WSOP Sydney: Steven Zhou bags Main Event title; Jonathan Karamalikis crowned High Roller king

The WSOP Circuit festival in Australia has served up some exciting poker over the past few weeks, with Star Casino playing host to all the tournaments which have unfolded.

The events have now drawn to a close with the biggest of them all having now been completed. The Main Event has been won, along with the High Roller, so allow us to introduce you to our champions.

AU$2,200 WSOPC Main Event – Winner: Steven Zhou

Main Event winner Steven Zhou – Photo by Star Poker

1,124 players stepped up to lay claim to the crown of the WSOPC Main Event, each paying AU$2,200 (US$1,499) to enter. This generated a prize pool of AU$2,248,000 (US$1,531,787), with over AU$260,000 (US$177,164) set aside for the winner.

The four-day event had four starting flights during its first day, with 232 entries forming the field for day 1A. Only 34 survived, with Diarmuid O’Kane topping the counts with 968,500. The second flight saw Marc Seymour bag up a chiplead of 502,000 which put the scale of O’Kane’s stack into perspective. 37 made it through to the second day. Day 1C attracted 279 runners, with 47 making their way through. The end-of-day chip leader Ross Grammar bagged up 563,000. Day 1D saw a bigger field assemble itself, with 405 players pulling up chairs. By the end of the day, just 64 remained, with Andrew Zhang topping the counts with 680,500.

Just 182 survivors began day 2, with that number falling quickly through the day, reaching 24 by the time the final level had concluded. Edwin Chiu had vaulted into the lead in the chip counts by the end of play, carrying 4,505,000 into day 3. Chiu was able to carry that momentum through the third day too, collecting 6,335,000 during the levels which brought the field down to a final table. Steven Zhou was following close behind 6,205,000 with another six players sitting on playable stacks of between 2.5 and 4.5 million.

The final table got underway with a swift elimination for short stack Trevor Saunders and was followed by the exit of Adrian Attenborough soon after. Play continued with 7 for some time, until Huss Hassan walked into the pocket aces of Steven Zhou and hit the rail. Pocket aces would decide the next bust-out too, with Duy Vu bombing a dry flop only to find Chiu waiting with aces and a snap-call. This gave Chiu a huge chiplead, with 17,000,000 to the 5,800,000 of his nearest challenger. It seemed the title was his to lose, but suddenly, Chiu’s fortunes hit reverse as short stack Steven Zhou accelerated up the chip counts.

Chiu was able to temporarily stabilise the slide, and before long, Chao Duan and John Zwaine had hit the rail to leave three. From there however, Chiu collapsed, with his Kx Qx unable to outrun the Ax 3x of Zhou in his final hand. This left Zhou and Lior Segre to contest the title, with just one more hand needed to settle it. Segre shoved around 30 big blinds with 8x 3x and was called by Zhou with Jx 9x. The board ran out cleanly to give Steven Zhou his first major live score.

The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Steven Zhou (Australia) – AU$260,904 (US$178,305)
2nd – Lior Segre (Australia) – AU$224,114
3rd – Edwin Chiu (Australia) – AU$269,550
4th – John Zwaine (Australia) – AU$239,007
5th – Chao Duan (China) – AU$107,837
6th – Duy Vu (Australia) – AU$83,086
7th – Huss Hassan (Australia) – AU$64,765
8th – Adrian Attenborough (Australia) – AU$51,052
9th – Trevor Saunders (Australia) – AU$40,689

AU$20,000 Re-Entry High Roller – Winner: Jonathan Karamalikis

Jonathan Karamalikis
Jonathan Karamalikis – Photo by Star Poker

The High Roller was one of the main attractions at the WSOPC festival at the Star, with a AU$20,000 (US$13,628) buy and unlimited re-entries during the first 9 levels. This led to a total of 53 entries, creating a prize pool of AU$1,007,000 (US$686,170).

By the end of the opening day, the final table was set. Ryan Otto held the chiplead with 630,000, with Roger Teska keeping things close with a stack of 461,000. All the finalists had at least six-figures in their stack heading into the second day.

The final table began with Otto increasing his chiplead, with the elimination of Bernie Stang. Otto was the recipient of the second stack off too, flopping two pair against the slow played pocket jacks of Tom Rafferty. The bust-outs continued to flow, with Otto collecting a dominant chip lead over the next few levels. With four remaining, Otto had twice the chips of his nearest competitor and he continued to build until Jonathan Karamalikis busted Qiang Fu in 4th to bring himself back into contention and take the action three handed. Otto then took down Roger Teska to bring things heads up and give himself a 4 to 1 chiplead.

Karamalikis is a legendary Australian pro and he hasn’t built that reputation by meekly fading away when his back is against the wall. Otto soon found that out, as Karamalikis dragged a few pots to move up to 800,000 chips to Otto’s 1.8 million. Otto then double his opponent up by barrelling with air into the flush of Karamalikis. The combatants continued to trade pots until it all went in on a flip, with Otto doubling back up near level in chips. Two or three pots then slipped away from Otto in quick succession, leaving him with just 7 big blinds.  The final hand saw him push Ax 5x and get called by Qx 8x, with Karamalikis hitting a straight to lock up the win.

The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Jonathan Karamalikis (Australia) – AU$377,625  (US$257,640)
2nd – Ryan Otto (New Zealand) – AU$233,624
3rd – Roger Teska (United States) – AU$153,064
4th – Qiang Fu (New Zealand) – AU$105,735
5th – Mladen Vukovic (Australia) – AU$77,539
6th – Michael Egan (Australia) – AU$59,413

Other Events

AU$1,500 (US$1,022) 6-Max PLO
Entries: 177
Prize Pool: AU$265,500 (US$180,912)
Winner: Chi Truong – AU$74,341 (US$50,656)

AU$500 (US$341) PLO
Entries: 260
Prize Pool: AU$130,000 (US$88,582)
Winner: Roy Vandersluis – AU$31,851 (US$21,703)

Bounty Event
Entries: N/A
Prize Pool: N/A
Winner: Ryan Bownds – AU$33,000 (US$22,486)

Article by Craig Bradshaw