All the big names in Australian poker have descended upon Melbourne town as the Victorian Poker Championships kicks in full gear in the Crown Poker Room. The second week of events has produced some big prize pools and some world-class fields.
Earlier in the week it was Jay “SEABEAST” Kinkade who took down the $100,000 Winner Takes All Challenge over a superstar field, while Sydney’s Gary Benson showed he still one of the best mixed game players in the country with victory in the $550 8-Game Mixed Event. Last night, it was West Australian Dale Marsland who proved that he just as dangerous with four cards, rather than two, after following up his runner-up finish in the $550 No Limit Holdem event with a tough victory in the $1,650 Pot Limit Omaha Event.
With the success of some of the more notable players, we were anticipating a big turnout for today’s $10,200 High Stakes Holdem Event. Some thought 30 or perhaps even 40 would take to the felt but in the end just three tables were formed with a final number of 24 entrants. We thought we may have seen the likes of Youssef, Kirk, Lunardi, Graham, Argyros and Steicke, but these names were among those who didn’t partake in today’s event; instead preferring the action from the big cash games or perhaps resting up for a big charge at the Main Event tomorrow.
Some of those who did take to the felt today included Grant Levy, Aaron Benton, James Obst, Jonathan Karamalikis, Brendon Rubie, Jay Kinkade, Gary Benson, Daniel Neilson, Ben Delaney, Nik Lackovic, Toothpick Tony and the “Spin King” himself, Shane Warne.
The bustouts came steadily throughout the afternoon, and when the dust settled just after the dinner break, out final table lineup was as follows:
Seat 1: Billy Jordanou (56,000)
Seat 2: Grant Levy (77,000)
Seat 3: Vesko Zmukic (37,000)
Seat 4: Aaron Benton (94,000)
Seat 5: Ali Ghezelbash (14,000)
Seat 6: Shane Warne (55,000)
Seat 7: Jonathan Karamalikis (42,000)
Seat 8: Pierre Aoukar (18,000)
Seat 9: James Obst (65,000)
With only the top five players finishing in the black, there would be some nervous moments before the money bubble burst. Ghelzelbash, Jordanou and Zmukic were the first to go before Pierre Aoukar would be the unfortunate bubble boy when he lost a race against James Obst.
Grant Levy would be the first to fall inside the money when he unfortunately ran into Jonathan Karamalikis’ , and although taking the lead on the flop with his , the South Australian would spike Broadway on the turn to send Levy to the rail in fifth for a $15,000 payday.
Shane Warne soared to the chip lead when he won a race against Karamalikis, but then would unfortunately see those chips plus a few more shipped back to him when his were rivered by Karamalikis’ as the two-outer eight-ball fell.
2009 APPT Sydney Champion Aaron Benton called off his chips in a four-bet pot holding , but it would be Karamalikis holding the goods with pocket queens. The board blanked out as Benton collected $25,000 for his fourth placing.
The forty-deep rail would have their hearts sunk when Warne exited next when he was forced to make a move on the button, but was unable to improve his against Karamalikis’ to bow out in a gallant third place for his biggest win to date of $40,000.
Jonathan Karamalikis – 280,000
James Obst – 200,000
James Obst closed the gap before edging ahead, only to have Karamalikis claw his way back in the lead in after collecting the first four-bet pot of heads up play. Slipping down to a near four-to-one disadvantage, Obst found a double up following a break, before Karamalikis again captured the lead after his spiked against Obst’s after all the money went in preflop to leave Obst down to just a few big blinds.
Obst however didn’t want to see his night end early as he managed three doubles before eventually bowing out to Karamalikis when his failed to connect against Karamalikis’ . As Obst exited in second for a $60,000 payday, Karamalikis collected his fourth live tournament victory, and third in the Crown Poker Room as the young online phenom justified his recent Full Tilt Poker Red Pro status by climbing over the $500,000-mark in live tournament winnings.
Join the PokerNetwork Live Reporting team again tomorrow as the 2010 Victorian Poker Championships reaches an exciting climax with the $2,700 Main Event. Our live coverage kicks off at 12pm tomorrow with every flop, turn and river, live as it happens from the tournament floor.