LIVE REPORTING: 2023 WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event Day 1A

Day 1A complete

Day 1A of the WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event is in the books, as ten players bag up stacks for Day 2 on Sunday.

The tournament attracted 40 unique entries and 10 re-entries for the first of four Day 1 flights, and played down to 20% of the field remaining, hitting the mark just after the start of Level 12.

The average stack between the remaining players is therefore exactly 200,000, with Kamyar Ekrami bagging up the chip lead of 497,000, followed by Amin Riyazati with 420,500. Zheming Zhu bagged 240,000 – the only other stack above the 200K mark.

On the other end, Mitchell Reid brings up the rear, bagging up 41,500; together with Antoine Follet (87,000) and Farhad Mohajarani (99,000) making up the three shortest stacks.

For Ekrami, it’s the first event he’s played at the WSOP-C Gold Coast, and he’s advised he has no plans to play anything else, returning on Day 2 to ‘play his normal game’ with the security of knowing the big stack means he can ‘cope with one or two bad beats; not do anything special or crazy’.

From all of us here at PMA, we’ll be back tomorrow to bring you all of the action from buy-in to bust-out of Day 1B, kicking off at 15:30 local time.

Kamyar Ekrami497,000
Amin Riyazati420,500
Zheming Zhu240,000
Jarrod Thatcher177,000
Rhys Kelly172,000
Chao Duan131,000
Po Hu125,000
Farhad Mohajarani99,000
Antoine Follet87,000
Mitchell Reid41,500

Sportelli runs out of chips

Adrian Sportelli shoved his remaining 58,000 under the gun and was immediately called by Amin Riyazati before the rest of the table got out of the way.

“I’ve got a good feeling about this one!” cried Sportelli, tabling the AK and finding himself up against the 66 of Riyazati.

Not to be, the board of 5J48Q running clean for Riyazati, eliminating Sportelli on the stone bubble for Day 1A, ensuring the other ten players get a bag. Sportelli confirmed to PMA he’ll be back tomorrow for another try.

Mitchell Reid, the other remaining short stack, also shoved on the last hand on the other table, stealing the blinds and thus bagging 41,500.

Amin Riyazati420,500
Adrian SportelliBUSTED!

Not like this!

Word for word quote from Lawrence Stephenson, as he found himself all-in on the big blind after folding a whole orbit since the hand against Zheming hand we reported earlier.

The dealer spread a flop of 9K9 to a laugh and a “Not like this!” from Stephenson (thank for the headline).

Stephenson this time turned over A7 and it was Zhu once more the opponent, tabling K2.

The board completed 2, 5 and Stephenson was eliminated precisely ‘like this’.

Now with one elimination to bagging, the current short stacks are Adrian Sportelli and Mitchell Reid.

Lawrence StephensonBUSTED!

No one likes to see that

Our reporter was called over to Table 19, where the God-like run of Rhys Kelly continued, as he smashed bottom set with 33 on a J3Q flop. and got all of the chips in the middle against Kamyar Ekrami for 131,000 effective.

Ekrami turned over QQ. Oh.

The run-out of 6, 7 did not produce the miracle quads, and with that, the remaining 12 players have departed on their final break of the day.

One more hour of play, or two more players eliminated, and we’re done for the day.

Kamyar Ekrami532,000
Rhys Kelly228,500

Stephenson crippled

Zheming Zhu open ripped for 81,500 total from the button, snap-called by Lawrence Stephenson in the small blind before Antoine Follet relinquished the big blind chips.

Stephenson: QQ
Zhu: A3

Zhu’s steal attempt had gone distinctly awry, but the percentages would immediately flip as Zhu scored top pair on the A27810 board.

“No, no, don’t report this one!” exclaimed Zhu to our reporter.

Zheming Zhu173,000
Lawrence Stephenson8,500

Anunu no more

Amin Riyazati opened the action to 5,000 UTG+1, and Rhys Kelly 3-bet to 16,000 from his immediate right.

Action then folded around to Mishel Anunu, who shoved for 113,000 total forcing quick folds from the blinds and Riyazati. Kelly, though, was non-deterred, sliding forward a stack of yellows to make the call.

Anunu: 88
Kelly: AK

The dealer spread a flop of 3K9 and Anunu took to his feet for some extra stand-up-equity; not to be, as the board completed 4, 2 to eliminate Anunu.

Rhys Kelly425,000
Mishel AnunuBUSTED!

Kelly collects some more

Picking up the action on the turn as the board showed 4J99, Rhys Kelly fired a bet of 16,000 into Mishel Anunu, who made the call after a moment or two.

With about 90,000 now in the pot, Kelly checked it over to Anunu on the 4 river.

Anunu picked up some chips and pieced together a bet of 50,000, sending Kelly into the tank as he asked how much Anunu had in total.

Kelly eventually made the call, tabling AQ, besting the 22 of Anunu which had been counterfeited by the board on the river.

“I nearly just jammed it” laughed Kelly, “I was thinking some dangerous thoughts there!”

The field is now down to just two tables, with 15 players remaining to play to the end of Level 12 or 20% of the field – 20% of the field equates to 10 players remaining.

Rhys Kelly310,000
Mishel Anunu90,000

When will it end?

Jason Samson continued his aggressive play, firing it all-in pre-flop time and time again, mostly picking up the blinds.

Samson moved all-in UTG, and action folded to Jarrod Thatcher. “Maybe I’m bagging tonight” said Thatcher, sliding in the remainder of his stack. Action folded around Mogens Hansen to the big blind – not that Thatcher noticed, as he accidentally tabled his cards early.

“Oops! I didn’t see him” exclaimed a clearly embarrassed Thatcher.

With Thatcher’s QJ now exposed, Hansen advised it would not affect his decision anyway, as he too called off his stack. Hansen tabled AK, and Samson tabled 107.

The board ran out 281093, the straight on the turn sealing the triple up for Thatcher while Hansen was eliminated. Samson, left with only a couple of big blinds, was eliminated next hand after a wild ride.

Jarrod Thatcher194,000
Mogens HansenBUSTED!
Jason SamsonBUSTED!


Jason Samson joked to Octavian Voegele during the break that he would max-late-reg and go all-in first hand blind, prompting Voegele to respond that he hopes he’s on his table.

The stars aligned and Samson, seated directly opposite Voegele on Table 11, held to his word and shoved all in blind first hand, under the gun, and importantly for this story, before the cards had even been dealt.

Voegele looked down at J9, shrugged, and re-shoved, before Mitchell Reid called both players with A9.

Samson slowly peeled over a K, and then a K.

“What the!” he yelled, before Reid said “Kings are no good on this table!”

The board ran out 510692 to triple up Samson first hand.

“I’m the greatest poker player alive!” he yelled to a friend on the rail.

Jason Samson124,000
Mitchell Reid75,300
Octavian VoegeleBUSTED!

Registration closed

Registration has now closed with 50 entries in total, and the remaining 23 players will be playing down to the end of Level 12 OR 20% of the field remaining, whichever comes first.

Now that registration has closed, the structure changes slightly as well; players will be playing 60-minute levels from here onwards.

Break time

This break will mark the end of late registration for Day 1A of the WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event; players will be able to register up until the end of the break.

As it stands, Day 1A has attracted a total of 48 entries including 9 re-entries, and 21 remain battling it out to bag a stack for Day 2.

Assorted chip counts

Amin Riyazati382,500
Kamyar Ekrami134,300
Antoine Follet125,700
Mishel Anunu121,600
Lawrence Stephenson115,200
Dylan Kehoe112,500
Adrian Sportelli100,900
Farhad Mohajarani89,900
Rob Spano82,400
Rhys Kelly80,600
Mogens Hansen72,400
Zheming Zhu71,200
Octavian Voegele65,800
Jarrod Thatcher61,000
Sean Ragozzini47,800
Malcolm Trayner35,400

Kelly re-enters, doubles

Picking up the action on a flop of Q2J as tablemate Rob Spano attracted our roving reporters attention, Adrian Sportelli was in the tank, having bet, been called by Amin Riyazati, before Rhys Kelly moved all-in for 32,900.

Sportelli laid it down, and it was Riyazati’s turn to tank briefly before calling to put Kelly at risk.

Riyazati’s KJ was behind as Kelly tabled Q3, which would hold through on the run-out of 3, 8.

Kehoe loses a chunk

Zheming Zhu opened to 3,200 and action folded around to Dylan Kehoe in the big blind.

Kehoe ripped it, with Zhu well covered, sending Zhu into the tank.

After a few moments and a look to the sky, Zhu dropped some chips in to signify a call, tabling K9 and finding himself way, way behind the AK of Kehoe.

The flop of Q22 helped not one bit, but the 3 turn gave him a flush draw – not that he needed it, as the 9 completed the board to pair his kicker.

Zheming Zhu84,400
Dylan Kehoe44,000

Clair crushed

Michael Clair 3-bet ripped for 19,400 over a Kamyar Ekrami open and Rob Spano call. Action folded back around to Ekrami, who announced all in to force Spano out of the way.

Clair tabled A10 and could barely hide a look of surprise when Ekrami tabled 98. That look would quickly turn into annoyance as the flop of 799 spread, before the 3 sent Clair for the exits, the meaningless 5 completing the board.

Michael ClairBUSTED!


Matt Pongrass opened to 2,500, then Sean Ragozzini ripped it in for 44,000.

Action folded back around to Pongrass, who snap-called, tabling KK, well ahead of the 88 of Ragozzini.

Pongrass then nailed top set on the JK5 flop to effectively lock it up – only to see the A, 6 complete the board to give the black Eights a flush and a full double.

“You’re going to leave me with like three big blinds too!” lamented Pongrass, “Absolutely brutal…”

Pongrass has since been eliminated, running King Ten into Tens and failing to improve.

Sean Ragozzini99,500
Matt PongrassBUSTED!

Kelly’s last stand

Rhys Kelly 3-bet shoved from the blinds after Zheming Zhu opened and Lawrence Stephenson called on the button.

Zhu made the call, and Stephenson got out of the way.

Zhu: 66
Kelly: KJ

The flop of A9A actually gave Kelly additional outs to counterfeit the pocket pair of Zhu, with any Nine now working for him also… until the turn 6 put an end to those dreams very quickly. The 5 completed the board.

Zheming Zhu69,200
Rhys KellyBUSTED!

Demlakian done in

Ken Demlakian shoved for his last 5,600 in late position, and action folded to Rob Spano in the big blind.

“I don’t want to give you a bad beat…” mused Spano.

“I think mathematically I have to call…” he continued, to laughter from the table. Eventually, he dropped the chips in, to see Demlakian table A2.

Spano tabled J5, and would indeed eliminate Demlakian as the board ran out Q652J.

Rob Spano110,700
Ken DemlakianBUSTED!

Zero percent

The board was displaying 339J and Amin Riyazati fired a 29,000 bet into a pot of around 69,000.

Ken Demlakian, in the next seat over, announced all in, with Riyazati slightly covered.

Riyazati looked a little surprised, checked his cards (yep, they’re still the same), then called to put himself at risk for 98,400 effective, tabling 99.

“Oh geez… I’m drawing dead.” lamented Demlakian, tabling 66.

The river A of course changed nothing, and just like that, Riyazati became the first over 200K.

“That was one of the worst hands you could have had…” said Demlakian afterwards.

Amin Riyazati274,500
Ken Demlakian10,200

Sandaev arrives late, gets busy

Joe Sandaev arrived during the break, and after being sat down on a table which includes all four of the biggest stacks in the below table, has got busy, eliminating Octavian Voegele already.

Moments before, Voegele, crippled and down to 6,500, was in the small blind and because the big blind was absent from the table, actually found a walk to jump up to 8,500 when Sandaev folded the button. The next hand, though, Sandaev opened the cut off to 2,200 and Voegele immediately shoved. Action folded back around to Sandaev, who made the call after a moment of though.

Voegele tabled KJ, racing against the A4 of Sandaev.

The board missed both, running out 68792 to eliminate Voegele.

Joe Sandaev51,000
Octavian VoegeleBUSTED!

Dinner break

The players have departed on a 30-minute break.

Amin Riyazati still holds the chip lead at the second time of counting, now over a century and a half!

Amin Riyazati158,300
Ken Demlakian110,100
Kamyar Ekrami104,600
Rob Spano97,300
Lawrence Stephenson90,600
Mogens Hansen83,500
Adrian Sportelli66,900
Malcolm Trayner64,300
Antoine Follet64,200
Farhad Mohajarani64,100
Rhys Kelly53,900
Matt Pongrass43,100
Mishel Anunu36,000
Rick Chen34,400
Cameron McColl27,500
Jarrod Thatcher25,400
Mark Fester18,600
Michael Clair12,000

Anunu O-no-no!

Mishel Anunu could be forgiven for thinking he was going to double up. His 55 smashed bottom set on the flop of A5J, and his opponent was Adrian Sportelli.

Sportelli and Anunu would see the board run out K, A, though, and one thing is for certain, Sportelli was never going anywhere – the AK of Sportelli eliminating Anunu in an absolute cooler!

Demlakian doubles

Action uncertain, but what we do know is Ken Demlakian had KQ, his opponent had QJ and that the flop smashed them both.

The flop of K210 gave Demlakian top pair, but he needed to fade the open ended straight draw. A 7 turn changed nothing, and the river of J gave his opponent a lesser pair to earn Demlakian the double.

Ken Demlakian75,000

Pongrass cut

Picking up the action on the turn with a board showing 35102, Matt Pongrass had fired 3,700 and found himself raised by Antoine Follet to 10,000.

Pongrass made the call, and the 7 completed the board. Follet took his time, more than a minute passing before he led out for 15,000.

Pongrass counted his black chips out, then seemed to give a shrug before throwing out the call (in yellow chips).

That was followed by an expletive and a muck, as Follet tabled the 86 to take it down.

Antoine Follet60,400
Matt Pongrass17,800

Stephenson makes an oopsy

Lawrence Stephenson opened the action in early position to 2,000, and Rhys Kelly immediately 3-bet from the next seat over to 6,000.

Action folded back around to Stephenson, who announced a 4-bet to 15,000, with Kelly making the call.

The flop of 56J saw Stephenson pull the big trigger, shoving for 25,800 effective. Kelly called it off, and found his QQ ahead of the A5 of Stephenson, but needing to fade the flush draw.

The turn 6 and river K kept his lead intact, though, and Kelly found a full double, whilst Stephenson dropped back to where he started.

Rhys Kelly81,200
Lawrence Stephenson39,600

Sportelli can beat Jack Ten

The ever-entertaining Adrian Sportelli (who regular PMA readers might remember from the below infamous photo, taken when Sportelli won the Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event last year) entered during Level 5, finding himself seated on Table 10, and immediately got into the action, raising his first hand to 1,500. Cameron McColl and Paul Hu came along from late position and the big blind respectively.

Hu checked the 39Q flop, Sportelli continued for 3,500, McColl folded, and Hu made the call to see the 6 hit the river.

Hu checked once more and Sportelli fired again, this time for 8,200. Hu enquired as to how much Sportelli was playing, earning a laugh and a “starting stack” from Sportelli, before raising to 20,000.

Sportelli made the call, and Hu immediately shoved on the 10 river, sending Sportelli into a tank.

“I had you on Jack Ten, I can beat Jack Ten…” mulled Sportelli, “It’s gotta be King Jack, right? King Jack?”

Sportelli folded.

Paul Hu86,900
Cameron McColl45,800
Adrian Sportelli15,000

Riyazati keeps building

Amin Riyazati opened to 1,200 under the gun, and found callers from Michael Clair on the button and Malcolm Trayner in the small blind.

The big blind completed, and the four players saw a 24K flop. Riyazati fired a continuation bet of 1,000, and only Trayner called.

Both players then checked through the 9, 8 run out and Trayner tabled K6. Riyazati tabled KQ for a better kicker to take the pot.

Amin Riyazati129,000
Malcolm Trayner33,900

Clair pressured

Plenty of familiar faces now filling the Main Event as predicted, with entries increasing at an exponential rate. Jarrod Thatcher, Ken Demlakian, and Michael Clair have taken their seats, and are straight into the action.

Michael Clair and Haozhe Gan got into a war on a board of of 9J48 as Clair fired 6,500 into the pot of 8,400 only to see Gan check-raise to 15,000 leaving himself just 12,500 behind.

Clair looked suspicious of the raise, and made the call. The river Q completed the board and Gan wasted no time in sliding the remainder of his chips into the middle; Clair spinning his cards away into the middle of the table to surrender the pot.

Gan then got back into it immediately, 3-betting both of the next two hands to 3,500 – chopping up the first with QJ and his opponent’s QJ both making a King high straight, before on the second hand Amin Riyazati put his foot down, 4-betting Gan to 11,000 preflop.

Gan made the call, the flop spread 8AK, and Gan called a bet of 6,000 from Riyazati.

Riyazati then checked the 4 turn and Gan took the bait, firing 14,000 before folding to the shove of Riyazati.

Michael Clair23,300
Haozhe Gan18,900

Mohajarani lets one go

Picking up the action on the turn on a board showing KQ2Q, Farhad Mohajarani fired a bet of 2,000.

Mark Fester, who won the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event in 2022 and is currently enjoying a massage from the staff at Best Hands Shiatsu Massage (available throughout the WSOP-C series), made the call to see the K hit the river.

Mulling his options over with a pot of around 8,000 in the middle, Fester led out for 7,000 in Mohajarani, who let his hand go.

Farhad Mohajarani59,000
Mark Fester48,400

Assorted chip counts

The WSOP-C Main Event has reached the first of several breaks of the day, and we got some assorted chip counts for those of you following along at home.

Some familiar faces in action now including Romain Morvan, Attila Bognar, and Jason Chahine.

In other news, the Mystery Bounty event has officially closed its doors – late registration for Day 1B has ended and there will be no more re-entries; which for us in the Main Event means some eliminations as the Mystery Bounty continues will trickle across. The Mystery Bounty attracted 197 players on Day 1B and there are 119 remaining at the moment.

Amin Riyazati100,400
Chao Duan91,300
Lawrence Stephenson71,500
Paul Hu70,000
Mogens Hansen68,000
Farhad Mohajarani65,500
Romain Morvan40,200
Attila Bognar24,900
Jason Chahine23,500

Who got one?

Paul Hu, that’s who.

Hu 3-bet to 3,200 from the small blind after Zhiyi Wang opened the action. After the big blind got out of the way, Wang shoved all in for 14,600.

Asking for a count to make sure, Hu made the call quickly, and the cards were tabled.

Hu: JJ
Wang: AK

The board ran out 667810, missing Wang completely to send him to the rail.

Paul Hu44,900
Zhiyi WangBUSTED!

That’ll do it

Farhad Mohajarani is running hot, straight back into the action soon after against a newly-registered opponent; the Main Event Day 1A numbers increasing steadily throughout the first few levels.

With approximately 9,000 in the pot and a board showing A210107, Mohajarani’s opponent placed down a blocker bet of 1,000, which saw Mohajarani take his time before raising to 11,000.

His opponent made the call in short order – only to see Mohajarani table A10 for the second nuts – that’ll do it.

Farhad Mohajarani67,100

Nice check back

A board showing 6322 on Table 19 looked somewhat innocuous – but then it led to a betting war between Zhiyi Wang and Farhad Mohajarani.

Mohajarani, under-the-gun for the hand, opened the betting on the turn, only to see Wang raise to 8,000. Mohajarani popped the price to play back up to 16,000, sending Wang into the tank for a minute or so before he made the call.

Mohajarani then checked the J river, and Wang mulled his options over for another minute or so, with 24,700 behind, before slowly checking back – causing Mohajarani to rap the table in frustration, tabling 33 for the full house.

Wang sighed, showing A2 before spinning them into the muck.

Farhad Mohajarani55,800
Zhiyi Wang24,700

One-two punch

All of the action on Table 20 thus far, as Killian Farrell has been eliminated early; Farrell lost most of his stack in a massive hand, falling victim of a cooler when his boat was beaten by the quad nines of Chao Duan. Duan, holding 69, flopped trips and rivered quads on the board of J9979 to cripple Farrell.

Shortly after, Farrell was eliminated at the hands of Mogens Hansen, fresh off a final table appearance in the $775 PLO event the other day. Hansen’s 3-3 held to send Farrell to the rail.

Chao Duan81,800
Mogens Hansen59,100
Killian FarrellBUSTED!

Blink and you’ll miss it!

We certainly did – there was an elimination on the first hand of play in the WSOP-C Main Event!

Recounted to PokerMedia Australia by Amin Riyazati after the fact, Riyazati explained that he opened with K-Q and got 3-bet before making the call to see a Q-Q-4 flop.

After check-calling the flop continuation bet, the turn 4 filled Riyazati up and he checked once more. A second barrel from his opponent led Riyazati to check-raise. His opponent called.

The river dropped a meaningless 3, and Riyazati shoved – expecting a chop as his opponent snap-called, only to see his opponent table T-T and make his way to the rail!

Amin Riyazati80,000

Make your way to the Cadillac!

The 2023 Gold Coast WSOP-C Main Event is officially underway with 10 players currently registered, and Tournament Director Daniel Dumbrell has requested that they “make their way to the Cadillac”; quite literally, with both tables currently in action next to the classic car that forms the centrepiece of the room.

With the Mystery Bounty Day 1B in action across the other side of the room, the Star Gold Coast Poker room is full of players and the ever-present sound of chip shuffling (of course), we expect players to filter across from the Mystery Bounty to the Main Event as they are eliminated throughout the day.

Back to the Gold Coast!

Hello and welcome to the WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event Day 1A, live from the poker room here at The Star Gold Coast! The series has been underway for a few days now, with no less than five WSOP circuit rings already awarded.

Nima Zarei Babakandy took home the Opening Event for $60,269 and a coveted ring first, before Brisbane local Jacob Faull went all the way in the 8-Max Action Clock, shipping the ring and $47,152 for first place.

Cooper Feltham took the honours in the $5K High Roller event, with a career-best $85,194 result adding to a stellar year, including a win at the APT Gold Coast Championship “Goliath” event for $68,500 in May and second in the APL Million Opening Event for $67,965 in August.

Daniel Dessman showed some four-card wizardry, taking out the $775 PLO tournament for a ring and $20,352, before Teresa-Ann Natoli battled her way back from a ‘chip and a chair’ to take out the $880 Big Bounty event for $19,633.

PMA will be providing live reporting for the entire Main Event, which includes no less than four Day 1 flights across the next few days, before Day 2 on Sunday, Day 3 on Monday, and playing to a WSOP-C Gold Coast Champion on the Final Table on Tuesday 5 December. For the full series schedule, click here.

The Day 1 structure sees players undergoing 12 levels – the first 9 levels will be 40 minutes each, with a 15-minute break after every 3 levels, before level 10 until the end of the tournament will be 60-minutes apiece.

LevelSmall BlindBig BlindBig Blind Ante

Action will kick off here at The Star Gold Coast at 3:30pm local time, and PMA will be there to bring you all of the action from buy-in to bust-out!

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