Ash Gupta has won the Monster Stack event at the Star Sydney Championships receiving a prize check of $77,093.
The size of his win was helped by a turnout that far exceeded expectations, creating a field of 328. Tough was the operative word, as the event attracted some of Australia’s best poker players. Even the bubble created drama, as a double elimination meant that there was no need for hand to hand play.
One of the two players out in that hand was 2017 APL Million Main Event Champion, Branko Usljebrka. The APL Million was also played at The Star, back in March, attracting 1,164 players to produce a winner’s purse of $265,000 for Branko.
Four months later, Branko was out on the bubble in this year’s Monster Stack, the highs and lows of poker fully in evidence.
The 2017 Star Sydney Championships are Providing a Showcase for Female Players
There’s no doubt that winning any tournament depends on running good at the right time, and at the end of Day 1 of the Monster Stack, it looked like Hannah Lee was getting all the run good she needed.
In the last three hands of the day, Lee increased her chip stack from 150,000 to 500,000 to become dominant chip leader going into Day 2. First she flopped a set, then the next hand saw her hit a King high straight flush, before rounding off the day by hitting trips.
However, luck is only part of the equation. Lee came 2nd in the Ladies Event only a few days ago, and had she won, would have been registering back to back victories as the defending champion. Luck can get you a shot at one victory, but skill is the route to many victories.
The Monster Stack Final Table Was a Test of Skill
By the time the event had thinned out to the final few at the Final Table, there was no easy route visible for success.
The table began ten handed, and although Ash Gupta began with the chip lead on 3.7 million chips, that was only marginally more than Aharon "Ronnie" Shabtay, who has over a quarter of a million dollars in tournament cashes.
Fifth largest stack with just under 1.6 million chips was Antonis "Toothpick" Karambouroglou, who managed back to back wins in the 2012 Star Sydney Championships. Karambouroglou is currently 60th on the all time money list for Australian players and he has over $700,000 in lifetime tournament earnings.
After finally winning the heads up match against Daniel Neilson. Gupta acknowledged that the luck was on his side.
The critical hand came against third place finisher Haoran Zhang. All the chips went in pre-flop with Gupta all-in for his tournament life.
“The big hand was the one where I won that 9 million pot against Haoran (Zhang, 3rd place finisher). I had and he had . I won the hand with a straight on the river. If that pot went the other way it would have been a very different outcome.”
The Monster Stack Had a Great Structure
Gupta also commented on the exciting tournament structure the organizers at the Star had produced for the Monster Stack.
“It was like two different tournaments in one,” he told the Star Poker Live Reporting Team. “Day One was really deep with a lot of post flop play but today it was more like a turbo”.
And he will be back next week to play the $1 million guaranteed Main Event which comes with a $3,000 buy-in.
“I always enjoy playing here at the Star,” Gupta said. “I got 4th in the Opening Event at the WSOP Circuit Event in Sydney last year and also made the final table of the Omaha in the same series so it is great to keep the results coming. I am looking forward to the Main Event next week.”
Players who want to take a shot in the remaining events at The Star Sydney Championships can find the event schedule on the Star Poker website.
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