The title of Australia’s best poker state has been a topic of hot debate for years, and finally players from around Australia were last night given the chance to represent their state in the State of Origin feature event. The 6 handed shootout format was sure to offer plenty of fireworks, and bragging rights for whichever state could get the job done at the Final Table.
Some of the biggest names in Australian poker were out to ensure it would be their state celebrating victory. Hachem, Assadourian, Lackovic, Pickering, Ravesi and Mamacas were all set to lead their state into battle, and anyone who didn’t think the states weren’t taking things seriously only had to witness the pre-tournament meetings to realise the competition would be fierce.
The points board was interestingly topped by the Tasmanians leading into the final table thanks to their consistent finishes in the first round, but it was likely to come down to a battle between Victoria, SA and WA for the title. While NSW had 2 final table representatives, they would require both to finish top 4 to have any chance of winning.
With four players left, the excitement was continuing to build, especially from the New South Wales team, but they couldn’t get their last remaining member Joe Meissner across the line. Meissner was short stacked for much of the final table, and finally made a stand with
. However, Billy “The Croc” held
which was enough to end the NSW hopes and bring us to three-handed action.
Soon after, the Queensland hopes fell with the elimination of Karsten Kobbing in 3rd
place. Kobbing moved all in with
, but “The Croc” was catching cards at the right time to call with
, and the
on the river sealed Kobbing’s fate. Kobbing took home $1,000 for his efforts.
The scene was set – the Victorian Billy “The Croc” Argyros, versus South Australian Mark “Champagne” Salkanovic, with “The Croc” holding a 43k to 17k chip lead. As luck would have it, the winner of this heads-up battle would also win overall glory for their state.
First hand from the break, and Salkanovic was all-in
from the small blind with
, but once again “The Croc” woke up with a hand, and tabled
. However, the first card out was the
, and Salkanovic stayed alive, with the chip stacks now evened up.
Salkanovic took home $5,000 for his efforts, as well as his happy teammates taking home $1,000 each.
South Australia got up to nose out the Victorians by 10 points, with Tasmania and NSW tied for 3rd 30 points in arrears.
The final points tally for the State of Origin Challenge was as follows:
South Australia - 280
Victoria - 270
Tasmania - 240
New South Wales - 240
Western Australia - 210
Queensland – 180
Congratulations to everyone involved in the organization of this concept and it proved to be a huge hit for players and poker fans alike! We look forward to seeing a rematch next year as South Australia look to defend their title!