After 6 frenetic days of poker at The Star Gold Coast, 508 entries have been narrowed down to just nine remaining in the 2023 WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event.
It’s a table for the ages, with a whole host of recognisable names and legends of Australian poker, as well as some rising stars. Multiple players are within striking distance of surpassing half a million in lifetime earnings, should the result favour them today.
Ali Ghezelbash comes into the final table second in chips (3,495,000). Winner of The Masters Tournament at WSOP-C Sydney in 2019, Ghezelbash has $469,259 in lifetime earnings; by our rudimentary calculations, a top six finish would see Ghezelbash eclipse the half million mark.
Australian crusher Danielle Noja is the table short stack for today. With $494,184 in lifetime earnings, he might not mind – in making the final table, Noja will pass that half million milestone today. Canberra’s Noja has been travelling this year, with a long list of cashes in multiple countries including Cyprus, the UK and Ireland, France, not to mention EPT Monte Carlo and the WSOP.
Possibly the local favourite, Gold Coast’s Peter Apostolou held the chip lead for most of Day 3. The developer has a deep passion for the game, and comes into the final table with 1,780,000. Though primarily a cash game specialist, five out of six of Apostolou’s tournament results in 2023 are for five-figures plus, whilst his lifetime best result was a third place finish in the WPT Grand Prix du Paris Main Event way back in 2013; that result worth €148,050.
Some young guns are present also. Brisbane’s Noman Mirza led the field on Day 1C and had an absolute roller coaster yesterday, but will carry 2,075,000 onto the final table. Mirza said to PMA the other day that he has “had some big spots where I haven’t really converted [to a win] in these big fields – so hopefully this is the one!” Qais Shanasa makes a second PMA-covered final table at The Star Gold Coast after his ninth place finish at The Star Gold Coast Summer Series Main Event back in 2021, and New Zealand expat JP Rounce-Sue is having an absolute cracker of a year – winning the Opening Event here at WPT Australia just two months ago.
It’s Craig Rimmer, though, who’s been in Australia for around eight months on a working holiday and only started playing poker a couple of years ago, who will be taking more chips than anyone onto the final table with 4,395,000 on his quest for a maiden title. The Englishman told PMA last night that he would prepare for the biggest final table of his career by rushing home “to get a decent nights sleep, get up tomorrow and come straight in and play my game”. Rimmer’s previous best result was for around AU$20K in the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour; seventh or better here today more than doubles Rimmer’s lifetime earnings.
With just an hour or so left to play last night, Rimmer was in the danger zone before going on a streak of a lifetime. Asked about the run, Rimmer said “It was crazy! Especially because I was one of the short stacks, I think I had about 700K after I lost a few flips and then built it up a little bit, then the flush over flush against Noman, then the Queens hand, then the Ace Jack hand, and suddenly I’m chip leader like an hour later, just crazy.”
2023 WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event Final Table – chip counts
2023 WSOP-C Gold Coast Main Event Final Table – payouts