Bryan Piccioli earned himself one heck of an early birthday present tonight in Melbourne. The 23 year-old from Allegheny, NY is two days away from turning 24, but will be celebrating a little early tonight after winning the first bracelet in World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (WSOP APAC) history. The win not only made poker history, it also made Piccioli AU$211,575.
Piccioli defeated a field of 1,085 entries in the WSOP's first-ever Accumulator event. The AU$1,100 buy-in tournament generated a prize pool of more than $1 million and introduced a new Hold'em concept, allowing players to play multiple starting days and combine their stacks. It also allowed players to re-enter each starting day if they busted, which worked out well for Piccioli, who busted Days 1A and 1B only to make it through on Day 1C.
Day 2 went much better for Piccioli, as he ended the day chip leader after hitting a two-outer against Antoine Saout, but even with a big stack, Piccioli was wary about a tough line-up at the final table. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy," Piccioli said following his win. "But I got lucky in a few spots and ended up shipping it."
When play got down to heads-up action between Australia’s Jonathan Karamalikis and Piccioli, there was a lot of nationalistic pride on the line. Americans wanted to prove they could dominate WSOP action on three continents, while the strong and vocal Australian contingent wanted to make the first APAC bracelet one for the host country. It also boasted a friendly rivalry between the two players, who have logged countless hours of play together online and in live events.
"It was a lot of fun [playing against Karmalikis]. He is very tough opponent, obviously, and I was hoping I would be heads-up against someone else besides him because I knew it was going to be pretty tough."
Picicoli has been playing poker professionally for several years now. He spent a couple of years attending college at SUNY Buffalo, but opted to pursue poker and play in some tournaments in Europe rather than finish school. The travel bug is also what lead him to Australia. "I've always wanted to go to Australia," Piccioli explained, so he came out to Melbourne for the Aussie Millions in January and just stayed until APAC began at the Crown Casino last week.
The decision proved to be a great one, as this landmark win will make for one memorable 24th birthday present. "There will be a lot of celebrating tonight," Piccioli said. "But not too much. The $5,000 Six-Max is tomorrow and I want to get an early start in the WSOP Player of the Year race."
When Piccioli said he had tough competition at the final table, he wasn't joking around. The final table headliner was Canadian Jonathan Duhamel, who came in looking to add a second bracelet to his 2010 WSOP Main Event title, but he ran out of steam, exiting in 4th place at his second career WSOP final table. New Zealand poker legend Graeme Putt finished in 6th place.
The opening event of the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific certainly kicked the series off with a massive bang. Over the course of three starting days, the AU$1,100 Accumulator event generated 1,085 entries, making it the largest bracelet event ever held outside of Las Vegas. With more than a million dollars in the prize pool, there was plenty of money up for grabs for the 90 finishers who made the money.
A host of the international contingent of players who made the trip to Melbourne started the trip off with a cash, including Barry Greenstein (75th), Mike Watson (44th), (36th), Melanie Weisner (34th), Dan Kelly (28th), Phil Hellmuth (20th), and Antoine Saout (13th).
The October Niners from last year’s Main Event final table had an especially strong showing. Four of them played in this event and all advanced to the second day of play. Jake Balsiger finished out of the money, but both Russell Thomas and Jesse Sylvia cashed, while Jeremy Ausmus made it all the way to the final table, busting out in fifth place.
Ausmus was one of 15 players who “accumulated” chips across multiple days in this event. No player was able to bag up chips on all three starting days, but 15 were able to do it twice. Antoine Saout, Dan Kelly, and Dylan Honeyman began Day 2 as the three chip leaders and all of them were players that bagged up chips twice, but all of them came up short of the final table.This is the first-ever WSOP Asia-Pacific event. The Asia Pacific series makes the first expansion of bracelet events since 2007, when WSOP began World Series of Poker Europe. There are four more bracelets to award here in Melbourne, including the AU$10,000 Main Event.
Here are the final table results from WSOP APAC Event 1:1st: Bryan Piccioli - USA - $211,5752nd: Jonathan Karamalikis - Australia - $130,7433rd: Jay Loo - Malaysia - $96,3054th: Jonathan Duhamel - Canada - $71,8705th: Jeremy Ausmus - USA - $54,3376th: Graeme Putt - New Zealand - $41,6107th: Iori Yogo - Japan - $32,2688th: Peter Kleugden - Germany - $25,3359th: Ryan Otto - New Zealand - $20,138