6 Mins Read
The longest-running annual tournament series of Sydney, Australia is The Star Sydney Championships which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. Having begun from July 17, the series boasted of five guaranteed events and several side events and concluded on August 6.
Many of the popular events drew in big crowds including the A$500 Opening Event which had 1,108 entries, the A$440 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo which attracted 231 players and the A$1,100 No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack which fielded 328 participants.
The A$3,000 Main Event, held at the Star Poker Room, was undoubtedly the most awaited event of the series. The Main Event had two starting flights which drew in a total of 522 entries. Outlasting them all was Australian native Nebojsa Blanusa (cover image).
On the heels of his victory in Event#11 – AU$600 + 60 No Limit Hold’em – Omaha (Re-Entry) at the WSOP International Circuit – Sydney in December 2017, where he pocketed AU$31,677 ($24,277), Blanusa took down the Main Event to take his total live earnings to $284,675.
Picking up his career-best score of $231,827, Blanusa now joins an elite club of previous Sydney Championships Main Event winners which includes the likes of Andrew Capelin (2010), Daniel Laidlaw (2013), Ben Jee (2015) and Henry Tran (2017).
The other events that crowned winners at the 2018 Sydney Championships included Frank Martino, Trent Clarke, Christine Hia, John Thompson, Kumar A, Andy Lee and Matthew Howearth.
Final Day Recap
With only 54 places receiving payouts, numerous players were eliminated along the way including Indian-origin player Ashish Gupta (11th for AUS$$23,517), Ryan Hong (17th for AUS$15,931), Lee-Ann Christine Hia (27th for AUS$9,792), Ling Liu (41st for AUS$6,124), Matthew Mcguigan (48th for US$5,612) and Terence Clee (54th for AUS$5,612).
Jason Quarmby (10th for AUS$23,517) bubbled the nine-handed final table.
Final Table Chip Counts
1. Charlie Hawes – 3,800,000
2. Brian Lam – 3,255,000
3. Dhiya Majeed – 2,740,000
4. Martin Ward – 1,140,000
5. Nebojsa Blanusa – 1,115,000
6. Michael Levy – 1,075,000
7. Suzy Khouies – 970,000
8. Mohammed Elkassir – 895,000
9. Michel Bouskila – 730,000
Final Table Recap
The first of the nine to depart was Mohammed Elkassir. After Brian Lam raised to 125,000 from middle position, Elkassir moved all-in from small blind with his last 800,000. Lam called and both players tabled their cards.
The board ran out and Lam’s pocket rockets prevailed over Elkassir’s pocket queens, eliminating the latter in ninth place.
Just before the second 10-minute break of the day took place, Michel Bouskila shoved all-in with his remaining 195,000 chips from the cutoff with . Lam called from big blind holding . The runout missed both players and Bouskila’s run ended in eighth place.
Right after the break, it was the short-stacked Martin Ward‘s turn to leave. Ward pitted his against Lam’s . The community cards ran and Lam turned a full house which sealed Ward’s elimination in seventh place.
Next to go was Michael Levy when he moved all-in from the cutoff and Nebojsa Blanusa moved all-in from the button as well. Rest of the players folded.
The board revealed . While Levy clipped a three-of-a-kind aces on the board but Blanusa hit a full house, resulting in the former’s sixth-place exit.
Finishing in fifth place was the birthday girl, Suzy Khouies. Charlie Hawes raised to 200,000 from under-the-gun and Khouies moved all-in with her last 825,000. Hawes called and both players tabled their cards.
Khouies was in the lead and was looking to dodge ace on the board. But luck wasn’t on her side as the popped up on the flop busting her.
As the game came down to four-handed play, Dhiya Majeed moved all-in from under-the-gun with and Lam called from the button with . The rundown came and even though Majeed picked up a top pair of kings on the board, it wasn’t enough to prevent his fourth place elimination.
Soon thereafter, Charlie Hawes moved all-in over the top to a 400,000 bet from Lam, preflop. Lam held against Hawes’ . The board spread out giving Lam a pair of kings and Hawes was eliminated in third place.
The heads-up play saw Brian Lam (9,800,000) and Nebojsa Blanusa (5,200,000) faceoff for the title. While Lam held a massive lead over Blanusa, the latter doggedly kept building his stack and at one point both players held even stacks of 7,860,000. Just before the end, Blanusa took the lead with 10,000,000, while Lam came down to 5,000,000.
On the final hand, Lam raised to 325,000 and Blanusa defended his big blind. The flop fell ; Blanusa bet 300,000 and Lam called. Following the turn , Blanusa bet 1,100,000 and Lam called yet again. The river brought and Blanusa moved all-in and Lam called.
Blanusa’s full house won him the championship and the top prize of AUS$314,265.
Final Table Results (AUD)
1. Nebojsa Blanusa – AU$314,265
2. Brian Lam – AU$194,290
3. Charlie Hawes – AU$141,935
4. Dhiya Majeed – AU$105,220
5. Suzy Khoueis – AU$79,131
6. Michael Levy – AU$60,364
7. Martin Ward – AU$46,698
8. Michel Bouskila – AU$36,642
9. Mohammed Elkassir – AU$29,158