Big winners of the Melbourne Poker Championship; Gautam Dhingra wins the Main Event

Kicking off the month in Australia was the Melbourne Poker Championship running from August 1 to August 13 at the Crown Melbourne. 15 events were gobbled up amassing prize pools from A$25K up to A$196K with attendance as large as 740. The Main Event pulled in the richest pot, an enormous A$784,500. Overall, there were over 3500 entries with a grand prize pool well exceeding A$2.1M.

Now that all the trophies have been claimed, here are the event’s biggest winners:

Gautam Dhingra wins the Main Event

Gautam Dhingra
Gautam Dhingra – Photo Crown Poker

Closing the festival as the wealthiest was Melbourne’s very own Gautam Dhingra. Dhingra outlasted the 523-entry field of the Main Event to ship in the hefty A$156,051 (~US$112,765) first prize. This was Dhingra’s first major victory and his largest live score to-date. In fact, it was larger than his total live tournament career earnings per Hendon Mob listing.

While a majority of the players in attendance were from the home country, Dhingra faced Korean national Hyung Tai Kim for the title. Both players struck a deal that guaranteed Kim A$124,424. Finishing in 3rd place was well-known Australian pro Julius Colman who pocketed A$66,690 to bring his total live tournament earnings to just over $1M.

63 players were in the money, among them were notable players Minh Hau Nguyen (9th), Dennis Huntly (19th), NLH 6-Max Shot Clock winner Joel Williams (25th), Dean Blatt (26th), Kahle Burns (28th), Jarred Graham (30th), and Petros Aristidou (49th).

Final 10 Payouts
Prizepool: A$784,500 – Buyin: A$1,650 – ITM: 63 places

1st Gautam Dhingra – Australia – A$156,051
2nd Hyung Tai Kim – Korea – A$124,424
3rd Julius Colman – Australia – A$66,690
4th Simon Chahine – Australia – A$50,210
5th Jordan Westmoreland – USA – A$34,520
6th James Harketts – Australia – A$27,455
7th Adam Markiewicz – Australia – A$22,360
8th Andrew Zebrovius – Australia – A$18,830
9th Minh Hau Nguyen – Australia – A$15,690
10th Paul Altis – Australia – A$13,335

Tino Lechich wins the 5K Challenge High Roller

HighRoller Champion
Tino Lechich – Photo Crown Poker

For one of the most recognized poker players from Australia, with cashes dating back to 2003, Tino Lechich aka Dice hasn’t had a live tournament victory since 2009. Well, that dry spell is now over. Lechich overcame the 61-entry 5K Challenge High Roller event and pocketed a cool A$95,620. To claim the title, Lechich had to get past several heavy hitters that included Andrew Hinrichsen who finished 3rd and Robert Spano at the heads up round.

Prizepool: A$289,750 – Buyin: A$5,000

1st Tino Lechich – Australia – A$95,620
2nd Robert Spano – Australia – A$60,850
3rd Andrew Hinrichsen – Australia – A$40,565
4th Henri Buhler – Scotland – A$31,870
5th Jordan Westmoreland – Australia – A$23,180
6th Luke Stokie – Australia – A$20,280
7th Zackery Lowrie – New Zealand – A$17,385

David Kelly wins the Opening Event

David Kelly
David Kelly – Photo Crown Poker

The festival had a smashing start with 740 entrants pouring in for the Opening Event. With a buyin of just A$300, players were guaranteed at least a 100K pot. Due to the huge turnout, that quickly grew to A$185,000. 72 players claimed a cut with David Kelly pocketing the largest of A$40,240.

Top 10 payouts
Prizepool: A$185,000 – Buyin: A$300 – ITM: 72 places

1st David Kelly – Australia – A$40,240
2nd Petrit Abazi – Australia – A$24,975
3rd Anita Le – Australia – A$15,450
4th David Elias – Australia – A$11,785mel
5th Lukas Byrns – Australia – A$8,145
6th George Eleftheradis – Australia – A$6,475
7th Nicholas Walk – Australia – A$5,275
8th John Perry – Australia – A$4,445
9th Richard Aspinall – Australia – A$3,705
10th Nathan Gubieski – Australia – A$3,150

Idris Hassan wins the NLHE Deepstack

Another event bringing in a large field was the NLHE Deepstack. 392 graced the tables, each entry costing A$550 for a prize pool of A$196,000. With all of the 45 players in the money hailing from Australia, besting them all was Idris Hassan. Hassan shipped in the A$45,030 first prize, pocketing a personal record live tournament career payout.

Top 10 Payouts

1st Idris Hassan – Australia – A$45,030
2nd Natalia Rozova – Australia – A$28,420
3rd David Tam – Australia – A$17,640
4th Eugene Portlen – Australia – A$13,915
5th William Funnell – Australia – A$10,290
6th Dominic Cavdar – Australia – A$8,340
7th Dale West – Australia – A$6,370
8th Daniel Gabriel – Australia – A$5,390
9th George Cotaidis – Australia – A$4,510
10th Roberto Rotatori – Australia – A$3,725

Article by Tricia David

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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