Inaugural WPT Australia main tour in full swing; Mike Sexton Champions Cup in the house; record turnout at the Mystery Bounty opener


For the first time in history, the iconic Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup is in the land down under as the World Poker Tour stages its highly anticipated main tour in Australia. Poker players in the country could not be any more excited as the chance to have one’s name engraved alongside past champions draws near. With the opening games already in flight since September 15, the early turnout has been tremendous with the Mystery Bounty opener attracting a country record 513 entries. The festival will run for 13 days at The Star Gold Coast, closing on September 27. Thirteen events line the roster with the A$ 5,400 buy in Main Event headliner hitting the felt on September 23 to 27.

Here are key events to look out for:

WPT Australia Main Event

Buy in: A$ 5,400
Day 1A: Friday, September 23 @11:30am
Day 1B: Saturday, September 24 @11:30am
Day 2: Sunday, September 25 @11:30am
Day 3: Monday, September 26 @11:30am
Day 4: Tuesday, September 27 @11:00am

Players are allowed a single re-entry per day. Day 1 starters and Day 2 run 60 minute level, Day 3 runs 90 minute levels, Final table runs 60 minute levels, and Heads up will see blinds increase every 30 minutes.  

20th Anniversary Super High Roller

Coming in at the priciest of A$ 20,000 is the 20th Anniversary Super High Roller. This is a two-day event running from September 22 to 23. 

Shane Warne One Dayer (Perpetual Trophy) Freezeout

In tribute to the late Australian cricketeer Shane Warne is a one day freezeout tournament of his namesake on September 22. Buy in is A$ 550. 

Mini Main Event (Freezeout)

The Mini Main Event is the second and last freezeout format of the festival. It runs from September 25 to 26. Buy in is A$ 1,200.


Australia record turnout at Mystery Bounty opener

Photo credit: Poker Media Australia

The Mystery Bounty opener amassed a hungry crowd of 513 entries across two starting days. This well surpassed the 395 turnout of the WPT Prime Gold Coast last June to set a new Australia record for this type of event. Among the players running deep were WPT Prime Vietnam Player of the Festival winner Duy Ho, Aussie pro Jeff Lisandro, and Asian live circuit jet setter Vincent Huang. In the end, the most envied player was Tu Tran aka Chris Tran who drew a minimum of six bounties that included the single top prize of A$ 54,000. Tran also went on to bag the whole shebang for another A$ 79,744 (~US$ 53,734) takedown.

Buy in: A$ 1,350
Entries: 513
Prize pool: A$ 615,200
ITM: 65 places

Final table payouts in Australian Dollar

1st Chris Tran Australia A$ 79,744
2nd Jin Li Australia A$ 55,896
3rd Peter Peeters Australia A$ 35,951
4th Michael Clair Australia A$ 25,075
5th Kenneth Stewart Australia A$ 19,248
6th Matthew Radcliffe Australia A$ 16,006
7th Mishel Anunu Australia A$ 13,338
8th Ali Zebarjad Australia A$ 10,629
9th Tan Meng Australia A$ 7,962

Joseph Sandaev bests Aussie pro Martinelli for the $2,500 8-Max title

Photo credit: The Star Gold Coast

While players were pulling mystery prizes, at a separate side of the room players were pulling up seats to the $2,500 NLH 8-Max for a final count of 208 runners. This generated a prize pool of A$ 320,613 with the top 26 shaving a portion. Japan’s Ken Okada was among the players that cashed in 23rd place. Aussie pros Sean Ragozzini and Luke Martinelli went much further, both reaching the final table. Ragozzini took 6th while Martinelli went head to head for the title against fellow Joseph Sandaev. After a hard fought tug of war for command, Sandaev overcame the pro to capture a career high A$ 117,685 (~US$ 78,870). This was another impressive result for the champion who placed 5th at last year’s WPTDS Gold Coast Main Event.

Buy in: A$ 2,500
Entries: 208
Prize pool: A$ 320,613
ITM: 26 places

Final table payouts

1st Joseph Sandaev Australia A$ 117,685
2nd Luke Martinelli Australia A$ 81,663
3rd Leo Kamiya Australia A$ 49,036
4th Jarred Graham Australia A$ 29,852
5th Zhengmin Zhang Australia A$ 23,059
6th Sean Ragozzini Australia A$ 19,088
7th Nabil Edgtton Australia A$ 16,266
8th Adrian Indovino Australia A$ 14,017
9th Ziyue Zheng Australia A$ 11,769

More results at the end of the festival. For event info, head to the WPT website. 

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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