Melbourne Poker Championship; Early winners report as series gets underway

Australia has been a hub of tournament action over the last month, with the Sydney Championships having only just ended a week ago. Australian tournament enthusiasts have since made the trip across to Melbourne for the next big live series – the Melbourne Poker Championship. Taking place at the Crown Melbourne Casino, this series features 16 separate events which take place between August 5th and 17th. With the series already well underway, allow us to bring you the early winners.

Event 5 – $770 NLH Deepstack

Deepstack champion Ricky Vikas – Photo by Melbourne Poker Championship

This event saw the series step up a gear, surpassing the previous four events in terms of prize pool and 1st place money. 397 players stepped forward to pay the $770 (US$520) entry fee to contest this one, with 45 players going on to get paid. Min cashes were enough to net AU$1,390, while the top six finishers would all bag five-figure scores. The total prize pool went on to reach AU$277,900 (US$187,681).

The final table of this event saw a strong Australian contingent bidding for the title, as you might expect, but Hong Kong’s Manik Lather, Malaysia’s Ooi Keong Yeo and the UK’s Vasco Zapantzis were threatening to spoil the party by taking the win for Asia. Any potential pressure from Asian finalists soon faded however, when Lather and Yeo busted in 8th and 7th, while Zapantzis eventually fell in 4th. This left Australians Quoc Nguyen, Yew Khaw and Ricky Vikas to contest the title and they secured a deal for the money before play resumed. Nguyen was first to hit the rail, and after some heads-up jousting, Vikas came away with the plaudits and almost AU$64,000.

Here are the final payouts:

1st– Ricky Vikas (Australia) – AU$63,920 (US$43,169)
2nd – Yew Khaw (Australia) – AU$40,300
3rd – Quoc Nguyen (Australia) – AU$25,015
4th – Vasco Zapantzis (United Kingdom) – AU$19,735
5th – Evelyne Roy (Australia) – AU$14,595
6th – Vincent Wan (Australia) – AU$11,815
7th – Ooi Keong Yeo (Malaysia) – AU$9,035
8th – Manik Lather (Hong Kong) – AU$7,645
9th – Bridges Roe (Australia) – AU$6,390

Event 1 – AU$300 NLH Accumulator (AU$100K Guaranteed)

Winner Opener
NLH Accumulator champion dean McDowell – Photo by Melbourne Poker Championship

The opening event of this series attracted a field of 798 players, each paying the AU$300 (US$203) entry fee to participate. This helped the prize pool to reach AU$199,500 (US$134,773) with 72 runners going on to get paid. The near doubling of this event’s guarantee represented a great start for the Melbourne Poker Championship.

The final table for this event was an all Australian affair with over AU$43,000 set aside for the champion. Eliminations saw Thomas Pearce and Dean McDowell growing in strength as the final table went on and with the eventual elimination of Matthew Kozole, Pearce and McDowell found themselves heads-up for the title. Pearce worked to try and turn things in his favour, but McDowell managed to grab the upper hand and went on to finish the job and take the win.

Here are the final payouts:

1st – Dean McDowell (Australia) – AU$43,400 (US$29,310)
2nd – Thomas Pearce (Australia) – AU$26,935
3rd – Matthew Kozole (Australia) – AU$16,665
4th – Keanu Simpson (Australia) – AU$12,715
5th – Anthony Ronalds (Australia) – AU$8,785
6th – Daniel Murphy (Australia) – AU$6,985
7th – Xen Xenofontos (Australia) – AU$5,690
8th – Jules Courderc (Australia) – AU$4,795
9th – Melissa Gillett (Australia) – AU$3,995

Event 3 – AU$550 8-Game

8-Game champion Aaron Li – Photo by Melbourne Poker Championship

In what was the first non-Holdem event of the series, mixed game players were invited to show their prowess in this $550 (US$371) 8-Game event. The number of entries reached a respectable 80, building a prize pool of AU$40,000 (US$27,014). Over AU$12,000 was set aside for the winner, with 9 players going on to cash the event.

The final table saw the title closely contested by a table full of Australian players. As the table progressed and players began making their way to the rail, Aaron Li was among the stronger players looking to take down the title. As the action got shorter handed, he found competition from David Munday, who was able to get heads-up with Li for the title. The two traded pots for a while before Li was finally able to triumph during the PLO round, completing a flush on the river and picking up the top prize.

Here are the final payouts:

1st – Aaron Li (Australia) – AU$12,200 (US$8,239)
2nd – David Munday (Australia) – AU$8,000
3rd – Ashish Gupta (Australia) – AU$5,200
4th – Dean Francis (Australia) – AU$4,000
5th – Rainer Quel (Australia) – AU$2,800
6th – Chris Mayne (Australia) – AU$2,400
7th – Dale Marsland (Australia) – AU$2,000
8th – Dale West (Australia) – AU$1,800
9th – Elizabeth Thomson (Australia) – AU$1,600

Other events

Event 2 – $200 (US$135) Hyper Turbo NLH 10/10/10
Entries: 219
Prize pool: AU$35,040 (US$23,644)
Winner: Pothiraj Veluchamy (Australia) – AU$8,595 (US$5,805)

Event 4 – $400 (US$270) NLH Shot Clock Teams
Entries: 79
Prize pool: AU$27,650 (US$18,674)
Winner: Giuseppe Scudieri/Vito Dalessandri (Australia) – AU$7,450 (US$5,031)

Article by Craig Bradshaw