PMA PASSPORT: March 2023 edition

By Jeramie Williams & Landon Blackhall

There’s plenty of poker to be played in just about every corner of the globe, and the PMA team are proud to bring you just a smidge of all the latest major results from beyond our shores in our latest edition of PMA Passport.

FRANCE: Bienvenue dans le grand moment!

Fabrice Bigot is now the toast of the French poker elite after winning the €1,100 No-Limit Hold’em WPT Prime Main Event held at Club Circus: the first WPT event held in Paris since 2020.

Bigot’s triumph earned him USD $194,390 (AUD $291,317), and he continued his impressive run by finishing in third place in the EPT Paris Main Event, won by Romania’s Razvan Belea. Belea’s victory was a lucrative one, as he received a staggering EUR €1,117,000 (AUD $1,898,086) in prize money.

Meanwhile, Steven Chidwick from England added another accomplishment to his poker career by winning the EPT Paris EUR €25,000 No-Limit Hold’em event. Chidwick emerged victorious over Adrian Mateos and received a prize of EUR €324,500 (AUD $562,435).

CAMBODIA: អូស្ត្រាលី ឈ្នះ ៤ (Australia wins four)

The WPT Prime Cambodia series at the Nagaworld Resort in Phnom Penh took on a big Aussie flavour, with Kiale Matthews winning the Player of the Festival award.

The Queenslander reached six final tables, including his win in the USD $2,200 No Limit Hold’em Short Deck High Roller to secure the trophy; in addition, Josh McCully claimed victory in the $2,200 No Limit Hold’em Mini High Roller Single Day Event, defeating WPT Ambassador and poker influencer Brad Owen in heads-up play, while Bert Perry took out the $3K High Roller in the closing stages.

But it was Reiji Kono from Japan who won the WPT Prime Cambodia Main Event, defeating a field of 1,011 entries to collect a career-best payout of USD $121,331, almost twice his previous biggest score.

INDIA: Reckon this one’s a ‘Goa’

The nation of India is fast becoming a formidable force in the poker world, with Mahesh Shayamsundar, Shardul Aramduhan, Deepankur Gupta, and Alok Birewar all winning titles at the WPT Prime Cambodia series, which comes as the WPT Prime India festival returns to the subcontinent for the first time since 2019.

The series – which will be at the Deltin Royale Casino in Goa from 12-18 April – is comprised of 23 tournaments, culminating in the INR ₹65,000 (AUD $1,180) buy-in.

This particular leg of the WPT Prime tour is unique in that it is hosted onboard a yacht which remains anchored in the Mandovi River, with patrons required to pay a tariff which includes a ferry service to and from the mainland.

WPT Prime India hype reel

NEW ZEALAND: Tomes brings it home

Gary Tomes has written himself into Kiwi poker folklore after winning this year’s Wellington Poker Championship Main Event. On a final table filled with local talent, which included 2016 WPC Main Event Champion Manu Luke, Tomes cashed out to the tune of NZD $44,000 (AUD $40,982) and the winner’s trophy.

Tomes also cashed in the NZD $600 buy-in Mystery Bounty, but it was Kevin Lee who took home the top prize, adding to his runner-up finish at the WPT Prime Gold Coast Mystery Bounty last month.

The WPC is also unique in that it is hosted at the Christchurch Casino, home of the New Zealand Poker Championships and a perennial favourite amongst Aussie poker stalwarts. No word at this stage, however, on when that series will return.

IRELAND: Irish Open worth a ‘craic’

And finally, the longest-running poker tournament in the world outside of Las Vegas is just around the corner, with Erin’s Aisle set to host the Irish Poker Open from 3-10 April at the Royal Dublin Society.

40 events are scheduled over the course of the seven-day series, leading up to the EUR €1,000,000 guaranteed Main Event; Steve O’Dwyer returns as defending champion, and the first to have won this event in a live setting after the previous two tournaments were hosted online during the COVID pandemic.

Since 1980, the Irish Open has grown into a mainstay on the European circuit, with over 60 countries represented at last year’s series alone. The inaugural tournament was won by Colette Doherty, who then became the first female player to participate in the WSOP before winning the Irish Open again in 1991.

There’s so much happening in our poker world – and you can read all about Australia’s rich and colourful poker history in Jon Stark’s new book, Poker World, available for purchase online or direct from any SA Poker venue.

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