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Piccioli wins first ever WSOP Asia Pacific tournament

American Bryan Piccioli has made history by taking out the first ever tournament in the World Series of Poker Asia Pacific (APAC) today in Australia.

The 23-year-old won the Event #1, a $1,100 No Limit Hold’em Accumulator, by beating Australian Jonathan Karamalikis heads-up in a tournament that also featured poker greats Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu and Jonathan Duhamel. With 2,022,000 chips at the start of heads-up play, Piccioli had a major chip advantage over the Australian online poker sensation, who had 1,249,000.

The final hand of the tournament saw Piccioli raise the button pre-flop to 50,000 chips, which Karamalikis then three-betted to 124,000. Piccioli, who had Ace Eight off-suit, would not be thrown off. He shoved, which led Karamalikis to call all-in with his pocket 10s, which gave him the slightly stronger starting hand.

The flop and turn favoured the Australian, with the nine of diamonds, four of hearts, three of hearts and five of diamonds board not giving Piccioli anything better than Ace High. Things turned better on the river for the American, however, with the two of spades giving Piccioli a straight, knocking Karamalikis out and winning the tournament. It was the culmination of a brilliantly played tournament by Piccioli, who was the chip leader going into the third and final day of the tournament.

Piccioli won $211,575 and a WSOP gold bracelet, his first, for winning the Accumulator tournament while runner-up Karamalikis took home $130,743. The top prize adds to the five million plus dollars Piccioli has won throughout his poker career, largely via online poker play, where he has carved his niche and made a name for himself in the poker world.

Although they were the only two places paying six figures, third place Malaysian poker player Junzhong Loo was not far off that amount, winning $96,305 for his solid poker play. It was Loo who eliminated 2010 WSOP Main Event winner Jonathan Duhamel off the final table. Loo slow played his set of Queens against Duhamel’s Ace Eight two-pair, putting the Canadian all-in at the river before sending him out in fourth place.

The first event of the WSOP Asia Pacific has garnered major attention from global poker enthusiasts and local media outlets, fascinated by the biggest and most prestigious poker tournament taking place on their shores. There will be very little rest for those participating in the WSOP APAC, with the $1,650 Pot Limit Omaha tournament beginning tomorrow afternoon at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

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