Jonathan Karamalikis defeated a 53-entrant field to win the WSOP-C Sydney $20,000 High Roller for $377,625 for his second major title of 2019, moving his lifetime tournament earnings to over US$4.63 million.
The WSOP International Circuit returned to The Star in Sydney’s Darling Harbour for another year with a 14-event schedule running from November 14 to December 9. The biggest buy-in tournament on the schedule was the $20,000 buy-in High Roller event run over two days that featured a $1 million prize pool guarantee.
Day 1 attracted a total of 53 entrants and created a $1,007,000 prize pool that paid the final six players. Some of the region’s best poker players were in attendance as the likes of Alex Lynskey, Alexander Trevallion, Luke Edwards, Hamish Crawshaw, David Wang, Sosia Jiang, Nauv Kashyap, Shivan Abdine, Corey Kempson and Jarred Graham all fell short of reaching the final table and Day 2.
Ryan Otto held the chip lead entering the final day ahead of recently crowned WPT champion Roger Teska. Bernie Stang and Tom Rafferty both fell short of the money before Julien Sitbon was eliminated on the money bubble when his king-queen was unable to improve against Teska’s ace-eight.
With the final six players now in the money, Michael Egan would exit in sixth place in a blind-on-blind battle. As players headed on a break, Mladen Vukovic would play his final hand when his top-top was run down by Otto’s wheel to see Vukovic eliminated in fifth place.
New Zealand’s Qiang Fu exited in fourth place when his kings were cracked Jonathan Karamalikis’ ace-king when a devasting ace landed on the turn. Fu held outs to a flush and a case king, but with no river improvement, the tournament was down to three players. Teska lost a big flip holding ace-queen to Otto’s pocket fours, and when the board bricked out, Otto would hold over 80% of the chips entering heads-up play with Karamalikis.
Heads-up play would last nearly four hours as the Australian Karamalikis clawed his way back against the Kiwi Otto. On the final hand, Otto took a stand with an ace against Karamalikis’ queen-eight. Otto flopped a pair, but Karamalikis turned an unbeatable straight to eliminate Otto in second place and collect the High Roller victory.
WSOP International Circuit Sydney $20,000 High Roller Results
1st Jonathan Karamalikis (Australia) – $377,625
2nd Ryan Otto (New Zealand) – $233,624
3rd Roger Teska (United States) – $153,064
4th Qiang Fu (New Zealand) – $105,735
5th Mladen Vukovic (Australia) – $77,539
6th Michael Egan (Australia) – $59,413
Karamalikis pocketed $377,625 for his win and collected his first WSOP-Circuit ring after beginning the final table as the second shortest stack. One of the most accomplished players at the table along with Teska, Karamalikis remained patient throughout play before making a huge comeback during heads-up play.
Just six weeks ago, Karamalikis won the Victorian Poker Championships Main Event for $198,970, and this win in Sydney marks his 13th career title that sees his lifetime tournament earnings sit at over US$4.63 million. Often regarded as one of Australia’s best online players, known as “xMONSTERxDONGx”, where he has amassed over US$6.5 million in online tournament earnings, Karamalikis is also a prolific live player. He holds an Aussie Millions ring, an APPT Sydney title, and multiple high roller victories, and currently ranks sixth on the Australia All Time Money List with the 2020 Aussie Millions just around the corner.
* Image provided courtesy of WSOP and The Star Sydney