Gold Coast Champs Crowns Cassell As Poker Champion

The Star Gold Coast started 2022 with another in a series of pandemic-mandated lockdowns. But when the poker room reopened later in January, it hoped that the pandemic was finally behind it. The hope was high enough to plan for and promote the 2022 Gold Coast Champs for March. The poker room did, in fact, host the series. It awarded nearly $1.5M in cash and found Jennifer Cassell in the Main Event winner’s chair when it was finished.

Event Results

Over 11 days in March, the Gold Coast Champs offered ten events, including a $1,500 buy-in Main Event. While there were no guarantees on the prize pools, organizers quietly hoped to surpass $1M for the series. Let’s look at the results:

  • Event 1: $750 NLHE Opener = 346 entries / $233,550 prize pool / Wenjie Sun won for $49,607
  • Event 2: $1,100 NLHE = 56 entries / $56,000 prize pool / Lucelle Bonaccorso won for $21,239
  • Event 3: $330 Bounty NLHE = 185 entries / $55,500 prize pool / Michelle Cochrane won for $9,527
  • Event 4: $440 NLHE Teams Wipeout = 42 entries / $16,800 prize pool / Lloyd Earl won for $6,552
  • Event 5: $660 NLHE Big Wave = 163 entries / $96,600 prize pool / Chin Wang won for $25,675
  • Event 6: $440 PLO = 109 entries / $43,600 prize pool / Mina Elias won for $13,080
  • Event 7: $550 NLHE Big Bounty Shot Clock =  179 entries / $89,500 prize pool / Rehman Kassam won for $11,590
  • Event 8: $1,500 NLHE Main Event = 495 entries / $668,250 prize pool / Jennifer Cassell won for $96,571
  • Event 9: $2,500 NLHE Shot Clock = 86 entries / $197,800 prize pool / Robert Spano won for $63,790
  • Event 10: $350 NLE Final Wave Wipeout = 101 entries / $32,320 prize pool / Nicole Knights won for $9,856

One might notice several women taking down titles in this series. That is well above the average for most poker series. While there are no statistics showing how many women entered these events, the winner list alone bucks the trend.

Main Event First Days

There were two starting days in the $1,500 buy-in Main Event. When the tournament staff added the entries, the total came to 495. That was enough to pay the top 62 players in the tournament at least $2,923, which was the minimum payout.

Day 2 brought 87 survivors from the starting flights back to the tables. A woman named Jennifer Cassell entered that day with just 116K chips, well below the 283,700 average stack.

As play began, Cassell kept moving forward. A bit into the day, Janet Wyvil became the bubble player, out in 63rd place. More players departed, like Angel Guillen, before the dinner break. Only 26 players returned from that meal, and Cassell promptly doubled through Mitch Bognar and took the overall chip lead with more than three million chips.

The final table approached when players like Robert Spano and Adrian Sportelli busted. Then, Luci Bonaccorso and Josh McCully busted at different tables but at the same time. That set the final table of eight players for the next day. Michael Brahim had the overall chip lead with 4.67M chips, followed closely by Craig Abernethy with nearly 4.47M. Jennifer Cassell had 3.8M, and Jarrod Thatcher had 3.05M, a few thousand more than Denis Jankovic and his nearly-3.04M stack and Najeem Ajez with 3.03M. Lee Bradbury had just 1.58M, and Lei Yang was on the short stack of 1.13M.

Main Event Final Table

Thanks to the reporting team at Poker Media Australia, we know how the entire final table played out.

It started with Abernethy busting Yang in eighth place. As Cassell chipped up through Brahim and into the chip lead, Thatcher climbed into second. Abernethy then busted Jankovic in seventh place. Bradbury did the same to Ajez in sixth place. Brahim sunk to little more than 1M in chips but doubled through Cassell and then through Bradbury. Cassell busted Thatcher in fifth place.

Abernethy dominated at the beginning of four-handed play with 9.5M. He grew that stack, though Cassell took some of it with her double-up. Bradbury busted Brahim in fourth place.

The final three players agreed to an ICM chop based on their chip counts, with Abernethy claiming $100K, Cassell $86K, and Bradbury $86K. They left more than $10.5K on the table, along with the title and trophy.

Just after that, Cassell busted Bradbury with her AK dominating his AQ. Cassell won a few pots heads-up to take the lead. Ultimately, she moved all-in with T8 on a TT38A board. Abernethy called with T2, which was good for second place.

The final table payouts were:

  • 1st place: Jennifer Cassell $96,571
  • 2nd place: Craig Abernethy $100,000
  • 3rd place: Lee Bradbury $86,000
  • 4th place: Michael Brahim $40,381
  • 5th place: Jarrod Thatcher $31,341
  • 6th place: Najeem Ajez $26,129
  • 7th place: Denis Jankovic $21,785
  • 8th place: Lei Yang $17,441

Results and Stats

Jennifer Cassell has been producing live tournament results since 2018. However, her results since the pandemic lockdowns have improved. She put her first win on her Hendon Mob page in December 2021 with a Saturday tournament win at the Star Gold Coast, that after deep runs at the Star Poker Gold Coast Summer Series.

She then started 2022 with a January win at the APT Brisbane in the 6-Max Championship. She took second in a March Tuesday recurring tournament in early March. Now, she adds the Gold Coast Champs Main Event victory to the list.

Overall, the Gold Coast Champs awarded $1,489,920 in prize money.


Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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