LIVE REPORTING: 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge Day 2

Congratulations Angel Guillen ($182,594), 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge Champion!

After enduring a two-hour long heads-up battle, Angel Guillen has clinched the 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge title, defeating a field of 139 entries for $182,594 in prize money!

Guillen – who came oh-so-close to winning last year’s WPT Australia Opening Event – locked horns with 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem for over two hours, with the chip lead changing hands six times before Guillen finally broke through for his first major victory on Aussie soil.

It’s a fact that’s hard to believe, considering that Guillen has been living down under for such a long time, but the Mexican-born pro has achieved results all across the the globe, building a poker tournament CV worth more than USD $2.1 million.

Still, as PokerMedia Australia knows first-hand, there may have been no prouder moment in Guillen’s career than when he was coaching his wife and WPT Anchor Lynn Gilmartin in preparation for last year’s WPT World Championship Main Event in Las Vegas, where she was one of three Aussie players to have reached the money.

And for Guillen, the support of family and friends means everything, even if it’s from afar.

“Lynn just called me (from Melbourne), she’s so happy!” Guillen said. “It always feels like she’s here, even if she’s not. I also had Lynn’s parents here, and my friends … I didn’t feel like she had missed this at all.”

No doubt that it’ll be one helluva fiesta when she arrives though – and we are totally here for it! From all of us here at PMA, congratulations Angel!

WPT PRIME GOLD COAST $5K CHALLENGE: FINAL TABLE RESULTS ($5,000 buy-in, 139 entries, 18 players paid)

1stAngel GuillenMexico$182,594
2ndJoe HachemAustralia$114,981
3rdAdrian PachecoAustralia$68,270
4thMata YeAustralia$41,158
5thJoseph VinecombeAustralia$32,012
6thZhimeng ZhuAustralia$26,785
7thJason SampsonAustralia$23,192
8thMarco PerriAustralia$20,612
9thBrandon BaileyAustralia$18,260
*Full results available below or at

This concludes our broadcast day, but the PMA Live Reporting Team will be back on Thursday to bring you updates from Day 2 of the Mystery Bounty, along with our social media and feature article coverage of the WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event, in partnership with the international crew from

Be sure to follow us for everything that’s happening on and around the felt right through until the final river falls, but until next time, from all of us here at The Star Gold Coast, it’s ‘bye for now!

Joe Hachem eliminated in 2nd place ($114,981)

We promised that today’s finale would be one for the ages, and it truly delivered on all fronts, with the epic heads-up battle between Joe Hachem and Angel Guillen coming to an end shortly before 12:30am local time.

Hachem raised from the button to 1.2 million before Guillen announced he was all in. Joe short-called and the hands were revealed.

Guillen: AQ
Hachem: K9

The A appeared in the window, with the 4 and 2 completed the flop, but Hachem was left drawing dead on the turn as the board completed 7, 5.

Joe HachemBUSTED!

A phenomenal effort from the Australian Poker Hall of Famer, who takes home $114,981 for second place. Well played, sir!

PokerMedia Australia will return soon to wrap up tonight’s proceedings – stick around and we’ll be right back!

Joe Hachem

Swings and roundabouts

The chip lead in this heads-up battle has now changed hands for a sixth time after Angel Guillen doubled up twice through Joe Hachem.

Earlier, Hachem shoved from the button with A9 and found himself ahead of Guillen, who had undercalled with K5, but Guillen hit two pair on the board of JQK4J to increase his stack to 9.55 million.

All the money went into the middle again two hands later, with Guillen again at risk, but although Hachem picked up a flush draw on the board 672310 with his holding of JJ, Guillen took it down comfortably with AA.

Angel Guillen18,500,000
Joe Hachem10,200,000

Critical hit for Guillen

Joe Hachem has taken another big pot off Angel Guillen to now hold more than three-quarters of the chips in play as we moved into Level 27.

Joe Hachem raised to 1.5 million from the button and Angel Guillen called before he check-called Hachem’s c-bet of 1 million after the flop of 39Q.

Guillen then check-called again after Hachem fired out 2 million on the turn of the 5 before checking again after the river K. Hachem moved all-in for his last 6.175 million and Guillen tank-called, but was no good against Hachem’s QQ.

Pass the sugar!

Joe Hachem21,900,000
Angel Guillen5,900,000
Joe Hachem

Level 27: 300,000/600,000 (600,000)

WPT Prime Gold Coast Player of the Festival update

As shared earlier on the PokerMedia Australia Facebook page, the team at the WPT and Star Poker Gold Coast have now updated the Player of the Festival leader board after four events, and prior to today, Brandon Bailey and Benn McAuley were all tied up for the lead.

Given the results that both Bailey and Adrian Pacheco have registered in the $5K Challenge, however, expect some big changes once things wrap up tonight and as we head into the second half of the schedule.

In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for our results round-up of all the other completed side events tomorrow, before we return to The Star Gold Coast for Day 2 of the Mystery Bounty and bring you social media coverage of the Main Event alongside live updates from our friends at


eq. 1stBrandon Bailey600
eq. 1stBenn McAuley600
3rdAdrian Sportelli550
4thJarrod Thatcher500
5thTu Le450
6thMichel Bouskila425
7thZheming Zhu375
8thDaniel Austin350
9thZongchi He315
eq. 10thAdrian Pacheco300
eq. 10thMark Lawton300
eq. 10thDaniel Smiljanic300
13thPeter Apostolou275
eq. 14thAnthony Cierco250
eq. 14thBen Turner250
16thNathanial Hutton225
eq. 17thNil Esteve200
eq. 17thNoman Mirza200
eq. 19thPeter Sun175
eq. 19thJeison Berdugo175
*Updated as of 28 February 2022.

Back and forth

The chip lead has swung back into Angel Guillen’s favour as action continues heads-up in the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge.

Guillen completed and Hachem checked to see a flop of 347 before leading out for 500,000. Guillen called, and did so again after Hachem bet 1.2 million after the turn of the 4.

Hachem checked again on the river Q, but quickly folded after Guillen’s bet of 2.8 million.

Angel Guillen17,125,000
Joe Hachem10,675,000

Hachem strikes back

Joe Hachem has returned fire against Angel Guillen to steal back the lead in this heads-up battle for the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge title.

Hachem completed from the button and Guillen checked before check-calling to Hachem’s bet after the flop of 5Q6.

The action repeated after Hachem’s bet of 1.4 million on the turn of the 5, but Guillen check-folded to Hachem’s bet of 2.5 millon after the river J.

Joe Hachem17,775,000
Angel Guillen10,025,000
Joe Hachem

Level 26: 250,000/500,000 (500,000)

Evening things out

Another big pot for Angel Guillen has now resulted in him taking back the chip lead as we head into Level 26.

Guillen completed the button, Hachem raised to 1.4 million and Guillen called before calling Hachem’s bet of 800,000 after the flop of 3Q4.

Hachem fired another 1.6 million after the turn of the K and Guillen called, but then after the dealer produced the river 8, Hachem open-shoved.

Guillen snap-called and rolled over KK for the set, and Hachem sent his hand into the muck.

Angel Guillen14,800,000
Joe Hachem13,000,000
Angel Guillen

Guillen gets one back

Angel Guillen has recovered a small portion from Joe Hachem as this $5K Challenge heads-up battle heats up.

Guillen completed from the button and Hachem checked before both players passed after the flop of 8K6.

Hachem then check-called to Guillen’s bet of 400,000 on the turn of the 3, and the action repeated after Guillen fired out 2 million straight on the river Q, but Hachem mucked his hand after Guillen tabled 73.

Joe Hachem19,850,000
Angel Guillen8,850,000

Advantage, Hachem

Joe Hachem has now taken control in this heads-up battle to move up to more than 20 million in chips against Angel Guillen.

Hachem raised to 1,000,000 on the button and Guillen called before leading out for 600,000 after the flop of 943.

Guillen then check-called Hachem’s bet of 1.4 million after the turn of the 9, but check-folded as soon as Hachem bet 3.9 million on the river 5.

Joe Hachem21,950,000
Angel Guillen6,750,000

Adrian Pacheco eliminated in 3rd place ($68,270)

We are now officially heads-up in the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge after Adrian Pacheco bowed out in third place.

In one of the first hands back from the break, Pacheco moved all-in pre-flop with A9, but chopped against Joe Hachem’s A7 after the runout of 3K3104.

Pacheco then opened from the button and Guillen folded before Hachem three-bet out of the small blind. Pacheco moved all-in and Hachem snap-called.

Hachem: JJ
Pacheco: A5

Board: 76365

Joe Hachem17,625,000
Angel Guillen10,575,000
Adrian PachecoBUSTED!
Adrian Pacheco

Level 25: 200,000/400,000 (400,000)

Mexican stand-off

A south-of-the-border battle – of sorts – has been waged between Mexico City’s Angel Guillen and Melbourne’s Joe Hachem as the clock ticked over into the next break of the night.

Round 1!

After Pacheco folded on the button, Guillen completed and Hachem checked his option before leading out after a flop of A510.

Guillen flatted, and then Hachem check-called Guillen’s bet of 1,250,000 after the turn of the 2 before the both checked the river 2, but Hachem mucked after showing down A8.

Round 2!

Hachem opened from the button, Pacheco folded and Guillen flatted before check-calling Hachem’s two bets of 450,000 after the flop of 99Q and the turn of the Q before check-folding to Hachem’s third shell of 1.5 million after river Q.

Round 3!

Pacheco folded the button and Guillen raised to 900,000 before Hachem called before leading out for 750,000 after the flop of 47K.

Guillen called, and the action repeated after Hachem opened for 1.5 million on the turn of the 2 before both players checked the river 6, with Hachem’s 75 good enough to take it down.

Our final three players are now on another 15-minute break. Back soon!

Joe Hachem11,675,000
Angel Guillen10,250,000
Adrian Pacheco5,400,000

Pacheco bounces back

Adrian Pacheco copped a hit against Angel Guillen, but was able to recover with a full double through Joe Hachem as three-handed action rolls on at this final table.

After Guillen raised to 600,000 from the button, Hachem folded his small blind before Pacheco three-bet to 1,000,000 from the big blind. Guillen called, then called Pacheco’s c-bet of 300,000 after the flop of K4K.

Pacheco then fired 1.45 million after the turn of the 10 and again Guillen called before both players checked the river 8.

“Ace high,” declared Pacheco, only to muck after Guillen showed down 107.

In the very next hand, Pacheco shoved from the small blind after Hachem raised from the button to force Guillen out of the way before going to showdown.

Hachem: 55
Pacheco: KQ

Pacheco won the flip for his tournament life after he paired his Queen on the flop of AQ9, which held after the turn and river ran out 3, J.

Angel Guillen11,000,000
Joe Hachem9,450,000
Adrian Pacheco7,350,000
Angel Guillen

Mata Ye eliminated in 4th place ($41,158)

After taking a huge hit to his stack against Angel Guillen, Mata Ye’s run in the $5K Challenge was ended by Joe Hachem to bring us down to our final three!

In the last few minutes before the blinds went up, Guillen opened from the button and Ye defended his big blind before both players checked the flop of 344. Ye then opened on the turn of the 7 and Guillen called before both players checked the river 8, with Guillen’s A8 best against Ye’s QJ.

Down to around 2.3 million after that hand, it didn’t take long for Ye to get them all-in, with Hachem calling him down.

Hachem: A7
Ye: 97

Board: A76QK

Joe Hachem10,350,000
Angel Guillen10,300,000
Adrian Pacheco7,150,000
Mata Ye

Level 24: 150,000/300,000 (300,000)

Joseph Vinecombe eliminated in 5th place ($32,012)

After being crippled in an earlier hand by Angel Guillen, Joseph Vinecombe had the last of his chips taken by Joe Hachem to end his tournament run in fifth place.

In earlier action, Vinecombe raised to 400,000 from the cut-off and Mata Ye folded on the button before Adrian Pacheco called out the small blind. Guillen took a moment, and then announced he was all in; Vinecombe called and Pacheco folded.

Guillen: KK
Vinecombe: AJ

“Nice hand!” Vinecombe exclaimed before the dealer spread a board of 857104.

Down to his last 1,350,000 in chips, Vinecombe ripped them in a short time later with A7, but lost the fair fight against Hachem’s J8 which hooked up a pair on the river on the board of 410Q6J.

Down to four!

Angel Guillen7,700,000
Joe Hachem7,250,000
Joseph VinecombeBUSTED!
Joseph Vinecombe

10 million!

Adrian Pacheco has now hit the magic milestone of 10 million chips as action continues five-handed in the $5K Challenge final table.

Earlier, the action folded to Pacheco who completed his small blind before Angel Guillen checked his option in the big blind to see a flop of 747. Pacheco check-called Guillen’s c-bet of 150,000, then led out for 600,000 after the turn of the 9.

Guillen smooth-called, and then both players checked the river 6 before Pacheco showed down JJ, which was enough to take the pot down.

A short time later, Joe Hachem raised to 400,000 and Pacheco defended his big blind before check-calling Hachem’s second shell of 400,000 after the flop of 7310, but check-folded to Hachem’s all-in bet of 1.2 million after the turn of the 2.

Adrian Pacheco10,100,000
Angel Guillen4,000,000
Joe Hachem3,100,000
Adrian Pacheco

Level 23: 100,000/200,000 (200,000)

Zhimeng Zhu eliminated in 6th place ($20,612)

Now down to five in the $5K Challenge, with Zhimeng Zhu felted by Adrian Pacheco just before the price of poker went up.

Zhu min-clicked to 300,000 before play folded around to Pacheco, who raised to 1.1 million from the cut-off. The others got out of the way before Zhu four-bet shoved, but Pacheco beat him into the pot.

Pacheco: JJ
Zhu: 99

Board: 410263

Adrian Pacheco8,500,000
Zhimeng ZhuBUSTED!
Zhimeng Zhu

Peaks and troughs

Zheming Zhu has managed to find a double through Joe Hachem to stay alive after being crippled by Mata Ye.

In earlier action, action folded to Zhu who completed the small blind before Ye checked his option in the big blind to see a flop of Q89. Zhu check-called after Ye’s bet of 300,000, then checked again after dealer produced the turn of the A.

Ye moved all-in for a touch over 2 million and after about a minute or so, Zhu made the call.

Zhu: 106
Ye: 98

Ye’s two pair improved after turn and river repeated A, A, leaving Zhu with 1.125 million, which he shoved into the middle from the button in the very next hand after Hachem raised to 300,000 from UTG+1. Hachem called and their hands were tabled.

Zhu: AK
Hachem: QJ

Both players paired up on the board of J4K86, but Zhu’s Kings ensured the full double.

Mata Ye5,150,000
Zheming Zhu2,500,000
Joe Hachem2,500,000

Pacheco chips up

Adrian Pacheco has now increased his stack to more than 6.5 million as action in the $5K Challenge final table continues.

After Pacheco raised to 300,000 from the +1 position, the action folded around to Joseph Vinecombe who called from the small blind, as did Zheming Zhu from the big blind to make it three handed to a flop of 1076.

The blinds checked to Pacheco who opened for 150,000; Vinecombe folded, but after Zhu check-raised to 650,000, Pacheco re-raised to 1.45 million. Zhu flat-called, only to then check-fold to Pacheco’s bet of 1 million after the turn of the J.

Adrian Pacheco6,525,000
Zheming Zhu3,550,000

Updated chip counts

Angel GuillenMexico6,145,00049
Joseph VinecombeAustralia5,650,00045
Zheming ZhuAustralia5,525,00044
Adrian PachecoAustralia4,320,00034
Joe HachemAustralia3,495,00026
Mata YeAustralia2,660,00021

Level 22: 75,000/150,000 (150,000)

Break time!

Our players are now on another 15-minute break. Counts incoming!

Jason Sampson eliminated in 7th place ($20,612)

Just before we reached the end of the blind level, the action folded around to Mata Ye who min-raised to 250,00 from the cut-off before Jason Sampson moved all-in from the button.

Adrian Pacheco folded his small blind, and Angel Guillen took a beat before he iso-shoved out the big blind, forcing Ye out of the way before the cards were tabled.

Sampson: 22
Guillen: AQ

Board: 8A710Q

And just like that, we’re down to six!

Angel Guillen6,145,000
Jason SampsonBUSTED!
Jason Sampson

Marco Perri eliminated in 8th place ($20,612)

Marco Perri has collected a tidy $20K and change for his eighth place finish in the $5K Challenge.

Action folded to Perri who open-shoved out of middle position before it went around to Mata, who was the only caller out of the small blind.

Perri showed down Q9 and found himself trailing Ye’s AQ, but despite picking up a flush draw after the flop of 743, the turn and river J, 8 and we now have seven players remaining.

Mata Ye3,225,000
Marco PerriBUSTED!
Marco Perri

Brandon Bailey eliminated in 9th place ($18,260)

Joseph Vinecombe has now taken over the chip lead at this final table after eliminating Brandon Bailey in ninth place.

Action folded to Vinecombe who min-clicked from the cut-off before Bailey shoved from the button with 33.

Vinecombe snap-called and rolled up 99,which hit the better two pair on the board of Q22QA.

Joseph Vinecombe6,200,000
Brandon BaileyBUSTED!
Brandon Bailey

Mata draws first blood

In the very first hand of the final table, the action folded around Mata Ye who open shoved out of the small blind before Jason Sampson called from the big blind.

Sampson: 33
Ye: Q3

Board: 5QQKK

A full house and a full double for Ye, who now moves up to more than 3.5 million in chips after that hand.

Mata Ye3,575,000
Jason Sampson3,160,000

Level 21: 60,000/120,000 (120,000)

WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge final table

The clock was paused with 2m 40m second remaining in the previous level as our final table was formed, and after the numbers were crunched and the official final table portrait taken, we are now already back underway.

From all of us at PokerMedia Australia, we wish all our final tablists the very best of luck!

1Mata YeAustralia930,0009
2Jason SampsonAustralia4,650,00047
3Adrian PachecoAustralia3,820,00038
4Angel GuillenMexico3,760,00038
5Marco PerriAustralia1,275,00013
6Joe HachemAustralia3,570,00036
7Joseph VinecombeAustralia4,155,00042
8Brandon BaileyAustralia2,655,00027
9Zheming ZhuAustralia3,475,00035

Emmanuel Seal eliminated in 10th place ($16,006)

Out on Table 9, Vinecombe raised to 200,000 from the cut-off before Seal ripped in his last 700,000 from the button, forcing Joe Hachem and Adrian Pacheco out of the blinds.

“Be nice to each other!” Hachem quipped.

Vinecombe: KK
Seal: A8

Board: KA75K

Quads for Vinecombe, a $16K payday for Seal and our $5K Challenge final table has now been set! We’ll be back shortly with the official final line-up shortly.

Joseph Vinecombe4,100,000
Emmanuel ‘Curly’ SealBUSTED!
Emmanuel ‘Curly’ Seal

Anthony Hachem eliminated in 11th place ($16,006)

Only moments after the two Joe’s clashed on Table 9, the cry of “all-in call” went up from the feature table, where we saw Anthony Hachem at risk against Jason Sampson.

Sampson: AQ
Hachem: A5

The most senior of the Hachems is now the last one standing out of the trio, after Sampson filled up against Anthony on the board of 6K6QQ.

Play has now reverted back to hand-for-hand with only 10 players remaining.

Jason Sampson4,200,000
Anthony HachemBUSTED!
Anthony Hachem

Joe-Joe a-go-go

Over on Table 9, the action folded around to Joseph Vinecombe who raised to 200,000; Joe Hachem called, and then check-called Vinecombe’s c-bet of 200,000 after the flop of 5QA.

The action repeated after Vinecombe’s bet of 425,000 after the turn of the K, but Hachem then check-folded to Vinecombe’s open-shove of 1.195 million after the river 8. Vinecombe flashed the J before raking in the pot.

Joe Hachem3,100,000
Josepeh Vinecombe2,900,000


Angel Guillen has now padded his stack, moving up to almost 3.5 million after doubling through Marco Perri.

After Perri raised from middle position, Guillen ripped in his stack of 1.59 million from the cut-off, forcing the others out of the way before the cards were tabled.

Guillen: AA
Marco: KK

Board: 74104J. Vamos!

Angel Guillen3,430,000
Marco Perri2,185,000

Straight for Zhu

From UTG+1, Zheming Zhu raised to 200,000 and found one caller in Mata Ye from the button to go heads-up to a flop of 5109.

Zhu opened for 300,000 and Ye called, which prompted the dealer to bring forth the turn of the 4. Zhu then open-shoved and Ye snap-called.

Ye: 99
Zhu: J8

Ye had set himself up, but incredibly, Zhu completed his open-ender with the river 7 to secure the full double!

Zheming Zhu3,450,000
Mata Ye1,975,000

Level 20: 50,000/100,000 (100,000)

Vinecombe back in the hunt

Joseph Vinecombe has found a timely double through Emmanuel ‘Curly’ Seal as the clock ticked down into the 20th level of play.

Vinecombe put himself at risk with J5, but although he found himself well behind Seal’s AQ, he was hooked up with a pair after the flop of 4J2.

‘Curly’ then caught a wheel draw with the 3 on the turn, but Vinecombe’s hand held up after the dealer completed the board with the river 8.

Joseph Vinecombe2,280,000
Emmanuel ‘Curly’ Seal1,620,000

Leo Kamiya eliminated in 12th place ($16,006)

Down to 11 in the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge now, after Leo Kamiya was taken out in brutal fashion against Jason Sampson on the feature table.

Action folded around to Sampson who open-shoved out of the small blind with 75 before Kamiya called short from the big blind to find himself ahead holding AK.

Kamiya was outdrawn, however, as Sampson went on to finish with two pair after the runout of 4J5QQ. Ouch.

Jason Sampson2,180,000
Leo KamiyaBUSTED!
Leo Kamiya

Chip counts at the break

Adrian Pacheco4,215,000
Marco Perri3,420,000
Emanuel ‘Curly’ Seal2,720,000
Joe Hachem2,655,000
Brandon Bailey2,635,000
Zhifan Ye2,325,000
Anthony Hachem2,310,000
Joseph Vinecombe1,780,000
Jason Sampson1,565,000
Angel Guillen1,540,000
Zheming Zhu1,420,000
Leo Kamiya1,115,000

Level 19: 40,000/80,000 (80,000)

Dinner break!

Our players are now on a 30-minute dinner break. Back soon with another full round of counts!

Daniel Hachem eliminated in 13th place ($13,883)

WPT League Ambassador Adrian Pacheco is now our new chip leader after taking out Daniel Hachem in 13th place.

Hachem got the last of his money in before the flop holding AQ, but Pacheco called him down with AK and drilled Broadway on the flop of QJ10.

Hachem was then left drawing to a chop with the 5 on the turn, but the river 2 was a brick and we are now down to 12!

Adrian Pacheco4,200,000
Daniel HachemBUSTED!
Daniel Hachem

Chao Duan eliminated in 14th place ($13,883)

Joe Hachem has picked up another elimination, taking out Chao Duan as we approach the next break.

We picked up the action on the river heads-up between Hachem and Duan on a board of 84672; Hachem had moved all-in on the river and Duan was in the tank for a good long while before the clock was called.

Within the last 10 seconds, Duan made a crying call and showed Q9, but Hachem had him beat with KK.

Joe Hachem2,700,000
Chao DuanBUSTED!
Chao Duan

Gautam Dhingra eliminated in 15th place ($13,883)

Gautam Dhingra was the first to ladder up after being sent to the rail in 15th place by WPT Prime Gold Coast Opening Event Champion Brandon Bailey.

Once again, all the money was in the middle pre-flop and we got there as the two players went to showdown.

Bailey: KK
Dhingra: AJ

Board: 68546

Brandon Bailey2,775,000
Gautam DhingraBUSTED!
Gautam Dhingra

Sean Ragozzini eliminated in 16th place ($11,923)

At the same time that Gary Lin was eliminated, Sean Ragozzini got the last of his money in the middle pre-flop before he was called off by Adrian Pacheco.

Ragozzini was at risk with AK, but was left for dead against Pacheco’s QQ after he turned a set on the board of 784Q10.

Pay jump!

Adrian Pacheco2,300,000
Sean RagozziniBUSTED!
Sean Ragozzini

Gary Lin eliminated in 17th place ($11,923)

Action has been crazy since the bubble has burst, with Gary Lin taken out by Joe Hachem.

As the 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion recalled, action folded around to him before he ripped from the small blind holding K-10 off-suit; Lin undercalled with A-7o, and another 10 on the flop was enough to lock it up.

Joe Hachem1,020,000

Liam O’Rourke eliminated in 18th place ($11,923)

Liam O’Rourke was our first player to cash out from the $5K Challenge, felted at the hands of Zheming Zhu.

O’Rourke moved the last of his money in pre-flop with 22, however he ran head-first into the 1010 of Zhu, which made the bigger two pair on the board of AK5K4.

Zheming Zhu2,220,000
Liam O’RourkeBUSTED!

Level 18: 30,000/60,000 (60,000)

Apostolou picked off

It only took one hand, but we’re now officially in the money after Peter Apostolou was sent to the rail by Anthony Hachem!

Action folded around to Hachem who raised from the button pre-flop before Apostolou shoved out of the big blind. Hachem quickly called and the cards were tabled.

Hachem: 77
Apostolou: A6

Board: Q2Q34

Anthony Hachem2,525,000
Peter ApostolouBUSTED!

Adios, Argyros

We’re now on the bubble in the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge after Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros was eliminated by Zheming Zhu.

After an early position raise from Zhu, the action folded around to Argyros who three-bet-shoved from the button holding A9. Zhu quickly called and showed 44, which held after a clean runout of 1057K6

With the field now down to 19 players, the tournament clock has been paused in preparation for hand-for-hand play.

Zheming Zhu1,030,000
Billy ‘The Croc’ ArgyrosBUSTED!

Parallel universe?

It’s been mixed fortunes for two of our Aussie poker veterans, with Billy Argyros and Emmanuel Seal both getting busy with just 20 players remaining.

On the feature table, Argyros jammed over the top of Jason Sampson’s all-in to force the rest of the table out of the way before going to showdown; Argyros was ahead with AQ against Sampson’s A7, but Sampson doubled through after flopping middle pair on the board of 874106.

It was an eerily similar story for Seal, however the ending was a lot happier as his AQ held against Chao Duan’s A7 after the dealer fanned out a board of AK3510.

Chao Duan2,93,000
Jason Sampson1,250,000
Emmanuel ‘Curly’ Seal1,030,000
Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros240,000

Zhongchi gonged

Zongchi He has just been eliminated by Australian Poker Hall of Fame Legend Joe Hachem as we move closer to the money in the $5K Challenge.

Once again, all the money was in the middle pre-flop and our reporter was on the scene to capture the showdown.

Hachem: 99
He: AJ

Board: 3AQ9K

Joe Hachem1,030,000
Zongchi HeBUSTED!

Level 17: 25,000/50,000 (50,000)

Fang banged up, woe for Mo

Two more eliminations as we approach Level 17, with Powen Fang and Mo Haidary now having hit the rail.

In earlier action, Fang moved all-in pre-flop with 99 and found himself flipping against Daniel Hachem’s AK; Fang moved further ahead after the flop of 8QQ, but Hachem Greenstein’d the better two pair after the the board completed 3, A.

Haidary was then given the old heave-ho, losing the flip for his tournament life after Leo Kamiya’s 1010 drilled a set on the board of 1025JQ against Haidary’s AQ.

Leo Kamiya1,475,000
Daniel Hachem1,400,000
Mo HaidaryBUSTED!
Powen FangBUSTED!

Croc bites Wright

Another pre-flop all-in and call on Table 6, with Nick Wright putting himself at-risk with K10 against Billy Argyros, who called with J10.

No change after the flop of 989, however ‘The Croc’ snapped up Wright’s remaining chips after he rivered the flush as the turn and river ran out A, 4.

Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros1,100,000
Nick WrightBUSTED!

Best bust

Sadly, any dreams of a repeat victory in this event have been dashed for Gavin Best, who has been eliminated from the feature table by Anthony Hachem.

All the money was in the middle after the flop of 6KJ and we picked up the action as the two players went to showdown.

Hachem: AK
Best: J8

Both players had paired up, but Hachem had the best of it, and then freerolled to the nut flush as the board completed 5, 8.

Anthony Hachem2,535,000
Gavin BestBUSTED!

Updated chip counts

Our players are now back from break, and it’s Marco Perri who now tops the counts with almost 2.8 million. We can also confirm that Alex Le, Ken Demlakian, Robert Damelian and reigning WSOP Circuit Gold Coast Champion Po Hu have all been eliminated.

Marco Perri2,745,000
Chao Duan2,685,000
Anthony Hachem2,250,000
Sean Ragozzini1,775,000
Brandon Bailey1,700,000
Adrian Pacheco1,450,000
Gary Lin1,435,000
Leo Kamiya1,285,000
Zheming Zhu1,210,000
Joe Hachem1,140,000
Gautam Dhingra1,080,000
Joseph Vinecombe1,055,000
Jason Sampson895,000
Liam O’Rourke880,000
Daniel Hachem845,000
Powen Fang735,000
Zhifan Ye670,000
Mo Haidary670,000
Emanuel ‘Curly’ Seal625,000
Zongchi He470,000
Gavin Best435,000
Angel Guillen425,000
Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros420,000
Peter Apostolou390,000
Nick Wright300,000

Level 16: 20,000/40,000 (40,000)

Break it up!

Our 25 remaining players are now on a 15-minute break. Full round of counts incoming!

O’Rourke’s alright

After being crippled down to less than 200K, Liam O’Rourke has found another late double against Leo Kamiya to keep himself in this tournament as we approach the first break.

After Kamiya opened to 60,000, O’Rourke three-bet it to 150,000, which then prompted Kamiya to come back with a four-bet shove before O’Rourke undercalled.

O’Rourke: QQ
Kamiya: QJ

Board: 39434

Leo Kamiya935,000
Liam O’Rourke630,000

Mata and Wright on the double

A couple more big double-ups as the $5K Challenge rolls on, with Mata Ye now back up past one million in chips.

Earlier, Ye got his money in good pre-flop with AK against Liam O’Rourke, who called him down with AJ, but Ye completed the full double after neither hand improved on the board of 48264.

Then over on the feature table, Peter Apostolou was crippled after he lost the fair fight holding KJ against Wright’s A5, which jagged two pair on the river after the dealer fanned out a board of 79745.

Mata Ye1,055,000
Nick Wright515,000
Peter Apostolou185,000
Liam O’Rourke180,000

Vasquez vanquished

A massive pot for Adrian Pacheco has resulted in the WPT League Illawarra chipping up to more than a million and all but eliminating Andreas Vasquez.

All the money was in the middle pre-flop and we got there as the cards were tabled.

Pacheco: A10
Vasquez: QJ

Board: 43AK4

Down to just 15,000 in chips after that hand, Vasquez did find some reprieve after doubling through Brandon Bailey, but was eliminated soon after.

Adrian Pacheco1,150,000
Brandon Bailey875,000
Andres VasquezBUSTED!

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


After Andres Vasquez crippled Najeem Ajez in a previous hand, Marco Perri has delivered the killer blow as the tournament clock ticked over into Level 15.

Ajez put his last 530,000 over the line pre-flop holding KQ and was called by Perri who tabled AK, but although Ajez paired his Queen on the flop of Q510, Perri took back the lead with the A on the turn and held after the 4 bricked out on the river.

Ashish Gupta has also hit the rail, running his AQ into the AA of Emmanuel ‘Curly’ Seal; Gupta did pick up a gut-shot Broadway draw on the turn, but whiffed after the board completed 63K107.

Marco Perri2,375,000
Emmanuel ‘Curly’ Seal610,000
Najeem AjezBUSTED!
Ashish GuptaBUSTED!

Vinecombe crushing

Joseph Vinecombe is now dominating at the feature table, sitting behind a stack worth almost three million after eliminating Jason Berdugo.

Berdugo put his tournament life on the line before the flop with A3, however Vinecombe’s KQ turned a straight on the board of 5J8104.

That was after Daniel Ao got the last of his money in pre-flop holding Q7, which failed to improve against the AQ of Powen Fang after the board was spread 431059.

Joseph Vinecombe2,580,000
Powen Fang700,000
Jeison BerdugoBUSTED!
Daniel AoBUSTED!

A ‘tens’ moment for Perri

Marco Perri has now moved past two million in chips after taking a bit pot off Najeem Ajez.

Our reporter picked up the action between the pair on a board of 10410103; Ajez checked from the big blind position, and Perri led out for 315,000 from the button into a pot worth roughly 1 million.

Ajez called, but mucked after Perri showed J10. Just quads.

Marco Perri2,040,000
Najeem Ajez1,030,000

Martin in the casualty ward

Martin Ward and Haozhe Gan have now both hit the rail as action continues here at The Star Gold Coast.

On Table 6, Ward moved all-in pre-flop with 22, but lost the flip for his tournament life after Gautam Dhingra’s KQ which turned second pair on the board of 584KA.

Ward was followed soon after by Haozhe Gan, who despite turning a pair on the board of 4J7A4 with his AQ, was flushed out by Angel Guillen’s QQ.

Angel Guillen1,150,000
Zheming Zhu910,000
Haozhe GanBUSTED!
Martin WardBUSTED!

Level 14: 15,000/25,000 (25,000)

Vinecombe and Hachem climbing

Joseph Vinecombe continues to build, taking out Sam Higgs over on the feature table before the start of the next level.

Higgs moved all-in pre-flop with 99, but ran smack-bang into Vinecombe’s KK which kept the lead across all streets on a runout of Q2Q43.

Our reporter then caught heads-up action between Hachem and Ken Demlakian on a board showing 2KK8Q as Hachem led out for a pot-sized bet of 500,000 on the river.

After a few minutes in the tank, Demlakian reluctantly open-folded AA and Hachem claimed the pot, becoming the first player to move past the two-million chip mark.

Anthony Hachem2,140,000
Joseph Vinecombe1,560,000
Ken Demlakian360,000
Sam HiggsBUSTED!

Egan and Esca eliminated

Two more eliminations from Table 7, with both Michael Egan and Elliott Esca both sent to the rail as the the field was reduced to five tables.

In earlier action, Egan moved all-in pre-flop with A9, but failed to improve against the AK of Zheming Zhu after the board ran out 4762Q.

Elliott Esca then followed soon after, jamming pre-flop with QJ, however ran into Joseph Vinecombe’s JJ, with no change after the runout of 8K423.

Joseph Vinecombe1,360,000
Zheming Zhu580,000
Elliott EscaBUSTED!
Michael EganBUSTED!

Peeters peters out

Peter Peeters and Junbeum Chun have been sighted as our first two eliminations from Day 2 of the $5K Challenge.

Over on Table 9, Peeters had moved all-in on the turn holding AA with the board reading 3826, but although he was well ahead of Alex Lee’s Q8, the Q appeared on the river to give him two pair and the scoop.

Then on Table 5, Chun got the last of his money in good with AK, but fell to Ken Demlakian’s AJ after hooking up two pair on the board of 9910J4.

Alex Lee1,250,000
Ken Demlakian620,000
Junbeum ChunBUSTED!
Peter PeetersBUSTED!

Shuffle up and deal!

Play is now back underway in the 2023 WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge!

Once again, we’ll be playing through 40-minute levels, but we expect action to move relatively quickly in these early stages, as the average stack is currently at around 34 bigs.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

Level 13: 10,000/20,000 (20,000)

The best of the best

From wherever you’re watching in Australia, New Zealand or around the world, good morning and welcome back to The Star Gold Coast for Day 2 of the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge!

After the field was last night locked out at 139 entries, we start today with 41 players, with Anthony Hachem returning as the overall chip leader. The Hachem family name is one synonymous with success in the Australian poker scene, ever since his father Joe won the 2005 WSOP Main Event, followed by back-to-back ANZPT Player of the Year titles from his uncle Tony in 2009 and 2010.

That’s not to discount the efforts of the new generation by any stretch, with Anthony himself having taken down the $1,100 buy-in ANZPT Main Event back in 2013, while his brother Daniel shipped his first major mid-tier title at the 2018 APT Gold Coast series, winning The Grind for $36,200.

Together, it all adds to the continued success and prowess of the Hachem family dynasty, but in order to be the best, you have to beat the best, and there’ll be plenty of people getting behind Gavin Best, who is still well in contention to go back-to-back in this $5K Challenge.

WPT PRIME GOLD COAST $5K CHALLENGE: PAYOUTS ($5,000 buy-in, 139 entries, 18 players paid)


One thing’s for certain: regardless of who wins tonight, it’s going to be one for the ages, and PMA will be ringside to bring you all the action right up until the final river falls. Stay tuned!

Day 2 seat draw

Play will resume at 12:30pm AEST, with recommencing blinds at 15,000/30,000 (30,000). Please ensure you have your Star Club Card and photo ID for verification purposes, and if you have any questions regarding your seat allocation, please see Star Poker Gold Coast staff upon arrival. Best of luck to everyone, and may the flop be with you!

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 (Feature Table)

PMA IDSeatNameChips
01011Sam Higgs325,000
01022Jason Sampson760,000
01033Jeison Berdugo345,000
01044Joseph Vinecombe280,000
01055Robert Damelian120,000
01066Zheming Zhu335,000
01077Peter Apostolou370,000

Table 5

PMA IDSeatNameChips
05011Marco Perri1,135,000
05022Nick Wright335,000
05033Powen Fang405,000
05044Ken Demlakian340,000
05055Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros940,000
05066Junbeum Chun190,000
05077Gavin Best945,000

Table 6

PMA IDSeatNameChips
06011Emanuel ‘Curly’ Seal380,000
06022Gautam Dhingra880,000
06033Po Hu200,000
06044Leo Kamiya750,000
06055Ashish Gupta260,000
06066Haozhe Gan350,000
06077Liam O’Rourke755,000

Table 7

PMA IDSeatNameChips
07011Anthony Hachem1,795,000
07022Martin Ward440,000
07033Daniel Hachem705,000
07044Elliott Esca570,000
07055Michael Egan335,000
07066Chao Duan1,270,000
07077Zhifan Ye895,000

Table 8

PMA IDSeatNameChips
08011Najeem Ajez1,770,000
08022Adrian Pacheco670,000
08033Andres Vasquez925,000
08044Sean Ragozzini1,650,000
08055Zongchi He625,000
08066Mo Haidary835,000
08077Brandon Bailey815,000

Table 9

PMA IDSeatNameChips
09022Alex Lee685,000
09033Angel Guillen1,155,000
09044Peter Peeters575,000
09055Daniel Ao185,000
09066Joe Hachem340,000
09077Gary Lin1,065,000

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