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Despina Yiannakoulias and Andrew Markos Make a Great Team at The Star Sydney Championships

Despina Yiannakoulias and Andrew Markos Make a Great Team at The Star Sydney Championships 0001
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  • Despina Yiannakoulias and Andrew Markos are the winners of the Team event at The Star in Sydney

The 2017 Star Sydney Championships has provided a full spectrum of poker stories so far, from first time triumphs to celebrity professionals adding more bust outs to their résumé. But the teams event has added an extra dimension.

Last night, Despina Yiannakoulias and Andrew Markos successfully beat off what was a comparatively huge field of 179 teams to win the 2017 Star Sydney Championships Team Event.

One benefit to a Team event is that every player has at least one person in the room rooting for them to succeed. At one point in the tournament Yiannakoulias and Markos were down to just 2.5 big blinds, and being able to rely on each other helped them recover.

“We were down to 1,050 chips as a time when the blinds were 200/400,” Despina told the Star Poker Live Reporting Team. “Yeah, we only had two and a half big blinds and we had some work to do,” Markos continued.

“We were down to 1,050 chips as a time when the blinds were 200/400”

“There were a few key hands, firstly we had 1k and Despina doubled us up to 3,000. Then the next time she was in she got us up to 8,000. Then I had a hand with Pocket Aces when I had a raise and a re-raise in front of me. We were able to win a big pot then and get back in the game.”

The boy/girl dynamic seems to have worked well in Sydney, as it did in Las Vegas this year for Liv Boeree and her boyfriend Igor Kurganov. At the WSOP $10,000 No-Limit Hold'Em Tag Team Championship, each won their first WSOP bracelet.

Alongside the success stories in the tournament there were many where things went disastrously wrong.

On the very first hand of the event, Sam "No T" Johnson thought his luck was in when he flopped trip sixes while holding {a-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}. The flop came {6-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{6-Spades}. Unfortunately his opponent had flopped quad eights.

Johnson found himself out of the event before his team mate Aiden Hildebrand had even turned up to play. Awkward explanations of the cruel fates dealt by unfriendly decks will surely have followed.

Short-stacked at the Final Table

When play at the Final Table began, Yiannakoulias and Markos did not look like good prospects. Play was ten-handed, with 20 players involved. Their stack of 75,000 chips was the second smallest at the table, and dwarfed by the columns of chips in front of the chip leaders, Daniel Hope and James Crawley, who had 320,000 chips.

Some judicious play when there were still nine players left saw the team get an important double up. Andrew Markos got all-in pre-flop against Stan Leveton while holding a pair of aces against Leveton’s thoroughly inadequate {q-Hearts}{10-Hearts}.

Leveton saw the cards run his way shortly afterwards in a massive pot with three players all-in.

Richie Tu held the best hand with {k-Clubs}{k-Spades}; Peco Stojanovski held {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}, while Leveton was a long way behind with {9-Diamonds}{9-Spades}.

The magic of the flop can cure all poker ills, and the {9-Hearts} proved to be the elixir Leveton needed to recover his team’s chipcount.

Leveton and his partner Ben Robinson managed to ride their success into a fourth place finish. Not too long afterwards, George Kambos and Ashley Sharpe exited in third after running {a-Hearts}{j-Hearts} into Markos’ {a-Spades}{k-Diamonds}.

Just 20 minutes of play took place in the heads up contest between the team of Thomas Birch and Bradley Harris and the eventual winners, Yiannakoulias and Markos.

In the end a mistimed pre-flop shove with {9-Hearts}{6-Hearts} ran into the two black kings of Andrew Marcos. Marcos and Yiannakoulias had done it, and declared the entire experience to have been “awesome!”

The 2017 Star Sydney Championships Continue

The Star Sydney Championships play on until August 7. The AU$3,000 buy-in Main Event guarantees a prize pool of AU$1 million and the AU$20,000 High Roller, which begins tomorrow, should both be highlights of the series.

The full tournament schedule is available on the Star Poker website.

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