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Poker News | Casino Poker | Tournament Reports

Online Wins PokerNetwork Live versus Online Challenge at PokerNews Cup

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It had been about six months since the last PokerNews Cup tournament series took place in the Alpine, but the next event was being put together as the months passed. That brought players to the Crown Casino in Melbourne for the 2009 PokerNews Cup Australia. The series offered nine open events and one special invitational event, the latter of which was the first with live coverage.

The $1,100 PokerNetwork Live vs. Online Challenge was created from the forums on, in particular an ongoing discussion about the skills of online players versus live players. Thus, two teams were selected to play: 16 online players were chosen from PocketFives’ list of Australian players, and 16 live players were picked from the 2009 Australasian Rankings. The players were to compete in a two-day event and two separate tournaments, the first being a heads-up NLHE tournament, and the second being a no-limit hold’em shootout. Points were awarded based on the players’ finishes in both events.

The first day got off to an exciting start with heads-up matches playing in the tournament room. When the quarterfinals approached, the following players played out as follows:

Michael Guzzardi
defeated Ben Savage
Andrew Jeffreys defeated Ben Delaney
Rayan Nathan defeated Jarred Graham
Steve Leonard defeated Matthew Pearson

The best of three semi-final matches started the following:

Steve Leonard vs. Rayan Nathan

Nathan won the first match, but Leonard came back to tie it up. The third match found Nathan all-in with {K-Diamonds}{6-Hearts} against the {7-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} of Leonard, but the board turned a straight when it produced {A-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{6-Spades}{Q-Clubs}, and Leonard advanced to the finals.

Jeffreys won his first match with pocket eights over the 6-2 offsuit of Guzzardi. And the second match ended it when Jeffreys took {J-Spades}{6-Clubs} into battle with Guzzardi’s {10-Hearts}{3-Clubs}. The board brought {K-Diamonds}{K-Hearts}{Q-Diamonds}{A-Spades}{6-Spades}, and Jeffreys swept his way into the finals.

Guzzardi and Nathan then had to play heads-up to simply compete for third or fourth place, so the two entered their playoff rounds. Guzzardi won the first match, Nathan, took the second, and the third saw the {5-Clubs}{2-Hearts} of Guzzardi beat the {J-Hearts}{10-Diamonds} of Nathan on the {8-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{3-Spades}{8-Hearts} board. That gave Nathan fourth place and $1,500, and Guzzardi took third with $2,250.

The finals began with Jeffreys taking the first match and Leonard taking the second, which brought them to one final tiebreaking hand. It had Jeffreys starting as the underdog holding {8-Spades}{2-Hearts} and Leonard in with {J-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}. The board brought an unbelievable {7-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{9-Clubs} to give Jeffreys the flush and the victory.

Steve Leonard finished the heads-up portion of the tournament in second place with $3,250, and Andrew Jeffreys won and took $5,000 for first place.

The second day of action found the online team with a dominating 690 points to the 180 of the live team. The shootout portion of the tournament played throughout the day until the final table was set to go as follows:

Seat 1:
Ben Savage
Seat 2:
Dave Lee 
Seat 3:
Kerry Stead
Seat 4: 
Steve Topakas 
Seat 5:
Peter Aristidou
Seat 6:
Jonathan Karamalikis
Seat 7:
Jai Kemp
Seat 8:
Ben Delaney

Shockingly, chipleader Delaney was the first to go from the table after having lost ground from the start, and it happened when he pushed all-in with {A-Diamonds}{6-Clubs} against the pocket queens of Savage. The board started well for Delaney with {A-Spades}{2-Spades}{Q-Spades}, but the queen gave Savage the set. The {K-Diamonds} turn and {9-Clubs} river finished it for Ben Delaney in eighth place.

Karamalikis was the short stack from the beginning and finally pushed with {A-Hearts}{Q-Spades}, but he was up against the pocket kings of Savage. The board came {8-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{J-Clubs}{2-Hearts}, and Jonathan Karamalikis left in seventh place.

Topakas had a roller coaster ride that found Stead doubling through him. Though he was able to come back and double through Lee, he was still very short-stacked and pushed his last 3,525 all-in with {A-Spades}{6-Spades} but found Aristidou calling with {A-Clubs}{J-Diamonds}. The board came {J-Spades}{Q-Spades}{6-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}, and Steve Topakas was eliminated in sixth place.

On the money bubble, Kemp got into a preflop raising battle that found Aristidou moving all-in, Savage folding, and Kemp calling for his tournament life with pocket jacks, which was a good hand had it not been for the pocket kings of Aristidou. The interesting board came {7-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{9-Spades}{9-Clubs}, and the better full house knocked Jai Kemp out of the event in fifth place with no payout to ease the pain.

The rest of the players moved into the money with Lee holding the lead with 116K, followed by Aristidou and his 100K stack.

Stead was one of the two shortest stacks and decided to tangle with Aristidou. After the board showed {2-Spades}{K-Diamonds}{Q-Spades}{3-Diamonds}, Stead pushed all-in with {K-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}, but his top pair was outdone by the two pair of Aristidou’s {Q-Diamonds}{3-Clubs}. The river brought the {5-Spades} to eliminate Kerry Stead in fourth place with $1,500.

Savage decided to see a flop of {J-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{K-Spades} with Lee, and more betting led the two to a {3-Diamonds} turn. Savage pushed all-in with {K-Hearts}{J-Spades}, which looked good against the {K-Diamonds}{Q-Spades} of Lee. But the river showed the {Q-Diamonds} to give Lee the better two pair. Ben Savage was out in third place with $2,250 for the bad beat.

Heads-up play started with the following counts:

Dave Lee 
Peter Aristidou

Aristidou immediately chipped up to make the stacks even, and he soon took the lead with some aggressive and well-timed plays. Ultimately, it came down to a hand that started with a {9-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}{3-Hearts} flop. The action brought a bet and check-call to head to the {6-Clubs} on the turn. Betting and raising led to the {2-Spades} on the river, at which point Lee pushed all-in. Aristidou check-called with {A-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}, and the ace high was good against the {Q-Clubs}{8-Hearts} of Lee.

Dave Lee finished the tournament in second place with $3,250, and Peter Aristidou won the tournament and the $5,000 first place prize money.

Overall, the final numbers came to 950 points for the online team and 790 for the live team, the latter of which made a huge comeback during the shootout. But the online team won the overall points race, which meant that everyone on the team won $500, in addition to bragging rights in the forums.

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