The World Series of Poker Asia Pacific is well underway with the first three of five bracelets having already been rewarded. Three Americans have won gold so far in Melbourne, Australia, with Bryan Piccioli and Jim Collopy winning the first two events, and Phil Ivey winning his ninth WSOP bracelet overall by taking down the 8-game mixed event on Wednesday.
With the win, Ivey ties Johnny Moss on the WSOP bracelet leader board with nine bracelets. Ahead of Ivey now are Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson with 10 bracelets each, and Phil Hellmuth in first with 13.
Here's a rundown of how each of the first three events have played out at the WSOP APAC.
Piccioli Wins Event #1 "Accumulator" (NLHE $1,100)
The first ever WSOP bracelet awarded in Australia was won by the New Yorker Bryan Piccioli who earned the gold after prevailing over a total field of 1,085 entries in the unique "accumulator" no-limit hold'em event.
The format presented a variation on re-entry tourneys, with players able to play one, two, or three Day 1 flights for $1,100 each. (All dollar amounts are AUD, worth approximately $1.05 USD.) Those busting from one flight could re-enter another, but also those surviving one flight with chips could play a second and even a third flight to collect more, then take all of the chips they accumulated to Day 2 when the field was consolidated.
In Piccioli's case, he busted both Day 1a and 1b, but did buy in a third time and survived 1c, then had a great Day 2 to have the chip lead to enter the third and final day of play. In the end no player managed to collect chips on all three Day 1 flights, although 15 did end two Day 1 flights with chips.
The top 90 finishers made the cash in this one. Among those making the money but falling shy of the final table were Antoine Saout (13th, $13,183), Phil Hellmuth (20th, $9,049), Dan Kelly (28th, $5,599), Jesse Sylvia (32nd, $4,883), Melanie Weisner (34th, $4,307), Jackie Glazier (36th, $4,307), Mike Watson (44th, $3,841), Russell Thomas (53rd, $3,461), Andrew Hinrichsen (58th, $3,147), and Barry Greenstein (75th, $2,669).
While more than half of those cashing in the event hailed from Australia, only Jonathan Karamalikis was there to represent the home country at its first WSOP final table. Other notables among the final nine were 2010 WSOP Main Event Champion Jonathan Duhamel (who finished fourth) and 2012 Octo-Niner Jeremy Ausmus (who took fifth).
Piccioli led to start the final table, and also had the advantage to begin heads-up play with just over 2 million chips to Karamalikis's stack of almost 1.25 million.
As live reporting from PokerListings chronicled, the pair played 28 hands altogether, with Piccioli keeping the lead throughout. The final hand saw Karamilikis commit with 10c-10h versus Piccioli's Ac-8d, and when the board ran out 9d-4h-3h-5d-2s Piccioli had rivered a wheel to win the bracelet.
Event #1 ($1,100 NLH Accumulator) final table results:
1st: Bryan Piccioli (United States) -- $211,575
2nd: Jonathan Karamalikis (Australia) -- $130,743
3rd: Junzhong Loo (Malaysia) -- $96,305
4th: Jonathan Duhamel (Canada) -- $71,870
5th: Jeremy Ausmus (United States) -- $54,337
6th: Graeme Putt (New Zealand) -- $41,610
7th: Iori Yugo (Japan) -- $32,268
8th: Peter Kleugden (Germany) -- $25,335
9th: Ryan Otto (New Zealand) -- $20,138
Collopy Collects Bracelet in Event #2 (PLO $1,650)
The second bracelet awarded at Crown Melbourne this week went to Jim Collopy of Washington, D.C. who topped a field of 172 to collect $69,662 and the title. A friend of Piccioli's, the pair both wore the same Washington Bullets hat (the old name for the current NBA franchise, now called the Wizards) at their respective final tables.
Like Piccioli, this marked Collopy's first WSOP bracelet after having finished second once before in the £10,350 NLHE High Roller Heads-Up event at the WSOP Europe in 2010 where he lost in the finals to Gus Hansen.
Only those making the final two tables made the cash in this event, with Andrew Gaw (12th, $5,028), Jeff Lisandro (14th, $4,138), and Joe Hachem (17th, $3,460) among those coming up just short of the final nine.
It was a relatively stacked final table featuring the likes of Marvin Rettenmaier, Mike Leah, and Dan Shak, although ultimately it would be Collopy and the Aussie Edison Nguyen making it to heads-up.
Those two would battle over an hour before finally Collopy earned a huge double-up with Ad-Ac-9s-8h versus Nguyen's Ks-Kd-Qc-10s to cripple the latter, then "MrBigQueso" finished off Nguyen on the next hand.
Event #2 ($1,650 PLO) final table results:
1st: Jim Collopy (United States) -- $69,662
2nd: Ming Nguyen (Australia) -- $43,050
3rd: Tino Lechich (Australia) -- $30,988
4th: Scott Reid (Australia) -- $22,712
5th: Dan Shak (United States) -- $16,940
6th: Paul Sharbanee (Australia) -- $12,856
7th: Mike Leah (Canada) -- $9,923
8th: Martin Kozlov (Australia) -- $7,784
9th: Marvin Rettenmaier (Germany) -- $6,207
Ivey Earns 9th Bracelet in Event #3 (Mixed Event $2,200)
Finally the third event, the $2,200 buy-in 8-game "mixed event," finished up Wednesday with Phil Ivey earning that ninth WSOP bracelet. Of Ivey's previous WSOP wins, all eight happened in Las Vegas, with none in no-limit hold'em events.
Only 81 played Event #3, meaning just the top nine finishers made the money. Three Australian players finished in the cash while missing the final table -- Sam Khouiss (7th, $7,200), Billy "The Croc" Argyros (8th, $6,002), and Dale Townsend (9th, $5,518).
The final table generated some extra buzz thanks to the presence of both Ivey and four-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu. However, it was Brandon Wong who starred for most of the first part of final table by claiming the first four knockouts.
After eliminating both Kevin Song in sixth and Robert Campbell in fifth, he then took the last of Negreanu's chips in a pot-limit Omaha hand to send "Kid Poker" railward in fourth. Then Wong took out a short-stacked Graeme Putt in third in a seven-card stud hand, setting the stage for an epic heads-up battle with Ivey.
Wong had a slight edge to start their duel, with 256,000 to Ivey's 230,000. The pair would push back and forth for another 180 hands -- more than three hours -- with Wong increasing the lead and appearing as though he may clinch it, then Ivey battling back to even things and then take a big lead himself.
The match evened up once more before Ivey again pushed ahead for good, finally taking the last of Wong's chips in the 2-7 triple draw round. The final hand saw Wong all in before the first draw in which both players took two cards, then Ivey stood pat as Wong drew two on each of the subsequent rounds as well.
Ivey had drawn T-9-8-3-2 while Wong could only make Q-7-6-4-3, and Ivey had won.
Event #3 ($2,200 Mixed Event) final table results:
1st: Phil Ivey (United States) -- $51,840
2nd: Brandon Wong (United States) -- $32,039
3rd: Graeme Putt (New Zealand) -- $22,427
4th: Daniel Negreanu (Canada) -- $16,336
5th: Robert Campbell (Australia) -- $12,020
6th: Kevin Song (United States) -- $8,978