Poker News

Johan Lees Bags First-Career WSOP Circuit Ring after Sydney Opening Event

One of the most history-rich events, and more precisely the World Series of Poker Circuit, came back at the Star Poker Room on 28th November to offer plenty of options for ring game grinders. The festival is scheduled to continue until 18th December, offering almost 3 weeks of qualitative poker action. The inaugural Opening Event wrapped up yesterday after 4 starting flights and 2 more days of play. Australian poker newbie Johan Lees emerged victorious in the inaugural event to win his first career gold ring and his best live cash of AU$105,416. The poker player managed to add his first title to his growing portfolio.

Lees’ victory came in the inaugural Opening Event in Sydney, he beat a packed field of 1,357 players to earn the top prize of AU$105,416 and the long-coveted piece of jewelry. The AU$500 buy-in tournament was a huge success for the WSOP Sydney Circuit and a good warm-up for all the players. The latest WSOP Sydney Circuit champion was among the most admired players in the game. Even though Lees spent some time to refine his poker skills, he modestly stated in his post-victory interviews that the right cards appeared at the right moment to secure him the victory.

Lees’ Road to Victory

Day 2 of the poker contention started with Steve Pappas taking command of the chip lead. However, a game of poker is so unpredictable that one moment you can be at the top of the chip counts only a hand later, you can be out of the game. That is what happened to Pappas, who exited the game in its early stages. Hannah Lee was the other player, who had similar future. She almost managed to reach the final table, but she was knocked out to pave the way for the other players to steam ahead to the final table.

Declan Russell was the shortest stack to enter the final nine-handed table. He was the first to leave the final table and Lees was responsible for Russell’s elimination. Russell succumbed in 9th place for AU$10,448. In fact, it might be claimed that Lees and his eventual heads-up opponent Matthew Velcic had the main roles in reducing the number of players, who appeared on the final table. Velcic sent Carlos Youssef out in 3rd place for AU$47,881. Youssef’s elimination gave the start of the final heads-up match. Velcic and Lees were to sit against each other at the felt to engage in an exciting two-handed challenge.

At that point, Velcic managed to build a tower of 7.1 million in chips to enter the final duel as the chip leader. Lees, on the other hand, was not far behind his opponent with a stack of 6.2 million. Even though Velcic was in pole position to finish the tournament as the winner, Lees played confidently and systematically. By the time the final hand was dealt, Lees was reigning in the hunt for the gold ring. The board ran [6d][10c][7s][Ks][4s] to to lock the victory for Lees. Velcic headed to the payout desk to collect AU$65,539 for his runner-up finish.