2012 Australian Poker State of Origin

New South Wales wins State of OriginNew Zealand eliminated in 2nd place; New South Wales crowned State of Origin champions!

New South Wales captain Grant Levy has led his side to victory with back-to-back blows to young Kiwi Slava Sheynin to end the run of the Kiwis and grab the title for the Blues!

The first hand saw Sheynin shove the button with Q hearts7 spades. Levy called with A hearts4 hearts and the ace held through the board of A clubs6 clubsJ diams2 clubs7 hearts.

That left New Zealand severely dented and moments later, it was all over.

The chips were in preflop once again, and this time NSW were in a dominant position with Sheynin running his J clubs3 hearts into Levy’s A spadesJ hearts.

The flop was 10 clubs2 clubsK hearts and the 8 hearts turn left New Zealand needing a three to stay alive.  The river fell a poetic Q spades to give NSW the nuts, the pot, the cash and the trophy!

Well done to New Zealand, who overcame some dramas with team selections at the start of the day to post an impressive 2nd place worth $15,000 to the team. But the bragging rights will cross the border to NSW in 2012 along with $35,000 in prize money! Congrats boys!

Thanks to everyone who stayed up late to follow our coverage this evening.  It’s been a great event to be a part of and well done to Tony Hachem, Crown Poker and to all involved in making the State of Origin concept a success.  We look forward to even bigger and better things from this event in the future!

Trophy slips through Kiwi fingers once again

More incredible action here as the State of Origin is being fought right down to the wire between the Kiwis and the Blues.

Another player change saw Jackson Zheng clashing with Dave Allan from NSW.  Zheng raised the button before Allan moved all in.  Zheng made the call with 5 diams5 spades and another race was on against Allan’s Q spades10 hearts.

The flop landed A clubs7 heartsK spades to leave NSW calling for a jack. The turn was the A hearts and again New Zealand was one card from a famous win. But incredibly the K clubs landed to counterfeit the pair of Zheng and leave Allan’s queen to play to scoop the double up.

New South Wales held around a 3:1 chip lead, but that evened up again moments later.  Allan shoved the button with Q diams2 diams and Zheng called with A spades7 diams. NSW turned a flush draw for a sweat but the board of 8 spades4 diams10 spadesJ diamsK spades left Zheng’s ace in front for yet another double up.

The stacks are even but the blinds are up to 3,000/6,000 with a 500 ante, so this with around 13 big blinds each, this is bound to be over at any moment. Grant Levy has stepped in to bring the boys home against Slava Sheynin.

Kiwis drown on the river

The action isn’t slowing down as these two young guns are gunning for glory here at the State of Origin.  New Zealand were one card away from victory, but New South Wales have spiked a sweet, sweet river to stay alive!

Jackson Zheng shoved Q spades8 clubs from the button and Andy Lee called in the big blind with 12 big blinds holding A spadesJ clubs.

The flop landed Q heartsJ spades10 spades to give both players a piece but jump Zheng into the lead. The turn was a bricky 5 hearts and another brick would see the title heading across the Tasman.  But the New South Welshman gave a roar when the J hearts found its way onto the river for another double up!

New South Wales are back to 100,000 with New Zealand sitting at 80,000 as it’s time for another player change.

Double for Jackson

The lead has swung back in favour of the Kiwis with Jackson Zheng landing a big double up. Due to the large rail of players around the table, we didn’t catch the action, but we saw Zheng declare himself all in on a board of 2 diamsJ clubs4 diamsA clubs3 spades.

There was about 40,000 in the pot, and Zheng’s bet was 55,000, but NSW’s Andy Lee didn’t wait for a count as he declared a call!

Zheng tabled 5 hearts6 diams for the rivered straight to scoop the massive pot.  NSW are down to 40,000 with the Kiwis now up to a commanding 140,000.

New South Wales take the lead

The heads-up battle between New South Wales and New Zealand struggled to see much action but a player change to Andy Lee and Jackson Zheng has seen a big double up to NSW to even things right up!

With the blinds at 1,500/3,000/400, Zheng opened shoved the button with 7 clubs7 spades and Lee insta-called with A heartsQ diams.

The Kiwis were racing for the title but the roars went up in the NSW camp as the board rolled out Q hearts5 spades10 diams4 heartsA diams.

“I never lose a flip man!” laughed Lee as he high-fived his teammates.

With that double up, NSW are up to 110,000 with New Zealand back down to around 70,000.

Poker Asia Pacific TV: Friendly rivalries

A little earlier in the evening, we caught up with the dynamic duo of Stevan Chew and Matthew Wakeman. They may be good mates off the felt, but they are representing different states here in the State of Origin as the friendly rivalries emerge!

Western Australia eliminated in 3rd place

Three-handed play hasn’t lasted long as Western Australia have bubbled the money to fall in 3rd place.

Jackson Zheng folded the button before a rather intoxicated Dan Neilson splashed the pot with enough yellow chips to put Jay Kinkade all in. After a little thought, Kinkade committed WA’s last 26,100 chips with a call.

Neilson: 8 diams8 spades
Kinkade: K hearts9 hearts

The board fell rather blankly as the A clubs5 diamsQ spades6 hearts3 spades community cards left Western Australia empty-handed as a joyous NSW team celebrated.

New Zealand will enter heads-up play with around 100,000, with NSW on around 80,000.

South Australia eliminated in 4th place

With the blinds getting big, it didn't take long to lose our next team as the players were forced to make moves with their rapidly shortening stacks.  Ultimately it has caught up with the team from South Australia.

Stevan Chew was representing and all in preflop with A diams10 diams as Slava Sheynin from New Zealand tabled 5 spades5 hearts and the race was on.  The SA boys were chanting for some help at the top of their lungs but it didn’t arrive as the board bricked out Q clubs6 clubs4 clubs6 spades7 diams.

A brave effort by the Croweaters but their third SOO title eludes them as they fall in 4th place.

New Zealand now hold the majority of chips in play with somewhere over 100,000. New South Wales have about 45,000 with Western Australia on the short stack with about 30,000.

Tasmania bad beatTasmania Eliminated in 5th Place

Poker Asia Pacific has seen its fair share of bad beats.  You know what we’re talking about.  The type of hands that make you queasy just thinking about it.  However, we believe we’ve just witnessed a bust-out hand that would render you so sick it would require hospitalisation.

Case in point: the action folded around to South Australia’s Jarred Graham who shoved for 23,100 from the cutoff, but New Zealand’s Didier Guerin moved over the top from the button.  The crowd then started jostling for the best view when Tom Grigg announced that he was also all in.  Showdown!

Grigg: A diams A clubs
Guerin: 8 spades 8 diams
Graham: A hearts 8 clubs

Now, you’d think that at first glance, Grigg is a lock to triple up here.  And yes, to a degree, you are right.  Short of divine intervention, there’s absolutely no chance for either Guerin or Graham.

Of course, you’ve also picked up on the fact that we’re delaying the outcome of this hand, which ... well, we’ll just give you the board in its entirety and let you work out what happened.  Once you do, try not to puke.

Board: 6 spades 10 hearts J diams 9 clubs Q spades.

Yup.  That is the gospel truth, as witnessed by all and sundry here in the Crown Poker Room.  And surely, it’s moments like this that you think that somebody did a deal with the Devil to get a result like that.

And just like that, Tasmania are eliminated from the 2012 State of Origin event.

Updated Chip Counts

New Zealand - 60,000
New South Wales - 44,000
Tasmania - 40,000
Western Australia - 29,000
South Australia - 20,000

Poker Asia Pacific TV: 2012 State of Origin Rival Cam!

They may be best of friends off the felt, but never has the “State vs State, Mate vs Mate” catchcry been personified more so than in this video, featuring New South Wales’ Aaron Benton and Queensland’s Matt Pilat.  Poker Asia Pacific TV was front and centre to mediate this verbal stoush:


Queensland Eliminated in 6th Place

A few hands later, Queenslander Liam Moffett three-bet shoved the last of his stack in with 8 diams 8 clubs and found himself flipping for his tournament life against the A hearts K hearts of New Zealand’s Jackson Zheng.

The flop of 5 diams 10 diams A clubs was not ideal for Moffett, neither was the turn of the 3 clubs.  The river was a meaningless 6 spades and with that, the Maroons were done and dusted in sixth place.

Victoria Eliminated in 7th Place

After five long hours, we finally have our first elimination from the final table!

Victoria’s James Broom moved all in from the cutoff with Q clubs 9 diams. South Australia’s Jarrad Graham moved all in over the top from the button as both blinds folded. Graham tabled pocket eights and we were off to the races. The board ran out A spades A hearts A clubs 4 diams 2 spades and Graham’s hand held up.

The highly fancied Victorian team are the first team to be knocked out in seventh place as South Australia moves up to 33,500. 

Burning the Midnight Oil

The clock has almost ticked over to 12am and we’re still seven-handed here at this final table.  Here’s just some of the hands from the Crown Poker Room:

Earlier, Tasmania’s Will Jones raised from the hijack to 1200 with Queensland’s Charles Caris calling from the button. Jones led out for 1375 on a flop of 8 spades 10 spades Q hearts before Caris re-raised to 2650. Jones made the call as both players checked the J spades on the turn. The river was the 8 clubs as both players checked. Jones turned over K hearts J clubs for the winning hand as Caris tabled K diams 10 hearts. Tasmania moved up to to 46,500 while Queensland slipped to 16,700. 

Then in a battle of the blinds, Tasmania’s Tom Grigg raised to 1200 before Dan Neilson called from the big blind. The flop came down 3 hearts 2 spades 7 spades and both players checked. The turn was the K clubs; Grigg bet 2500 and Neilson made the call.  The river was the A diams and Neilson called Grigg’s bet of 1500. Neilson showed the K spades Q diams for the winning hand as Grigg showed K hearts 9 spades. Neilson’s pot moves NSW back up to 25,000.

Soon afterwards, WA’s Jay Kinkade raised to 1200 from under the gun as Dan Neilson made the call from the big blind. Neilson checked a flop of 5 spades K clubs 6 diams as Kinkade bet out 1125. Neilson made the call as the A diams fell on the turn. Neilson check-called a bet of 3225 as Kinkade fired again on the 7 diams river. Neilson made the call for 7775 as Kinkade tabled A clubs K spades for two-pair. Neilson sent his hand into the muck and NSW’s drops to 27,000. Kinkade’s healthy pot moves WA back up to 30,000.

Hail to Thee, King Kroesen!

The action has been lacklustre in these early stages of the 2012 State of Origin final table, but despite the interstate rivalry and the arduous grind, the atmosphere is very jovial (helped along, of course, with a couple of brewskis).

However, we’ve all just witnessed a bizarre hand between NSW’s David Allan and Queensland’s Ricky Kroesen (pictured) which got the railbirds squawking.

With the blinds at 100/200 (ante 25) the action folded to Allan who raised to 600 before the flop; Kroesen was the only caller from the cutoff, so it was heads-up to a flop of 8 clubs 2 diams 3 hearts, which both players checked before Allan led out for 700 on the turn of the 6 hearts.

Kroesen called and then called Allan’s bet of 2200 on the river of the 4 hearts before flipping up K hearts J clubs for only king high.  Incredibly, Kroesen was good, as Allan only managed to produce Q-10 for queen high!

And the rail is starting to get even rowdier, courtesy of Daniel Neilson.  The WPT Vienna “Big Game” broadcast is on Foxtel right now and every time Neilson’s face pops up, everyone drinks!

James BroomGrind on the Mind ...

The action has trickled to a crawl here at the final table of the 2012 State of Origin and the change in line-ups every seven hands has made it a logistical challenge, but as they say, we'll just keep on keeping on!

Victoria’s James Broom (pictured) raised to 450 from the hijack with NSW’s Aaron Benton calling in the big blind. Both players checked a flop of 5 diams 9 spades 7 diams. The turn was the was 5 clubs as Benton check-called a bet of 725. The river was the 8 clubs as Benton led out for 1300 before  Broom called. Benton turned over 10 spades 6 spades for a 10-high straight as Broom tabled 6 clubs 4 clubs for a lower straight. NSW moves up to 39,500 as Victoria drops to 12,000.

Broom then raised from under the gun to 450 as Tasmania’s Ben Richardson three-bet to 1300 from the cutoff. Broom elected to call as the flop came 6 spades 10 spades 5 hearts. Broom check called a bet of 1600 as both players checked the 8 clubs on the turn. The river was the 4 spades as Broom fired out a bet of 3500. The bet was too much for Richardson as he mucked his hand. Victoria moves up to 14,000 with Tasmania dropped to 12,000. 

WA’s Sean O’Reilly raised from UTG +1 to 500 as Jackie Glazier called from middle position and Daniel Nielson from the big bind. All 3 players proceeded to check a flop of 10 spades6 spades8 spades. The turn was the 7 hearts as Glazier led out for 525 before O’Reilly check-raised to 1500. Glazier made the call as the 3 diams peeled off on the river.  O’Reilly led out for 1500 with Glazier making the reluctant call. O’Reilly tabled J clubs 9 diams for the turned straight as Glazier threw her hand into the muck. 

A short time later, honorary Kiwi Didier Guerin raised from the hijack position to 500 as Queensland’s Josh Barrett and WA’s Sean O’Reilly made the call in the blinds. The flop came 8 diams 6 spades 2 clubs and Barrett and O’Reilly checked. Guerin bet out 1000 and Barrett made the call. The turn was the 6 clubs as Barrett check-called a bet of 1500. Brett checked the 4 clubs on the river as Guerin fired out a third barrel with a bet of 2150. Brett made the call asGuerin tabled 9 spades 9 hearts for the winning hand. 

Oh Captain, My Captain

The first seven hands have been relatively uneventful, given that the stacks are so deep, however, New South Wales captain Grant Levy has been the first player to pick up a sizable pot here at this final table at the expense of Queensland's Ricky Kroesen.

With all the state’s captains kicking things off, the action folded to Tasmania’s Heath Chick who raised to 300 from the cutoff; Levy called from the button, but Kroesen re-raised to 1025 from the small blind.  Chick folded and Levy called, making it heads-up to the flop of 3 spades Q hearts 2 hearts.

Levy called Kroesen’s bets of 1100 post-flop and 2500 after the turn of the 7 hearts and then both players checked the river J diams.  Kroesen verbalized ace-high but Levy tabled pocket nines, which was enough to take the pot down.

Poker Asia Pacific TV: The Ladies of Origin

Poker Asia Pacific’s Nicki Pickering scouted the floor earlier this afternoon to catch up with the female participants in the 2012 State of Origin.  One thing’s for certain: these women play to win, whether it be for themselves, or in this case, their state.  Check out these moving pictures on our YouTube channel.  You'll be glad you did.


2012 State of Origin: Final Table Seat Allocations & Chip Counts

Seat 1: New South Wales - 36,500
Seat 2: Queensland - 28,500
Seat 3: Western Australia - 13,000
Seat 4: Victoria - 20,000
Seat 5: South Australia - 35,000
Seat 6: New Zealand - 28,000
Seat 7: Tasmania - 27,000

The clock will be wound back to 50/100, ensuring that we get plenty of action, and the captains of each team will play the first seven hands.  Stay tuned ladies and gentlemen, this is one epic battle that you can't afford to miss!

That’s Time!

With the blinds now at 1500/3000 (ante 500), it was only going to be a matter of time before the last two tables were complete, and we’re now just moments away from commencing the final table of the 2012 State of Origin!

Dave Allan (pictured) confirmed another win for Team NSW on table 33, taking out Tasmania’s Andrew Scott heads-up after spiking a jack on the river with his J-9 against Scott’s Q-3.

On the feature table, Heath Chick lost a massive coinflip with pocket eights when Joe Cabret spiked  a jack on the river holding A-J.  It gave Cabret a huge chip lead, and he went on to score maximum points when his pocket sevens held up against the Q-7 of South Australia’s Anthony Chaptini.

Preliminary Table 33: Final Results

1 Dave Allan (NSW) 8000
2 Andrew Scott (Tas) 5000
3 Thomas Monte (SA) 4000
4 Aleks Lackovic (WA) 3000
5 Kevin Clark (NZ) 2000
6 Ricky Kroesen (Qld) 1000
7 Kristian Lunardi (Vic) 500

Preliminary Table 31: Final Results

1 Joe Cabret (NZ) 8000
2 Anthony Chaptini (SA) 5000
3 Heath Chick (Tas) 4000
4 Oliver Gill (Qld) 3000
5 Matthew Wakeman (NSW) 2000
6 Lorinda Johnson (WA) 1000
7 James Broom (Vic) 500

And that’s all she wrote, sports fans!  The final table chip counts for each state will be up shortly.

Another Three in the Books

We’re down to two heads-up battles in the 2012 State of Origin preliminary rounds, with two of them going to NSW and another to Queensland!

On table 28, Jai Kemp was eliminated in third place after the New South Welshman moved all-in with 9 hearts 7 spades, only to run into the J hearts J diams of Charles Caris.  The board of 10 hearts K spades 3 spades 6 clubs Q hearts improved neither hand, and with Kemp gone, Caris quickly cleaned up SA’s Omid Salimi in his heads-up battle.  Although Salimi was ahead after moving in with Q-5 against Caris who called with J diams 9 diams, the dealer spread the board of 4 hearts 9 spades 5 clubs 9 hearts 4 clubs to give Caris a full house and victory!

Preliminary Table 28: Final Results

1 Charles Caris (Qld) 8000
2 Omid Salimi (SA) 5000
3 Jai Kemp (NSW) 4000
4 Paul Hockin (NZ) 3000
5 Tom Grigg (Tas) 2000
6 Tony Tartaglia (WA) 1000
7 Joe Hachem (Vic) 500

Then on table 29, James Bills was eliminated third place; despite having the advantage in the flip for his tournament life holding 10 diams 10 clubs against Jackie Glazier’s A clubs K hearts, Glazier rivered two pair on the 7 clubs 4 clubs J spades A diams K clubs board.  However, Glazier was unable to defeat Aaron Benton (pictured) heads-up, with her Q spades 2 hearts taken out by Benton’s 10 hearts 8 hearts after he improved to two pair on the board of 10 spades A hearts 9 hearts 6 hearts A clubs.

Preliminary Table 29: Final Results

1 Aaron Benton (NSW) 8000
2 Jackie Glazier (Vic) 5000
3 James Bills (SA) 4000
4 Graeme Putt (NZ) 3000
5 Matt Pilat (Qld) 2000
6 Heidi May (Tas) 1000
7 Kyle Cheong (WA) 500

Finally, another massive roar went up from the Sydneysiders when Grant Levy secured another victory, defeating Queensland’s Sean Walsh in his heads-up battle on his preliminary table.  The final hand saw Levy raise to 8000 with Q clubs J spades from the button before Walsh moved all-in with K diams J clubs from the big blind.

Levy snap-called, but although he was behind, he struck pure gold on the flop of Q spades Q diams J hearts and held up when the turn and river ran out 4 clubs, 3 diams.

Preliminary Table 27: Final Results

1 Grant Levy (NSW) 8000
2 Sean Walsh (Qld) 5000
3 Joe Sandaev (SA) 4000
4 Ben Richardson (Tas) 3000
5 Jackson Zheng (NZ) 2000
6 Liam O’Rourke (Vic) 1000
7 Lawrie Gibson (WA) 500

Rack ‘em Up Please, Dealer!

As the blinds ticked over to 1000/2000 (ante 300), the first three of our 2012 State of Origin preliminary shoot-out tables have been completed!

Tasmania’s Chris Edgar moved all-in from the button for 34,000 holding 2 hearts 2 diams, but was snapped off by Victoria’s Oliver Speidel (pictured) who tabled A hearts 7 clubs.  Speidel’s compatriots were delighted to see the dealer spread the flop of A spades 6 diams 10 clubs, which held after the turn and river ran out K hearts, 5 clubs to confirm the Big V’s first victory!

Preliminary Table 32: Final Results

1 Oliver Speidel (Vic) 8000
2 Chris Edgar (Tas) 5000
3 Patrick Healy (WA) 4000
4 Slava Sheynin (NZ) 3000
5 Stevan Chew (SA) 2000
6 Justin Walsh (Qld) 1000
7 Daniel Neilson (NSW) 500

A short time later, the Queenslanders let out an almighty roar after Josh Barrett managed to slay New South Wales‘ Anthony “Toothpick Tony” Kambouroglou.  Kambouroglou held J diams 10 diams, but trailed all the way down the board of Q diams 3 clubs 5 diams 3 hearts 6 spades against the A spades 7 diams of Barrett.

Preliminary Table 30: Final Results

1 Josh Barrett (Qld) 8000
2 Anthony Kambouroglou (NSW) 5000
3 Anthony Dickson (Tas) 4000
4 Anthony Samimi (SA) 3000
5 Didier Guerin (NZ) 2000
6 Jay Kinkade (WA) 1000
7 Andrew Hinrichsen (Vic) 500

And after Victoria’s Billy Jordanou was taken out by South Australia’s Jarred Graham, “flopnutsonyou” scored the win after defeating New Zealand’s John Parker heads-up on his preliminary table.  Parker found himself flipping for his tournament life holding 5 spades 5 diams, but Graham’s Q clubs J clubs spiked another queen on the turn on the board of 7 spades 6 spades 9 diams Q spades 4 diams.

Preliminary Table 25: Final Results

1 Jarred Graham (SA) 8000
2 John Parker (NZ) 5000
3 Billy Jordanou (Vic) 4000
4 Will Jones (Tas) 3000
5 Sean O’Reilly (WA) 2000
6 Andy Lee (NSW) 1000
7 Liam Moffett (Qld) 500

Trans-Tasman Takedowns

Two more Kiwis are amongst the recent spate of eliminations from the 2012 State of Origin, with Paul Hockin and Graeme Putt (pictured) both on the rail as the blinds tick over to 800/1600 (ante 200).

Hockin was first crippled by Queenslander Charles Caris after his 5 diams 5 clubs was outdrawn by Caris‘ A spades 9 diams.  A nine on the flop was enough to reduce the New Zealander’s stack to a dangerously low level, but the last of Hockin’s chips were scooped up by New South Wales‘ Jai Kemp when his A diams J hearts held up against Hockin’s A hearts 3 clubs, improving to trips on the board of J clubs 2 spades K clubs J spades 7 clubs.

Putt was eliminated shortly after when he moved in with A spades 8 hearts, but despite hitting a pair on the board of 6 clubs K hearts 8 diams J clubs 10 spades, James Bills9 hearts 9 diams was good enough to take out the newly-crowned “Doyle Brunson of Australia and New Zealand”.

Queensland’s Matt Pilat has also been given his marching orders, first being crippled down to 2000 in chips after his K diams K clubs was outdrawn by Aaron Benton’s A clubs 9 hearts after he made two pair on the A diams Q diams 8 hearts J spades Q spades board.  Jackie Glazier then delivered the knock-out punch; her A clubs 3 diams turned the wheel on the board of 4 diams 2 diams 7 diams 5 spades J spades, despite Pilat hitting two pair with his J clubs 7 spades.

And Oliver Gill has bid adieu after moving the last of his very short stack into the middle from the blinds holding 10 spades 4 hearts, but was crushed by Anthony Chaptini’s Q diams J diams which spiked trip jacks on the flop.  Bada bing, bada boom!

Sheynin and Sandaev Say Goodbye

The action on the felt in the 2012 State of Origin is becoming frantic with the blinds now at 600/1200 (ante 200), with New Zealand’s Slava Sheyin and South Australia’s Joe Sandaev having been recently eliminated.

Earlier, Sheynin got his money in good with 8 hearts 8 clubs against the A diams Q clubs of Tasmania’s Chris Edgar, but was smashed down to a handful of chips after Edgar spiked two pair on the board of 9 spades J clubs Q spades A spades 4 diams.  Sheynin then shoved those chips in with A diams 2 clubs a short time later, but failed to improve against the A clubs Q diams of WA’s Patrick Healy after the dealer spread the board of 7 spades 4 diams 6 clubs 7 clubs 5 clubs.

Soon after, Sandaev moved all in with Q spades Q diams and found himself ahead of Queensland’s Sean Walsh who tabled K diams J hearts.  To Sandaev’s chagrin, Walsh struck gold on the flop of J clubs 2 spades J diams and improved to a full house with the K spades on the turn.  The river 10 spades was merely a formality and Walsh is now playing Grant Levy heads-up on his table, as are Oliver Speidel and Chris Edgar after the elimination of WA’s Patrick Healy.

There’s also been two successive bust-outs on the feature table.  Western Australia’s Lorinda Johnson was felled by Tasmania’s Heath Chick. Johnson’s A hearts 9 spades spiked a pair on the flop of 9 hearts 4 diams 3 diams, but Chick’s A diams K hearts came back take it down after the turn and river came running 8 diams, J diams for the nut flush!

New South Wales‘ Matthew Wakeman then departed courtesy of Oliver Gill when Wakeman moved all in for 11,800 with pocket fours.  Not a bad position to be in for a double-up, but the fact that Gill woke up with pocket kings certainly didn't help.

Tom GriggDon’t Just Sit There, Bust-a-Move

It’s been pandemonium here as we approach the next break, with players busting left, right and centre all around the Crown Poker Room.  Here’s a quick rundown of the carnage in this level (blinds 400/800, ante 100):

New Zealand’s Kevin Clark and Jackson Zheng have been the latest Kiwis to hit the rail. While we weren’t able to catch the details of Clark’s elimination, we can tell you that Zheng got his last 9575 in pre-flop with K diams J diams, but fell to the A diams 2 diams of Sean Walsh after the dealer spread the board of A clubs J clubs 6 clubs 8 diams 6 diams to give the Queenslander two pair and the scalp.

Sean’s brother Justin has not been so lucky, having also hit the rail, but their compatriot Charles Caris is still alive, taking out Tasmania’s Tom Grigg (pictured) after hitting a set on the river with 7 diams 7 clubs on a board of 2 clubs 10 clubs J diams K clubs 7 hearts against Grigg’s Q-J.

Fellow Tasmanian Heidi May has also taken her leave, getting the last of her chips in with pocket threes, only to be outdrawn by South Australia’s James Bills when his A diams K spades spiked a bigger two pair on the river when the board ran out 2 hearts 8 hearts 8 diams 2 clubs A hearts.

And the feature table has finally lost its first player in the form of James Broom.  The Victorian shoved with 8 hearts 8 clubs before Heath Chick moved over the top with A spades 8 diams, forcing the others out of the way.  Chick spiked top pair on the flop of 7 clubs A clubs 10 diams, which held up after the turn of the K diams and the river 5 spades completed the board.

The players are now on another 10-minute break; in the meantime, please feel free to indulge in this cinematic vision from the Poker Asia Pacific YouTube channel, featuring State of Origin MC extraordinare Tony Hachem:


Western Australians Wamboozled!

The Western Australian team is now down to just three players after the eliminations of Jay Kinkade, Sean O’Reilly and Tony Tartaglia.

With the blinds at 300/600 (ante of 75) Tartaglia got his money in good with pocket aces on a flop of K-J-T against New Zealand’s Paul Hockin who held A-J, but a brutal jack on the turn delivered Hockin trips for the elimination.

O’Reilly was then eliminated in the space of two hands; after running his pocket fours into the pocket aces of SA’s Jarred Graham, O’Reilly was forced all-in on the big blind for 525 with K spades 6 spades.  Tasmania’s Will Jones raised from the button, forcing the others out of the way and Jones‘ K hearts 8 diams improved to two pair on the board of 8 spades 10 diams 10 clubs 5 diams 4 diams to signal the end of O’Reilly’s run.

Kinkade’s elimination came shortly after, with Didier Guerin summarising the action: “Tony (Antonis Kambouroglou) had top-top and Jay had the up-and-down straight draw, but missed on the river.  Tony’s the destroyer - he’s taking out everyone!”

We can also report that Queensland’s Ricky Kroesen has been eliminated, running jacks into kings, as well as New South Welshman Andy Lee, who ran his queens into the kings of New Zealand’s John Parker.

Elimination City, Population: Four

As the blinds ticked over to 200/400/50, we’ve seen a flurry of eliminations and as a result, the Victorians have their work cut out for them with two of their big names gone.

Victorian captain Joe Hachem was the first to go, getting all his money in with pocket fours after a flop of 2-3-5, but was less than pleased to see Tassie’s Tom Grigg wake up with pocket kings.  The repeat five on the turn improved Grigg to two pair, but a nine bricked on the river and sent Hachem packing.

He was soon followed by fellow Victorian Andrew Hinrichsen, who lost the crucial flip for his tournament life holding A-K against Antonis Kambouroglou’s pocket queens. Western Australia’s Kyle Cheong has also been eliminated, along with Queensland’s Liam Moffett (pictured), who was taken out by Victoria’s Billy Jordanou.

Moffett raised to 700 before the flop and Jordanou called, as did South Australia’s Jarred Graham to make it three-handed to a flop of A spades 2 spades Q diams.  Moffett led out for 1300 and the others called, then on the turn of the K hearts, Moffett bet 3100.  Jordanou was the only caller, and then when the dealer produced the 8 spades on the river, Moffett open-shoved.  Jordanou called and rolled up 9 spades 6 spades for a flush and Moffett let his hand go before departing the Crown Poker Room.

Glazier, Shenyin: Quick March, on the Double!

The action is back underway here in the 2012 State of Origin, and we’re pleased to report that Victoria is back on track with Jackie Glazier doubling up to 32,000 after taking a huge chunk of change of Queenslander Matt Pilat.

After some heavy pre-flop action, Glazier and Pilat went heads-up into a flop of 2 clubs 8 hearts K hearts.  Glazier open-shoved for 14,600 and Pilat called, tabling K diams Q diams for top pair, only to find himself well behind Glazier’s bottom set with her 2 spades 2 hearts.  The turn and river ran out A diams, 6 spades and Pilat is now in deep trouble, holding a paltry 5500 in chips.

New Zealand’s Slava Shenyin has also doubled up through reigning Aussie Millions champion Oliver Speidel.  Shenyin moved all in for his last 6675 and was called down by Speidel who held K clubs 8 diams, but with Shenyin holding A diams A clubs, it was always going to be a case of hit-and-hope for the Victorian.  However, the dealer spread the board of J clubs 3 clubs J hearts 4 spades 3 diams and Speidel was resigned to cut out the chips from his stack.

The Big V Blues

On paper, Victoria’s team is arguably the best ever assembled in Poker State of Origin history.  However, the state’s “curse” has continued in 2012, with two of their players having hit the rail early in the fourth blind level (100/200/25).

Kristian Lunardi (pictured) was the first to go after getting all his chips into the middle in a post-flop raising war against New South Wales‘ Dave Allan with the board reading 2-5-4.  Allan called and rolled up 6-3 from the blinds for the nut straight, while Lunardi showed pocket nines for the overpair.  The turn and river bricked out, and that meant lights out for Lunardi, who was then on hand to witness the elimination of teammate Liam O’Rourke.

O’Rourke got his last 5650 in with A diams K spades, but lost the flip for his tournament life against the 7 spades 7 hearts of South Australia’s Joe Sandaev after neither hand improved on the board of 3 hearts 6 clubs Q diams 2 diams 8 clubs.  Sandaev is now sitting pretty with 45,000 in chips.

It’s not all bad news for the host state, though - James “Jabba” Broom is up to 30,000 in chips after procuring some of Joe Cabret’s stack in a hand on the feature table.  The action folded to Broom who raised to 425; Heath Chick re-raised to 1150 from the cut-off and Cabret called from the big blind, as did Broom before all three players checked the flop of 3 hearts Q diams 8 spades.

On the turn of the K clubs, Cabret checked to Broom who led out for 1225.  Chick folded and Cabret called before leading our for 6500 on the river of the Q spades.  Broom went deep into the tank before shoving for another 15,000, but Cabret snap-folded, content to let his stack slip to just under 13,000.

The players are now on a 10-minute break.  When we return, the recommencing blinds will be 150/300 with a 25 ante.  Smoke if you got ‘em!

Heath ChickTartaglia Takes a Tumble, Chick Roasted

Tasmanian captain Heath “TassieDevil” Chick (pictured) and WA’s Tony Tartaglia have been amongst the latest to have their stacks reduced as the action continues in the preliminary stages of the 2012 State of Origin.

Our field reporter picked up the action between Tartaglia and Tasmania’s Tom Grigg with the board reading 6 spades 10 diams 2 hearts 4 diams; Tartaglia checked to Grigg who opened for 1500.  Tartaglia called, then check-called Grigg’s bet of 5400 on the river of the 5 diams, only to muck after Grigg showed A diams K diams for the stone cold nuts.  Grigg moved up to 18,000 in chips while Tartaglia slipped to 10,000.

Chick, meanwhile, is down to 11,000 in chips after giving up a pot to Kiwi Joe Cabret.  The action folded to Chick who raised to 450 before the flop; Cabret re-raised to 1100 from the button and the others got out of the way before Chick called to make it heads-up to a flop that read 9 clubs 3 clubs Q diams.

Chick check-called Cabret’s bet of 1200, then both players checked the turn of the 3 hearts before Chick led out of 2500 on the river of the 6 diams.  Cabret snap-called and rolled up Q spades 2 spades for two pair, which was good enough to take it down and move up to 26,000 in chips.

Pilat Falls Flat, Gibson Gone

Western Australia is the first team to pick up points, albeit in less than desirable circumstances, after having lost their first team member in the second level of the day.

With the blinds at 50/100, South Australia’s Joe Sandaev recalled the action to our field reporter on the floor.  All the money was in the middle before the flop, with Sandaev holding A-Q against the A-2 of WA’s Lawrie Gibson.  The flop of A-A-4 gave both players trips, but the pot was signed, sealed and delivered to Sandaev when a queen came down on the turn.  And with that, Gibson was the first to hit the rail and add 500 points to the team tally.

And in an earlier hand, Queensland’s Matt Pilat was crippled to 11,000 in chips after being on the wrong end of the uber-cooler against New Zealand poker stalwart Graeme “Kiwi G” Putt.  Pilat raised from middle position before calling Putt’s re-raise of 1550 to go heads-up to a flop of 7 diams A hearts 4 hearts.  Both players checked the flop, then Putt led out for 1025 on the turn of the 8 spades.  Pilat called, then snap-called Putt’s bet of 1650 on the river 2 diams before rolling up K spades K clubs.

No love for Pilat though - Putt turned over A spades A clubs for top set and scooped the pot.  Putt is now back up to the starting stack of 25,000 in chips.

Hachem Starts on a High

With the action seven-handed and a deep starting stack of 20,000, there’s certainly been no shortage of action in this first blind level (25/50).  Here’s just a snippet of the action we’ve picked up around the Crown Poker Room:

Earlier, Antonis “Toothpick Tony” Kambouroglou (representing Team NSW), raised to 175 from under the gun and the action folded to Tasmania’s Anthony Dickson who called from late position, only to see the South Australian player in the small blind re-raised to 350.  New Zealand “ring-in” Didier Guerin called from the big blind, as did Kambouroglou and Dickson to make it four-handed to a flop of 4 spades 9 diams 3 clubs.

The small blind led out for 600 and Guerin folded, but Kambouroglou and Dickson came along for the ride to see the turn of the 3 spades.  South Australia and Kambouroglou checked, Dickson fired out 1550 and South Australia folded before Kambouroglou called before check-folding to Dickson’s bet of 3650 on the river of the 5 clubs.  Dickson’s now up to 26,000 while “Toothpick Tony” is down to 14,000.

Meanwhile, Joe Hachem (pictured) has come out firing early for the “Big V” after a clash against his South Australian opponent.  The SA player raised to 125 pre-flop from under the gun and Hachem called from the cutoff, as did Tasmania’s Tom “tollgate” Grigg to make it three-handed into a Q hearts A hearts J diams flop.

Grigg checked dark and the SA player checked behind him, but Hachem opened for 450 to force Grigg out of the way.  The SA opponent called, then check-called Hachem’s bet of 1000 on the turn of the 10 hearts as well as his bet of 2500 on the river 10 clubs.  Hachem flipped up 7 hearts 5 hearts for the flush and his opponent angrily mucked.  Hachem is now up to 25,000 in chips.

Problem Solved, Let’s Play Some Cards!

After a lengthy discussion, the teams have agreed that the two spare places available in the New Zealand team will be filled by a couple of extra players.

The final Kiwi contingent will be made available shortly, but after a quick speech from State of Origin Master of Ceremonies Tony Hachem, reigning Aussie Millions Main Event champion Oliver Speidel gave the order to shuffle up and deal and we are officially underway!

Short Handed Headaches 

We’re experiencing a delay to the start of this year’s State of Origin, as Team New Zealand (who for the purposes of this event are considered a “state”) have only managed to field six players out of the required eight, leaving two preliminary tables with dead stacks.

The Kiwis are now in crisis talks with the Australian state captains and the Crown Poker staff as to how to resolve this issue.  Our sources tell us that the most likely scenario is that any player who bust first on those tables will be entitled to take up the dead stack and play again, but we’ll have all this information confirmed as soon as negotiations are complete.  Not exactly a choice situation, eh bru?

The Law of the Land (v. 5.0)

The State of Origin structure has been the matter of heated debate over the years, with plenty of fine-tuning since its inception in 2008.  However, this year’s one-day shoot-out format has been well received by all players this year, so without further ado, let’s share with you how it works:

Each table will have one representative from each state starting on the preliminary shoot-out tables at 2pm and will earn points based on their placings, as follows:

1 8000 points
2 5000 points
3 4000 points
4 3000 points
5 2000 points
6 1000 points
7 500 points

All the preliminary tables will play down to one winner, and then the points tallied between all the team members across all tables will represent the total amount of chips the team will take into the final, which will commence at approximately 7pm.

For example: Victoria wins three tables (3 x 8000 = 24,000), finishes second on two tables (2 x 5000 = 15,000), fourth on another (3000), sixth on another (1000) and seventh on the last preliminary table (500), Victoria will carry over a total of 43,500 chips into the final shoot-out table.

Regardless of individual results, each team will be represented on the final shoot-out table, with the captains starting play first and then substituting between their line-up every seven hands.  No one player may play more than seven consecutive hands.

Starting Line ups


Joe Hachem (captain)
Jackie Glazier
Andrew Hinrichsen
James Broom
Kristian Lunardi
Billy Jordanou
Liam O’Rourke
Oliver Speidel


Grant Levy (captain)
Aaron Benton
Daniel Neilson
Hun Wei Lee
Antonis Kambouroglou
Dave Allan
Matthew Wakeman
Jai Kemp


Jarred Graham (captain)
James Bills (vice-captain)
Stevan Chew
Joe Sandaev
Thomas Monte
Omid Salimi
Anthony Chaptini
Anthony Samimi


Heath Chick (captain)
Andrew Scott (vice-captain)
Will Jones
Chris Edgar
Ben Richardson
Tom Grigg
Anthony Dickson
Heidi May


Ricky Kroesen (captain)
Oliver Gill
Sean Walsh
Justin Walsh
Liam Moffett
Matthew Pilat
Charles Caris
Josh Barrett


Aleks Lackovic (captain)
Jay Kinkade
Kyle Cheong
Tony Tartaglia
Patrick Healy
Lawrie Gibson
Lorinda Johnson
Sean O'Reilly


Graeme Putt (captain)
Jackson Zheng
Slava Sheynin
Paul Hockin
Kevin Clark
Joe Cabret*

* Full team to be confirmed

State of OriginState of Origin set to take center stage

It's state versus state, and mate versus mate!  One of the biggest events of the Australian poker calendar is upon us with the annual State of Origin event taking centre stage at Melbourne's Crown Casino on Wednesday October 24th.

Teams from all states around the country, as well as New Zealand, will be represented in the ultimate grudge match with thousands of dollars and bragging rights up for grabs!

Which state will prove itself to be the best in the country?

Stay tuned to Poker Asia Pacific as our world-class live reporting team will be on deck of the Crown Poker Room from 2:30pm on Wednesday to bring you live and exclusive updates of all the exciting action as it unfolds!