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Ten Aussies still in WSOP Main Event hunt

Sat, Jul 16, 9:56am by Staff Writer

WSOP 2014After the first three days of play at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event – the USD$10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament which crown’s the game’s World Championship – 10 survivors hail from Australia.

Sydney native and longtime semi-professional player Craig Blight tops the national leaderboard, sitting in 42nd place overall with 987,000 in tournament chips to work with heading into Friday’s pivotal fourth day of play.

Blight is riding the proverbial rush of late, having narrowly missed out on winning his first WSOP gold bracelet less than two weeks ago. Nonetheless, his runner-up finish in Event #52 ($3,000 No-Limit Hold’em) paid out USD$351,721      as a consolation prize – by far Blight’s biggest tournament cash to date.

The tournament’s overall leader entering Day 4 is Belgian pro and WSOP veteran Kenny Hallaert, who holds 1,709,000 chips, followed by pro Jared Bleznick (1,607,000), and semi-pro Duy Ho (1,480,000).

Readers can follow continually updated coverage of the Main Event here.

The WSOP Main Event began on Saturday, July 9th with the first of three Day 1 starting flights. By the time Days 1A, 1B, and 1C were in the books, a total of 6,737 individual players had put up the five-figure entrance fee.

All told, a prize pool of USD$63,327,800 was generated, and when the final nine survivors reach the all-important final table, each will be guaranteed to take home at least USD$1 million – with the eventual champion earning USD$8 million for taking down poker’s most prestigious tournament.

The ‘money bubble’ was burst late on Day 3, which means all players still in the field at that time ensured that they will take home at least $15,000 in prize money.

When the first three starting flights were finished, the field had been gradually whittled down to 5,098 remaining players, and of that amount, 41 Aussies were left in contention. This included 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem, along with his brother and fellow poker pro Tony Hachem. Six-time WSOP bracelet winner Jeffrey Lisandro also made it through to the second day, as did one of Australian poker’s true legends, bracelet winner Gary Benson.

After two additional separate flights for Day 2, the Australian contingent had shrunk to just 16 hopefuls among the 2,186-strong field.

Day 3 pared the number of Aussies left in the field to 10 – of 800 total remaining – with Blight being trailed by the following players:

  • Brendon Rubie (Sydney – 798,000 chips – 90th overall)
  • James Obst (Adelaide – 780,000 chips – 98th overall)
  • Grant Levy (Sydney – 404,000 chips – 396th overall)
  • Jonathan Karamalikis (Adelaide – 378,000 chips – 361st overall)
  • Michael O’Grady (Hoxton Park, NSW – 310,000 chips – 425th overall)
  • Dean Blatt (Caufield North – 301,000 chips – 437th overall)
  • Mitchell Watson (Victoria – 241,000 chips – 527th overall)
  • Alexander Lynskey (Brisbane – 209,000 chips – 568th overall)
  • Daniel Hameiri (Sydney – 180,000 chips – 605th overall)

Day 4 of the WSOP Main Event kicks off at 12 noon (Las Vegas time), and each of the remaining 10 Australian players will be looking to build the big stack needed to make a proper run at the final table.

Of those listed above, Lynskey, Karamalikis, Rubie, and Obst have all won more than USD$1 million during their tournament careers, and each of the latter three has come close to a WSOP bracelet with a runner-up result.

Another local player who has nearly claimed a WSOP bracelet during their career is Jan Suchanek.

The native of Nelson, New Zealand finished in second place in the $1,500 10-Game Mix event in 2014, and with 1,232,000 chips at his disposal entered Day 4, Suchanek sits in 14th position on the overall leaderboard.


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