The 2018 WSOP International Circuit Sydney Main Event is the latest World Series of Poker Circuit event to take place in Australia and attract a large field to compete for its seven-figure prize pool. The total field size by the end of late registration stood at 1,191, with a circuit ring and a prize of over AUD$442,000 (US$303,000) set aside for the eventual winner.
The AUD$2,200 (US$1,581) tournament was hosted by The Star casino in Sydney, attracting a strong turnout, with 135 of the players going on to make the money. Day 1 required four starting day flights before the entire field could be assembled for day 2. By the end of that second day, Australian pro Alex Lynskey had already risen to the top of the chip counts. By that time, only 27 players remained, most of the from the host nation and none of them as well known as Lynskey, who increased his fame substantially with a 7th place finish in the WSOP Main Event during the summer.
Australian players filled every seat at the final table, and while Lynskey was no longer the biggest stack, having slipped to 3rd, he still had a powerful 5.5 million chip stack to work with, just 2.4 million behind the leader. He got to work quickly too, busting out the first two players in quick succession. Matt Pongrass was also making headway, dispatching Barry Forrester in 7th place, but he was struggling to keep up with Lynskey, who continued to build. After busting John Sormi in 6th and Sam Capra in 5th, Lynskey found himself with 14 million chips and the chiplead, but it would not be an easy canter to the finish line. Matt Pongrass and start of day chipleader Rahul Rastogi both had very playable stacks as the action became three-handed after the elimination of Luke Martinelli in 4th place.
Pongrass took a chunk out of Rastogi’s stack shortly after three-handed play began, seizing the chiplead, and before long, play was heads-up. Pongrass had the momentum and had won a few big pots to extend into a comfortable lead of 29.2 million to Lynskey’s 6.5 million when heads-up play began. It looked like the day would belong to Pongrass as Lynskey’s stack dwindled to 4.2 million, but with some carefully applied pressure, he was soon back in contention. Two large pots swung things heavily in Lynskey’s favour before he got very lucky on the river to close out the tournament with pocket threes versus Pongrass’s pocket sevens.
The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Alex Lynskey – AUD$442,796 (US$303,705)
2nd – Matt Pongrass – AUD$262,020 (US$188,188)
3rd – Rahul Rastogi – AUD$192,299 (US$138,113)
4th – Luke Martinelli – AUD$145,302 (US$104,359)
5th – Sam Capra – AUD$110,882 (US$79,638)
6th – John Sormi – AUD$85,347 (US$61,298)
7th – Barry Forrester – AUD$66,458 (US$47,736)
8th – Justin Layden – AUD$52,306 (US$37,570)
9th – Cameron Chen – AUD$41,733 (US$29,976)
Article by Craig Bradshaw