Johan Lees Wins 2017 WSOP Sydney Opening Event for $105,416

10 months ago
Johan Lees Wins 2017 WSOP Sydney Opening Event for $105,416
04 Dec

It’s WSOP jewellery time in Australia and the Circuit series kicked off with a bracelet victory for local man Johan Lees, taking down the title and $105,416 as he overcame a massive field to kick off the action down under.

“I got some good cards at the right time and was lucky to be able to take advantage of that,” Lees told the Star Poker Room reporting team after defeating Matthew Velcic heads-up for the bracelet.

The $500,000 guaranteed Opening Event saw 1357 entries and WSOP Director Gregory Chochon was only too happy to see the huge field, having proclaimed earlier that:

“The World Series of Poker is the biggest and the best tournament series in the world, and we couldn’t be happier to be bringing the Australian leg of the international circuit back to The Star for the second year running." He added: “Last year’s circuit event at The Star Poker Room was the biggest international circuit event we’ve ever held and we’re thrilled to be doing it all again.”

It took 6 days of intense play to separate the huge field, with Johan ‘Bucket Hat’ Lees entering the final table with a huge chip lead, almost 3 million ahead of nearest rival Unensaikhan 'Uno Yuka' Bolovson, reporters fortunate for his nickname, which seems to be an Aussie tradition, with the delightfully named David '2 Card FuFu' Dai also battling it out amongst the last nine standing going into the final day’s play…

“I just try to do my best in every situation,” Lees explained afterwards, his approach aided with good cards – his pocket kings disposing of Declan Russel in ninth, with Velcic’s queens reducing the table to seven as he knocked out Toby Bentall.

Another double-whammy for the leading pair followed, Lees sending ‘Uno Yuka’ to the rails and Velcic getting the better of Nathan Kiely , before Franks feel in 5th again to the sword of Velcic.

With the money getting ever more serious, the pace of play and knockouts was still impressively fast, and it was that man Velcic who quickly made it a heads-up affair, ‘2 card FuFU’ unable to counter Velcic’s two cards which just happened to be ace-ace, and Carlos Youssef fell soon afterwards in 3rd spot.

Lees wasn’t overawed by the prospect of his biggest win by far, however, and steadily ground his opponent down, the final hand seeing him river a straight to claim the coveted bracelet and get the WSOP Circuit series in Sydney off to a flying start.

Final Results:

1Johan Lees
2Matthew Velcic
3Carlos Youssef
4David “2-Card Fufu” Dai
5Daniel Franks
6Nathan Kiely
7Unensaikhan 'Uno Yuka’ Bolovson
8Toby Bentall
9Declan Russel

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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