Michael Kanaan Wins the 2017 WSOP Sydney Main Event for $394,837
At the end of four starting flights, the 2017 WSOP Sydney Circuit Main Event registered a total of 1,067 players, and 289 of them would end up making it to Day 2.
The field was littered with players that were regular fixtures in the Star Poker Room over the last two weeks. With the top five spots sporting a six-figure payday, there was plenty of fierce competition as local pros and international players vied for a seat at the final table.
It is not surprising considering the money at stake that it ended up taking two additional days of play to shave the field to the final nine. On Day 2, the field went from 289 to 30, and the final table was achieved in about five hours of play on Day 3.
The final table was a mix of young guns and old-school players that would bring an exciting dynamic to the play during the final day of both the event and the series.
The Final Table
Here is how things stacked up as the players took their seats at the final table when play resumed on Day 4.
Throughout the last few weeks at the Star Poker Room, we saw eliminations happen pretty quickly once the final table was reached. But it took nearly a full hour before the first player hit the rail in the Main Event.
The possibility of winning the marquee event of the series and the life-changing money was probably weighing on everyone's mind like it often does in situations like these.
As expected, it was the short-stack, Daniel Embleton who found himself on the rail in ninth place after he put himself at risk when he called Vincent Huang's all in. Embleton's dominated Huang's , but a river six sent the pot in Huang's direction, leaving Embleton to head to the cage to collect his $38,924 paycheck.
Huang was hoping his come-from-behind win in that hand would give him the momentum he needed to move out of the status of short-stack. But after another hour passed, he found himself all in and behind again. His was dominated by the of Michael Fraser, and the miracle river didn't come this time. Huang collected a cool $48,868 for his eighth-place finish.
The next to go wasn't a short stack but the overwhelming chip leader to start the day, Sam Alhassan. Alhassan doubled up Michael Kanaan in a cooler hand where Alhassan had queens against Kanaan's kings, leaving him extremely short with just 95,500 chips at the end of it all. Alhassan moved all in the very next hand, only to be called by every remaining player. The table checked down the board, and it was Sean Lannon who claimed the knock out when he revealed to officially send Alhassan home in seventh place carrying a check for $62,076.
Almost immediately following Alhassan's elimination, the tournament lost Karam Bahi when he ran his into the of Kanaan. The board failed to provide even a glimmer of hope and Bahi was the tournament's sixth-place finisher earning $79,786.
Kanaan continued his aggressive, take-no-prisoners approach to the final table when he moved all in over the 350,000 raise of Lannon. Lannon put his remaining chips in the middle and was at risk holding . Lannon was not happy to see he was dominated by Kanaan who revealed . The flop meant Lannon needed the remaining fours to come to survive and it got a little more exciting when the fell on the turn. But that's where the excitement ended. The river sealed Lannon's fate, and he ended up leaving with $103,691 and a fifth-place finish on his resume.
The Michael Kanaan show continued when he opened to 350,000 from the cutoff. Nabil Edgtton found the courage to move all in for his remaining 2.8 million and Kanaan called. Kanaan revealed and Edgtton showed . The cards were definitely falling for Kanaan, and this hand was no different when he made quads on the turn sending Edgtton home in fourth place with a consolation prize of $136,362.
Kanaan headed into the home stretch with more chips than the other two players combined.
Three-Handed Chip Counts
After doubling up John Pachos and sending another healthy amount to Michael Fraser, Kanaan found himself as the short-stack. The chips kept flying, and the play seemed to go to the next level for the next few hours.
In fact, it was about three hours before John Pachos found himself all in on the flop of . Fraser made the call tabling for top pair and suddenly, Pachos' second pair seemed to shrink up. Pachos revealed and couldn't find any help on the turn or river. Pachos played valiantly and should be proud of his third-place finish. Undoubtedly, the $181,390 will help heal the pain of falling short of the big prize.
Heads up play began, and Kanaan went to work grinding his stack back up to its glory days. And after about thirty minutes of applying constant pressure, he found himself again in the chip lead and snap-calling the all in of Fraser.
Fraser couldn't find what he needed to stay alive as the board fell. After a stellar final-table performance, Fraser, the 2017 WSOP Sydney Main Event runner-up, earned $244,086 which is nearly double his career earnings to date.
A Champion is Crowned
After four days of play, navigating a field of the who's who of local and regional poker talent, it was Kanaan that was left standing and wearing a new ring.
As most players know, navigating a massive field poker tournament takes a lot of skill, a little bit of luck, and endless patience.
When asked how he managed to do it, Kanaan told the Star Poker Live Reporting Team, "I really just focused on staying disciplined. I used to have a lot of trouble in my game where I would just spew off my stack by making bad choices. I have really worked on keeping my composure at the table and just making the best decision I can every time."
When asked if there was a hand that stood out that helped him seize the momentum, Kanaan referred to a hand he played with Alhassan.
"The biggest hand of the tournament to me would have been when I got pocket King all in against pocket Queens. That was the big double up that made me chip leader. He had been running so good that I needed to take his chips from him. He had been unstoppable for three days, and after this hand, he was eliminated a few hands later."
As the 2017 WSOP Sydney Main Event champion, Kanaan walked away with $394,837, a new ring in hand and is set to travel to the United States to represent Star Poker in the $1 million guaranteed Global Casino Championship.
"I am really excited to represent the Star Sydney at the WSOP (Global Casino) Championship." Kanaan continued. "It is a big tournament and will really give me an opportunity to perform on the big stage. I love playing at the Star Poker Room; it is my poker home ground. It is great to be able to represent them in a major tournament, and hopefully, I will do well."
Final Table Results
And That's a Wrap from Down Under
With the crowning of the 2017 WSOP Sydney Circuit Main Event champion, the series has come to an end. But the poker continues at Star Poker Room. Visit their website for details.
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