Richard Lee Dominates Final Table to Win First Title at WPT Australia ($854,890 AUD)
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Richard Lee is the latest on the World Poker Tour (WPT) to add his name to the Mike Sexton Champions Cup after the American won his first title at WPT Australia for $854,890 AUD. The victory also comes with a $10,400 seat and a shot at a piece of the $40,000,000 guarantee at December’s WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas.
Two starting flights drew 600 entries to make up the second-largest field for a Championship event at The Star Gold Coast. The field paid out the top 76 finishers from a prize pool of $4,500,000 AUD.
Martin Kozlov finished in second after a short heads-up battle and Nino Marotta rounded out the medal stand with a third-place finish for $413,873 AUD. Gary Lin, Romain Morvan, and Ken Demlakian rounded out the WPT final table.
2023 WPT Australia Final Table Results
|Rank||Player||Country||Prize (AUD)||Prize (USD)|
|1||Richard Lee||United States||$854,890||$550,267*|
*- includes $10,400 WPT World Championship seat
Morvan entered the final day with the chip lead over a final six that included Demlakian in the short stack with just 20 big blinds. Demlakian found an early triple when his ace-seven shove yielded two sevens on the flop, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a sixth-place finish for $177,566 AUD.
Kozlov, who entered the day second in chips, followed the elimination of Demlakian with a run of pots that would solidify the chip lead. It wasn’t long before Morvan hit the rail in fifth place after he got it in with the best hand on the turn against Lee. Lee’s open-ended straight draw was realized on the river to knock the final day’s opening chip leader out of the tournament for $232,720 AUD.
The final four moved some chips around before Lee found a big break when he doubled with pocket kings through Lin’s ace-eight four-bet shove. The pot gave Lee a commanding chip lead — one he would not relinquish.
From there, Lee applied pressure and picked up several small pots before the elimination of Lin in fourth place for $308,499 AUD. Lin found his spot with pocket nines but Lee was there to finish the job with pocket jacks. Marotta was soon out in third place after a quiet day of laddering his way to $413,873. The third-place payday will soothe the pain of nearly holding with pocket threes before a rivered ace gave Kozlov the pot with Big Slick.
Heads-up action lasted just a few hands before Kozlov got the last of it in with queen-jack. Lee held on with ace-ten to win his first WPT title and a trip to December’s WPT World Championship at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Be sure to tune in to PokerNews when the WPT makes its next stop in Jacksonville for WPT bestbet Scramble from Oct. 26-Nov 15. The PokerNews team will be on-site for interviews and other content during the $3,500 Main Event from Nov. 10-14.
How to Qualify For the WPT World Championship
There are plenty of ways to qualify for the WPT World Championship, including through direct qualifiers running every Sunday on WPT Global. The $1,060 buy-in satellites get underway at 5:30 p.m. ET and guarantee eight $12,400 passports, as well as $220 buy-in events at 7:30 p.m. that guarantee one $12,400 passport. Players can win their way into these qualifiers through feeder tournaments with buy-ins as low as $5.
In addition to direct satellites on WPT Global, players can qualify through the upcoming WPT Global Fall Festival, a monthly Discord Tournament challenge, weekly Scavenger Hunt, PLO Rake Challenge and the Kings of Cash promotion.
For more information about the upcoming WPT World Championship and ways to qualify, visit WPT.com.
*Images courtesy of WPT.
Las Vegas-based PokerNews Live Reporting Executive, originally from Chicago, IL