From September 27th to October 7th, the World Poker Tour held their first-ever event on Australian soil.  Dubbed “WPT Australia,” it took place at The Star Gold Coast (formerly Jupiters) in Queensland.

WPT Australia had a total of 10 events, and buy-ins went as high as $5,000. 658 players signed up for the $2,500 Main Event, which resulted in a prize pool of $1,480,500.

When the dust had cleared, more than 3,000 players had participated in the tournament. And during the action-packed 11 days, more than $3.1 million was paid out.

The Star Gold Coast

This hotel and casino is located on the Gold Coast in the suburb of Broadbeach. It was originally known as Conrad Jupiters Casino, and its 1985 opening made it the first casino in Queensland. It was rebranded as Jupiters Hotel & Casino in 2010, and the current name was adopted in 2017.

Words of Praise

This event was a chance for the Star Gold Coast to show off their new poker facilities. From the various reactions, I’d say it was a rousing success.

Star Gold Coast executive Jess Mellor referred to the event as “the perfect way to showcase Queensland’s new home of poker.”

Aussie native and WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin echoed Mellor’s sentiment. “This is an exciting time for Australian poker and a great reflection of how much the game is thriving down under.

Hari Varma Wins Main Event

The Main Event drew an international field of players, with Hari Varma eventually getting the win. Along the way, he eliminated participants such as Joshua Bell and Julius Colman before the final showdown with George Psarras.

From there, it only took a couple of hands to secure the Main Event win. Ultimately, Varma’s trip threes and queen kicker beat the trip threes and nine kicker of his opponent.

This was easily the largest win of the Melbourne-based Varma’s poker career. Prior to this event, his largest tournament payout was less than $7,000. Still, the win was good enough to propel him to 233rd on the all-time money list for Aussie poker players.

“When you start and register with a field of 650, you never really expect to just win the whole thing,” Varma said. “I was taking it a day at a time, a hand at a time. It’s pretty unbelievable, to be honest.”

World Poker Tour Logo

2019 WPT Main Event Final Table

This is a list of the players who made the Final Table, as well as the order they finished in. All winnings are listed in Australian dollars.

  • 9th Place – Joshua Bell – $27,419
  • 8th Place – Josh Emerton – $36,509
  • 7th Place – Chris Barker – $45,851
  • 6th Place – Luke Stewart – $55,326
  • 5th Place – Travis Endersby – $69,139
  • 4th Place – Louis Yin – $90,207
  • 3rd Place – Julius Colman – $123,933
  • 2nd Place – George Psarras – $192,273
  • 1st Place – Hari Varma – $274,247

Those who just missed the final table included Shane Warne, Luke Stewart, Shane Vijayaram, and former WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem. The latter’s son, Daniel Hachem, also participated in the tournament, finishing in 77th place.

More on the World Poker Tour

The World Poker Tour debuted in the United States in 2002. It was the brainchild of Steven Lipscomb, an attorney and TV producer.

Televised WPT events debuted in the spring of 2003. These episodes have been broadcast around the globe, appearing in more than 150 countries and territories. As of this writing, the main show is currently producing its 16th season of television.

In addition to international poker tournaments and TV broadcasts, the WPT has branched out into other areas. For example, PlayWPT is a social casino platform launched in 2016 that provides both poker and virtual pokies.