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The kickoff event at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) International Circuit The Star Sydney, the A$500 Opening Event registered a massive 1,444 entries across four starting flights, eclipsing last year’s numbers. China’s Jun Wang (cover image) battled through the massive field to take down his maiden live title for a career-best A$112,171. Wang entered the final table as the chip leader and after eliminating Alex Falon and Chu Ong, Wang defeated Malcolm Trayner in a hard-fought heads-up confrontation to win the title.
“It’s great! This is my first final table,” Wang said when he was asked how he felt. His girlfriend was on the rail and broke out in tears after Wang won. “She’s actually won more than me,” he joked.
When asked what was next on the agenda, he said, “Well, I’ve actually won a ticket to the $5k Challenge event, so I’ll probably play that and maybe the main,” he added. “If the $5k doesn’t go to plan, I may play the PLO event instead. That’s my preferred game,” he summed up.
India’s Akshay Kapoor was among the many seen in action and entered the event on the final starting flight – Day 1D. He got off to an encouraging start bagging 174,200 for Day 2. Kapoor made a strong start on Day 2 and eliminated a player early on in the day with pocket sixes outlasted his opponent’s . He also managed to double up during level 17 when his improved to a straight against his rival’s . Kapoor sent Nurlan Boobekov (64th for A$ 1,566) to rail to increase his stack to 305,000. Kapoor’s run ultimately ended in 51st place fetching him A$1,890 (₹98,170).
Other notables who also finished in the money included Stan L (10th for A$8,967), Adam Smith (13th for A$7,310), Patrick Vartuli (23rd for A$4,230), Katie Sekhas (30th for A$3,099), Andrew Miller (47th for A$1,890) and Patrick Fletcher (72nd for A$1,566).
1. Jun Wang – 5,425,000
2. Malcolm Trayner – 4,535,000
3. Alex Falon – 3,340,000
4. Johnathan Hargrave – 1,945,000
5. Chu Ong – 1,490,000
6. Shan Jiang – 1,485,000
7. Chad Awerbuch – 1,350,000
8. George Mitri – 1,190,000
9. Zhi Ma – 1,025,000
Final Table Recap
The first elimination on the nine-handed final table was George Mitri who moved all-in from the middle position with and Malcolm Trayner moved all in over the top from the hijack with , forcing everyone else to fold. The board fell and Trayner paired his queen on the flop, railing Mitri in ninth place.
It didn’t take long for Chad Awerbuch to join Mitri at the rail. Johnathan Hargrave raised to 225,000 from under the gun, Awerbuch shoved all-in from middle position for 1,120,000 and Shan Jiang re-raised all-in for 2,000,000 from the cutoff. Hargrave folded.
The community cards fanned out and Jiang picked up a set of jacks on the turn, eliminating Awerbuch in eighth place.
Finishing in seventh place was Alex Falon. Jun Wang raised to 225,000 from the button with and Alex Falon called from the small blind with . The flop brought and Falon checked. Wang bet 300,000, Falon raised to 600,000 and Wang called to see the turn . Falon moved all-in and Wang snap-called. Wang was in the lead with three-of-a-kind sixes and the river sealed Falon’s fate as he exited in seventh place.
During level 27, Chu Ong was cautioned by dealer and tournament director after a controversial hand. In a hand against Zhi Ma, Ong raised to 250,000 from the hijack and Ma called from small blind. The flop came and Me checked while Ong bet 225,000. Ma then moved all-in for 1,150,000. Ong tanked for a moment then moved his cards forward, which looked like a fold, before dragging them back. This caused a ruckus on the table with the players talking about the angle-shoot as Ong still kept his option. Ong asked, “Is that not cool?” Following a discussion with the dealer and tournament director, Ong finally opted to fold. “That was not an angle-shoot,” pleaded Ong after the hand. He apologized to Ma and the rest of the table before receiving a caution moving forward.
Soon thereafter, Wang raised to 240,000 from the button with and was called by Ong in the big blind, holding . The flop showed , Ong checked and Wang bet 200,000. Ong raised to 575,000 and Wang called. Both players checked the on the turn, before the river card landed the . Ong promptly moved all-in and Wang quickly called. Wang had flopped a flush on the board which ousted Ong in sixth place.
Down to five-handed play, Johnathan Hargrave jammed from the small blind and Ma called from the big blind. Hargrave tabled against Ma’s . The board spread out and Ma improved to a pair of queens eliminating Hargrave in fifth place.
Right after the first break of the day, Shan Jiang moved all-in from the button holding and Trayner moved all-in from big blind with . The runout missed both players and Trayner’s stronger pair of kings held on against Jiang’s pocket queens, leading to the latter’s fourth-place elimination.
Immediately thereafter, Zhi Ma went up against Trayner. With the board running , Ma’s was unable to outlast Trayner’s , bringing about Ma’s third-place finish.
Malcolm Trayner (14,500,000) had a considerable lead over Jun Wang (7,200,000) at the start of the heads-up play. However, at the start of level 33, both players had exactly equal stacks of 10,850,000. It took only a few hands more for the event to wrap up.
On the final hand, Wang raised to 875,000 from the button with . Trayner shoved all-in for 9,650,000 from the big blind with . The board turned over [h] and failed to help Trayner resulting in his runner-up finish. Wang went on to win his first live title, along with a career-best score of A$112,171.
1. Jun Wang – A$112,171
2. Malcolm Trayner – A$69,528
3. Zhi Ma – A$50,950
4. Shan Jiang – A$38,734
5. Johnathan Hargrave – A$29,487
6. Chu Ong – A$22,710
7. Alex Falon – A$17,694
8. Chad Awerbuch – A$13,944
9. George Mitri – A$11,118
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