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Sydney Championships Powers On
The 2015 Sydney Championships poker series began on Tuesday July 28 with the typically popular $330 Opening Event. In the lead-up to the series a guaranteed minimum prize pool of $500,000 for the Main Event was announced, adding further interest to the seventh running of the series.
Event numbers have been significant across the board. The opening event attracted over 1100 runners, which was bolstered by the repechage format and four day 1 flights. The eventual winner, Ria Renfrey, walked away very happy with $63,418 for her efforts.
$330 Opening Event NLH (repechage) top 9:
1st   Ria Renfrey - $63,418
2nd  Brendan Phelan - $40,363
3rd  Jalel Choueiki - $27,745
4th  Jimmy Tran - $20,247
5th  Igor Sesar - $13,873
6th  Lei Zhang - $9,248
7th  Yu-chang Cheng - $6,930
8th  Haiyu Zhu - $5,615
9th  George Boustani - $4,624
The Poker Media Australia 6-handed event also saw a record number enter with 156 registrations. Play began on Sunday August 2 and concluded the following day after a total of 19 hours of play. Unfortunately for Star Poker tournament regular Roy Vandersluis, he busted on the money bubble after losing an unlucky three-way pot for his tournament life. This dropped the field to 18 players, and then eventually a final table of seven, by the end of day 1 play.

Luis Arrilucea went into the final table as chip leader with over 550,000 in chips but midway through the final table he had dropped below 140,000. Meanwhile, Dejan Boskovic had surged ahead of the pack. Arrilucea would recover to make it to heads-up play but it would be Boskovic who would triumph in what was a pretty hasty final battle.
$1100 Poker Media Australia 6-handed NLH final table results:
1st   Dejan Boskovic - $39,000
2nd  Luis Arrilucea - $26,520
3rd  Angelo Scicchitano - $18,720
4th  Sammy Lucisano - $12,480
5th  Sailendra Sha - $9,360
6th  Zoran Punosevac - $7,800
7th  Shirley Han - $4,680
The Turbo event attracted many of the Star Poker regulars and it was one such regular that took out the event. Michael O’Grady eventually overcame the field to triumph, proving he’s a quick thinker, taking home almost $15,000.  
$440 NLH Turbo top 9:
1st  Michael O'Grady - $14,500
2nd  Alan Taylor - $9,860
3rd  Arnold Gualtieri - $7,540
4th  Chad Awerbuch - $5,510
5th  Andrew Scarf - $3,770
6th  Toan Nguyen - $3,045
7th  Matteo Pagani - $2,465
8th  Andrej Senic - $2,030
9th  Adam Hamkin - $1,740
The $5000 NLH Challenge attracted a significant 81 entrants via the re-entry format that set the winner payout at over $115,000. Play began on Wednesday August 5 and saw 15 players come back the following evening to crown a champion. Hassib Younan made the early running with 15 players left but it was Daniel Neilson who was able to nurse a short stack for much of the night, eventually using his experience to overcome a tough heads-up battle with Trent Miller. Neilson had a significant lead for most of the heads-up play and eventually made it count for the win.
$5000 NLH Challenge results:
1st  $115,425 Daniel Neilson
2nd  $76,950 Trent Miller
3rd  $55,789 Hassib Younan
4th  $36,551 LaurenceHall
5th  $26,933 Yibo Zhou
6th  $20,199 Michael (Pokerlife) Tran
7th  $17,314 Didier Guerin
8th  $14,428 James Camilleri
9th  $11,543 Kamyar Ekrami
10th  $9,618 Daniel Laidlaw
The $550 Pot Limit Omaha event concluded while the $5k Challenge was being completed. And it was three Melbournians in Jimmy Tran, Tam Truong and David Tam finishing at the top. Truong in particular has had a great tournament run over the last 18 months but Tran was able to triumph this time to take home almost $14,000.

$550 Pot Limit Omaha results:
1st  Jimmy Tran - $13,800
2nd  Tam Truong - $9,200
3rd  David Tam - $6,670
4th  Michael Cook - $4,370
5th  Camil Debsia - $3,220
6th  Jarryd Godena - $2,415
7th  Yew Kan - $2,070
8th  Yalcin Kaya - $1,725
9th  Shirley Han - $1,380
10th  Walter Holt - $1,150
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