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Richard Lee Wins World Poker Tour Australia Main Event On The Gold Coast

26-Year-Old From Southern California Takes Home First WPT Title And More Than $550,000 After Topping The 600-Entry Field


Richard Lee – Photo Credit: World Poker Tour

Richard Lee won the top prize at the World Poker Tour Australia main event on Sept. 27 at The Star Gold Coast on the eastern shores of the island continent. The 26-year-old from Los Angeles, California joined the WPT Champions Club with his first main tour title, and the top prize worth $550,267. Lee also secured a seat in the WPT World Championship in December at Wynn Las Vegas. Lee is primarily a cash-game player, so this was the largest cash of his tournament poker career by a wide margin.

“I don’t think it will ever sink in,” said Lee to Lynn Gilmartin from the WPT after the win. He continued, “I think I was really fortunate to have a really good seat, two of the better players were to my right so I didn’t really face any bullying. For the most part, it was as smooth as it could have gotten.”

Lee was at the tail end of a two-month trip in the land down under when he made the decision to hop into the main event. His making the final table even complicated things with his flight home. “I was like, ‘If I [final table] this, I might as well cancel my flight.’ But I missed my flight today. Played it. Shipped it. So I’m glad the flight didn’t go to waste,” said Lee when he was asked about his travel conundrum on the final day of the tournament.

This was Lee’s second final table of the trip, having previously finished fifth in an APL Million event for another $33,080. These two scores in Australia saw Lee earn a total of 2,205 Card Player Player of the Year points, enough to move him into 124th place in the 2023 POY standings presented by Global Poker.

The $8,000 AUD buy-in no-limit hold’em main event attracted a nice even number of 600 entries, and that put the total prize pool at $2,896,519. A min-cash of $5,388 was waiting for the top 76 players in the tournament. After two starting flights there were 227 players remaining, and they had three days to play down to the final table.

The money bubble burst just at the end of Day 2 with 73 bagging up at the end of play. Day 3 saw the field shrink down to 24, and Day 4 had the final table of six set with Lee in the middle of the pack for chips.

Lee got in on the action at the final table when he took out Romain Morvan in fifth place to keep pace with his remaining opponents, and scored another windfall when he doubled up to take the chip lead in the largest hand of the tournament up to that point. Lee kept his momentum rolling when he knocked out Gary Lin in fourth place.

Martin Kozlov was able to get a little bit of a foothold after eliminating Nino Marotta in third place, but he still faced a chip disadvantage greater than 2.5:1 against Lee’s dominant stack. It took just half a dozen hands before it was all over. Kozlov called all in with QHeart SuitJDiamond Suit preflop, and Lee had him covered holding AClub Suit10Spade Suit. The final board came no higher than a 6Club Suit, and Kozlov was eliminated in second place, taking home $360,224 to put his career earnings on the doorstep of $3.2 million.

Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points
1 Richard Lee $550,267 1,680
2 Martin Kozlov $360,224 1,400
3 Nino Marotta $266,398 1,120
4 Gary Lin $198,572 840
5 Romain Morvan $149,795 700
6 Ken Demlakian $114,294 560
7 Yuto Suzuki $88,030 420
8 Hirokazu Kobayashi $68,692 280
9 Peter Lin $54,261 140

The next stop on the WPT schedule will take the tour back to the United States for the WPT bestbet Scramble at bestbet Jacksonville in Florida. The whole tournament series runs Oct. 26 – Nov. 14, and you can read a full preview for the event right here.