Sydney Champs 2019 Wraps With Record Numbers

The Star Sydney in Australia earlier this summer finished its hosting of the 2019 Sydney Champs, an annual series of poker tournaments that brings people from many locations to play the events. While not without some controversy in the Main Event, the Star Sydney can be called a success with record-breaking fields and millions of dollars awarded.

Sydney Champs 2019

The Star Sydney hosted the Sydney Champs in early June, around the time the World Series of Poker began.  The Star Sydney is a massive property (second largest in Australia) that overlooks Darling Harbour and, for many years, held a casino monopoly in New South Wales. The two floors of gaming feature a large poker room comprised of more than 40 tables.

The Sydney Champs 2019 began on July 11 and ran through August 5 with a total of 17 tournaments, including a number of poker variations and buy-ins.

Action kicked off with a $1K No Limit Hold’em Monster Stack Freezeout tournament that offered two starting days and ran through July 14. That and other preliminary event winners were:

Event 1:  $1,100 NLHE Monster Stack Freezeout

  • Entries: 382
  • Prize pool: $382,000
  • Winner: David Hirst ($84,039)

Event 2:  $500 NLHE Short Deck Reentry

  • Entries: 97
  • Prize pool: $43,650
  • Winner: Lei He ($13,094)

Event 3:  $330 Pineapple Reentry

  • Entries: 177
  • Prize pool: $53,100
  • Winner: Dominic Thomson ($14,336)

Event 4:  $500 Sydney Champs NLHE Cup (Repechage)

  • Entries: 983
  • Prize pool: $442,350
  • Winner: Adam Dundovic ($84,057)

Event 5:  $330 Ladies NLHE Reentry

  • Entries: 87
  • Prize pool: $26,100
  • Winner: Suzy Khoueis ($8,353)

Event 6:  $440 NLHE Turbo Reentry

  • Entries: 223
  • Prize pool: $89,200
  • Winner: Travis Endersby ($22,303)

Event 7:  $500 NLHE Teams Freezeout

  • Entries: 131
  • Prize pool: $58,950
  • Winner: Chester Swords & Yita Choong ($16,508)

Event 8:  $440 NLHE Masters (Seniors) Reentry

  • Entries: 179
  • Prize pool: $71,600
  • Winner: Todor Kondevski ($19,335)

Event 9:  $550 Mixed NLHE/PLO

  • Entries: 134
  • Prize pool: $67,000
  • Winner: Patrick Laoyont ($18,758)

Event 10:  $5K NLHE Challenge Reentry

  • Entries: 129
  • Prize pool: $612,750
  • Winner: Jason Gray ($171,572)

Event 11:  $1,100 NLHE 6-Max Reentry

  • Entries: 356
  • Prize pool: $356,000
  • Winner: Qiang Fu ($89,003)

Event 12:  $550 Omaha Reentry

  • Entries: 147
  • Prize pool: $73,500
  • Winner: Danny Huynh ($20,578)

Event 13:  $20K NLHE High Roller Reentry

  • Entries: 37
  • Prize pool: $703,000
  • Winner: Sean Ragozzini ($316,350)

Event 14:  $3K NLHE Main Event (Repechage) ($1.5 million guaranteed)

  • Entries: 600
  • Prize pool: $1,680,000
  • Winner: Hamish Crawshaw ($352,800)

Event 15:  $330 Crazy Pineapple Reentry

  • Entries: 168
  • Prize pool: $50,400
  • Winner: Michael Cuschieri ($13,609)

Event 16:  $1,650 PLO 6-Max Reentry

  • Entries: 140
  • Prize pool: $210,000
  • Winner: Ryan Bownds ($59,850)

Event 17:  $550 NLHE Bounty Reentry

  • Entries: 276
  • Prize pool: $110,400
  • Winner: Raymond Ou ($26,498)

More on the Sydney Championship Main Event

As mentioned, the Main Event set a new record for the Sydney Championships. With 600 entries, registration soared above last year’s Main Event that drew 522 entries. And this year’s prize pool of $1.68 million exceeded The Star Sydney’s guarantee and last year’s prize pool.

The tournament has come a long way since its 2013 Main Event that showed 227 entries and a $635,461 prize pool. (Daniel Laidlaw won that one for $165K.)

This year, the action started smoothly with 280 players in Day 1A and another 320 on Day 1B, putting that total up to 600. Day 2 played toward the money, as only 63 of the remaining players were to be paid.

That’s where the controversy came in. On the money bubble, the staff announced that everyone was in the money, but they were not. After play continued for another 10-15 minutes, they then told players that they were not yet in the money. Some players were angry and wanted everyone still in to be paid, but the tournament director denied the demand.

Once that money bubble did officially burst and the remaining players were guaranteed at least $5,494, the field thinned more quickly. Names like Graeme Putt, Michael Egan, and Travis Endersby hit the rail during the evening hours, and the 14th place elimination of Chris Kittos for $21,470 ended play.

Final Day and Final Table

The final 13 players returned on Day 3 to play for the win. Corey Kempson kept his chip lead from the start to head into the final table, but Bernie Stang soon doubled into the lead. Kempson doubled through Nickolas Oiberman to stay alive, and that led to Hamish Crawshaw busting Oiberman.

Tu Le doubled through Kempson, who was then eliminated in eighth place.

Mark Lassau doubled through Stang, and the latter lost ground in a series of hands that led to Crawshaw ousting him in seventh place.

Joe Antar doubled through Wenjian Qui, who was then busted by Crawshaw.

Lassau doubled through Antar and Crawshaw, and Antar did it through Crawshaw. But it was Crawshaw who took over again to eliminate Peter Robertson in fifth place, Le in fourth, and eventually Antar in third.

Heads-up play started with Crawshaw holding a massive lead over Lassau, and the latter worked hard to minimize that chip difference. Even so, Crawshaw eventually challenged Lassau’s pocket kings on a J-10-3 flop with K-J suited and two cards to a flush on the flop. The flush hit on the turn, and New Zealand resident Hamish Crawshaw won the tournament for $352,800.

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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