 250,000 after Luong c-bet of 125,000, and then led out for 200,000 on the turn of the J♥.
Luong made the call, but then after Bailey checked the K♣, Luong open-shoved for his last 1,405,000.
Bailey asked for a count, and after the chips were cut down, it was determined that Bailey had him covered by 120,000.
Bailey tried to chat up Luong, but he stared hard down into the centre of the felt, not moving a muscle.
“I’ve got him stacked, I reckon!” Bailey exclaimed. “I call!”
Trips for Bailey, and for Luong, a trip to the cage to collect his $10K and change for his eighth place finish.
Pacheco chipping up
WPT League Ambassador Adrian Pacheco has been making some big moves, and as a result has now chipped up to more than two million.
In one of his most recent hands at this final table, action folded to Tu Le who min-clicked to 160,000 from the cut-off before Pacheco flatted from the button to make it heads-up to a flop of 4♣4♠J♥.
Le opened for 175,000, Pacheco raised to 325,000 and Le called, then Le check-called to Pacheco’s bet of 200,000 after the turn of the 6♥ before checking his option again on the river J♠.
Pacheco open-shoved for his last 735,000, which put Le into the tank for several minutes before sending his hand into the muck. Pacheco was clearly happy to have gotten that one through, showing his K♠10♣ before raking in the pot.
Bailey vs Batey
Brandon Bailey has secured a second double-up through Andrew Batey as action continues at this final table.
Batey defended his big blind after a pre-flop raise of 350,000 from Bailey out of the cut-off to go head-up to a flop of 7♣2♦6♠; Batey then check-snap-called Bailey’s all-in bet of 825,000 and the cards were tabled.
Batey was then left dead on the turn after Bailey hit the set, with the board completing K♥, J♦.
Level 27: 40,000/80,000 (80,000)
Zheming Zhu is now the first player to reach the five-million chip mark after taking a huge pot of Anthony Cierco as we move into the 27th level of play.
Action folded around to Cierco who opened to 125,000 from the hijack before Zhu defended his big blind, making it heads-up to the flop of 10♥6♥4♦.
Zhu check-called to Cierco’s post-flop bet of 225,000, then both players checked the 8♥ on the turn before Zhu led out for 200,000 on the river 10♣. After about three minutes in the tank, Cierco elected to fold.
Lawrence Stephenson eliminated in 9th place ($8,202)
Lawrence Stephenson has been confirmed as the first elimination from the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event final table, collecting $8,202 for his ninth place finish.
Stephenson jammed his last 420,000 effective from early position and action then folded around to Batey who called out of the big blind.
Stephenson did pair up his four on the flop, but it wasn’t enough as the board completed 7♣4♥K♥8♥3♠ to give Batey the scoop and the ladder up into six figures.
Gettin’ choppy out there
Plenty of all-in and calls already at this final table, but still nine-handed as we move into Level 26.
In earlier action, Brandon Bailey open-shoved from under the gun for his last 855,000 and action folded around to Tu Le, who isolated from the button, forcing the others out of the way before the cards were tabled.
Then after Bailey managed to double-up through Andrew Batey, Adrian Pacheco and Zheming Zhu got their chips into the middle, with Pacheco turning up A♦5♣, marginally ahead of Zhu’s A♠3♦, however the crowd groaned after the dealer confirmed the result by the turn on a board of 8♣J♦10♠A♣2♥.
Gotta love a chopportunity!
Level 26: 30,000/60,000 (60,000)
Routine stuff from Le
The final table of this Opening Event is already producing the goods, with Tu Le extracting maximum value against David Luong.
Play folded around to Luong who raised to 200,000 from the cut-off; Le defended his big blind, then check-called Luong’s c-bet of 125,000 after the flop of Q♥A♠K♥.
The action then repeated after Luong’s bet of 375,000 on the turn of the 7♣, but Le then fired out 525,000 on the river of the J♥.
Luong called and showed 6♥5♥, but Le quickly tabled J♥10♥. Royal flush!
Shuffle up and deal!
Cards are now back in the air for the final table of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event!
After the completion of this level, we’ll be playing through 45-minute levels once again until we have ourselves a winner tonight.
|Level||Small Blind||Big Blind||BB Ante|
Level 25: 25,000/50,000 (50,000)
Time to close it out!
From wherever you’re watching in Australia, New Zealand, or around the world, good morning and welcome back to The Star Gold Coast for the final table of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event!
After what was a short, action-packed eight hours of play yesterday, our field of 445 runners has been whittled down to just nine.
Zheming Zhu returns as the overall chip leader, setting himself up after eliminating Patrick Barba in 10th place yesterday to start this finale with almost four million in chips. He’s followed closely by David Luong – who has been drawn to Zhu’s immediate left – but this final table is jam-packed full of talent, including French crusher Anthony Cierco, WPT League Ambassador Adrian Pacheco and the affable Brandon Bailey, who won’t be monkeying around today as he chases his first Tier One title.
WPT PRIME GOLD COAST OPENING EVENT: FINAL TABLE
Play will resume at 11:30am AEST with 22m 21s remaining in Level 25 (25,000/50,000/50,000); all players have locked up a minimum of $8,202, while tonight’s champion will take home a whopping $82,001.
FINAL TABLE PAYOUTS
Play will be getting underway soon, so stay with us here at PokerMedia Australia as we bring you every bet, bluff and bink right through until the final river falls!