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Poker is a game of skill that has us gripped. For those who play poker, there is the thrill of the strategy. For those of you who are experts, there are tournaments that add to the excitement.
The World Poker Tour (WPT) is a series of poker tournaments that take place throughout the year and are internationally televised. Launched in 2002, it is the longest-running poker tour that has emerged as one of poker’s most recognized brands.
The WTP Prime is a new mid-stakes tournament series launched by the World Poker Tour. It replaces the WPT DeepStacks brand which was its longest-running series. The WTP officially retired the brand in mid-2022 after the conclusion of WPTDeepStacks Amsterdam and Sydney. The WTP wanted to elevate their global reach. Therefore, they introduced WTF prime which pairs the premier poker tournament experience of a WPT Main Tour stop with affordable buy-ins accessible to more players around the world.
The Star Sydney played host to the WPT DeepStacks Sydney in 2021 and it’s safe to say that it was a roaring success with 2,023 entrants. After its record-breaking success, the highly anticipated World Poker Tournament made a comeback to the Star Gold Coast in Australia with WTP Prime for two more exciting and action-packed events. The WTP Prime Gold Coast festival took place from 9 – 20 June 2022 and culminated in a buy-in Main Event which was scheduled from the 16th-20th June.
The WTP Prime Gold Coast Festival featured 11 value-packed events that stretched over a 12-day period. The highlights of the tournament comprised the $1000 ($600 + $300 + $100) Mystery Bounty, which was a first for any Australian casino, along with the $1500 ($1,330 + $170) Main Event which featured a 30,000 starting stack of chips and relaxed blind levels making it one not to be missed. The tournament buy-ins kicked off at just $330 ($300+$30), making it more suitable for those players who would like to give a high roller tournament a try.
Besides retaining its predecessor’s low buy-in, the festival’s main event also incorporated features such as Live Stream Coverage, Action Clocks, Player of the Year leaderboards, Player of the Festival, and much more. Moreover, the Main Event was live-streamed globally on the WTP.com website and via the WPT YouTube and Twitch channels.
Read on to get a better understanding of what transpired during the 12-day WTP Prime Gold Coast Main Event.
By the end of the WTP Prime Gold Coast Mystery Bounty Day 1B, a builder from Townsville – Steven Hoek – who won the APLPT Queensland Deep Freeze earlier this year managed to take the overall lead by bagging 600,000 chips. The 29-year-old was followed by Simon Thwaits (535,000), Jamie Brown (517,000), Charles Tsai (399,000), and Noman Mirza (392,000). Overall, 34 survivors were able to advance to Day 2 along with the 25 other competitors from Day 1A.
Having started Day 2 of the $1000 Mystery Bounty Tournament with an overall chip lead, Steven Hoek wasted no time in eliminating three players in the first 15 minutes before pulling the first of two $9,525 coins from the Treasure Chest. Following what was perhaps the purest run ever, Hoek became the first player to win the Mystery Bounty Tournament at the Star Gold Coast. He won a total of $75,466 which comprised $48,916 in first-place prize money and 15 bounties worth $26,550 by eliminating final chip leader Alex Lee, along with Grand Bounty winner Yor Ecobiza and Martin Ward among many others.
Following the grand success of the side events leading up to the Main Event, the $1500 tournament brought in a total of 488 entries and a prize pool worth $649,040 by the end of Day 1B.
As Day 1A came to a close, the podcaster and poker mindset coach, Brendon Rubie was able to take the lead by acquiring 549,000 in chips. However, his primacy was short-lived as Queenslander, Frank Mete managed to overtake him by the end of Day 1B with a staggering amount of 902,000 chips.
Flight 1C of the buy-in Main Event took in 408 entrants. Halfway through the third level of the day, the WPT Prime Main Tournament managed to surpass the $1 million prize pool barrier and accumulated a total of $1,176,680. This is another milestone for Star Poker which holds the honor of hosting both of the biggest WTP Main Events to date. But that’s not all, it also acclaims the global record for the largest number of entries taken in for the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event back in April.
Among the 58 survivors, Ankit Dahiya, a 33-year-old former croupier was able to take the lead at the end of the day’s play by winning 600,000 straight, followed by Ruiyang Wang and Darcy Mendoza with 529,000 and 486,000 chips respectively. All in all, a total of 125 players were able to qualify for Day 2 of the tournament.
Day 2 of the Main Event concluded with 9 out of the 125 players heading for the final table. Yang Lei took the lead and bagged an impressively huge amount of 9,485,000 chips ahead of Najeem Ajez who acquired 5,465,000 and Justin Bernstein who won 3,180,000.
Yung Lei managed to score his first tier-one victory by defeating Najeem Ajez in the tournament’s finale. Lei amassed about US$500,000 in tournament earnings and defeated a record field of 896 entries, pocketing a reward worth $216,763 in cash and prizes along with a WPT World Championship seat, valued at $15,000. Following the Sydney grinder, was Najeem Ajez who bagged $134,508 and Tony (Jun) Lu accumulated $99,299 in winnings. Moreover, the top 112 received a minimum of $2,434.
Fancy joining a poker tournament? So many people love poker but it’s best to practice online before playing with the big boys. Check out Ignition Casino as it has many different poker tournaments. Maybe you will be ready to enter the next WPT in Australia.
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