12am: Second Final Table reached!
Action kept flying in the $5K 8-Max Action Clock, as Andreas Vasquez was confirmed as the stone bubble; as David Sebesfi recalled, Vasquez got his stack in with Q-T on a J-9-3 flop but it was Michael Egan holding A-A who would send Vasquez to the rail in 12th as the river bricked.
A little while later, Ryan Henry then shoved with J♣10♣ and found himself looked up by Hussein Hassan; Hassan holding A♦Q♠. Henry found no salvation as the board ran 7♥7♣2♦K♠K♦ and with that, the final table was set!
Malcolm Trayner, pictured above, will be the tournament chipleader going into tomorrow’s final table, accumulating 3,185,000 throughout the day’s play. Speaking with PMA as the chips were going into bags, Trayner said he was ‘excited mainly’ about the result. He continued “I played the Opening Event, I bricked that, and fortunately I did because I got to play this one”.
Asked if he would switch up his play at all tomorrow, Trayner said “It does change my strategy a bit [being chip leader], I’m gonna try and be more aggressive. Although I don’t have an overwhelming chip lead. So I can’t just be crazy with my stack, there are a lot of people that are close to me… I think I’m only 15k ahead of Huss.”
Trayner said he intended to play as many events as possible this series… and as for final table preparations? Trayner laughed, “I go to the beach every morning, that’s how I start my day… and I mean… it’s a Saturday night!”
$5K 8-Max Action Clock Final Table Seat Draw
Day 1A of the Mystery Bounty is still underway; just 54 remain from the 260 starters today and they will be playing down to 33 players. PMA will publish those 33 players and stacks with tomorrow’s blog; for today, it’s goodbye for now and we’ll be back to bring you all the action from buy-in to bust-out from 11:30am tomorrow!
10pm: Opening Event Final Table confirmed
The bags are counted and sealed, and ladies and gentlemen this will be your final table for the WPT Australia Opening Event!
|Jon Peter Rounce-Sue||4,115,000|
9.30pm: Action aplenty
The “Action” in the $5K 8-Max Action Clock certainly living up to it’s name, there’s also only 13 players remaining in the $5K event across the room.
Some of the bigger names still remaining include Hussein Hassan and Ehsan Amiri, seated next to each other on on one table, whilst Corey Kempson, David Sebesfi, and Raphael Tennenbaum have all been cosied up next to each on the other.
Just 13 left means the $5K is hand-for-hand and the bubble forms a large part of every decision – 11 players get paid with even a min-cash worth $10,541.
That said – it’s the Opening Event that’s hit the final table first as Wan Gan hit the rail in 10th, meaning play has stopped for the day as the remaining nine players bag up their chips for the final table on Day 3.
Chris Edgar will lead the field with 5,270,000 for tomorrow. Edgar, who hails from Adelaide and is proud to represent Stacked Social here at WPT Australia, said to PMA’s Christopher Wadih after the event wrapped up that he was feeling good about how the day went. He also said that having the chip lead going into the final table won’t affect his strategy in any way, he plans to just play his normal game and go from there.
The $5K event departed for a break at the same time as the Opening Event stopped; we took the opportunity to grab some counts for everyone following at home.
9pm: Final break for the Opening Event
The Opening Event is approaching the end of the day; they’re currently on a break and will be playing one more level today before breaking to come back tomorrow. Just 12 players remained at the break, and PMA took the time to get a full round of counts. Tournament staff have also confirmed that if we reach the final table before the end of the level, play will stop at that point.
Leading the pack at the break was still Eugene Wong (3.71 million), but Jon Peter Rounce-Sue is nipping at his heels with 3.475 million. Mikael Larsson rounds out the top three, whilst Konstantin Held has… err… held on to a big stack. Fighting with the short stack is Daniel Hachem with 400,000.
|Jon Peter Rounce-Sue||3,475,000|
7pm: Getting closer!
The WPT Australia Opening Event is inching ever closer to a final table, with 21 players remaining
Eugene Wong held the chip lead as PMA went for a walk around the remaining tables to check out who’s left with roughly 2.5 million in tournament chips stacked in front of him. Two to his left sits Marco Perri who has continued to build and has also eclipsed the 2 million mark.
Daniel Hachem, who earlier eliminated Hongru Zhang on the bubble, is still in and currently on the feature table with 975,000 and his job cut out for him, with the 2.4 million stack of Chris Edgar on his direct left. Rob Spano was cruising with 1.1 million and Mikael Larsson with 1.675 million as the tournament closes in on another break.
The Mystery Bounty went on a break recently also; from our brief walk around it looks like 2022 GPI Australian GPI Female POTY Janet Wyvill might have the chip lead right now. She’s sitting on a monster stack of 273,000 at the break – to put that in perspective, the average stack is just shy of 53,000!
Other big stacks included WPT Prime Main Event Champion Yang Lei, who’s sitting on 177,000, whilst Peter Apostolou had piles to the tune of 157,000 in front of him. 2019 WPT Australia Main Event Champion Hari Varma has also had a good start, stacking up approximately 129,000.
5.30pm: Break time!
Both the Opening Event and $5K 8-Max Action Clock tournaments have headed off on their respective breaks, which gave PMA a chance to breathe and count some chippies.
The Opening Event is down to just 29 runners, all guaranteed a minimum $4,273, and several ‘millionaires’ in the room as the stacks got bigger and bigger.
Marco Perri took the opportunity to relax, almost falling asleep as he was getting a massage from the Best Hands Shiatsu massage practitioner, much to the amusement of his shorter stacked tablemates. Perri, who final tabled the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event in 2022, was sitting on a stack of around 1,750,000.
Yizhou Wang still has an intimidating 1,430,000, whilst Jon Peter Rounce-Sue has also built a stack of 1,680,000 in the last stanza.
For the $5K 8-Max Action Clock, the break also represented the end of late registration, with 84 entries in total. 11 players will make the money, with $116,424 up top for the eventual winner.
At the break, Corey Kempson carried the advantage with 675,000, whilst Raphael Tennenbaum wasn’t far behind with 650,000. Blinds at the restart will be 3,000/6,000 (6,000).
3.30pm: Mysterious musings
PMA took a moment to speak with The Star Group Poker Strategy Manager Martin Coughlan after the $1,650 Mystery Bounty event started recently. The event is just over half an hour in and has 100 entries already, a fact which excited Coughlan.
“With strong early participation, it’s looking like we might be on track to be able to award a $100,000 top bounty.” said Coughlan. “That would be a first of it’s kind for Australia.”
The fields for today’s Day 1A and tomorrow’s Day 1B will play down to 12.5% of the field and break, meaning that players who survive Day 1 will be immediately in the money at the start of play on Day 2 – which is, of course, also when the Mystery Bounties will come into effect.
Walking up and down the tables, PMA saw a few notables names taking part, including Dennis Huntly, Janet Wyvil, Chuck Caris, Anya Azimai, Ben Turner, Corey van Jaarsveldt, and Rob Damelian.
The Opening Event Day 2 has gone on their second break for the day, with the 49 players still remaining now guaranteed $3,267. Konstantin Held was leading the way with 1,635,000, though overnight chipleader Yizhou “Happy” Wang hasn’t fallen far behind – he was second in chips with 1,490,000.
2pm: Opening Event bubble intensity
The bubble in the Opening Event took a while to burst, as the tournament played hand-for-hand for well over half an hour; even as PMA and tournament staff raced from table to table multiple times for all-in confrontations, survival was the name of the game for the shorter stacks.
Eventually, Chen Li found himself felted in 81st place as his A♥9♣ couldn’t find any leeway against the 6♦6♥ of his opponent on a board of 3♠Q♣4♣2♣6♠, the rivered set more than enough to get the job done and leaving the remaining 80 players on the stone bubble.
Just after that, players departed the tables for the first break of the day – perhaps a welcome break for Josh McCully, who’s been nursing a short stack throughout the bubble to avoid being culled himself – and had a single T1,000 chip going into the break!
Shortly after the break, Hongru Zhang was all in and at risk against none other than Daniel Hachem. After a lengthy wait for hands to complete on the other table, the hands were tabled and it was Hachem’s K♣K♥ looking to do the damage against the A♦Q♦ of Zhang.
Hachem struck gold on the K♦10♠6♥ flop, but it wasn’t without a sweat as the 3♦ gave Zhang a flush draw to go with the straight draw he already had. It was not to be however, the 4♠ bursting the bubble and guaranteeing the remaining 79 players a $2,094 pay day.
Cue a sigh of relief from Josh McCully – well done sir! PMA can confirm that his single chip is no longer alone; he now has a whole 8 of them!
Meanwhile, the $5K 8-Max Action Clock is up to 43 entries, as PMA has spied Ehsan Amiri and Hussein Hassan settling down in their seats. Also joining in, fresh from victory in the APL Million $5K Shot Clock Challenge for $202,545 last month, French import and self proclaimed nomad Romain Morvan.
12:30pm: $5K 8-Max Action Clock kicks off
Event 3 – the first of several event with a buy-in of $5K or more on the WPT Australia schedule – has commenced with 17 players taking their seats so far.
The event features a 200,000 starting stack, and players have 30 seconds for all decisions, with a small bank of time chips to utilise if needed.
PMA spied WPTL Illawarra Ambassador Adrian Pacheco amongst the starters, as well as Michael Egan, Lawrence Stephenson, and Malcolm Trayner.
Registration will remain open until 5:20pm local time so there’s plenty of time to get down to The Star Gold Coast and secure a seat in the action.
11:30am: Opening Event Day 2 underway!
The familiar call of “Shuffle up and deal!” rang through the air in The Star Gold Coast poker room after the remaining 113 players in the WPT Australia Opening Event had unbagged and stacked up their chips. The blinds for Day 2 have recommenced at 4,000/8,000 (8,000) with Yizhou Wang leading the way sitting on a stack of 735,000.
The remaining field will be playing for a prize pool total of $843,750 with $156,748 for first place honours; the bubble bursting at 79 players remaining. First place in the Opening Event will also secure the first of several $6K packages to be awarded in this festival to WPT Prime in December.*
PMA has spied several familiar names in the field already, stopping to chat with Ken Demlakian, David Sebesfi, and Martin Ward. 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem found a bag overnight, whilst we also spied WPT Ambassador Angel Guillen, inaugural WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event Champion Hari Varma, and WPTDeepStacks Sydney final tablist Marco Perri taking their seats.
Opening Event Seat Draw
*Packages deducted from prize pools
Don’t worry about the horse, just load the wagon!
From wherever you’re watching in Australia, New Zealand or around the world, hello and welcome to PokerMedia Australia, and to the beginning of our coverage of one of the biggest poker events of the year: the 2023 WPT Australia festival!
As life has returned to virtually what we knew and remembered prior to the pandemic, the popularity of poker has once again surged, and based on what we’ve seen happening all around Oz, there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon.
Most recently, this was highlighted by the record-breaking APL Million series up the road at Southport Sharks, which brought in an eye-watering $10 million+ in series prize pools and smashed the all-time record for the number of entries into any poker tournament in the Main Event, previously set at the WPT League QPC at the Gold Coast Turf Club two years ago.
That said, both the World Poker Tour and The Star Gold Coast are once again pulling out all the stops to deliver both an entertaining and high-quality product, while at the same time providing ample opportunities for their players to be a part of one of the most highly anticipated global events: the WPT World Championship at The Wynn Las Vegas.
Speaking from experience, this is definitely an experience not to be missed – which leads us back to the start of our all-new social media and blog reporting format.
As with practically any facet of the poker industry, so too must we continue to change and evolve to keep up with the times, and so, we’ve decided to build upon the PMA Vegas Diaries format and bring you a daily blog which will offer blanket coverage of each event day, including written and video feature stories and interviews that can be found all in the one place.
This will all be tied in with plenty of social media content across our Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and X (formerly Twitter), as well as our brand-new TikTok account, which will also offer a glimpse into what goes on behind the scenes at PMA in delivering our unique Antipodean coverage (although it’s fair to say that we need to work on our trending dance moves).
Ultimately, our goal is to capture the essence of this poker extravaganza and bring you more engaging and interactive content, whilst still delivering to the quality that you’ve come to expect from PMA – and have even more fun along the way!
So, be sure to bookmark your browsers and follow us on all our socials for all that’s happening on and around the felt at Star Poker Gold Coast from 11am AEST today and right through until the final river falls. See you soon!
Hold up, wait a minute …
From wherever you’re watching in Australia, New Zealand or around the world, hello and welcome to PokerMedia Australia!
Our social media and blog coverage of the WPT Australia series at The Star Gold Coast will resume from 11:30am AEST. While you wait, check out our latest news articles, blogs and Live Reporting archives, bookmark our website, and give us a like and follow across all our socials to get access to all of our content.
Thanks for your patience, and we’ll see you back here soon!
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