LIVE REPORTING: Stacked Adelaide Poker Festival – The Croc’s $4K Challenge Day 1

Day 1: That’s a wrap!

Stay tuned for a full update on the top chip counts from Day 1 of The Croc’s $4K Challenge, and for all the continuing action as players compete for the top prize and the inaugural title.

Friday will see both Day 2 of the Croc’s $4K Challenge, with re-entries still continuing until the second level of Day 2 (approximately 3:20pm CST) and Day 1A of the Main Event.

PokerMedia Australia will be on the floor from 2pm CST until finish to bring you all the live action.

Until then, see you in a little while, crocodile!

Adios, Adi!

Aditya “Adi” Rau put the last of his 38,000 short stack into the middle with 1010, called by Marco Perri from the cut off with KQ.

Rau was quickly routed as the first window peeled K, and was unable to recover as the board ran out to complete as K22A4.

Marco Perri297,000
Aditya “Adi” RauBUSTED!

Sandaev combo

Ryan Hong went all in UTG+1 for 101,000 with Andrew Michael jamming on top for 134,000 from the cut off. Joe Sandaev on the small blind went deep into the tank, deliberating before making the call to take the action three-way.

Sandaev: 1010
Michael: AJ
Hong: QJ

Board: 6429K

Sandaev’s pocket Tens were good to hold as he eliminated both Hong and Michael to take down the pot.

Joe Sandaev536,000
Ryan HongBUSTED!
Andrew MichaelBUSTED!

Seibel sees Seal out

Emanuel “Curly” Seal has been eliminated after going all in and called by Higor Seibel, his pocket 99 unable to hold out against Seibel’s AK as it snagged a top pair on the runout 3832A, with the river delivering top pair.

Higor Seibel255,000
Emanuel “Curly” SealBUSTED!

Level 14: 3,000/6,000 (6,000)

Benson burner

Gary Benson is on fire after putting the pressure on to squeeze more chips from his opponents.

Adam Cusenza opened to 12,000, and was called by Gary Benson and the big blind to see a flop of 377. Cusenza bet 19,000, raised by Benson to 50,000, with the action folding back to Cusenza who called.

On the 8 turn, Cusenza checked to see Benson lead a bet of 85,000. Cusenza went into the tank for several minutes, before finally releasing his hand to fold into the muck.

Gary Benson544,000
Adam Cusenza 190,000

Updated Counts

Over the last break for the night, we got a round of the top five chip stacks leading, with Gary Lin still at the top, and new mix of contenders vying for a shot at the title and prizes.

Gary Benson quickly found himself up the top of the list after taking out Khac Trung Tran in the first hand after the break, with his JJ besting Tran’s QQ as it found full house on the board of 474J9, covering Tran to send him to the rail.

Over on Table 1, Choong and Argyros have been chipping away at stacks to keep up top.

Gary Lin437,000
Gary Benson305,000
Yita Choong280,000
Billy “The Croc” Argyros280,000
Adrian Pacheco250,000

Level 13: 3,000/5,000 (5,000)

All’s right for Wong

Weng Wong’s stack is continuing to climb, after clashing heads up with Tam Truong in an all in pre-flop, pockets-versus-pockets showdown.

Truong: AA
Wong: JJ

The first window was beautiful for Wong, securing a set on J, cracking Truong’s Aces and holding through the board as it completed with J984Q.

Weng Wong226,000
Tam TruongBUSTED!

Smile, crocodile!

Billy Argyros has found a better stream to swim up, with his second bullet proving more effective.

We found the action on the flop of 10102, with about 121,500 built into the pot. Argyros “The Croc” was heard winding up Sandaev to call with his massive stack, eventually finding himself heads up as he called.

Argyros: 88
Sandaev: AJ

The 3 on the turn and 9 on the river delivered a triumphant cry from Argyros as he stood up and fist pumped.

Joe Sandaev310,000
Billy “The Croc” Argyros279,500

Level 12: 2,500/5,000 (5,000)

Croc rocked

Over on table 5, a commotion ensued as Billy “The Croc” Argyros was heads up against Ryan Hong, on the wrong end of an all-in and call.

Argyros held AJ, which led Hong’s J9 preflop, but no sooner had Argyros said to the dealer, “No nine,” a 9 appeared in the first window of the flop 93K.

The 7 turn and 10 river completed the board for Hong to hold, crippling Argyros to 2,500 in chips.

“The Croc” pushed the last of his chips in short as small blind, with action checking down between Gary Benson and Neb Blanusa, but was sent to the rail as his J5 failed to hit and Benson prevailed with 53 through 83K6K.

We haven’t seen the last of “The Croc” yet, and with re-entries still open to players until the end of the second level of Day 2, it is still anyone’s game to run it up!

Neb Blanusa210,000
Gary Benson102,000
Billy “The Croc” ArgyrosBUSTED!

Hynes rockets up

Adi Rau raised to 12,000 from the cutoff, spurring Pierce Hynes to jam on the button, followed by Ashton Campbell who jumped into the party for his entire stack. Rau snapped, sending the action three-way for the showdown.

Campbell: AQ
Rau: KK
Hynes: AA

Board: 4QJ86

Hynes scooped the main pot, with Rau taking down the side pot to eliminate Campbell.

Pierce Hynes183,000
Adi Rau101,800
Ashton CampbellBUSTED!

Level 11: 2,000/4,000 (4,000)


Ryan Hong opened UTG+1 to 5,100, with Yita Choong calling from the Hijack and Neb Blanusa from the button. On the flop 3A7 all players checked around, with the 10 turn prompting a bet from Hong for 21,000.

Choong called before Blanusa shoved all in, forcing a fold from Hong. Choong decided to call short with 51,000, and turned over his cards.

Choong: A6
Blanusa: 77

The river card 2 bricked out a flush draw for Choong, with Blanusa’s trips holding for the pot to send him back to the rail.

It was short lived however, as Choong decided to fire off another bullet and found himself on a fresh table, shoving all in pre-flop not long after he sat down. He found a caller in Chris Edgar who snapped him off. He quipped to our reporter, “It’s been about four bullets and it’s about to be five.”

Edgar: AK
Choong: 77

Edgar was drawing a straight on the flop J610, but wasn’t able to complete as Choong’s pockets improved past a 4 turn to a set on the river with 7.

Neb Blanusa270,000
Yita Choong200,000
Chris Edgar155,000
Yita Choong

Level 10: 1,500/3,000 (3,000)

Tam slammed

Tam Truong has emerged as the latest player to hit the rail, after finding himself short in an all-in call against the 2022 Stacked Poker Main Event Champion, Joe Sandaev.

Truong: K10
Sandaev: AQ

Sandaev hit top pair on the flop and held through a runout of 25A4J.

Joe Sandaev344,000
Tam TruongBUSTED!

Level 9: 1,500/2,500 (2,500)

Top 5 Counts

With our field of 39 players now taking their leave to stretch their legs and refresh themselves with a sample of Stacked Poker’s fantastic cocktails, we’ve had a quick look at the top counts to see the leaders of the pack.

The current average stack is 139,285, with Gary Lin leading up top, closely followed by William Luong and Billy “The Croc” Argyros snapping closely behind to defend his namesake for the title.

Gary Lin526,000
William Luong320,000
Billy “The Croc” Argyros205,000
Joe Sandaev179,000
Andrew Michael165,000

Ewing spewing

In the last hand extending into the break, we found Gary Lin up against David Ewing, facing off over the flop of A33 with about 76,000 built into the pot.

Lin made a bet of 14,000 on the flop, called by Ewing. The 8 turn saw Lin fire off a bet of 34,500, which was called by Ewing.

On the A river, Lin cooled down for a slow check, prompting Ewing to fish out with a bet of 42,200. Lin called, turning over AK as Ewing quickly turned his cards back down and mucked.

Gary Lin526,000
David Ewing94,800
David Ewing

Ashton to ashes

Ashton Campbell has fired out another bullet, getting it all in on the flop of JKQ against Gary Lin who snapped him off. Campbell was riding a flush draw with 34, against Lin who had already flopped a straight with A10.

Unfortunately for Campbell, he bricked out on the 5 turn and K river.

Gary Lin392,000
Ashton CampbellBUSTED!

Smudic smites

Ashton Campbell shoved UTG pre-flop for 16,000, with the action folding back to Andrew Michael who called from the big blind with J10. Campbell rolled over A9 as they went to showdown over a board of AQ566.

In the next hand, Campbell shoved again, committing his short stack of 35,000 to the middle as he was snapped up by Igor Smudic on the button.

Campbell’s A3 only found dead air as it flailed against Smudic’s AQ, with the result unchanged on a board of 96274.

Igor Smudic246,000
Andrew Michael168,000
Ashton CampbellBUSTED!

Level 8: 1,000/2,000 (2,000)

Choong clings on

Action quickly heated up after David Ewing opened for 3,200 from the Hijack over on Table 3. Yita Choong raised from the small blind to 12,500, before calling Ewing’s 3-bet of 30,200.

The flop was laid 735, with Choong check-calling Ewing for 16,100.

On the 6 turn, both players opted to check, and also checked down the 3 river.

Choong: 1010
Ewing: JJ

Ewing’s pockets prevailed to hold the edge over Choong’s stack, taking his stack to double the average.

David Ewing251,000
Yita Choong44,000

Hynes rising

Pierce Hynes opened from the Hijack to 4,600 and was called by Marco Perri on the button and Adam Cusenza on the big blind.

The flop J24 prompted some interesting action as Hynes initially led for 2,800, raised by Perri for 7,500, Cusenza pricing in before Hynes 3-bet to 24,500. Perri folded, with Cusenza taking a beat before calling.

The turn J slowed things down, as both players checked before the dealer peeled 10 for the final street. Both players opted to check and lay down their cards face up.

Cusenza: 65
Hynes: K4

Cusenza laughed and shook his head at the missed straight flush draw, with his flopped flush edged out by the river for Hynes to take down the pot with second nut flush.

Pierce Hynes111,900
Adam Cusenza88,600
Pierce Hynes

Level 7: 800/1,600 (1,600)

Michael back on his horse

Our reporter caught the action all in on the flop of 87J, with Andrew Michael heads up with Khac Trung Tran. Both players rolled over their cards as Tran called.

Tran: AA
Michael: A9

Michael was no doubt relieved to see the 2 turn improve his hand to a nut flush and shut out Tran’s one-outter on the 4 river.

Andrew Michael175,000
Khac Trung Tran50,000
Andrew Michael

Level 6: 600/1,200 (1,200)

No Good for Goodall

Ross Lepro is still holding on as he has successively taken out two players with severely crippled stacks.

Lepro called off Nathan Goodall’s A5 all in pre flop, with Lepro’s 66 holding through a board of 2K5K4 to take down the pot and eliminate Goodall.

In the next hand, he snapped up Yita Choong’s all in, with Choong’s Q10 not strong enough to fend off Lepro’s AA smashing cleanly through a board of QJ545.

Ross Lepro48,000
Yita ChoongBUSTED!
Nathan GoodallBUSTED!
Ross Lepro

Hong doubles

As our field grows to 30 players, Ryan Hong found a quick double up after clashing against Andrew Michael. Our reporter caught the action late on the turn after there was an all in-and-call between Michael and Hong, with the board laid up 5J26.

Michael: KxKx
Hong: 66

Michael quickly mucked his Kings as Hong showed trips on the turn, and the 9 river bricked him out of a recovery, sending him to the registration desk for a re-entry.

Ryan Hong200,000
Andrew MichaelBUSTED!

The Croc is Here!

As our players mingled over the break and refreshed themselves at the bar, Billy “The Croc” Argyros landed to his namesake event and the room was absolutely buzzing as he rocked up to the Stacked Poker room. Unusually he was not wearing his standard crocodile attire, instead appearing in a shirt adorned with Stacked Poker regular Pierce Hynes’ face, wearing a crown – in a nod to the pop-culture classic artwork of Biggie Smalls.

During a speech to the throng of players in the room, to much amused laughter and chatter, Argyros recounted how he lost a friendly last-man-standing bet with Hynes for $500 in an earlier tournament – with the loser wearing the other person’s face on a shirt, before declaring the tournament to continue with a cheery “Shuffle Up and Deeeeeeaaal!”

Billy “The Croc” Argyros

Level 5: 500/1,000 (1,000)

Time for a Break!

As we draw closer to our first break, the play has started to slow some more as more chips exchange around the tables, and the venue has livened up with more players coming in to register for their chance to take down the first title of The Croc’s $4K Challenge champion!

We’ve had a quick look around at our field for the top five stacks shaping up for a snap at the title so far:

Gary Lin282,500
Ashton Campbell214,900
Adam Cusenza174,900
Neb Blanusa149,400
Higor Seibel135,700

Level 4: 400/800 (800)

Creme de Croc!

It’s been fairly quiet level with stacks starting to steady as more challengers have entered the field, including Australian Hall of Famer Gary Benson, Kenny “Panda” Wang, Adam Cusenza and Marco Perri, the latter who cashed at the last Stacked Poker Championship earlier this year in the Super High Roller 8-Max.

Check out our player gallery to see who’s who in The Croc’s 4K Challenge!

Level 3: 300/600 (600)

Yeowch, Yita!

In a stunning occurence of events, on the exact same table a few minutes later another uber cooler Aces versus Kings has been dealt!

Action opened on the Hijack to 4,000, called by Ashton Campbell on cutoff, before Yita Choong raised to 14,000. Folds around the table saw Campbell move his chips all in and was snapped behind by Choong.

Choong: KK
Campbell: AA

Choong held his hand as the flop revealed 5910, before resigning his hand to the muck on the A turn, with the A river completing Campbell with a set of quads.

Ashton Campbell114,500
Yita Choong45,800
Ashton Campbell.

Crowe croaks

Our first player has been eliminated from the felt after being edged out in a painful uber-cooler of Aces versus Kings.

Gary Lin opened on the cut-off to 1,000 and Joshua Crowe on the button raised to 3,600 before Neb Blanusa 3-bet to 10,500. Action then folded back to Crowe who made it 34,000 before calling Blanusa’s all in pre-flop.

Crowe: KK
Blanusa: AA

As the dealer peeled the board 2398J, Ross Lepro claimed to fold pocket Jacks on his big blind, which would have connected as the trips on the river.

Neb Blanusa165,000
Joshua CroweBUSTED!
Joshua Crowe

Level 2: 300/500 (500)

Be in it to win it!

The action is looking pretty cruisy so far, with plenty of opportunity here to score some big cash as re-entries for The Croc’s $4K Challenge will remain open until the end of the second level into Day 2 (approximately 3:20pm CST).

In the field our reporter has spotted Yita Choong taking his seat amongst a friendly table flowing with light banter. Fresh from a grind overseas in the Asian Poker Tour, Choong cashed in three events including a high roller event and is a regular crusher on the Australian poker circuit, and it is no surprise he has added Stacked Poker Adelaide as a must-visit.

With its classy interiors as a premier poker lounge, right here in the heart of North Adelaide – it is not just a venue. With delicious food, great cocktails on offer from the player’s bar and custom-designed settings, it makes for an unparalleled poker experience.

Shuffle Up and Deal!

Cards are now in the air for the first flight of the Stacked Poker Championship Main Event!

All players in this $4,000 buy-in tournament will start with 100,000 in chips, and will play through 14 levels of 30 minutes’ duration with breaks, before the survivors bag and tag.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBB Ante

Level 1: 200/400 (400)

Let’s Croc ‘n’ roll!

Live from Stacked Poker Adelaide, PokerMedia Australia will be giving you all the action highlights from the inaugural “Croc’s Challenge” $4,000 High Roller, hosted by none other than the Australian Poker Hall of Famer, Billy “The Croc” Argyros himself.  One of the most colourful personalities in poker, Argyros is renown for his crocodile-themed attire and friendly banter as he snaps up chips!

This will be an exciting tournament to watch as an exciting addition to the poker festival touted as celebrating “the art of poker”, and indeed with “The Croc”‘s flavourful style to playing poker it will no doubt be a very fun addition!

Stay tuned as we bring you all the action as the cards fall in the Adelaide Poker Festival Croc 4K Challenge Event. Play will be underway from 5pm ACST tonight. To all players, we wish you all the best of luck, and may the flop be with you!

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