Canadian poker professional Mike Watson has won the opening event of the inaugural Australian Poker Open at The Star Gold Coast for $177,000, defeating 59 total entries, which was broadcast live on PokerGO. The Australian Poker Open is a 7-event High Roller tournament series held in partnership with the World Poker Tour® with a $50,000 championship prize.
“I’m thrilled to have won it,” Watson exclaimed after taking down the event, “Especially in these series it’s great to get off to a good start and set the tone, get your confidence high, and try to make a run for that player of the series title. It’s also the first live event I’ve won a little while, so that monkey’s off my back.”
2020 Australian Poker Open Event #1 Results
|5||Jamie Lee||United States||$47,200||60|
|7||Elio Fox||United States||$29,500||40|
|8||Ben Lamb||United States||$23,600||40|
Recapping the Final Table Action
The action started with the quick elimination of one of Hungary’s finest players, Andras Nemeth. Nemeth, sitting on a short stack, moved all in over the top of Michael O’Grady’s raise with deuces only to get called right away by the Aussie’s pocket aces. O’Grady’s aces held up and Nemeth was knocked out.
Next up to hit the rail was Jamie Lee, who pushed his small stack towards the middle with jack-nine suited. Mike Watson moved all in over the top with ace-queen and the board brought two aces to seal Lee’s fate.
Lee’s elimination tied Watson with O’Grady and Orpen Kisacikoglu for a three-way tie and the chips moved back and forth for a bit before Kisacikoglu got caught with his hand in the cookie jar by Watson. Kisacikoglu bluffed his stack off against the rivered flush of Watson and that brought play down to the final three.
Local hero Benjamin Shannon was then knocked out in fourth place. Shannon entered the tournament after parlaying a $250 satellite into a larger satellite which sent him into this $10,000 event. Shannon turned his $250 into $82,600 after getting eliminated with ace-two against O’Grady eight-four suited when he moved all-in with a short stack.
The heads-up between Mike Watson and Michael O’Grady was tremendously entertaining and filled with drama. In a massive pot, O’Grady picked up pocket aces only to see the Canadian pro turn over two pair after they ended up all in on king-deuce-three. Watson’s two pair were counterfeited with a three on the turn but a deuce on the river gave him a full house to double up.
An hour or so later, O’Grady was looking to get back into the race when he got king-ten all in versus queen-ten. Watson turned a straight but this time the river was kind to O’Grady who made a bigger straight on the river.
The back and forth continued for another hour before O’Grady ended up all in with ace-eight and he was knocked out against the ace-queen of Watson.
Leading the Australian Poker Open after winning the first event puts the Canadian pro, who now has over $12 million in career tournaments earnings, in pole position for the Championship trophy and $50,000 top prize for player of the series. With this win, Watson also becomes the first leader in the Poker Central High Roller of the Year leader board which has a top prize of $100,000.
Poker Players Quickly Fall in Love with The Gold Coast
Watson will play every event at the Australian Poker Open and aside from the poker, he’s having a blast here so far.
“I really like it here at The Star, the hotel and casino are nice and I really enjoy playing here so far. It’s also nice being in The Gold Coast, just a few minutes away from the beach, little shops, restaurants, and stuff like that. I’m looking forward to having a chance to explore things a bit more while I’m here.”
The Star Gold Coast COO Jessica Mellor said she was excited to host the players on the Gold Coast, who in their spare time can take advantage of all the attractions the coastal city has to offer.
“The Gold Coast is one of Australia’s premier lifestyle and tourism destinations,” Ms Mellor said.
“While the world’s best players are here to compete in these two highly coveted international poker events, we hope they take the time to relax in one of the best beach and vacation playgrounds in the world.
“We encourage them to explore our stunning city – which has become famous for its golden beaches and lush hinterland, excellent surf spots, thrill-seeking theme parks, enticing dining and nightlife, and vibrant shopping.
“There is no doubt that the Gold Coast has something for everyone, and we are pleased to be right in the heart of it as a world-recognised leading integrated resort.”
Looking ahead, Watson is excited about what’s to come as he jumped straight into the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event and all that’s still to come.
“The schedule looks great and the good turnouts of the first couple of events will hopefully continue into the higher stakes. We do know though that things always get a bit more serious as the stakes get higher with a lot of the same faces but that is to be expected. I think it’s a great schedule for me and I’m excited for a great week of poker.
The Australian Poker Open continues with Event #2 $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha which is underway right now with Day 1 action available on our Live Reporting platform. The entire Event #1 final table is available on PokerGO right here.
About The Star Gold Coast
Since its inception in 1985, The Star Gold Coast has become the coastal city’s most iconic tourism and entertainment destination and today welcomes around 3.5 million visitors a year through its doors. Owned and operated by The Star Entertainment Group, the property has continued to evolve significantly since embarking on an extraordinary transformation, and has become home to some of the nation’s biggest events including the first World Poker Tour in Australia. Along with its consortium partners, the company is currently building a $400 million, 53-storey first mixed-use tower at The Star Gold Coast, which will bring the internationally-acclaimed Dorsett hotel brand to Australia for the first time when it opens around 2022. Further, the partners have approval for an additional $2 billion-plus masterplan for The Star Gold Coast, which includes an additional four towers and resort amenities.
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