Poker SA Diamond Event - Live Updates

Rocco Illuminator wins Poker SA Diamond EventTom Grieve eliminated in 2nd place ($31,800); Rocco Illuminato wins ($27,830)!

Fan favourite Rocco Illuminato (pictured) has overcome the odds of a short stack, battling against two experienced foes to claim the Poker SA Diamond Event title!

The final hand would see the fireworks unfold on a board of 9 diams6 diams7 diams(8h}. Illuminato bet out 30,000 before Tom Grieve announced himself all in. Illuminato made the call and the cards were tabled:

Grieve: 10 hearts8 clubs
Illuminato: 8 diams4 hearts

Grieve had flopped the straight as Illuminato gambled with his straight-flush draw. It was the 2 diams river that delivered Illuminato a flush, and it was rather fitting for this event that it was of the diamond variety.

It was a great run by Tom Grieve who controlled this final table for most of the night, only to have the cards go against him at the final hurdle. He collects $31,800 for his 2nd place.

Meanwhile Rocco Illuminato is the toast of Poker SA as he takes the title, the diamond worth $3,800 and $27,830 in prize money.

That concludes our live coverage from the Poker SA Diamond Event here in Adelaide. It’s been a fantastic weekend and we send huge thanks to Ray Aoukar for allowing us to be part of this event. We hope this kick-starts even bigger and better things for poker at Poker SA and in South Australia and we see even more players come together for the next Diamond Event.

We’ll have a full wrap of all of today’s action on the home page for you shortly.

Poker SA Diamond Event Results

1st Rocco Illuminato - $27,830**
2nd Tom Grieve - $31,800**
3rd Joe Hachem - $27,000**
4th Anthony Chaptini - $13,795
5th Steve Lindeblad - $10,030
6th Piyush Gupta - $7,520
7th Steve Koutsouvelis - $5,025
8th Fred Chaptini - $2,400*

* denotes eight-way deal to give money-back for the original bubble
** denotes three-way deal, based on ICM, leaving $5,330 for the winner


Rocco Illuminato is talking up a storm but now he’s also got the chip lead thanks to a quick double up. Illuminato’s chips were in preflop with A clubs10 hearts against Tom Grieve’s K diamsQ diams with the title on the line if Grieve could get some help from the board.

The flop landed 7 spadesJ hearts10 spades to see Grieve find an open-ended straight draw and plenty of outs to win it all. The turn was the 5 spades and Illuminato gave a yelp of joy when the 5 clubs completed the board.

Illuminato doubles up to 1.35 million with Grieve now back to 950,000.

Heads-up chip counts

It’s locals Rocco Illuminato and Tom Grieve to battle it out for the title, the extra $5,330 and also a beautiful diamond, valued at $3,800, which is added value to the prize pool.

Tom Grieve: 1,575,000
Rocco Illuminato: 705,000

Heads Up Poker SA

There’s just a brief pause while the cash and diamond are being brought out onto the table.

Joe HachemJoe Hachem eliminated in 3rd place ($27,000)

The end has come for 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem. It was great to see Hachem in Adelaide as part of the Poker SA Diamond Event, and it would’ve been even better to see him take home the title, but instead he’ll have to settle for 3rd place.

Hachem’s last stand came when he shoved for 450,000 from the button with A spades7 spades. Tom Grieve made the call in the big blind with 6 hearts6 spades and the race was on.

We’ve seen aces on the flop all night, but it wasn’t to be this time for Hachem as the board was spread 8 clubs10 diams4 hearts3 diams10 spades. Hachem departs for a post-deal amount of $27,000 as the Diamond title will remain on home soil.

Illumunato haunts Joe

“This place is haunted!” joked Joe Hachem after he sent a double up to Rocco Illuminato.

Hachem had shoved all in from the small blind holding A hearts4 spades and Illuminato called off his stack of 330,000 holding A diams5 hearts in the big blind.

The 4 hearts7 hearts10 clubs flop would see Illuminato up out of his seat and ready to leave.

Then a 5 clubs hit the turn and Illuminato was so happy that he joked he wanted to put $5,000 on the bar for everyone at the Maylands Hotel.

The river was an 8 diams and so Illuminato had doubled up.

“How do you win after I hit that flop?” Hachem joked.

Still three players remaining!

Catching up with Allan Rye - Director of Poker SA

As we tick into the early morning, here's a little video snippet to help pass some time. We caught up with Director of Poker SA, Allan Rye, to learn more about Poker SA - where it all began and plans moving forwards. Check it out...



No break

As we tick towards 1am local time, the players have decided to push on through the scheduled break and straight into the next level which will be 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000-chip ante.

Joe takes the lead

After the flop was checked, the action increased on the turn on a board of K clubsA hearts2 clubs7 hearts. Tom Grieve led out for 50,000 but Joe Hachem upped the price to 150,000. Grieve called and the river landed the 8 spades.

Grieve checked and Hachem made it 300,000 to go. Grieve gave it up, and with that, he also gave up the chip lead for the first time at this final table. Hachem is now up over one million in chips with Grieve slipping to 800,000.

Rocco Illuminato is on the short stack and seems more interested in celebrating with a few drinks with his mates than worrying about the result from here!

Deal done

The three players have just decided to do deal, seemingly because it has started to get quite late in the night and after a long day, the players are happy to divvy up the money according to ICM.

With Tom Greive having 1.2 million in chips, Joe Hachem having 700,000 in chips and Rocco Illuminato having 400,000 in chips, here is how the cash will be split up.

Greive - $31,800
Hachem - $27,000
Illuminato - $22,500

These amounts mean $5,330 is left over for the eventual champ!

Late night grinding

The three remaining players are in pretty good spirits considering we have just moved past twelve hours of play. The action has definitely heated up though, so stay tuned for fireworks!

Poker SA

Even it up

Tom Grieve raised to 45,000 from the small blind and Joe Hachem made the call in the big blind as these two tangled once again.

Grieve led out for 45,000 on the 9 spadesJ spades10 spades flop and Hachem called as the A diams appeared on the turn. Grieve checked and Hachem bet 50,000. That price was good for Grieve to call and see a repeat 9 diams on the river.

Grieve checked and Hachem slid out a solid 150,000. Grieve gave it up as Hachem raked in another pot. Hachem is starting to make some inroads into Grieve’s advantage here with the two getting very close to even in chips now.

Hachem moves in

Joe Hachem raised the button to 45,000 and Tom Grieve called in the big blind. The flop fell 2 diams9 clubs5 hearts and Grieve checked to Hachem who bet 50,000. Grieve announced a raise to 100,000, but Hachem was having none of it as he moved all in.

Grieve thought briefly before giving it up. He’s back to 1.05 million with Hachem chipping up to 600,000.

Late night fun with Joe Hachem

It’s been a long day and it’s maybe even starting to get to the 2005 WSOP Main Event champ Joe Hachem as he has just shown plenty of frustration.

Tom Greive had opened to 40,000 from the button and Hachem three-bet to 100,000 from the small blind. Rocco Illuminato moved all in for around 425,000 from the big blind and Greive quickly folded.

At this point Hachem let out a couple of profanities and flung his cards hard into the muck, exposing a 10 clubs. Illuminato then tabled pocket tens as he scooped up some chips. 

Hachem’s escape act

With the button on Joe Hachem, he again declared himself all in. This time it was Rocco Illuminato who quickly announced a call from the small blind.

Hachem: A hearts3 diams
Illuminato: 10 spades10 hearts

This time Hachem had been caught but he managed a brilliant escape act when the flop landed A spades3 clubsA clubs to give him a full house! A frustrated Illuminato could only watch as the Q clubs turn and 8 diams river completed the board. Hachem’s stack was doubled to 700,000 to put Illuminato back on the short stack with around 330,000.

Tom lets Joe off the hook

Tom Grieve has proven his ability to win the small pots, but a reluctance to take a gamble against Joe Hachem is one that he might live to regret.

With play three-handed, Grieve raised to 45,000 from the small blind before Hachem moved all in from the big blind for around 250,000, or 12.5 big blinds. Grieve thought for a while before open-folding a decent-looking K heartsQ diams.

Next hand, Grieve tried again with a button-raise to 45,000. Again, Hachem announced himself all in, this time for around 300,000. Grieve thought a bit longer this time, but again decided to fold and flashed an even better A spades10 spades. Hachem breathed a sigh of relief as he showed A hearts8 clubs.

Hachem lives to fight another day, as Grieve continues to wait for a spot to strike.

Anthony Chaptini eliminated in 4th place ($13,795)

Anthony ChaptiniThen there were three!

Anthony Chaptini (pictured) moved all in for 128,000 from the button and Tom Greive called from the small blind. Joe Hachem looked like he was going to call from the big blind, but opted to let it go.

Chaptini: 10 spades6 spades
Greive: K clubsQ hearts

Chaptini needed some help and certainly more help then the 10 heartsK diams3 clubs flop provided. The 8 diams turn was no help either and with a 5 diams on the turn, Chaptini was eliminated in 4th place, collecting $13,795.

“I had a pair of threes, would have hit a set,” sighed Hachem. 

Another double for Illuminato

Rocco Illuminato has done it again!

Not too long ago Illuminato doubled up through Tom Greive and now the same thing has happened for the second time in ten minutes. This time the hand started with the two players taking to a Q diams6 spadesJ spades flop. Illumunato was first to act and checked to Greive, who bet 45,000. Illumunato moved all in for 340,000 here and Greive snap called and tabled his A diamsA hearts – the seventh time we have seen him with that hand at the final table. Illumunato wasn’t dead though, holding A spades10 spades for a flush draw and gut-shot straight draw.

Turn: K hearts

Illumunato had made the straight!

The river bricked off with a 5 hearts and Illuminato was up to around 750,000.

Greive is still going strong as the chip leader with 980,000. 

Steve Lindeblad eliminated in 5th place ($10,030)

Steve Lindeblad

It’s been an entertaining run by the man they call “The Jeweller”, but sadlythe run of Steve Lindeblad (pictured) run in this event is now over.

His final hand would see Tom Grieve come in with a raise to 40,000. Lindeblad moved all in for his last 178,000 to put Joe Hachem to a tough decision. He eventually folded (what he later said was ace-king) before Grieve insta-called.

Lindeblad: 5 hearts5 spades
Grieve: Q heartsQ spades

The board ran out J hearts7 spadesA hearts4 spadesJ diams much to the dismay of Hachem as Lindeblad departs in 5th place for $10,030 in prize money. Meanwhile Grieve is up to 1.36 million and has a stranglehold on this tournament.

Perfect ten for Rocco

Rocco Illuminato has just survived a miraculous all in to stay alive in his quest for the Poker SA Diamond Event title.

Illuminato shoved from the button for his last 187,000 with A diams10 hearts but Tom Grieve woke up with A spadesQ diams in the big blind to be in a dominant position to claim another scalp.

The flop landed Q clubs10 diams4 clubs to pair up Illuminato’s kicker but he was left with just two outs when Grieve did the same. The turn was the 2 clubs but the river was the miracle 10 spades! Illuminato high-fived Steve Lindeblad as he doubles through to 400,000. Grieve takes another hit to slip to 1.08 million.

Five-handed count update

Here is how the five remaining players stack up. 

Tom Greive - 1,220,000
Joe Hachem - 400,000
Steve Lindeblad - 215,000
Anthony Chaptini - 210,000
Rocco Illuminato - 170,000

Testimonials from the Poker SA Diamond Event

Over the last couple of days we  have told you how great the Poker SA Diamond Event is, but you can hear it directly from some of the players on the video below!


Piyush Gupta eliminated in 6th place ($7,520)

Piyush GuptaOne more player has been eliminated!

Unfortunately for Piyush Gupta (pictured), it was he who was eliminated in 6th place.

Gupta’s final hand saw him three-bet all from the big blind holding K clubs10 diams. The big-stacked Tom Greive had opened with a raise from the button and called with A clubs2 clubs, putting Gupta at risk.

The Q diams6 diams3 spades3 hearts2 spades was no good to Gupta as he was sent out the door with a $7,520 score.

Down to five with the next player out taking home $10,030. 

Double for Jeweller

Steve Lindeblad has found a much-needed double up. Once again it was Tom Grieve kick-starting the action with a raise from the small blind. Lindeblad moved all in for his last 108,000 and Grieve was priced into the call.

Lindeblad: K clubs5 clubs
Grieve: 9 spades8 spades

The board was spread 7 clubsA clubs5 spades10 clubsA hearts to give Lindeblad a flush for the double up. He’s up to 220,000 with Grieve taking a flesh wound as he’s still in control with 1.1 million.

Aces for Joe

Joe Hachem raised from the cutoff position to 35,000 and Rocco Illuminato called on the button. They saw a flop of 9 diams6 diamsA spades and both players checked.

The turn brought the 4 clubs and Hachem bet out 35,000. Illuminato gave it up as Hachem sighed and flashed A diamsA hearts!

Grieve causing more grief

Tom Grieve raised from the small blind and Steve Lindeblad made the call in the big to see a flop of J heartsK heartsA diams. Grieve bet out for 35,000 and Lindeblad called as the 7 spades hit the turn.

Grieve didn’t slow down as he bet another 45,000. Lindeblad flashed his cards to Piyush Gupta to his left and mucked. Grieve wanted to see, and since Lindeblad had showed his cards to one player, he had to show to all, as the K diamsQ hearts was revealed.

Grieve continues to dominate proceedings here as he’s now up over one million in chips and nearly half the chips in play.

Play resumes

The players are back with blinds up to 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000-chip ante. Now with the pressure of that elimination finally released, we should see some more action over the next level or two as the short stacks take a few more risks.

Chip count update

Tom Grieve – 962,000
Rocco Illuminato – 345,000
Joe Hachem – 340,000
Steve Lindeblad – 254,000
Anthony Chaptini – 232,000
Piyush Gupta – 170,000




The players are now taking a fifteen-minute break with more sandwiches, meat platters and even some desserts are being served in the Regal Room for players and spectators.

Steve KoutsouvelisSteve Koutsouvelis eliminated in 7th place ($5,025)

It’s taken an entire session, but on the final hand before the break, we’ve finally broken the deadlock with Steve Koutsouvelis (pictured) the unlucky one to fall in 7th place.

Koutsouvelis moved all in from under the gun for his last 80,000 and action passed to Steve Lindeblad who announced himself all in for his last 137,000. Joe Hachem made what he said was a “reluctant fold” as the two players tabled their cards.

Koutsouvelis: A diamsQ hearts
Lindeblad: K clubsK spades

Koutsouvelis was calling for an ace but when the 2 spades10 diamsJ clubs flop hit, he could also add a king to his outs with his straight draw. The 5 hearts missed and so did the 8 diams river to leave Koutsouvelis to depart in 7th place for $5,025 in prize money.

And with that, it’s time for a break!

More for Grieve

Rocco Illuminato opened with a raise to 40,000 from the cutoff and Tom Grieve defended his big blind with a call. Both players checked the 9 heartsJ spadesA diams flop before Grieve tossed out 30,000 on the repeat J hearts turn. Illuminato made the call.

The river was the 7 hearts and both players checked. Illuminator tabled K diamsK clubs but threw his head back in dismay when Grieve showed A hearts10 spades.

Grieve is now up to 900,000 and almost three times his nearest rival. This deadlock at seven players appears to have played right into his hands as he continues to pound on his opponents in small pots at very little risk.

Hachem bites Jeweller

Steve Lindeblad raised to 30,000 from the button and Joe Hachem made the call in the big blind. The flop was spread 6 clubsQ diams10 clubs and Hachem checked to Lindeblad who bet 45,000. Hachem instantly responded by announcing himself all in.

It was an additional 108,000 but that was too much for Lindeblad who let it go.

“No one else I lay this down to!” exclaimed Lindeblad with his usual vigour.

“I had a monster,” came the reply from Hachem as he is hanging tough despite obvious frustration over the lack of recent eliminations. Hachem has a stack of 270,000.

Hachem runs into Big Slick

Action folded around to Joe Hachem in the small blind and he announced himself all in to put pressure on the short-stacked Rocco Illuminato in the big blind. Illuminato looked down at his cards and made a quick call!

Hachem: K clubs2 diams
Illuminato: A clubsK spades

Hachem had walked into one of the worst hands he could see as Illuminato was in great shape to double up. Hachem was looking for ducks but the board ran out 5 diams9 clubsQ clubs7 diams9 hearts. Illuminato’s stack of 140,500 was doubled as a frustrated Hachem slips to 270,000.

Gupta building

Piyush Gupta started the final table of the Poker SA Diamond Event with the short stack but is now sitting very happily with just under 300,000 in chips.

The most recent hand to go Gupta’s way saw four players take to a 9 clubsQ hearts6 spades flop. All four checked here and a 3 diams hit the turn. This time Steve Lindeblad, from the small blind, checked, Gupta led for 65,000 in chips, Anthony Chaptini folded and Tom Greive called. Lindeblad got out of the way and the board completed with a 4 diams.

Gupta and Chaptini checked here and Gupta tabled Q diams10 hearts – enough to send Greive’s cards into the muck.

Chip leaders tangle

Tom Grieve

Tom Grieve (pictured) opened from early position to 27,000 before Joe Hachem put in a three-bet to 55,000 on the button. Action folded back to Grieve who called to see a flop of 6 clubs3 diamsJ clubs.

Grieve check-called for 60,000 before both players checked the 5 clubs turn. On the 4 diams river, Grieve tossed out a relatively small bet of 30,000 but that was too much to get a bite from Hachem, who slid his cards into the muck.

Grieve showed the J diams.

Grieve has now extended his advantage at the top of the chip counts to hold 730,000 in chips, and more than double his nearest competitor.

Koutsouvelis survives!

Steve Koutsouvelis has just landed a remarkable double up to spice up the final table. From the small blind, Anthony Chaptini moved all in to put pressure on the short stack but Koutsouvelis woke up with a real hand in the big blind and made the call.

Chaptini: 10 hearts4 diams
Koutsouvelis: 8 clubs8 diams

Chaptini was well behind but that all changed on the Q hearts10 clubsK spades flop as Chaptini caught his ten to take the lead. Koutsouvelis was up out of his chair, but the 8 spades turn brought roars of delight as he spiked his two-outer set to stay alive! The river was the 7 hearts as Koutsouvelis’ stack of 45,500 was doubled and our deadlock of seven players remains!

Raise and take it

The “raise and take it” theme continues with the players very reluctant to get involved right now. Perhaps they ate too much at dinner.

The only recent flop was seen when Tom Grieve raised to 22,000 from the hijack position and Steve Lindeblad made the call in the cutoff.

The flop landed A spades6 spades4 diams and Grieve bet out 22,000. Lindeblad raised it to 70,000 and that was enough to take it down.

The blinds have just kicked up to 6,000/12,000/1,500 so hopefully that might spark a bit more action.

A few small flops

There hasn’t been much action to report with only the following couple of hands even seeing a flop recently.

In one hand, Joe Hachem raised to 20,000 from early position and Steve Lindeblad defended his big blind with a call. The flop landed K heartsQ diams2 spades and Lindeblad check-called for 24,000 as the 3 hearts hit the turn. Lindeblad tapped the table again, but was forced to give it up when Hachem bet 50,000.

A few hands later and Tom Grieve raised the button to 22,000 with both Lindeblad and Piyush Gupta calling in the blinds. The flop brought a monotone 4 hearts6 hearts8 hearts flop with Grieve’s continuation bet of 26,000 good enough to take it down.

Slow going

The play has slowed right down following the dinner break with our final tablists soaking up the moment as the final table has been set up with audience seating, bright lights and cameras rolling.

Joe Hachem has certainly been the most aggressive as he seems to be raising most pots preflop, but has yet to meet any real resistance. Perhaps that will change very shortly.

Play resumes

Another wonderful dinner has been enjoyed, not only by the seven players remaining in the Poker SA Diamond Event, but all of the 26 players who played on Day 2 of the event.

With dinner out of the way, we’re back in action at the final table as we look to crown ourselves a champion!



Dinner break

The seven remaining players are now off to enjoy a 40-minute dinner break catered once again by the fantastic team here at The Maylands Hotel. Play will recommence just after 7:30pm local time.

Here’s the chip counts at the dinner break:

Tom Grieve – 560,000
Joe Hachem – 503,000
Anthony Chaptini – 401,000
Steve Lindeblad – 340,000
Piyush Gupta – 190,000
Rocco Illuminato – 145,000
Steve Koutsouvelis – 143,000

Koutsouvelis doubles through the world champ

Joe Hachem was in the cut off when he opened it up to 20,000. The action folded around to Steve Koutsouvelis in the big blind and he looked at his short stack before making the call.

When the dealer flipped over a 9 spades6 clubs2 spades flop, Koutsouvelis put in his remaining 47,000 in chips and Hachem thought for a long time before tumbling in a call.

Koutsouvelis tabled his A diams9 clubs, which was in great shape against Hachem’s 10 hearts7 clubs.

The Q diams turn and the 5 hearts river were safe and so Koutsouvelis raked in the double just a few moments before the dinner break. 

Fred Chaptini eliminated in 8th place ($2,400)

Fred Chaptini

With the blinds at 4,000/8,000, Steve “The Jeweller” Lindeblad opened the action with an early-position raise to 17,000. Action folded around the table to Fred Chaptini (pictured) who made the call in the big blind.

The flop landed 9 diams9 spades4 clubs and that looked good enough for Chaptini to declare himself all in for a little under 100,000 but Lindeblad beat him into the pot and tabled J hearts9 hearts for trips. Chaptini was in trouble with his 2 diams2 hearts.

The turn was the 10 diams and river the 5 diams to see Chaptini eliminated in 8th place, but thanks to the deal that was done, Chaptini will get his money back for his efforts in this tournament.

Quick double for Gupta

Piyush Gupta has just picked up the double he needed to begin the final table.

Gupta found Q spadesQ clubs, getting his last 57,500 in the middle and receiving a call from Fred Chaptini, who held 7 diams7 spades. The board ran out a safe 3 hearts2 clubs3 clubs8 spades9 clubs for Gupta and so he moved up to a much healthier 15 big blind stack. 

Spare the bubble

Before the final table kicked off, the players threw up the idea of giving whoever bubbles their money back. Joe Hachem pointed out that Piyush Gupta was severely short-stacked, but he was quick to agree with the majority. The $2,400 has been taken off the top prize and will be given to whoever finishes in 8th place to spare that player the pain of reaching the final table, only to go home empty-handed.

With that deal out of the way, the cards are now in the air on the Poker SA Diamond Event final table!

Final table line up

Seat 1: Steve Lindeblad – 199,000
Seat 2: Piyush Gupta – 58,000
Seat 3: Joe Hachem – 565,000
Seat 4: Rocco Illuminato – 175,000
Seat 5: Anthony Chaptini – 400,000
Seat 6: Steve Koutsouvelis – 105,000
Seat 7: Fred Chaptini – 150,000
Seat 8: Tom Grieve – 535,000


Oueiss outed

With two short-handed tables, all eyes were on the short-stacked Piyush Gupta who has managed to claw his way to this point after starting the day as the absolute short stack of the field.

However it was Marwin Oueiss who would be the one to crack to take us to the final table.

Oueiss moved all in with Q hearts8 hearts for a little over 100,000, but he ran smack into Joe Hachem’s A spadesQ clubs who made a quick call.

The board bricked out J hearts2 diams5 clubsJ clubsK spades to see Oueiss out in 9th place as the players now form the final table of eight and hit the money bubble. We'll have the seating draw and chip counts of the final table for you shortly.

Morales down as Rocco's rail gets rowdy

Rocco Illuminato Rocco Illuminato (pictured) certainly has a chatty rail and they only got louder when Illuminato had his stack of 110,000 in the middle against Nick Morales, who had 107,000 remaining chips.

Illuminato held A clubsJ hearts and was going to need some help against Morales’ Q clubsQ hearts.

The 10 diams2 diamsQ spades would keep Illuminato’s rail begging for an ace and those prayers were answered when an A diams was slammed on the turn. The 4 spades river was no help for Morales and so he made his way to the rail in 10th place – three spots off the money and two spots off the final table of eight.

With one more elimination needed before we reach the final table, we are now playing with one four-handed table and one five-handed table. 

Anthony Chaptini running hot

Anthony Chaptini has gone on a tear with two eliminations in a matter of moments to shoot up towards the chip leaders.

The first hand would see the self destruction of Paul Gogia. The action was recalled to us with Gogia moving all in on the turn on a board of 2-4-7-A holding K diams2 diams for just bottom pair, but he couldn’t shake Chaptini from his pocket kings. The river bricked out and Gogia was out.

Moments later and Chaptini clashed with Neb Blanusa in a massive preflop war.

It was Chaptini’s Q diamsQ clubs against Blanusa’s A diamsK clubs with the board bricking out 8 heartsJ hearts6 diams3 spades7 spades. Blanusa was a strong player for much of this event, but he’s now out in 11th place as Chaptini climbs to a commanding 380,000 chips with just ten players remaining.

Chip counts

Tom Grieve – 440,000
Joe Hachem – 370,000
Neb Blanusa – 190,000
Steve Koutsouvelis – 185,000
Steve Lindeblad – 165,000
Anthony Chaptini – 155,000
Fred Chaptini – 150,000
Nick Morales – 140,000
Marwin Oueiss – 120,000
Paul Gogia – 105,000
Piyush Gupta – 90,000
Rocco Illuminato – 70,000

Unlucky 13th

Alex Trantor only had around 40,000 in chips when he moved all in from the small blind with 8 spades7 clubs. He was hoping to steal one through Piyush Gupta in the big blind, but Gupta made the call with Q clubs10 diams.

The board ran out 2 clubs2 diams6 heartsA clubs5 diams to see Gupta take the pot and eliminate Trantor in unlucky 13th place.

Play resumes

With legs nice and stretched, the players are back to face the 3,000/6,000/1,000 level. Our chip leaders are Tom Grieve, Joe Hachem and Steve Lindeblad.



Break it up

The final thirteen are now taking a quick "stretch your legs" five-minute break. Back soon!

Anthony ChaptiniHuge flop for Chaptini

Alex Trantor opened things up with a raise to 11,000 with Anthony Chaptini (pictured) defending his big blind with a call. The flop landed 8 heartsQ diams7 hearts and Chaptini checked to Trantor who continued for 12,500. Chaptini check-raised to 38,500 but Trantor responded by moving all in. Chaptini rolled his eyes but slid his last 50,000 chips into the middle.

Trantor: 8 clubs9 clubs
Chaptini: Q heartsJ hearts

Trantor had got a little aggro with his middle pair as Chaptini flopped huge with top pair and flush draw. The turn was the A clubs and river the J clubs to give Chaptini a huge double up to almost 200,000, leaving Trantor crippled with just over 20,000 in pocket change.

Koutsouvelis slow plays set

Paul Gogia has avoided disaster as Steve Koutsouvelis made a big move on the river. There was a bet of 11,000 on the flop, both players checked the turn before Gogia led out for 50,000 on the river on a board of 10 clubs3 diams9 hearts2 hearts6 diams.

Koutsouvelis quickly announced himself all in for 51,000 more. Despite the great price, Gogia made a disciplined lay down with Koutsouvelis showing 9 clubs9 spades for a flopped set!

Gogia drops to 160,000 with Koutsouvelis sitting with close to 200,000.

Tens all around

Another Chaptini and another pair of tens, but this time it was Anthony Chaptini who found them. He was all in with 10 hearts10 spades and in good shape against Neb Blanusa’s 9 hearts9 diams.

The board fell 5 hearts2 clubs3 spadesK hearts2 hearts to see Chaptini double to 100,000 with Blanusa slipping to 230,000.

Tens for Fred

Neb Blanusa is putting his big stack to work as the most active player on his table. In a recent pot Blanusa opened to 15,000 from middle position and found resistance from Fred Chaptini in the small blind.

The two took a flop of 4 spadesK heartsK spades and Chaptini check-called for 26,500. Both players tapped the table on the 5 spades turn before Chaptini tossed out a blocking bet of 11,000 on the river. Blanusa was quick to call but mucked when Chaptini showed 10 clubs10 spades.

Chaptini is now up to 120,000 chips.

Zaharis zapped

Bill Zaharis was the shortest stack of the final fifteen players and he’s just met his demise after moving all in from the cutoff with A hearts7 diams. Neb Blanusa was quick to call in the small blind with A spadesK spades which held through the board of 4 hearts5 spades6 diamsJ heartsJ diams.

Zaharis is out in 14th place as Blanusa is now contending for the chip lead with a stack of around 300,000 chips.

Michael Out , Down to 14

Andrew Michael has just been eliminated in 15th place – seven spots off the final table and eight spots off making the money.

Michael’s final hand saw him all in preflop holding K clubsJ diams against the A hearts6 spades of Paul Gogia. The board ran out 4 clubsQ diams3 spades6 heartsQ spades, with no help for Michael meaning it was all over.

Down to 14 players!

Final two tables

Poker SA

Table 1

Seat 1: (empty)
Seat 2: Paul Gogia – 240,000
Seat 3: Nick Morales – 125,000
Seat 4: Tom Grieve – 310,000
Seat 5: Rocco Illuminato – 100,000
Seat 6: Steve Koutsouvelis – 140,000
Seat 7: Steve Lindeblad – 260,000
Seat 8: Andrew Michael – 55,000

Table 2

Seat 1: Joe Hachem – 260,000
Seat 2: Fred Chaptini – 100,000
Seat 3: Alex Trantor – 145,000
Seat 4: Bill Zaharis – 30,000
Seat 5: Marwin Oueiss – 80,000
Seat 6: Piyush Gupta – 120,000
Seat 7: Neb Blanusa – 270,000
Seat 8: Anthony Chaptini – 40,000

Moro flushed out

As the players on Tables 2 and 3 were already racking up their chips and heading to their new seats after the redraw for the final two tables, a big hand had unfolded on Table 1. With the board reading 8 clubsQ clubs2 hearts3 clubsJ spades, Vince Moro had bet 17,000 before Tom Grieve moved all in. Moro had another 100,000 behind and was deep in the tank with a decision for his tournament life.

Eventually Joe Hachem called for the clock and Moro had one minute to act. He stood to his feet to make a crying call. He opened 10 clubs9 clubs for a flush but seemed to know he was beat as Grieve showed A clubs5 clubs for the nuts.

Moro bows out in 16th place as the players now reform for the final two tables.

Gupta gets Corbo as we are down to 16

Piyush Gupta and Anthony Corbo have clashed once again and this time it meant the demise of Corbo.

It started with Gupta open-jamming for around 60,000 from the button. Corbo made a quick call and tabled his 7 clubs7 diams, which was in good shape against Gupta’s A hearts6 diams.

Corbo was at risk, but up until the turn of a Q spades9 hearts10 hearts9 diams board, was looking good to double up. Then an A diams hit the river and Gupta had sent Corbo home.

“Twice on the river,” Corbo said as he exited the tournament.

With that, Rich the Tournament Director screamed, “Hold Up! Players we are breaking to two tables of eight.”

We will post the final two table draw as soon as possible.

Gupta and Corbo exchange blows

Piyush Gupta

Piyush Gupta (pictured) has just survived an all in by the skin of his teeth with Anthony Corbo the unlucky victim.

Gupta shoved his last 42,500 from the button with a rather modest Q clubs5 hearts and that looked even worse when Corbo made the call with Q spades10 spades in the small blind.

However the board ran out 7 clubsJ diams4 hearts9 spades5 spades giving Gupta the river suckout. He had to sit back down in his chair to stack up around 90,000 in chips.

Moments later, the two switched roles with Corbo the one with tournament on the line with A diams10 hearts against Gupta’s dominant A clubsJ hearts. Again the worst hand survived, this time with a chop, as the board was spread 7 heartsK diams7 clubsQ spadesK spades.

Oueiss holds

Marwin Oueiss has landed a quick double up following the break. His last 30,400 chips went into the middle on a flop of 3 hearts5 hearts6 diams for top pair, top kicker against Vince Moro’s A diams4 diams straight draw.

The turn was the 10 spades and river the Q hearts to see Oueiss double through to about 80,000 with Moro still with an average stack of 135,000.

Play Resumes

Another incredible platter of amazing food was enjoyed by our players as we continue to get spoiled by the Poker SA and Maylands Hotel crew.

With stomachs satisfied the remaining players are back to surge towards the final table. We lost Angelo Bucon just on the final hand before the break – his ace-nine no match for an opponent’s ace-ten – to leave us with 17 players remaining.



Break time!

The players are now off to enjoy their first break of the day, and I believe the food platters are once again calling our name. See you in fifteen!

Julie OliveriLast woman standing eliminated

Julie Oliveri (pictured) was extremely short stacked when, in her own words, her last chips “fell” into the middle.

She picked up three callers who all checked it through to the river on a board of 4 hearts8 hearts2 spades10 spadesA spades.

When action checked to Joe Hachem on the button he tossed out 20,000 but couldn’t get any nibbles with his Q spadesJ spades flush.

Oliveri tossed her cards back to the dealer and departed in 19th place.

Here comes Hachem!

Australia’s own World Champion, Joe Hachem (pictured below), has just landed a huge double up to shoot right into contention in this event.

With the blinds at 1,500/3,000, Tom Grieve opened with a raise to 6,500 from the cutoff. Hachem three-bet to 16,500 from the small blind and Grieve made the call as the two took a flop of 9 heartsK clubs3 hearts.

Hachem led out for 17,500 but Grieve instantly announced all in. Just as quickly, Hachem called and the cards were on their backs!

Grieve: K diamsJ diams
Hachem: A heartsA clubs

Grieve had flopped top pair but ran into Hachem’s aces as the 7 spades turn and A diams river completed the board. Hachem doubled up to 250,000 to leave Grieve back on 120,000.

Joe Hachem

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Big slick double for Trantor

Alex Trantor has the most impressive mutton chops in the room, and now, he also has a decent stack after landing a crucial double up against Paul Gogia.

The chips were in preflop with Trantor’s A clubsK diams in good shape against Gogia’s A heartsQ clubs.

The board ran out 10 clubs5 hearts7 clubs4 spades7 hearts to leave Trantor’s big slick in front to double through to around 100,000.

Chaptini binks the straight

Things weren’t looking good for Anthony Chaptini when got his last remaining chips in preflop holding 7 hearts6 spades and had to come up against the Q heartsQ diams of Alex Trantor. Then the dealer spread out a 5 diams9 clubs4 hearts flop and Chaptini found a few more outs. The 8 clubs turn evoked a few gasps from Chaptini’s tablemates as he had binked the straight.

Just to add insult to injury for Trantor, the river was a Q clubs and with that, Chaptini had doubled up, while Trantor had taken a fair hit to his stack.

As Chaptini raked in the pot, Steve “The Jeweller” Lindeblad got out of his seat and in his best John Malkovich from Rounders impression, humped the air and said “Love it how hard he stuck it in?”

Big stacks

Steve Lindeblad – 335,000
Rocco Illuminato – 210,000
Tom Grieve – 190,000
Neb Blanusa – 185,000
Steve Koutsouvelis – 180,000
Paul Gogia – 170,000

Fred finds a double

Fred Chaptini is one of Adelaide’s poker veterans and he’s making a deep run here at the Poker SA Diamond Event, thanks to a recent doubleup.

Chaptini’s last 65,000 chips were in on a flop of 10 hearts5 hearts7 clubs with 9 diams9 clubs as Marwin Oueiss took the gamble with his J heartsQ hearts flush draw with overcards.

The turn was the 10 clubs and Chaptini gave the table a thump of delight when the 2 spades bricked the river. he doubles to around 150,000 with Oueiss back down to 70,000.

Rocco IlluminatoVinecombe vanquished

Joseph Vinecombe’s rocky day has come to an end at the hands of Rocco Illuminato (pictured). Vinecombe’s last 40,000 chips were in preflop with Q clubsQ diams against Illuminato’s A heartsK hearts.

The board was dealt A clubs2 spades2 diamsK spades10 hearts to give Illuminato two pair to take the pot and eliminate Vinecombe.

Cathy cut

Rocco Illuminato opened with a late-position raise before Cathy Grieve announced herself all in for an additional 13,500 from the blinds. Illuminato made an easy call with A diamsQ clubs as Grieve held live cards with her J spades10 spades.

The board arrived 2 spades2 diams7 diams5 heartsQ diams to bring no help for Grieve and send her to the rail as just 20 players remain in the Poker SA Diamond Event.

Grieve’s elimination leaves Julie Oliveri as the last woman standing in this event.

Corbo cracks the rockets

It’s been a day of brutality so far and that trend is continuing as Anthony Corbo just dodged a couple of bullets to stay alive in this event.

Corbo moved his last 57,700 in preflop with Q diams10 clubs but he ran smack-bang into Neb Blanusa’s A spadesA diams!

Corbo was up on his feet as the dealer spread a flop of Q clubs5 clubs4 spades. Corbo picked up a pair but it was the 2 clubs turn and A clubs river that brought Corbo five clubs for a flush to crack Blanusa’s pocket aces.

“You were way behind!” chirped Corbo with tongue in cheek as he doubles to 130,000. Blanusa is still in good shape with around 230,000.

Double for Hachem

Former World Champion Joe Hachem has just landed a crucial double up through Joseph Vinecombe. The chips were in preflop with Hachem tabling Q clubsQ hearts against Vinecombe’s 5 diams5 clubs.

The board would run out 2 hearts9 hearts6 spadesK diams10 clubs to see Hachem survive and double through to around 100,000. Vinecombe slips back to 50,000.

Dominated aces

A couple of clashes of dominated aces have produced some interesting results.

First it was Harry Kappellos who was all in with A clubsJ spades against Andrew Michael’s A spades10 diams. Kappellos was looking good to double up but the board was spread 3 spades7 hearts7 clubs4 spades10 spades to see Michael spike a perfect ten on the river to send Kappellos to the exit.

Over on the feature table David Racher also held a dominated ace with A hearts9 hearts except that he’d flopped two pair against Marwin OueissA diamsQ diams when the chips went into the middle on a flop of 9 diamsA spades7 spades. However incredibly, the J spades turn and J hearts river would counterfeit his two pair and give the pot to Oueiss with his queen kicker.

Racher was eliminated moments later. Joining him on the rail is Alex Pericileouss who lost a coin flip with ace-king against Vince Moro’s pocket queens.

Angelo BuconQueens for Angelo

Angelo Bucon (pictured) opened with a raise to 8,000 and picked up a couple of callers before Alex Pericileouss squeezed the bet to 51,000. Action folded back to Bucon who tossed in his last 45,100 as the others got out of the way.

Bucon: Q spadesQ hearts
Pericileouss: 4 spades4 clubs

Bucon was in good shape to double through and it remained that way as the board ran out 3 hearts2 clubsJ spadesJ hearts5 clubs. Bucon is back to over 100,000 with Pericileouss in trouble with about 25,000.

Meanwhile we’ve lost Simon Beshara from the tournament. He got his last chips in with a flush but again it was Neb Blanusa who was the destroyer as he made a full house!

Vinecombe chips up; Boswell straightened out

Joseph Vinecombe is off to a handy start here on Day 2 of the Poker SA Diamond Event. On a flop of 6 clubs8 diamsQ diams Vinecombe tossed out 6,000 into the middle with Fred Chaptini making the call from the big blind.

Both players checked the 6 diams turn before the A diams river put four diamonds on board. Chaptini led out with a bet of 6,000 but that wasn’t enough to scare Vinecombe who made a nice call with A hearts5 hearts for a pair of aces to pip Chaptini’s 8 clubs3 clubs pair of eights. Vinecombe is up to 80,000.

Not so fortunate was Ryan Boswell. He was spotted departing his table with Neb Blanusa making the nut straight holding 8 diams10 diams to see Boswell as the first casualty of the day.

Cards in the air on Day 2

After a small delay for the players to finish enjoying the lunch, the players have now taken their new seats and the cards are back in the air.

The clock has been wound back to the start of the level, with the blinds at 1,000/2,000 with a 300 chip ante.

Poker SADay 2 set to commence; Jeweller leads, Hachem in contention

It’s an exciting day ahead for poker in Adelaide as the Poker SA Diamond Event is set for a thrilling conclusion. We start Day 2 of the $2,400 event with 26 players still in contention for the top prize of $43,890 and by the end of the day, just one will be crowned our inaugural Poker SA Diamond Event champion.

The man with the best opportunity to do that is our chip leader, Steve Lindeblad. A popular poker personality on the Australian scene, the man known as “The Jeweller” seems a fitting chip leader for an event named the “Diamond” event. Time will tell if Lindblad’s steamrolling ways will continue, or if he’ll meet some sterner resistance this afternoon.

Of course, the biggest name still in the field is none other than 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem.

Hachem is a big fan of Poker SA and has thoroughly enjoyed his time here in Adelaide. We caught up with Hachem yesterday for a chat about Poker SA, Adelaide and also his response to a controversial interview he did during the Aussie Millions. Take a look...



Day 2 action at the Poker SA Diamond Event will kick off at 12:30pm local time, so stay tuned to Poker Asia Pacific throughout the day as we look to crown a new champion of poker in South Australia.



Steve LindebladThe Jeweller dominates Day 1 of the Diamond Event

The final hands have been dealt, and a with a couple of late casualties it looks like just 26 players have survived the day to reach Day 2 of the Poker SA Diamond Event.

Paul Gogia won a big pot on the final hand of the night while Rocco Illuminato also has one of the biggest stacks in the room. But they are both dwarfed by Steve “The Jeweller” Lindeblad (pictured) who bullied his way to a commanding 327,000 in chips by the end of the day. It seems somewhat fitting that a name with a nickname of "The Jeweller" is the chip leader of the "Diamond" Event.

Joe Hachem survived with 54,500 while Vince Moro, Ryan Boswell, Piyush Gupta and Anthony Corbo will all be returning tomorrow. We’ll have confirmation of chip counts and the Day 2 seating draw a little later this evening.

Play recommences at 12:30pm local time on Sunday, with live updates right here on Poker Asia Pacific.

Five more hands

The clock has been paused with 25 minutes left in the level, with just five more hands to be dealt on each table before we call it a night. It looks like we’ll be pulling up stumps a little earlier than we first thought.

Rocky KO’d

Rocky Gligora has been bundled out of the tournament after he committed his short stack with an adventurous K hearts2 hearts. He was hoping to steal the blinds, but he couldn’t get past Rocco Illuminato's 10 hearts10 spades.

The board ran out 2 diams9 hearts8 clubs5 spadesQ spades to see Gligora hit the rail as just 29 players remain in the Poker SA Diamond Event.

Bang, bang bang

There have been some rapid bustouts in the level with several notable players sent to the rail recently including both Pierre Aoukar and Ray Aoukar.

It seems that most of the chips have found their way into the stack of Steve “The Jeweller” Lindeblad who now has upwards of 250,000 to have a tight grip on the chip lead.

Prize pool and payouts

With 57 entrants, the Poker SA Diamond Event has produced a prize pool of $125,400 which is very impressive for a stand-alone $2,400 event. The top seven players are set to receive a profit for their efforts with a min-cash is worth $5,025, while our top prize is a very nice $43,890.

1st $43,890
2nd $26,330
3rd $18,810
4th $13,795
5th $10,030
6th $7,520
7th $5,025

Anthony CarboLast level of the day

Tournament Director Rich Mifsud has just confirmed that we'll be playing one more level tonight, as long as we lose at least two more players to get down to our final 32.

The chip leaders appear to be Steve "The Jeweller" Lindeblad and Anthony Carbo (pictured) who are both hovering close to 150,000 in chips. Carbo mentioned to us on the break that he's only been playing poker for five months and has already won two tournaments here at Poker SA, as well as his seat into this event. Hopefully he can keep that momentum going for the rest of this event.

With that, the cards are back in the air!




The players are now taking their final fifteen minute break of the day. When they return, it’s likely we’ll play another level or so to get down to around 27 players before play is brought to a halt for the day.

One Hachem down

While Joe Hachem is still going strong in the Poker SA Diamond Event, unfortunately brother Tony Hachem has just met his demise.

It was a tough day for Tony. His beloved Blues suffered a shock loss in the AFL, and now his tournament his over. Tony was down to his last 6,500 which he committed with K diamsQ hearts against an opponent’s 8 hearts8 spades.

The flop of 10 diamsA hearts6 spades gave Hachem even more outs with a straight draw, but the 2 clubs turn and 3 hearts river bricked the board to eliminate Hachem short of a Day 2 berth.

As mentioned in the introduction earlier today, Tony has been a big supporter of Poker SA and has shared his wealth of experience to help build, promote and run this event.

Double Time for Bucon

Angelo Bucon was down to hit last 28,650 when he held A diamsK clubs and took to a 2 spadesJ heartsK diams flop against one opponent. That opponent was Alex Trantor and he held Q diams10 hearts. All the chips went in the middle and with that, Bucon was at risk and looking to dodge any ace, nice or running cards.

The 5 spades turn was safe and the J spades river did no damage and so Bucon was back up to just under 60,000 in chips, which just so happens to be around the average stack as we are down to 38 players. 

One for Corbo

Anthony Corbo has recently stormed to the top of the chip count leaderboard, and he’s just added to his stack even further with the elimination of Phil Aoukar.

Corbo started things off from the cutoff position by tossing out 2,900 – the exact same amount as the stack of Aoukar in the big blind, after the two had exchanged some heated, but friendly, banter. With the blinds now up to 800/1,600, Corbo was informed he had to make it 3,200 and that amount was matched by Joseph Vinecombe on the button and Ray Aoukar in the small blind. Phil Aoukar tossed out his last chips and the flop was dealt 6 heartsQ diamsQ clubs.

Action checked to Corbo who tossed out 2,500 into the side pot. Vinecombe folded but Ray Aoukar called to see the 8 clubs land on the turn. Ray Aoukar checked and Corbo bet another 2,500. Ray Aoukar let it go as Phil Aoukar tabled J diams7 hearts to be in trouble against Corbo’s A spadesJ hearts.

The river was the K clubs to see Phil Aoukar eliminated and climb Corbo to a commanding 150,000 chips.

Joe HachemChamp making his move

Look out Adelaide, the World Champ is in town!

Joe Hachem (pictured) is making some waves here at the Poker SA Diamond Event after raking in a big multi-way pot. The hand started with Hachem opening to 2,500 from middle position. Steve Lindeblad called on the button and Alex Trantor came along in the big blind to see a flop of 7 diamsA hearts3 clubs.

Action checked around the table before the Q clubs appeared on the turn. Trantor came out swinging with a bet of 3,800. Hachem bumped it to 8,000 before Lindeblad splashed out 8,800 into the middle with his usual theatrics. He didn’t realise Hachem had already raised, so his bet was just a call. Trantor called as well and the river landed the 5 hearts.

Trantor checked and Hachem reached deep before committing 18,500 into the middle, which represented the majority of his remaining stack. Lindeblad was quickly out of the way (with what he later claimed was K clubs10 clubs), while Trantor thought long and hard before matching the bet.

Hachem tabled Q spadesQ hearts for a turned set and that was good to rake in a nice pot. He’s now up to 75,000 and starting to look dangerous.

From Aoukar to Zaharis

We can add the name Bill Zaharis to the list of big stacks after he has just landed a huge double up through Pierre Aoukar.

With the flop reading A spades9 diamsJ spades, action checked around to Aoukar on the button who bet 10,000. After several minutes in the tank, Zaharis check-raised all in for an additional 27,900. A third player folded, but Aoukar asked for a count before making a pretty quick call.

Zaharis: J clubs9 spades
Aoukar: A clubs8 spades

It was two pair for Zaharis with the lead as Aoukar was hoping to catch up, but the 2 diams turn and 6 spades river completed the board to give the pot to Zaharis. He doubles to around 90,000 with Aoukar bumped back down to a workable 22,000.

The big stacks

Steve Lindeblad – 125,000
Costa Argirou – 116,000
Marwin Oueiss – 115,000
Alex Trantor – 105,000
Steve Koutsouvelis – 95,000
Paul Gogia – 90,000

Leo BoxellBoxell and Wang bow out

It was a rough day at the office for Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell. The poker stalwart was short-stacked for much of the day, and it seemed that his tablemates were gunning for his scalp. In the end, it came down to a coin flip.

Boxell’s last chips were all in preflop with A clubsK clubs to be racing against Joseph Vinecombe’s 9 spades9 diams, however it was a short-lived race when Vinecombe flopped a set on the board of 3 diamsQ diams9 hearts6 diams8 spades.

Boxell is out and so is Taiwanese pro Henry Wang. It was a rollercoaster day for Wang who was almost the first elimination of the day, before fighting back to get a healthy stack. Well, those chips have now disappeared, along with Wang, as his chair is now empty.

Holding all the aces

Pocket aces are a really good poker hand, the best in fact. But they are not so great when your opponent has pocket aces as well!

Justin Smith and David Racher both thought Christmas had come early when they got their chips in the middle. Smith held A diamsA spades but Racher had that matched with his A heartsA clubs.

With only a flush able to split them the board bricked out 8 diams6 clubs8 spadesQ diams5 hearts. Chop it up!

Play resumes

At the break earlier today, the Regal Room here at The Maylands Hotel featured several stand up tables to serve platters of food and allow players to mingle around the room. A few hours later, that room had been converted to a beautiful dining room for a sit down dinner with players free to choose from the wonderfully diverse menu at The Maylands Hotel.

The meal was again quality and the service impeccable as the players (and media) here at the Poker SA Diamond Event continue to be treated like VIPs.

With stomachs well and truly satisfied, the 46 remaining players have returned to their seats to continue the battle here on Day 1.



Dinner break

The players are now off to enjoy their dinner break which is a full ala carte menu service provided by The Maylands Hotel.

The chip leaders entering the break all seem to be sitting on Table 5 with Marwin Oueiss, Steve Koutsouvelis and Piyush Gupta all sitting with close to 100,000 in chips. Expect fireworks following the break!

Play will resume around 8:00pm local time.

Gary BensonBenson busto

Gary Benson (pictured) has a WSOP bracelet, an Aussie Millions gold ring and is a member of the Australian Poker Hall of Fame, but he won’t be adding the Poker SA Diamond Event title to his poker resume in this event.

Benson was unable to recover from the earlier blow as his last few chips went into the middle in a blind versus blind battle on a flop of J spades8 clubs8 hearts.

Benson held J hearts2 clubs for top pair as Justin Smith made the call with A heartsQ hearts for just ace-high. The turn was the dreaded A diams that Benson didn’t want to see as the K hearts completed the board. Benson will get an early seat at the dinner table as he departed the tournament area with a sigh of frustration.

Kings for Harry

Harry Kappellos has just secured a much-needed double up. His last chips went into the middle on a flop of K diamsK clubs2 hearts against Gary Benson. Kappellos tabled K spades10 spades for trip kings which wasn’t too good for Benson’s A spades2 spades.

“Why couldn’t you put spades out there?” sighed Benson to the dealer, as the 6 hearts turn and A hearts river completed the board.

Kappellos is now fighting again with 20,000 in chips with Benson feeling some hurt with just 9,000 in chips to work with.

Jacked on the river

Former Poker Zone Cup champion Joseph Vinecombe is rather fortunate to be alive after spiking a very lucky river card. Vinecombe was all in with J diamsJ spades against Anthony Corbo’s Q spadesQ diams but the board would run out 3 clubs9 hearts5 diams6 clubsJ hearts to see Vinecombe land a set on the river.

Vinecombe was already up on his feet and ready to concede, but he had to sit right back down again when the river landed, his diamond dreams still alive!

Chip count update

Chip leaders:

Steve Lindeblad – 75,000
Neb Blanusa – 75,000
Piyush Gupta – 65,000
Anthony Chaptini - 65,000


Joe Hachem – 55,000
Henry Wang – 50,000
Tony Hachem – 42,000
Gary Benson – 30,000
Leo Boxell – 19,000

Play resumes; Rye busts

The players are back from their quick leg stretch/bathroom/smoko break with the blinds now up to 300-600 with a 75-chip ante.

There were 51 players remaining, but that number has been reduced by one with the elimination of Poker SA's own Allan Rye.

Rye is a former Adelaide Poker Championships winner, but down to his last 3,000 in chips, he was unable to muster a miracle recovery with his ace-king falling to an opponent's pocket fours. The news got worse for Rye as that now meant he had to put on his Poker SA cap and get back to work!


Stretch those legs

The players are just taking a quick five-minute "leg stretch" break. The idea is to break up the session without taking another full break before dinner which will come in around 90 minutes from now.

Put it back on!

Steve LindebladWe were about to write something about a few of these tables having a bit of a home-game feel about them. Not so much in the running of the tournament – that has been extremely professional so far. We’re talking more about some of the players having a laugh and exchanging some friendly banter.

But then Steve Lindeblad removed his shirt.

Yep. Not something you see at every tournament, but maybe occasionally in a home game if the poker variant happens to be strip poker.

Lindeblad has been talking up a storm so far exchanging friendly barbs with many players at his table, and even Tony Hachem on a nearby table.

“I don’t care what your background or religion is,” said Lindeblad to the entire room, “I hate you all equally and hope you all get hit by a tram!”

Lindeblad then called for a masseuse and removed his shirt to the shock of his tablemates.

“What? That’s what you do when you get a massage!” defended Lindeblad.

Oh my. Fortunately the Poker SA staff were quickly onto Lindeblad and asked him to put his shirt back on or risk being removed from the venue.

Blanusa gets there

Fabio Cappai is the latest to hit the rail in the Poker SA Diamond Event. With the blinds ticking up to 200/400 with a 50 ante, Cappai moved all in from the small blind for around 9,000 when the flop landed 3 heartsJ clubs7 clubs. His bet brought a couple of folds but Neb Blanusa was happy to toss out calling chips. The action was then with Henry Wang who pained over his decision before eventually folding what he claimed was an overpair.

Cappai: K spadesJ diams
Blanusa: 8 clubs6 clubs

Cappai was in front with top pair against Blanusa’s bare flush draw but the 5 diams turn and 9 spades river delivered Blanusa a straight for the knockout blow.

“If you fold, I call,” said Wang to Blanusa as he grew his stack to a healthy 70,000 in chips.

Corbo jacks a set against Argirou

Anthony Corbo has just won a big pot to see his stack move up toward the top of the leader board as we continue Day 1 of the Poker SA Diamond Event.

The hand started with Costa Argirou opening it up to 900 from middle position. Crobo three-bet to 1,800 from late position and the action folded back around to Argirou. After a few moments, Argirou flicked in the call and the dealer readied a 6 spadesA spadesJ spades flop. Argirou checked here and Crobo confidently bet 10,000. It was a large amount and Argirou looked a little confused, but nonetheless made the call. The turn was a 6 hearts and this time when Argirou checked, Corbo bet 15,000 – enough to send Argirou’s cards into the muck.

“Good fold,” said Corbo as he showed J heartsJ diams for a flopped set of jacks. Argirou gave a bit of a chuckle as he showed his Q spadesQ diams before they hit the muck.  


It takes two fairly big hands to get all the money in the middle with such deep starting stacks, but aces versus kings will certainly do it!

Marwin Oueiss was the beneficiary as his A spadesA hearts clashed with Piyush Gupta’s K diamsK spades as the board ran out 6 diams7 clubs5 clubs10 hearts2 diams. Oueiss’ stack of 27,400 was doubled with Gupta still in good shape with 65,000.

Late Arrival

A late arrival to the Poker SA Diamond Event is none other than poker personality Steve “The Jeweller” Lindeblad. He’s taken his seat on the feature table along with Curly Seal and Joe Hachem, and he’s already talking up a storm.

As we walked past, Lindeblad have removed his gold chain and was asking the guy next to him to guess how much he thought it was worth!

The total number of entrants is now up to 57 players.

Play Resumes

Poker SAWell... In the many years we've been reporting at poker events, we've seen some quality hospitality for players, but they all pale into significance in comparison to the amazing spread that was just laid out for the players here at the Poker SA Diamond Event. There were spring rolls, pasties, chicken kebabs, beef kebas, scallops, oysters, prawn cutlets, prawn skewers, fresh prawns and even what appeared to be lobster tails. Magnificent!

We've consumed our body weight in prawns, so probably won't be able to move from our desk for a while.

Thank you Poker SA!


The players are now taking their first 15-minute break of the day.

Patrick HealyNo love for WA

Over the years, a fairly healthy rivalry has formed between Western Australia and South Australia.  When former Aussie Millions final tablist Patrick Healy (pictured right) arrived today he said he was here to represent WA in Croweater territory.

Unfortunately for Healy, things haven’t gone his way as we were recently informed he was our first casualty of the day. We don’t have any details of his elimination, but hopefully he hangs around a little longer to enjoy the food platters which are about to be served at the break!

Words and Pictures

We don’t just write words, we take pictures too. And a picture tells a thousand words, so why not check out our Poker SA Diamond Event photo gallery on Facebook where there are about 25,000-words worth of pictures so far.

We’ll have more photos and videos from the Poker SA event coming your way throughout the weekend. 

Wang’s perfect tens

It’s taken until Level 3, but we’ve just seen our first all-in-and-call situation, and it was our international visitor in Henry Wang (pictured below) who was at risk.

Wang got his chips in the middle with 10 clubs10 spades up against A spadesK hearts, and was a chance to be our first casualty of the day. However the board ran out 7 clubs9 clubs8 diams10 hearts5 hearts to see Wang hit a set for the double up. He’s back to 22,500 and will be able to hang around long enough to enjoy the beautiful food platters which are being brought around the tables for the players to enjoy.

Henry Wang

Rinse and repeat

Poker SA Tournament Director Rich Mifsud has let us know that there have been a few tweaks to the structure advertised on the Poker SA website for this event. They’ve just ticked into the third level of the day, but the blinds are remaining the same – we’re playing the 100/200 level twice. It’s not unheard of to repeat a blind level, and this level was added in at the expense of the originally-planned 25/50 level.

Misfud informed us there have been four or five tweaks to the structure, with the idea being to remove some of the small levels early to then provide a bit more game time later in the tournament.

Players enjoying themselves at The Maylands Hotel

Maylands Hotel

With such deep stacks here at the start of the Poker SA Diamond Event we’re not expecting to see too many fireworks in the early stages of play. We've just ticked into the second level of play at 100-200, and with a 40,000-chip start bank, players are still 200 big blinds deep, so it gives us an opportunity to talk a little more about Poker SA and the venue here at The Maylands Hotel.

We’re only a few short kilometres, a healthy walk or a short cab ride, from the heart of the Adelaide CBD. The Maylands Hotel has a number of various rooms, with the Regal Room usually used for weekly tournaments, but due to the size of this field, we’re in the main area of the hotel taking over part of the space usually reserved for the restaurant. We’ve been told that future plans include the development of a dedicated poker area in the upstairs area of the hotel.

In another nearby room, Poker SA have three tables setup for cash games. Yep, you can even play cash games here. There’s no rake but players pay a $20 per hour food and beverage fee, regardless of the stakes played. That fee gives players access to free coffee, tea and soft drink, subsidized alcohol purchases as well as access to free food. At the moment, that food includes hourly hot and cold platters, but plans are to introduce a buffet that players can enjoy at anytime throughout the day or evening.

This sort of quality service is rare to see in poker rooms, so it’s refreshing to find a venue that really caters for players. No wonder the locals have been raving about Poker SA!

Six figs of glory

A seventh table has opened up here at the Maylands Hotel with the screen now showing 55 entrants. That means our prize pool is already over $120,000 with registration still open for the first three hours of play.

To put that number into perspective, this prize pool is already larger than the recent 2014 PokerZone Cup held at the Adelaide Casino, and is close to the prize pool of the 2013 Adelaide Poker Championships. That confirms the SA Poker Diamond Event as one of the top tier events here in South Australia.

Plenty of big names in the field

There are some impressive names lining up in this event to become the Poker SA Diamond Event champion. The most notable players include WSOP bracelet winner Gary Benson, Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell, two-time ANZ Player of the Year Tony Hachem and 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem.

However there are also many other notables lurking in this field.

We’ve spotted Taiwanese pro Henry Wang, who final tabled the recent New Caledonia Poker Open, as well as the likes of 2013 Adelaide Poker Championships winner Piyush GuptaJoe Reina, Vince Moro, Pierre Aoukar, Emanuel “Curly” Seal, Simon Beshara, Fred Chaptini, Ryan Boswell and the man behind the success of the Poker SA brand, Ray Aoukar.

Quality Structure

One of the big attractions of Poker SA is the quality structures they provided for their players. It’s probably the main pieces of feedback we have heard from the players who have spoken to us recently about this venue.

The $2,400 Diamond Event is one of the feature events on the calendar here and as such, players are spoilt with one of the best structures you’ll ever see. Each player will start with 40,000 in chips, each level is 45 minutes in duration and the commencing blinds are at 50/100. All of the fun levels are in the structure to ensure that players will get plenty if game time today!

Shuffle up and Deal!

The players have wandered in from their luncheon to take their seats for the start of the Poker SA Diamond Event. Tournament Director Rich Mifsud has given final instructions to the dealers before 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem thanked players and staff before uttering the immortal words, “Shuffle up and Deal!”

We currently have six full tables in action which means we’re likely to push close to 50 entrants which will be a $100,000+ prize pool!



Welcome to the Poker SA Diamond Event!

Welcome to the picturesque Maylands Hotel in Adelaide for our live coverage of the Poker SA Diamond Event. This event has attracted some of the best players in the country as they compete for a likely six-figure prize pool in the $2,400 Diamond Event.

There are currently eight tables setup here, and if those seats are filled, then we’re in for one of the biggest tournaments seen in recent times in South Australia.

Even before play kicks off the players are being very well looked after. They're happily enjoying a lunch meal in the restaurant area, completely satisfied, as the final touches are being taken care of in the tournament area.

At this stage, it looks like play will kick off around 12:45pm. A small delay from the scheduled start time, but no one seems to mind.

Poker SA



Poker SA Diamond Event raising the bar in Adelaide

Poker SA Diamond EventWelcome to Poker Asia Pacific's live coverage of the Poker SA Diamond Event!

The Maylands Hotel in Adelaide will play host to some of the finest poker talents in the country for the two-day $2,400 Poker SA Diamond Event. Poker SA are quickly establishing themselves as one of the finest poker clubs, not only in South Australia, but around the country, providing quality, deep-stacked tournaments and premium service for their players.

The $2,400 Diamond Event is set to become Australia's premier two-day poker event with a big prizepool anticipated, with the field set to include the likes of WSOP bracelet winner Gary Benson, Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell, two-time ANZ Player of the Year Tony Hachem and 2005 World Champion Joe Hachem.

All the action kicks off at 12:30pm Saturday April 12th with Poker Asia Pacific set to provide full coverage that includes feature stories, live updates, photography and video features from this fantastic event.

Keep your browser locked right here as we bring you all the action from the Poker SA Diamond Event!


Poker SA