WPT Australia: Hari Varma triumphs in the Main Event; Hussien Hassan wins 5K Challenge

The inaugural WPT Australia festival has been illuminating the Gold Coast for just over a week now.

During that time, some great poker has been played and worthy champions crowned. Of all the titles on offer at Star Poker Gold Coast however, none are more coveted than the Main Event. After a lengthy battle at the final table, we have now found our WPT Australia Main Event champion, along with a host of side event winners along the way. Allow us to bring you all the latest action.

WPT Australia Main Event – Winner: Hari Varma

WPT Australia Main Event winner Hari Varma – Photo credit: WPT

The Main Event of Australia’s first WPT festival commanded a buy in of AU$2,500 (US$1,686) with 658 players stepping up to lay claim to the title. This helped the final figure for the prize pool rise to AU$1,480,500 (US$998,449) with 83 fortunate players going on to make the money.

The latter stages of the tournament were filled with intrigue, with Australian stars making deep runs and looking to etch their name into WPT history. With 20 remaining, former WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem was still in the running, as was cricket legend Shane Warne and Australian tournament grinders Travis Endersby, Julius Colman and George Psarras.

Unfortunately for the watching crowd, Hachem got his last 15 big blinds in with Kd Jd an could not find help against the 9d 9c of his opponent. Hachem left the tournament in 16th place, collecting a AU$10,225 payout. Shane Warne wasn’t too far behind him, exiting in dramatic fashion after getting it in with As 5c only to be called by Ah Kc. Warne flopped two pair, but his opponent caught a three-outer on the river to take the pot.

As the final table neared its end, another of Australia’s better-known players hit the rail. Travis Endersby made a desperate shove with Jd 6h with under 10 big blinds, only to be called and defeated by the Ad 2h of Louis Yin. Hari Varma continued to lead the way, but George Psarras brought himself close to level by eliminating Yin in 4th. Varma then extended his lead once again by eliminating Julius Colman in 3rd place to set the stage for a heads-up duel which would turn out to be brief.

Having started with the lead, Varma strengthened his position in the opening few hands before finding himself the lucky recipient of a cooler. In a limped pot, Psarras held 9d 3c with Varma holding Qd 3s. The 8c 3h 2c flop did not appear too lethal, but after a bet, check-raise and call, the 3d which hit the turn brought fatal qualities to the hand. The Qh on the river improved Varma but changed nothing. The chips quickly went in and Varma took the title and top prize.

The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Hari Varma (Australia) – AU$274,247 (US$185,693)
2nd – George Psarras – AU$192,273
3rd – Julius Colman – AU$123,933
4th – Louis Yin – AU$90,207
5th – Travis Endersby – AU$69,139
6th – Luke Stewart – AU$55,326
7th – Chris Barker – AU$45,851
8th – Josh Emerton – AU$36,509
9th – Joshua Bell – AU$27,419

WPT Australia 5K Challenge – Winner: Hussien Hassan

5K Challenge winner Hussien Hassan – Photo credit: WPT

Another of the more hotly anticipated events on the schedule was the 5K Challenge. The AU$4,700 (US$3,170) event attracted a field of 99 runners, generating a prize pool of AU$465,300 (US$313,798). Many familiar names from Australia’s live circuit were in attendance as the field gathered to contest the title and 1st place prize of just over AU$140,000.

The final skirmishes of this event saw Andrea Rispoli, Luke Edwards and Hussien Hassan engage in a three-way struggle for supremacy. Rispoli was the first to fall, before Edwards and Hassan played on without any suggestion of a deal being made. Hassan soon managed to force his opponent onto the backfoot, and shortly after, Edwards was consoling himself with 2nd place as Hassan collected the trophy.

Here are the final table payouts:
1st – Hussien Hassan – AU$141,913 (US$95,706)
2nd – Luke Edwards – AU$87,244
3rd – Andrea Rispoli – AU$53,510
4th – Michael Seymour – AU$34,898
5th – Hamish Crawshaw – AU$27,220
6th – Stanton Kroenert – AU$21,753
7th – Jordan Wesmorland – AU$18,496
8th – Michel Bouskila – AU$16,053
9th – Takemi Munakata – AU$14,192

Other Events

Event 4 – AU$400 (US$270) PLO
Prize Pool: AU$77,200 (US$52,064)
Entries: 193
Winner: Luke Burmester AU$19,218 (US$12,961)

Event 5 – AU$600 (US$405) Big Bounty
Prize Pool: AU$170,400 (US$114,918)
Entries: 284
Winner: Attila Bognar – AU$18,895 (US$12,743)

Event 6 – AU$4,800 (US$3,237) 5K Single Day
Prize Pool: AU$350,400 (US$236,310)
Entries: 73
Winner: Corey Kempson – AU$119,135 (US$80,345)

Event 7 – AU$600 (US$405) Mix Max Freezeout
Prize Pool: AU$75,600 (US$50,985)
Entries: 126
Winner: Suraj Kara – AU$21,924 (US$14,786)

Event 8 – AU$500 (US$337) Deepstack Freezeout
Prize Pool: AU$123,000 (US$82,951)
Entries: 246
Winner: John Perry – AU$28,510 (US$19,227)

Article by Craig Bradshaw