Poker history was made Monday evening as the first-ever World Series of Poker bracelet was awarded in the continent of Australia. Event #1 of the 2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific, a new AUD$1,100 "Accumulator" event, was won by American poker pro Bryan Piccioli, who bested a tough final table that included Jonathan Duhamel, Jeremy Ausmus, Iori Yogo and Jonathan Karamalikis, the lone Aussie at the table. Piccioli defeated Karamalikis heads up for the title while several raucous Aussies railbirds cheered.
WSOP-APAC Event #1 Final Table Results
The day began with two short stacks trying to climb out of the basement, but neither could gain any ground on the leaders. Ryan Otto and Peter Kleugden exited in ninth and eighth place, respectively, leaving seven players vying for the WSOP bracelet.
Iori Yogo was at his third final table already in 2013, but he fell short of adding another victory to his résumé on Monday. Yogo, who made two final tables (with one win) at the ANZPT Perth series in February, finished seventh in Event #1 when his failed to improve against Jay Loo's . Yogo collected AUD$32,268 for his three-plus days of work.
Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt was sent packing in sixth place after a wacky preflop sequence that resulted in Karamilikis calling a shove with five-high. Ausmus opened with a raise to 25,000 from the cutoff and Piccioli (button) and Graeme Putt (small blind) called. Karamalikis then squeezed with a three-bet to 87,000 from the big blind, prompting folds from Ausmus and Piccioli. Putt decided to make a stand and moved all in for around 150,000 total, and Karamalikis felt priced in to call.
Putt was dead on with his read that the Aussie pro was getting out of line, but he was only a 64% favorite to double up, according to the PokerNews Odds Calculator. The flop came , giving Karamalikis a few more outs to a straight, and the on the turn left Putt one card away from winning a big pot. But the on the river filled his opponent's straight, and Putt hit the rail in sixth place for AUD$41,610.
2012 October Niner Jeremy Ausmus was the next to go. After Loo raised to 32,000 preflop, Ausmus moved all in for more than 300,000, and Loo took little time before calling. Ausmus was in dire shape with the against Loo's , and the board sent Ausmus to the cashier to collect his AUD$54,337 in prize money.
Duhamel's bid for a second WSOP bracelet fell short again when Loo eliminated him in fourth place. The 2010 WSOP Main Event champ opened with a preflop raise to 35,000 from under the gun, and the action folded over to Loo, who three-bet to 86,000 from the big blind. Duhamel made the call in position and watched the flop roll out . Loo fired 66,000 into the pot, and Duhamel called. The turn was the , and Loo led out for 120,000. Duhamel opted to call again. The came on the river, and Loo bet enough to put Duhamel all in, and the former world champ called. Loo tabled for a set of queens, and a disappointed Duhamel tossed his into the muck before making his way out of the final table arena. It was another valiant effort from the Team PokerStars Pro, but Duhamel will have to wait to get his second WSOP bracelet.
Following their exits from the final table, both Ausmus and Duhamel hopped into Event #3, an AUD$2,200 mixed-game event that kicked off at 4 p.m. local time.
Three-handed play lasted more than two hours as the players traded chips back-and-forth for 40 hands. Loo had a great opportunity to eliminate Karamalikis midway through three-handed action with pocket kings against the Aussie's pocket fives after the chips went in before the flop, but a five on the turn gave Karamilikis a winning set which nearly evened the stacks.
Loo then made a bold preflop move that backfired, sending him out in third place. He opened to 40,000 from the button, and Piccioli three-bet to 95,000. Karamalikis folded his big blind and Loo responded by moving all in. Piccioli quickly called.
Piccioli survived a scary board of , giving him a full house on the river to eliminate Loo in third place for AUD$96,305.
That left Piccioli and Karamalikis battling for the bracelet. The two online poker stars no doubt had some history playing together on the virtual felt, creating an interesting dynamic during heads-up play. Piccioli (2,022,000) owned the chip advantage over Karamalikis (1,249,000) when the match began and never relinquished the lead.
On the final hand of the tournament, Piccioli raised the button to 50,000, and Karamalikis fired back with a three-bet to 124,000. Piccioli moved all in, and Karamilikis quickly called for his tournament life.
Karamalikis was in great shape to double up and close the gap, and the flop kept him well out in front. The on the turn gave Piccioli outs to a wheel, and sure enough the on the river completed Piccioli's straight, sealing the win in front of dozens of disappointed Australians at Crown Casino.
Known as "theczar19" online, Piccioli has accrued more than $5 million in online tournament winnings during his career. However, his accomplishment in Melbourne is his most meaningful as a poker pro. In addition to the gold bracelet he's been chasing for years, he collected his largest live tournament score of AUD$211,575. As the runner-up, Karamalikis earned AUD$130,743
That brings an end to Event #1 coverage here in Melbourne, but PokerNews will bring you all of the highlights from the rest of the series as they happen. Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2013 WSOP APAC from Crown Casino!
Lead photo c/o Shannon Morris for Crown/WSOP