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The $5,000 Challenge at the 2018 World Series of Poker (WSOP) International Circuit The Star Sydney took two days to run its course. It took 21 levels of play before a winner emerged and it was Matt Wakeman (cover image) who was the last player standing and claimed his maiden WSOPC title along with a career-best live cash of A$255,311.
A regular on the Australian and Vegas circuits, Wakeman’s first title win came late last year in the A$2,700 No Limit Hold’em – MCC Highroller at the 2017 Marconi Cup Carnival, Sydney for A$56,010. He has accumulated total total live earnings of $914,853.
“I feel good,” Wakeman said in the post-event interview. “I almost feel relieved in a lot of ways. I’ve been around for a long time and it’s kind of a monkey off my back. It’s probably more relief than excitement or anything like that. It’s a strange feeling. I’m not used to winning.”
“I ran really good,” Wakeman said, laughing. “It was pretty smooth, more or less just because I did run really good.”
Indian-origin player Gautam Dhingra has been having a good year thus far. He recently won the A$1,650 No Limit Hold’em – Main Event at the Melbourne Poker Championships 2018 for A$156,051 (₹79.66 Lakhs) in August.
Dhingra reached the final table with the third biggest stack and orchestrated the eliminations of Robert Spano and Joshua McCully to bring the play down to the last three players. However, his run ended in the same place he started the final table in third place and was sent packing by eventual runner up Dejan Boskovic.
Out of the 24 runner who finished in the money were notables like Sean Dunwoodie (10th for A$19,118), Sam Higgs (17th for A$13,062), Indian origin player Rahul Rastogi (19th for A$11,019) and Heidi May (21st for A$11,019).
1. Matt Wakeman – 1,900,000
2. Dejan Boskovic – 845,000
3. Gautam Dhingra – 735,000
4. Robert Spano – 597,000
5. Sam Khoueis – 396,000
6. Isaac Lau – 342,000
7. Billy Argyros – 238,000
8. Joshua McCully – 188,000
9. Hauman Darbani – 140,000
A few hands into the final table, Isaac Lau raised to 33,000 from under-the-gun+1 with and Hauman Darbani moved all in for 96,000 from the button with . The board revealed and Lau flopped a pair of jacks to eliminate Darbani in ninth place.
After losing a big pot to Joshua McCully, Billy Argyros was left with a very short stack. In the very next hand, he moved all-in from the small blind with and Sam Khoueis called holding from the big blind. The runout missed both players and Khoueis’ pocket sixes were good enough to bust out Argyros in eight place.
However, Sam Khoueis could not retain his place at the felts for long and soon enough followed Argyros to the rail. Khoueis pitted his against Lau’s . The flop put Lau in the lead with a flopped pair of kings. The and completed the board but did nothing to improve Khoueis’ hand, leading to his seventh-place finish.
Finishing in sixth place was Isaac Lau when he locked horns with Boskovic. With the board showing , Lau’s could not compete against Boskovic’s , as the latter turned a pair to win the pot.
Level 19 spelled disaster for Robert Spano as he fell at the hands of Guatam Dhingra. Following a raise from Dhingra in the cutoff, Spano jammed from the small blind with and Dhingra called with . The community cards fanned out and Dhingra’s king kicker knocked Spano out in fifth place.
Down to four-handed play, Matt Wakeman opened with a raise of 45,000 and Joshua McCully shoved all-in for 200,000. Dhingra jumped into the action yet again and moved all in over the top for roughly 550,000. Wakeman folded and both players tabled their cards.
The board ran and Dhingra rivered a set of queens to send McCully to the rail in fourth place.
During level 20, Gautam Dhingra lost a chunk of his stack to Boskovic and was left with only 230,000. Soon thereafter, Dhingra moved all-in from the small blind with and found Boskovic waiting in the big blind for him yet again. The latter called with . The rundown brought and failed to better Dhingra’s hand, bringing about his third place exit.
Dhingra’s departure set the heads-up play between Dejan Boskovic (2,700,000) and Matt Wakeman (2,400,000) into motion. Wakeman immediately started putting pressure on Boskovic and mid-way through level 21, he had taken the chip lead away from the latter.
On the final hand of the event, Boskovic raised to 100,000 from the button with and Wakeman re-raised to 350,000 from the big blind holding . The board spread out and Wakeman picked up two pairs of queens and nines on the flop to beat out Boskovic for the title and top prize of A$255,311.
1. Matt Wakeman – A$255,311
2. Dejan Boskovic – A$157,804
3. Gautam Dhingra – A$114,850
4. Joshua McCully – A$85,332
5. Robert Spano -A $64,094
6. Isaac Lau – A$48,889
7. Sam Khoueis – A$37,859
8. Billy Argyros – A$29,754
9. Hauman Darbani – A$23,731
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