WSOP International Circuit Sydney: Big wins for Matthew Wakeman and Luke Martinelli

The highly esteemed World Series of Poker is currently underway in Australia with the 2018 WSOP International Circuit Sydney lighting up the felt beginning November 27 at The Star Casino. The annual event is slated to run for 21 days, wrapping up on December 17. This is the brand’s third visit since 2016. Several events have already concluded with the Main Event – A$2,100,000 (~US$1.5M) Guaranteed – just getting started. Early big winners include Matthew Wakeman for the 5K Challenge and Luke Martinelli for the $20K High Roller.

Luke Martinelli banks it big at the A$20K High Roller

Luke Martinelli
Luke Martinelli – Photo Star Poker / PokerNews

Undoubtedly the stiffest tournament of the series was the A$20,000 No Limit Hold’em High Roller event. This drew a tough field of 50 to the tables. Alex Lynskey, Kahle Burns, Sosia Jiang, Sam Higgs, Jarred Graham were just some of the pros rubbing elbows looking to earn a piece of the A$961,000 (~US$688,300) prize pool. In the aftermath, only five players got paid and the man on top was Luke Martinelli. Martinelli reeled in the largest share of A$356,250 (~US$257,600) after defeating Ebon Bokody in a seesaw heads up battle.

This was Martinelli’s largest career score and his first major win. In his interview with Pokernews, he expressed, “It’s pretty good,”… “It’s the highest buy-in I’ve ever played in my life so it’s nice to win that one.” The news also stated that he sold action to his friends after failing to qualify via the satellites. With that win, Martinelli has now accrued around US$400K in live tournament earnings since 2016.

Prize pool: A$961,000 – Buy-in: A$20,000 – Entries: 50 – ITM: 5 places

1st Luke Martinelli – A$356,250
2nd Ebon Bokody – A$220,210
3rd Qiang Fu – A$155,330
4th Jan Suchanek – A$118,845
5th Gautam Dhingra – A$110,365

Matthew Wakeman wins the A$5K Challenge

Matt Wakeman
Matt Wakeman – Photo Star Poker / Pokernews

There was also no lack of big guns at the A$5K No Limit Hold’em Challenge with 216 ponying up for a piece of the A$1M guarantee. With that number of entries, the prize pool exceeded just slightly to A$1,026,000 of which 24 players earned a piece. The largest cut of A$256,496 (~US$188,800) was awarded to Matthew Wakeman for his victory along with that special WSOPC ring.

Though Wakeman has impressive stats pushing near seven digits, this was his first-ever live tournament career win. One of his near victories was several months back where he finished 2nd at the Sydney Championships A$20K High Roller event for A$159,600. This maiden victory now trumps that score as his largest live payout to-date.

Final 9 payouts
Prize pool: A$1,026,000 – Buyin: A$5,000 – Entries: 216 – ITM: 24 places

1st Matthew Wakeman – A$256,496
2nd Dejan Boskovic – A$158,538
3rd Gautam Dhingra – A$115,384
4th Joshua Mccully – A$85,332
5th Robert Spano – A$64,094
6th Isaac Lau – A$48,889
7th Sam Khouels – A$37,859
8th Billy Argyros – A$29,754
9th Hauman Darbani – A$23,731

Among the other finishers in the money were Sam Higgs (17th), Jason Gray (20th), and Julius Colman (24th).

Jun Wang wins the Opening Event

Opening Event
Jun Wang – Photo Star Poker / Pokernews

It was a dream victory for Melbourne’s Jun Wang as he overcame the competition at the A$500 No Limit Hold’em Opening Event. Wang rose above the 1,444 entry field to capture a bucketful A$112,171 (~US$81,000) in winnings and the coveted first ring of the series.

Wang entered the final nine as the dominant chip leader, in fact, it was his first-ever final table. Wang proceeded to rail two players then reached heads up against Malcolm Trayner another fairly new face in the deep. Trayner had the chip advantage. Once Wang evened up, he went on to win it. This was Wang’s first-ever live tournament career win and his largest payout to-date.

Final 9 payouts
Prize pool: A$650,860 – Buyin: A$500 – Entries: 1,444 – ITM: 153 places

1st Jun Wang – A$112,171
2nd Malcolm Trayner – A$69,528
3rd Zhi Hong Ma – A$50,950
4th Shan Jian – A$38,734
5th Johnathan Hargrave – A$29,487
6th Chu Ong – A$22,710
7th Alex Falon – A$17,694
8th Chad Awerbuch – A$13,944
9th George Mitri – A$11,118

Among the Asians sliding in for the cash were India’s Akshay Kapoor (51st), Chinese players Yibo Song (89th) and Haoran Zhang (91st), and Vietnam descent Tony Khoang (120th). Also running deep was defending champion Johan Lees (76th).

Hussein Hassan wins the A$1,320 Six Max

The A$1,320 Six Max event – A$400K Guaranteed – drew a smaller field than expected with only 283 runners. This resulted in an overlay to meet the advertised guarantee. Hailing triumphant was Hussein Hassan capturing his first-ever WSOPC ring and earning a career-high A$104,000 payout.

To attain victory, Hassan had to overcome a huge deficit at heads up against Sayed Jabbour. The round began with Hassan behind 2:1 which worsened to nearly 3.5:1 until he cracked Jabbour’s kings with a straight to nearly even up. It took several more hands before Hassan was able to take the lead and when he did, it was all uphill leaving Jabbour in the dust.

Final table payouts
Prize pool: A$400,000 – Buyin: A$1,320 – Entries: 283 – ITM: 30 places

1st Hussein Hassan – A$104,000
2nd Sayed Jabbour – A$64,264
3rd Brett Trevillian – A$44,616
4th Luis Arrilucea – A$31,304
5th Timo Hettinger – A$22,200
6th Michael Frazer – A$15,912
7th Zack Lowrie – A$11,528

Among the other finishers in the money were Asians Jensen Chow (16th) and Chao Duan (17th).  A$5k Challenge winner Matthew Wakeman also cashed in at 30th place.

Main Event underway

The A$2,200 buy-in Main Event is underway. The event comes with a very rich A$2,100,000 (~US$1,5M) guarantee. It will run a course of 11 days from December 7 to 17. At the time of writing, Day 1D was taking place.

Somuchpoker will continue to track the action so stick with us as we bring you the results as the unfold. 

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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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