Craig Blight Wins 2017 WSOP Sydney Circuit Masters Event
The Star Poker Room welcomed 177 players, all over the age of 50 to the 2017 WSOP Sydney Master’s Event. One of the highlights of any senior’s tournament is the camaraderie and the obvious love of poker that is on full display. You can tell from the table banter and the wistful looks at the Circuit Ring that is on display how much it would mean to the eventual winner to earn this prized trophy.
There may be fun and conversation in the air, but make no mistake about it, these men and women came to show that poker is game for all ages. One player stood out from start to finish and that is the eventual champion, Craig Blight. Blight was eliminating players left and right and went into the final table with the chip lead, a position he never relinquished.
The Final Table Action
The final table included several local notables including the former Melbourne Champs Main Event Winner Todor Kondevski, Sam Khouiss who has amassed over $1.2 million tournament earnings, and Michel Bouskila, who’s earned over $1 million himself.
Here’s how the final table looked when the field was trimmed down to nine players.
Yes, you read that right. Brian Butler entered the final table with 4,000 chips, the amount equal to one small blind. We’ve all heard the saying, “A chip and a chair.” Well, Butler had 4,000 of them and ran it up to over 100,000 in just a few hands thanks to a triple and a few doubles. It just goes to show you, it can pay to hold on and play tight.
You would have thought from the final table chip counts that ninth-place had Butler’s name written all over it, but no. Instead, the first elimination was handed to Michel Bouskila when his failed to improve against the of Blight. Bouskila earned a solid $2,129 for his efforts.
Blight continued to rule the table when he and Kondeveski both called the 25,000 raise of Greg Russell. A flop was dealt. Blight and Kondeveski checked to Russell, who moved all in for his final 126,000. Blight was first to act following the all in and thought about it for a while. He eventually moved all in, which forced Kondevski to fold. Blight tabled for a pair of queens and was well ahead of Russell’s . The turn and river sealed the deal and sent Russell to the rail in eight-place and $2,670 richer.
Blight’s dominance continued when he raised to 35,000 from early position and found some resistance from Khouiss, in the small blind. Khouiss shoved his 53,000 stack into the middle and Blight made the call. Blight found himself behind heading to the flop with against the of Khouiss. It didn’t take long for Blight to take the lead when he hit two pair on the flop. To add insult to injury, Blight filled up on the turn sending Khouiss home in seventh-place, good for $3,403.
Butler’s magic final table run came to end when his fell to Jayden Layden’s - the only final table elimination not credited to Blight. What was sure to be a ninth-place finish, ended up netting him an additional $2,000 with the $4,409 sixth-place paycheck.
With the action folding to Sam Ioannou, he put his remaining 170,000 in the middle and found a caller in, who else but Blight? Ioannou held and was behind the of Blight. Neither player improved when the board ran out. Ioannou exits the tournament in fifth-place taking with him a paycheck of $5,810.
With four players left, Blight is showing no signs of slowing down when he calls the all in of Kondevski. Kondevski showed and Blight tabled and the two players were off to the races, a race Blight would win when he hits a king on the flop. Kondevski claimed $7,790 for his fourth-place finish.
Blight kept rolling through the final table when he put in a pre-flop raise of 50,000 and found a brave caller in Brian Payne. Blight bet the flop of which prompted a shove from Payne. Blight called and tabled , and Payne opened . The turn and river sent Payne to the rail in third place for $10,629.
With the elimination of Payne, a heads-up match was set up between Blight and the only other player to eliminate a player from the final table, Layden. Now that the ring is in sight, Blight revealed, “I am not trying to be funny, but I don’t really care about the money. I just want the ring.” Layden smiled and responded, “Me, too.”
Unfortunately for Layden, he would follow the path of every other player that found themselves all in against Blight. There was just no stopping the Blight train this evening and Layden claimed $14,767 and the title of runner-up.
Final Table Results
There was no denying Blight’s dominance throughout the tournament and especially at the final table.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Blight told the Star Poker Live Reporting Team. “I had in mind that I wanted to come here and have a good showing during the WSOP and it is amazing to get the win.”
Blight, who has over $700,000 in tournament earnings knows how to use the big stack to his advantage, but there is no denying that he ran well when he needed to.
“I ran good tonight,” Blight confided. “Sometimes I didn’t have it but honestly a lot of the time I had good cards. It was great having the big stack, you can put a lot of pressure on the other players which really helps. If they are the ones that are all in then they are the ones who have hard decisions to make.”
There are More Circuit Rings Up for Grabs
Congratulations to Blight and it’s not too late to earn your very own 2017 WSOP Sydney Circuit Ring. The tournament series is being held through December 18, 2017, and you can find the full schedule on the StarPoker website.
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