Record-breaking WPT festival on australia’s gold coast: A thrilling journey from start to finish

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By luckyspinpalace

Australia’s Gold Coast was a hub of excitement as the World Poker Tour (WPT) held its second main tour festival from September 14 to 27, 2023. The event, hosted at Star Poker Gold Coast, saw an impressive turnout of 6,825 entries across its 16 tournaments, generating a record prize pool of AUD $12,569,950.

The highlight of the festival was undoubtedly the AU$8,000 buy-in Main Event that took place from September 22 to 27. Richard Lee from the USA outplayed his competitors to claim victory in the main event, pocketing an impressive AUD $854,890 (US $550,267) along with a 2023 WPT World Championship Package worth US$10,400. Lee’s victory also earned him a revered spot on the prestigious Mike Sexton Champions Cup.

The Main Event alone attracted 600 entries and generated an astounding AU$2,896,519 in prize money. The top 76 players walked away with a payout starting at AU$5,388. After two initial rounds of play, only 73 players advanced to Day 3. As Day 4 concluded, Romain Morvan led the remaining six players into Day 5 with a stack of 7,450,000 chips. Despite starting fourth in chips with just 4,575,000 chips in hand, Lee demonstrated exemplary skills and strategy to amass an overwhelming lead by the time the heads-up round was reached.

The heads-up round was brief but intense and ended in just five hands. Martin Kozlov challenged Lee with Qh Jd against Lee’s Ac 10s but fell short as the board blanked out with 6c 3h 2c 5h 3s. Kozlov’s commendable performance earned him runner-up honors and a hefty payout of AU$559,672.

From an Indian perspective, the main event was noteworthy with the participation of WSOP bracelet winner Abhinav Iyer and Paawan Bansal. Both players cashed in the event, with Iyer securing the 48th spot for a prize of AU$19,281 and Bansal finishing 63rd for AU$15,246. The Indian contingent also achieved three final table finishes and nine cashes overall.

The festival also honored Daniel Hachem as the WPT Australia Player of the Festival after he finished runner-up in both the Opening Event and $5k High Roller PLO. Hachem’s consistent performances throughout the festival earned him a $5,000 USD passport, valid at any WPT Season XXI event worldwide, and a beautiful Player of the Festival trophy. Congratulations to all winners!