- »Varma Wins Inaugural WPT Australia
Varma Wins Inaugural WPT Australia
To say that the World Poker Tour executives and staff were excited to be in Australia would be an understatement. Aussie poker players were just as excited, coming out in big numbers to play the first-ever WPT festival and to see the newly-renovated The Star Gold Coast poker room and casino.
Few were as excited as WPT Anchor Lynn Gilmartin, a native Australian who has been bursting with joy since the WPT announced its Gold Coast stop earlier this year.
Kicking It Off for Charity
The entire WPT Australia Festival was set to begin on September 27, but The Star Gold Coast couldn’t wait to welcome people into its new 21-table poker room. So, the organizers scheduled a charity poker tournament on the night of September 26.
Since The Star has already been a solid supporter of Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ), it only made sense to give the profits from the kickoff tournament to that charity as well. The nonprofit is committed to protecting and educating Queensland beachgoers.
As planned, the charity event was filled with poker stars like Joe Hachem, sports stars like Jeff Horn, and Queensland media personalities like Erin Molan. Former Titans NRL captain Scott Prince was also there in his new role as The Stars Poker Gold Coast Ambassador.
With NRL player Beau Ryan and WPT’s Lynn Gilmartin hosting the event, it was a success. Approximately $10K was raised for SLSQ.
And in the end, Queensland-born poker pro Alex Lynskey won the tournament and the trophy.
10 Tournaments in 11 Days
The schedule of poker tournaments officially started on September 27 with 11 tournaments.
First, there was a $1K buy-in No Limit Hold’em Opener, complete with two starting days and a single reentry allowed. The action moved forward with everything from a $300 NLHE Turbo event on September 30 to two $5K buy-in events in October. There was also a Pot Limit Omaha and a Mix Max in the mix, so to speak.
Of course, the highlight was the $2,500 buy-in NLHE WPT Australia Main Event.
It got underway on October 4 with three starting flights and one entry allowed per player per day.
Main Event in Its First Days
Day 1A brought in a total of 261 players. By the end of the first night, though, only 77 were still holding chips. And a player named Hari Varma was the chip leader when play stopped.
Day 1B brought in another 316 entries, though only 119 survived. And Day 1C delivered another 81 entries with 40 players making it through the night.
Day 2 brought back 236 players, more than the poker room was prepared to seat at the same time, so the tournament director staggered the first levels of play to get everyone in. And soon after the day began, The Star announced the final tournament numbers:
–Total entries: 658
–Total prize pool: A$1,480,500
–Total paid players: 83
Later that day, the money bubble burst when Andy Hinrichsen busted in 84th place, which guaranteed the remaining players at least A$3,627 for their efforts. Into the night hours, Joe Hachem busted in 16th place for A$10,225, and that ended play with 15 remaining. Varma was the chip leader again.
The final day of the tournament started with a few eliminations. With 12 players left, a player doubled through cricket legend Shane Warne. The Aussie celebrity then moved all-in and was eliminated in 12th place for A$22,785.
Winning the First WPT Australia
A final table of nine started with Varma in the lead.
Joshua Bell was the first to be eliminated from the final table at the hands of Varma. Travis Endersby stepped in to bust Josh Emerton in in eighth place.
Julius Colman doubled through George Psarras, but then Psarras doubled through Louis Yin. The action continued with Yin doubling through Chris Barker, and Psarras took Barker out for good in seventh place.
Colman doubled through Luke Stewart and then busted him in sixth place. Yin ousted Endersby in fifth, but Psarras then took out Yin in fourth.
Varma remained in the lead during three-handed play and busted Colman in third.
Heads-up play began with Varma holding 12,645,000 chips to the 7,105,000 of Psarras. Varma stayed aggressive, and it didn’t take long for Psarras to move all-in. It happened on a board of 8c-3h-2c-3d-Qh. Psarras bet, but Varma raised all-in with Qd-3s and the full house. Psarras called all-in with 9d-3c for trips and a second-place finish.
1st place: Hari Varma (A$274,247)
2nd place: George Psarras (A$192,273)
3rd place: Julius Colman (A$123,933)
4th place: Louis Yin (A$90,207)
5th place: Travis Endersby (A$69,139)
6th place: Luke Stewart (A$55,326)
7th place: Chris Barker (A$45,851)
8th place: Josh Emerton (A$36,509)
9th place: Joshua Bell (A$27,419)
Overall, it is safe to say that the inaugural WPT Australia was a success. And if Lynn Gilmartin has anything to say about it, the World Poker Tour will return.