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Sydney Poker Palace Summer Championships Set Records
It is difficult to show just how much poker players missed their live games in Australia over the past pandemic-filled year. The only way to really show their enthusiasm at returning to the tables is by looking at the numbers for a series like the Poker Palace Summer Championships 2021.
Action kicked off on 16 February 16 and ran all the way through 8 March. PokerBROS, the popular online poker app, sponsored the series in the first partnership between the two.
Buy-ins for the tournaments ranged from $250 to $5K, and the series as a whole estimated the total prize pools to exceed $800K. That number was double the previous iteration of the series, but organizers felt confident.
In the end, players from far and wide attended the series at Club Marconi in Sydney. The fields were so impressive that the series awarded $1,375,440 in total prize pools, well beyond expectations.
Initial Event Results
The 2021 Poker Palace Summer Championships started with Event 1 on February 21, an $1,100 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Six-Max High Roller. Last year, the same event ended up with a prize pool of nearly $90K. This year, there were 118 entries and a prize pool of $114,460.
- Event 1 winner: Sam Khouiss ($37,000)
One of the events players of many buy-ins anticipated was Event 2, the $300 buy-in NLHE Monster Stack, estimated to pay out $30K. With 195 entries, though, the event neared $50K in prize money. When it all played out, the final three finishers split the remainder of the prize money.
- Event 2 winners: Zac Vigar, Rabie El Hage, and Chris Pisani ($9,500 each)
Event 3 was a $330 buy-in Pot Limit Omaha tournament, hoping for a $5K prize pool. That brought in 78 entries to nearly quadruple that total number. And it ended with the final three players making an ICM deal for their shares of the money.
- Event 3 winner: Wael Sallourn ($6,790)
Event 4 was the Main Event Hold’em Warm Up with $550 buy-ins, four starting flights, and the hope of hitting $100K in prize money. That tournament drew a massive field of 357 entries, creating a prize pool of $169,575. The heads-up players made a deal for the top two payouts.
- Event 4 winner: Rehman Kassam ($44,000)
The player-favourite NLHE Team Event was the fifth official tournament on the schedule. Team needed to pay $500 to play, and that resulted in 123 total entries. In addition to the prize money awarded players won bounties like cash and a $1,150 Main Event seat.
- Event 5 winners: Brooke Loka and Luke Hanna ($8,220)
Event 8 was a $550 buy-in NLHE Bounty tournament, with $250 going to the prize pool and the other $250 serving as the player’s bounty. It attracted 50 entries and resulted in a solid prize pool exceeding $12K.
- Event 8 winner: Mark Yazbeck ($3,900)
$2,500 Buy-In High Roller
Event 6 was one that offered quite a few satellites for the high buy-in tournament. The last iteration of it garnered 107 entries and a prize pool that surpassed $233K. This year, not knowing what to expect post-pandemic, organizers set the prize pool estimate at $150K.
The first of the two days of play brought in 122 entries, though late registration remained open. Only 45 players survived the night, though, and Anish Kumar had a massive chip lead with 903,500 bagged up.
When registration closed on Day 2, the final number of 135 entries brought the prize pool to $297K, almost double the estimate.
The top 14 players were set to make the money. Hand-for-hand play didn’t start until well into the evening, and the bubble lasted for quite some time. Finally, Rehman Kassam made his move, but Vincent Huang busted him on that bubble. The remainder of the field saw minimum payouts start at $4K, and Kumar was the first to take one.
The final table ultimately seated the final nine with Jarrod Thatcher holding the chip leader, Huang in second, and players like Dejan Boskovic on relatively short stacks. As play moved forward Boskovic doubled and he then juggled the lead with Thatcher. Huang busted in fourth, and Boskovic sent Hass Onay out in third place.
Boskovic and Thatcher then decided to chop the remaining payouts per an ICM deal, and Boskovic took the title.
- 1st place: Dejan Boskovic ($80,500)
- 2nd place: Jarrod Thatcher ($72,500)
- 3rd place: Hass Onay ($39,000)
- 4th place: Vincent Huang ($24,000)
- 5th place: Jim Pizanias ($18,675)
- 6th place: Robert Damelian ($14,500)
- 7th place: Ryan Bownds ($11,500)
- 8th place: Honglin Jiang ($8,500)
- 9th place: George Elias ($6,500)
$1150 Buy-In Main Event
The one everyone wanted to play was Event 7 on the schedule. Some players bought in directly, many others won their seats via satellites, and all looked toward the $250K estimated prize pool. They had four starting days and the chance to reenter once per flight if they chose to.
The first starting day brought in 86 entries and 26 players making it through the day with chips. Day 1B added another 93 entries, and again, 26 players survived. Day 1C added 96 entries and sent 32 players on to another day of play. And the final starting flight with its turbo structure topped it off and sent 16 players forward.
Day 2 started with 100 players setting up for play. More open registration time finally ended with another 54 entries to deliver these solid Main Event totals:
- 366 total entries
- $363,896 total prize pool
- 36 paid players
After extended bubble play, John Bogdanovski busted David Rodwell on the bubble, guaranteeing everyone else at least $2,100.
Day 2 ended after 14 hours of play and with 18 competitors still vying for the title. Toby Giles took the chip lead forward, with Adnan Al-Maliki and Mark Staples in distance second and third places, respectively.
The final day started with payouts of $3K and saw several players head to the cashier rather quickly. Only 12 players made it to the dinner break, and John Bogdanovski led the all-Australian lineup with Giles in second. Well-known Grant Levy ended his run in 11th place.
When the final table started, Bogdanovski held the lead, followed by Al-Maliki. Giles was in third. Many players experienced roller-coaster-style action at the table except Bogdanovski. Al-Maliki busted in sixth and Giles in third.
Heads-up action started with Bogdanovski holding all but 2.3M chips, though Staples doubled quickly. Bogdanovski stayed in the lead, but Staples crept up to 7M and 8M. Hours passed as the same story played out over and over. Finally, Staples tried another one of his doubles, that time with J-2. Bogdanovski called with A-K and hit another ace on the flop to take the game.
- 1st place: John Bogdanovski ($100,000)
- 2nd place: Mark Staples ($63,000)
- 3rd place: Toby Giles ($40,000)
- 4th place: Michael Tran ($24,500)
- 5th place: Didier Guerin ($19,500)
- 6th place: Adnan Al-Maliki ($15,000)
- 7th place: David Hirst ($11,500)
- 8th place: Steve Gergis ($8,500)
- 9th place: Joseph Antar ($6,500)
Special thanks to PokerNews for the live updates with playdown details.