Inaugural WPT Australia pays out A$8.6M (~US$5.7M); David Tang clinches Main Event; Joseph Sandaev wins two and Player of the Festival; highlights inside



The World Poker Tour wrapped up an incredibly fun and successful first ever Australia Main Tour, which ran from September 15 to 27 at The Star Gold Coast. Over the 13 days, the festivities brought in a flood of enthusiasts from all around the country, which included highly decorated local superstars Joe Hachem and Hari Varma. WPT brand ambassadors from the USA, Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme, were also in attendance both entertaining and accommodating players at the sold out Meet Up Game. Throughout the series, players battled for the unique WPT Boomerang trophies, and most especially the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Emerging the biggest winner was David Tang who clinched the Main Event to have his name etched on the iconic trophy. Other impressive winners were Joseph Sandaev whose top notch results earned him the Player of the Festival title, and Marley Wynter, the Super High Roller champion. We’ve got those results and other highlights below.

*All images taken from WPT flickr

Festival review

Events 1 – 13 prize pool: A$ 8,617,000 (~US$ 5,724,050)
Entries: 4,165
Main Event prize pool: A$ 3,550,000 (~US$ 2,362,580)
Main Event champion: David Tang – A$ 647,470 (~US$ 429,080)
Player of the Festival: Joseph Sandaev
Multi-winner: Joseph Sandaev
Most final tables: Joseph Sandaev
Trophies by flag: Australia (11), Colombia (1), Japan (1)

David Tang clinches the Main Event for A$ 647,470 (~US$ 429,080)

Unexpected celebrations for Australia’s David Tang who emerged victorious at the festival’s premier tournament. In a post-game interview with WPT, champion Tang revealed he initially intended to skip the WPT Australia Main Event but due to his non-refundable airline tickets, Tang stayed, and five days later, his name was immortalized on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. This was Tang’s first major success bringing him a massive A$ 647,470 (~US$ 429,080) in winnings – inclusive of a WPT World Championship package and a ticket worth US$ 10,400. 


Tang trailed the leaders throughout every stage but rose above when it mattered. On the first hand of heads up, Tang doubled up to amass a 5:1 chip advantage to take the lead for the first time since the event began. He then quickly closed it out on the second hand. Tang’s King-Ten suited diamonds completed a flush to dust Po Ho‘s Ace-Eight suited clubs.  Tang became the third Australian player to have his name etched on the champions cup, joining fellow winners Joe Hachem and Mel Judah.

Joe Hachem

The Main Event saw 710 runners pony up the A$ 5,400 buy in to build a prize pool of A$ 3,550,000 (~US$ 2,362,580). Among the many well known figures in attendance were WSOP bracelet holders Joe Hachem, Gary Benson, Robert Campbell, Hun Wei Lee, Motoyoshi Okamura, WPT Prime Vietnam Player of the Festival winner Duy Ho who redeemed his $5,000 WPT Main Tour passport, Alex Lynskey, Sean Ragozzini, Luke Martinelli, and flying in from the Philippines, high roller Florencio Campomanes. 

Final six players

Buy in: A$ 5,400
Entries: 710
Prize pool: A$ 3,550,000 (~US$ 2,362,580)
ITM: 39 places

Final table payouts

1st David Tang Australia A$ 647,470*
2nd Po Ho Australia A$ 421,635
3rd Naj Ajez Australia A$ 310,675
4th Daisuke Ogita Japan A$ 231,505
5th Josh Hutchins Australia A$ 174,480
6th De Kun Li Taiwan A$ 133,025
7th John Doringer Australia A$ 102,605
8th Li De Australia A$ 80,080
9th Emanuel Seal Australia A$ 63,245

Big results for Joseph Sandaev earn him Player of the Festival

Without question, Australia’s Joseph Sandaev delivered the most incredible performance with four final tables reached, turning two into triumphs, to seize the esteemed Player of the Festival title. 


During the opening days, Sandaev quickly made his presence known with a first ever career victory at the A$ 2,500 No Limit Hold’em 8-Max. As the days progressed, he meant business, running deep at two Pot Limit Omaha events. He finished 7th and 4th to climb to the top of the POF leaderboard. On the final day, it was a solid takedown after he closed out the two-day High Roller event. Sandaev walked away with two event trophies, a WPT POF trophy, A$ 433,190 (~US$ 285,420) in cash, and the coveted WPT Main Tour passport worth $5,000. 

Super High Roller: MARLEY WYNTER – A$ 430,919 (~US$ 287,165)

The No Limit Hold’em 20th Anniversary Super High Roller clearly separated the heavy hitters from the masses with buy in at a jaw dropping A$ 20,000 (~US$ 12,800). This drew a healthy field of 63 runners for a prize pool of A$ 1,197,000 (~US$ 797,681). One of the newest faces in the Australian crowd was Filipino-American James Mendoza who  emerged the biggest earner at the recent 2022 APPT Manila. Mendoza went on to cash in 5th place. Capturing the win was Australia’s Marley Wynter who overcame the heavily decorated tournament pro Khac-Trung Tran at heads up. This was Wynter’s first ever victory and a career high A$ 430,919 (~US$ 287,165).

Khac-Trung Tran – 2nd place

Buy in: A$ 20,000 (~US$ 12,800)
Entries: 63
Prize pool: A$ 1,197,000 (~US$ 797,681)
ITM: 8 places


1st Marley Wynter Australia A$ 430,919
2nd Khac-Trung Tran Australia A$ 253,166
3rd Aaron Li Australia A$ 158,603
4th Brian Kim Australia A$ 107,730
5th James Mendoza Philippines A$ 83,790
6th Daniel Hachem Australia A$ 65,835
7th Michael Egan Australia A$ 53,865
8th Gu Gu Australia A$ 43,092
9th Emanuel Seal Australia A$ 63,245

Shane Warne One Dayer [Freezeout] – CHAD AWERBUCH – A$ 47,213 (~US$ 31,460)


One of the most popular freezeout tournaments was the Shane Warne One Dayer charity event –  in tribute to the late Australian cricketer – with 477 players pouring in to turn it into a two-day affair. In the aftermath, well known Sydney pro Chad Awerbuch outlasted the competition, defeating Na Segon at heads up for a payout of A$ 47,213 (~US$ 31,460). 

Other winners

ANDRES VASQUEZ – Event #3: A$550 NLH Action Clock – A$ 39,558
LEO KAMIYA – Event #4: A$550 Pot Limit Omaha – A$ 29,914
LAMBERG JACK – Event #5: A$ 660 NLH AUD 300 Bounty – A$ 24,841
JONATHAN LEVY – Event #6: A$ 440 NLH Turbo – A$ 20,314
DAISUKE OGITA – Event #7: A$ 1,100 Pot Limit Omaha – A$ 54,682
CRAIG TREVENNA – Event #11: A$ 1,200 NLH Mini Main Event – A$ 74,880
ROBERTO DAMELIAN – Event #13: A$ 550 NLH Finale – A$ 17,902

Event links: 

Inaugural WPT Australia in full swing

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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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