Wptdeepstacks Sydney Sets Records And Awards Millions

The World Poker Tour only began visiting Australia in the past few years, but the tour stops were immediate hits with players. Players turned out in big numbers to previous WPT Gold Coast series, so organizers hoped the same would happen for the World Poker Tour’s first series in Sydney.

It was not the same, though; it was better. The entries for the WPTDeepStacks Sydney Main Event became the largest WPTDS Main Event in the series history. Players and organizers alike declared WPTDS Sydney a roaring success.

Preliminary Success

The schedule for WPTDeepStacks Sydney offered 11 events in total. Those began back on 30 March. The Main Event didn’t start until 7 April, and that one ran the rest of the series. The other ten events deserve attention, though, because of the impressive fields.

These are the preliminary event results, minus Event 7 (Main Event):

  • Event 1: $750 NLHE Opener = 1,204 entries / $812,700 prize pool / Michelle Psarras won ($136,506)
  • Event 2: $1,100 NLHE Freezeout = 352 entries / $352K prize pool / Stephen Tambouras won ($74,779)
  • Event 3: $2K NLHE = 261 entries / $469,800 prize pool / Francesco Losi won ($107K)
  • Event 4: $330 NLHE Freezeout = 429 entries / $128,700 prize pool / George Lewkowski won ($26,098)
  • Event 5: $440 PLO = 365 entries / $145,672 prize pool / Roland Foster won ($27,954)
  • Event 6: $660 NLHE Big Bounty = 565 entries / $169,500 prize pool / Mario Faure won ($32,513)
  • Event 8: $440 NLHE Megastack Super Turbo Freezeout = 206 entries / $82,400 prize pool / Graham Cowan won ($20,267)
  • Event 9: $660 PLO = 316 entries / $189,600 prize pool / Mikael Larsson won ($41,196)
  • Event 10: $5K NLHE Challenge = 258 entries / $1,212,600 prize pool / Matthew Pongrass won ($276,178)
  • Event 11: $440 NLHE Megastack Freezeout = 413 entries / $165,200 prize pool / Brendon Rubie won ($33,805)

All of the winners were Australian except Event 3’s Francesco Losi of Italy.

Setting a Record

The WPTDS Sydney Main Event had a $1,500 buy-in and offered three starting flights. Players had multiple reentry opportunities.

Day 1A started it off with 554 entries, from which 85 players remained at the end of play. Day 1B added 659 entries with 94 of them surviving. The final chance was Day 1C, which delivered 810 entries, with 137 of them making it through. Those numbers made that tournament the largest Main Event in WPTDeepStacks history.

  • Total entries: 2,023
  • Total prize pool: $2,690,590
  • Players paid: 253
  • Minimum payout: $2,637

Finding the Final Table

Day 2 of the tournament brought 316 players back to the tables, though dozens would go home without a paycheck. It didn’t take long to burst that money bubble, though, and the payouts began.

As the tournament thinned the field from seven to six tables, Darius Bucinkas made it to the top of the leaderboard, followed closely by Mark Fester. Najeem Ajez was in a strong third. Later that night, after Qilong Li busted in 24th place for $14,099, play stopped for the night with 23 contenders and a man named Benedikt Eberle holding the most chips. Darius Bucinskas was second in the counts.

Play on Day 3 started with Mina Elias and Dean Boskovic busting. Najeem Ajez ended up in 19th place, Leo Boxell in 17th place, and Ross Coveney in 13th. The final nine then took their seats at the final table, with Eberle back on top but only slightly above Nick Wright. Bucinkas was third, followed by Fester and Lirui Zhang. Luke McCredie was next in the counts, coming in ahead of Spencer Davies, Marco Perri, and Anthony Cierco on the short stack.

For the Big Money

The minimum payout at the final table was $41,274, but the winner was set to receive $413,006. Every payout jump was significant.

Wright sent Perri out in ninth place, as Cierco doubled through Fester to stay alive. Eberle send Davies home in eighth place, and Wright stepped back in to bust Bucinkas in seventh and then Zhang in sixth.

Five-handed play started with Wright holding 24.7M chips, Fester with 14.5M, Cierco and McCredie in the 8.1-8.2M range, and Eberle on the 4.8M short stack. Eberle soon doubled through McCredie, but it wasn’t enough. A short while later, Fester ousted Eberle in fifth place.

McCredie lost a big pot to Wright, and Fester stepped in next to bust McCredie in fourth place.

Cierco soared, taking pots from Fester and Wright, though Wright remained the far-and-away chip leader. Fester changed that, though, when he took a huge pot from Cierco. Wright then took A-J and put Cierco to the test. Cierco showed A-6 and busted in third place for his best score to date.

Heads-up play began with Fester holding 31,675,000 chips to the 28,725,000 of Wright. Fester took the first and second pots in play. The third hand saw the two tangle on a Kh-5c-Qd-Jh-8h board. Fester pushed all-in with A-T for the straight. Wright called quickly with K-K and his set, but the straight eliminated Wright in second place.

Fester won the biggest pot of his poker career, by quite a lot. He told Poker Media Australia (who provided live updates for the series), “Everyone is very excited. I’m very excited, but I think when the dust settles that I’ll realize that I’m a WPT champion, and that’s awesome!”

WPTDeepstacks Sydney Champion Mark Fester


  • 1st place: Mark Fester (Australia) $412,981
  • 2nd place: Nicholas Wright (Australia) $275,328
  • 3rd place: Anthony Cierco (France) $204,270
  • 4th place: Luke McCredie (Australia) $152,906
  • 5th place: Benedikt Eberle (Austria) $115,507
  • 6th place: Lirui Zhang (China) $88,090
  • 7th place: Darius Bucinkas (Australia) $67,803
  • 8th place: Spencer Davies (Australia) $52,655
  • 9th place: Marco Perri (Australia) $41,274

It Was a Big Deal

The World Poker Tour is a draw, no matter the location. But in a country where big live tournaments have been somewhat rare – especially since the pandemic – poker players want the action. And that action brought big names to the tables, such as: Gary Benson, Grant Levy, Jeff Lisandro, Martin Finger, Angel Guillen, Jordan Bromley, Leo Boxell, and Joe and Tony Hachem.

When it was finished, the Star reported the big numbers for the entire series:

  • Total tournament entries: 6,392
  • Total satellite entries: 8,288
  • Cumulative prize money awarded: $6,588,590

Mark Fester also won the overall festival. For that, he won a WPT Passport that will give him an entry to the 2022 WPT Australia Main Event at the Star Gold Coast later this year.


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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