Any conversation about who the best high roller poker player in the world that doesn’t include Stephen Chidwick is wasted energy. Chidwick proved it again this week by winning the inaugural Australian Poker Open Championship against some of the toughest fields in recent memory.
On his way to the title, Chidwick cashed in three of the seven APO events, including a win, a runner-up finish and very important Main Event min-cash. All told, Chidwick earned won $949,000 (AUD).
Mike Watson Opens Things With a Win
The opening event of the APO, a $10,000 No Limit Hold’em event, drew 59 entries with Canadian pro Mike Watson beating all of them to win $177,000 and take the early lead in the Australian Poker Open Championship.
“I’m thrilled to have won it,” Watson said. “Especially in these series, it’s great to get off to a good start and set the tone, get your confidence high, and try to make a run for that player of the series title. It’s also the first live event I’ve won a little while, so that monkey’s off my back.”
A pair of Australian’s filled the other two spots on the podium. Michael O’Grady finished second for $118,000 and Benjamin Shannon came in third for $82,600.
Other players who picked up a cash were Orpen Kisacikoglu, Ben Lamb, Luc Greenwood, Andras Nemeth, and Elio Fox.
Event #1 Payouts
- Mike Watson – $177,000
- Michael O’Grady – $118,000
- Benjamin Shannon – $82,600
- Orpen Kisacikoglu – $59,000
- Jamie Lee – $47,200
- Andras Nemeth – $35,400
- Elio Fox – $29,500
- Ben Lamb – $23,600
- Luc Greenwood – $17,700
Former #1 PocketFiver Andras Nemeth Wins Event #2
After finishing sixth in the opening event, former #1-ranked PocketFiver Andras Nemeth beat out the 42 other entries in Event $2, $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha, but still couldn’t ascend to the very top of the Australian Poker Open Championship standings.
“It’s nice to not only play one thing, so that keeps me motivated, but I also love to play poker and that keeps me motivated and my fiancée is my biggest motivation,” Nemeth said. “She, and our families, are very supportive and she travels with me to big events and that makes a big difference for me.”
Nemeth beat Najeem Ajez heads-up to claim the $146,200 first place prize and 300 APO points while Ajez took home $93,600 and 210 points. Nemeth had 340 points. Unfortunately for Nemeth, Watson actually extended his Championship lead, finishing third for $64,500 and 150 points to bump his two-event total to 450.
Others who managed to pick up a cash in this event were Sean Winter, Chino Rheem, and Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel.
Event #2 Payouts
- Andras Nemeth – $146,200
- Najeem Ajez – $93,600
- Mike Watson – $64,500
- Joni Jouhkimainen – $43,000
- Sean Winter – $34,400
- Erik Seidel – $25,800
- Chino Rheem – $21,500
Timothy Adams Beats Stephen Chidwick for Event #3 Title
Chidwick’s march towards the APO Championship began in earnest in Event #3, a $25,000 No Limit Hold’em event with 49 entries. Chidwick managed to outlast all of them except one. Canadian Timothy Adams beat Chidwick heads-up to earn $416,500 and 300 points.
“This final table was really tough with all guys I’m used to playing against,” Adams said.” At the high stakes you play mainly against all the same players and those guys are all really great and I’m very happy that I won. To win a tournament a lot of things have to go your way and today that happened to me.”
Chidwick picked up a $269,500 score and his first 210 APO Championship points. Australian Andy Lee ended up with a $183,850 payday.
Also cashing in this event was Steve O’Dwyer, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and for the second time in two events, Chino Rheem posted a seventh place finish.
Event #3 Payouts
- Timothy Adams – $416,500
- Stephen Chidwick – $269,500
- Andy Lee – $183,750
- Steve O’Dwyer – $122,500
- Orpen Kisacikoglu – $98,000
- Aaron Van Blarcum – $73,500
- Chino Rheem – $61,250
Farid Jattin Stays Hot with $25K PLO Victory
Farid Jattin has had himself an amazing start to 2020. Just one week after winning the Aussie Millions $25K Challenge and finishing runner-up in the Aussie Millions $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event, Jattin topped the 29-player field in Event #4, a #25,000 PLO event.
“I came from Melbourne with a nice win and today I came in with a big chip lead and I’m lucky that things worked out again,” Jattin said. “Today was a special situation because all their stacks were very even, and I could apply a lot of pressure on them. This favored me a lot, but there’s a lot of luck in PLO, but it felt like I played flawlessly and I’m happy with my performance.”
Runner-up Jouhkimainen ended up pocketing $188,500 while third place finisher George Wolff earned $116,000.
The APO Championship lead changed hands after this event. Nemeth ended up in fourth place and added 120 points to his total to move past Watson by 30 points.
Event #4 Payouts
- Farid Jattin – $290,000
- Joni Jouhkimainen – $188,500
- George Wolff – $116,000
- Andras Nemeth – $72,500
- Alex Foxen – $58,000
Stephen Chidwick Beats Erik Seidel for $25K NLHE Win
Chidwick took the APO Championship lead in dramatic fashion after beating Seidel heads-up in Event #5, $25,000 NLHE. The $399,500 winner’s share also added 300 APO Championship points to his total to move him past Nemeth.
Following the win, Chidwick talked about the Open Championship format and how he always seems to do well in them.
“I really like this format of playing a week of tournaments, one every day, and battling against some of the best players to see who can run the best,” Chidwick said. “It also feels nice to be in contention for the Australian Poker Open title, it seems like I’m in contention in most of these series that I play.”
Seidel earned $258,500 while Seth Davies banked $176,250 for his bronze medal performance.
Also cashing in this event were Michael Addamo, Jorryt van Hoof, Matthias Eibinger, and Jattin.
Event #5 Payouts
- Stephen Chidwick – $399,500
- Erik Seidel – $258,500
- Seth Davies – $176,250
- Michael Addamo – $117,500
- Jorryt van Hoof – $94,000
- Farid Jattin – $70,500
- Matthias Eibinger – $58,750
Canadian Luc Greenwood Ships Event #6
It wouldn’t be a high roller series if at least one of the Greenwood brothers didn’t ship something. Luc Greenwood did the family proud by besting the 35-player field in Event #6, a $50,000 NLHE event. Greenwood earned $700,000 for the win.
“I was having a really rough trip to Australia so far with only one min-cash so far,” Green admitted after his win. “This was a tough field and a big battle, and even though it looked like I was gonna run away with it three-handed, I really had to fight for it and I’m glad that I won. I think I played quite well overall.”
Mikita Badziakouski finished in second for $455,000 while Nemeth added $280,000 in earnings and another 150 Championship points to his total to move past Chidwick for the lead. Nemeth had 630 points while Chidwick had 510.
Rheem picked up a third APO cash by coming in fourth place while Addamo earned a min-cash of $140,00 for coming in fifth.
Event #6 Payouts
- Luc Greenwood – $700,000
- Mikita Badziakouski – $455,000
- Andras Nemeth – $280,000
- Chino Rheem – $175,000
- Michael Addamo – $140,000
Michael Addamo Wins Main Event, Stephen Chidwick Earns Championship
Michael Addamo did his native Australia proud in the $100,000 Main Event, topping the 28-player field to win $1,288,000. That win was overshadowed however by Chidwick’s fourth place finish which propelled him to the Championship victory.
Aaron Van Blarcum finished in second for $784,000 while two-time reigning GPI Player of the Year Alex Foxen finished in third for $448,000.
Chidwick rounded out the in-the-money finishers, coming in fourth place for $280,000 and 140 Championship points – enough to push him past Nemeth at the last possible moment.
“Hopefully these style of events continue because I think it’s a bit more of an achievable accolade to win a multiple of or, over time, determine who the best player is rather than looking at a single tournament,” Chidwick said. “Obviously there’s a lot of luck involved in this too, but over the course of seven, eight, or ten events you’re going to see the better players win more often and it would be fun to see who can collect the most titles like this.”
Chidwick adds the Australian Poker Open title to the US Poker Open Championships that he earned in 2018.
“I would love to complete the collection, get the whole set,” Chidwick said. In 2019, Chidwick finished second to Sam Soverel in the British Poker Open.
Australian Poker Open Main Event Payouts
- Michael Addamo – $1,288,000
- Aaron Van Blarcum – $784,000
- Alex Foxen – $448,000
- Stephen Chidwick – $280,000
Australian Poker Open Championship Standings
- Stephen Chidwick – 650
- Andras Nemeth – 630
- Michael Addamo- 560
- Mike Watson – 450
- Luc Greenwood – 360
- Farid Jattin – 360
- Joni Jouhkimainen – 330
- Aaron Van Blarcum – 305
- Timothy Adams – 300
- Erik Seidel – 270