With the first three official events having been completed at the second annual PokerNews Cup Australia, along with a special high-stakes H.O.R.S.E. event, the remainder of the tournaments was yet to be played. Players had come from all over the world, with a focus on the many local players, to compete at the Crown Casino.
The fourth event of the series was set to be an exciting one, as H.O.R.S.E. always brings an interesting field to the tables. The 550 AUD buy-in event drew 77 players, all of whom were prepared to mix it up and attempt to show some master of all five games involved. The caliber of players was high and evident by names like Joe Hachem, Van Marcus, James Obst, Billy Argyros, and Event #1 winner Harry Ligos scattered among the list of names.
Marcus was out early in an Omaha hand, and Hachem followed in a razz hand. The early eliminations may have indicated that a one-day event was going to be possible, but that would have been wrong. The day was called after seven hours to allow the final tablists to return fresh the following day, but not before Oliver Gill left in 10th place and John Joannou took 9th place, along with bubble boy status, when his full house was beat by the better full house of Abel Cabrera. The final table was set for with Sean Arazi in the distant chip lead with 130,500, followed by Nick Georgoulas in second with 83,000. Rounding out the bottom of the final eight was Kerry Stead with only 20,000 chips.
8th place: Kerry Stead (1,731 AUD), courtesy of Abel Cabrera
7th place: Graeme Putt (2,301 AUD), courtesy of Abel Cabrera
6th place: Sean Arazi (2,888 AUD), courtesy of Karib Karib
5th place: Karib Karib (3,465 AUD), courtesy of Andrew Demetriou
4th place: Steve Topakas (4,235 AUD), courtesy of Abel Cabrera
3rd place: Andrew Demetriou (5,583 AUD), courtesy of Nick Georgoulas
Heads-up action between Abel Cabrera and Nick Georgoulas lasted longer than anticipated, nearly an hour and a half to be more exact. Georgoulas had the chip lead for quite some time, but Cabrera was tenacious and slowly worked his stack into a leading one. The deciding hand was in Omaha, and after the flop of , Georgoulas was all-in with . Cabrera showed for a pair with better kicker. The on the turn and on the river ended the match, and Georgoulas was forced to accept second place and 7,508 AUD.
Abel Cabrera won Event #4 of the PokerNews Cup and took home the $550 H.O.R.S.E. title and 10,780 AUD first place prize money.
The Tony G Celebrity Shootout looked to be a popular one with the players and was evident in the 240-player registration. The buy-in was 550 AUD, and more than 20 of the players had bounties on their heads worth 500 AUD. Entrants for the event included Tony G, Mark Vos, Graeme Putt, Celina Lin, Billy Argyros, and John Caldwell, all ensuring that an action-packed day was in store.
As play progressed, Tony G was the first bounty player to be eliminated, and Con Cotsomitis received the bounty for beating pocket nines with A-2. When the field was thinned to only 32 players, the tournament became a shootout. The players were reseated on four tables, which were balanced according to chip stacks, and the surviving two players from each table would play the final table the following day.
The final 20 players were paid, beginning with Richard Scott, who busted in 20th place and received 1,085 AUD for surviving to the money. But it wasn’t until Antonis Kambouris battled with Sam Khouiss in the final hand of the night that play would be suspended. Kambouris moved all-in with against the pocket nines of Khouiss, and the board ran out to settle it. Kambouris was finished in 10th place with a 2,170 AUD prize.
With that, the final table of eight was set with Khouiss in the top spot on the leaderboard with 220,000 in chips, followed by Reza Vakili and Vito Montalto. The short stack of the final table would be Andre Andrade, who sat with only 25,000. Two bounty players - Khouiss and Tony Bromham - also remained.
The results of that table were as follows:
8th place: Andre Andrade (3,255 AUD), by Tony Bromham
7th place: Tony Bromham (4,340 AUD), by Sam Khouiss
6th place: Reza Vakili (5,425 AUD), by Eoghan Lyons
5th place: Gursel Ali (7,053 AUD), by Kenneth Damm
4th place: Eoghan Lyons (9,765 AUD), by Kenneth Damm
3rd place: Vito Montalto (13,563 AUD), by Kenneth Damm
As Damm made a run for the heads-up portion by eliminating the last two players from the table, he took a 2:1 chip lead to the match with Sam Khouiss. Play lasted for nearly one hour, and Khouiss could never seem to catch up. Finally, Damm pushed preflop with pocket fives, and Khouiss hoped to double-up with . The dealer gave them , and the fives of Damm held up. Sam Khouiss was sent away in second place with 18,988 AUD.
Kenneth Damm not only won the 500 AUD bounty for knocking Khouiss out of the tournament, but he won the event, taking the title, trophy, and 26,583 first prize money.
The precursor to the PokerNews Cup Australia main event was the sixth in the series, a NLHE six-handed event that required a 550 AUD buy-in. As more and more players learn to love short-handed play, this turned out to be a popular event with 213 players.
Numerous notable players entered the tournament, like Tony Dunst, Tony Hachem, Jacob Chen, Grant Levy, and Van Marcus, though many of them took early exits from the field. Scheduled as a one-day event with a blind structure to match, play moved quickly toward the money bubble. Eventually, it was Nuno da Silva whose A-K lost to the pocket tens of Michael Palti. Silva took the distinction of finishing in 25th place as the tournament’s money bubble player.
With only six players making it to the final table, several players paved the path for that to happen. Van Marcus left in 10th place, with Daniel Nielson following in 9th, then Dean Blatt in 8th. Finally, it was Jacob Chen who finished in 7th place when his couldn’t beat the of Ken Hunter, just missing the final table but receiving 2,663 AUD for his efforts.
The final table began with the final six, and the results came to be as follows:
6th place: Matt Hawker (4,260 AUD), courtesy of Kent Hunter
5th place: Michael Palti (6,071 AUD), courtesy of Kent Hunter
4th place: Steve Goldwater (8,520 AUD), courtesy of Kent Hunter
3rd place: Kent Hunter (12,141 AUD), courtesy of Farhad Khia
The action had been fast and furious at the final table with eliminations happening quickly. When heads-up action began, Kia and Cardno exchanged chips for a bit, but it wouldn’t take long to reach the deciding hand. Cardno made the initial raise and Kia the call to see the flop come . Kia pushed all-in with , and Cardno called immediately with . The turn was and river a , and the two pair were good enough to send Kia to the rail in second place with 17,573 for the effort.
Michael Cardno was the victor in Event #6 and took the title of NLHE six-handed champion of the PokerNews Cup Australia. He also received 25,347 for his first-place finish.
(Thanks to PokerNews for the live updates from which this information was compiled.)