Longtime poker pro Angel Guillen battled back from a three-to-one heads-up chip deficit against Australian poker legend Joe Hachem to take down the WPT Prime Gold Coast $5K Challenge and walk with the $182,594 AUD ($123,139 USD) first-place prize.
According to Poker Media Australia, it was a thrilling two-hour back-and-forth match between a pair of poker heavyweights that saw the chip lead change hands six times and lasted until after midnight local time. Hachem, a WPT Champions Club member, Australian Poker Hall of Famer, and the 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion, also booked a six-figure score of his own as the runner-up, adding $114,981 AUD to his lifetime tournament total of more than $12 million.
For Guillen, the victory stands as the fourth-largest score of his career. It was also his first recorded outright victory in nearly 10 years, dating back to when he took down a LAPT High Roller back in June 2013 for more than $35,000. With this score, Guillen moves into second-place on Mexico’s All-Time Money list with lifetime total tournament cashes just shy of $2.25 million.
While he is from Mexico, Guillen is a long-time resident of Australia and also the husband of WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin. Typically, Gilmartin would be on hand for this event, however, she was in Melbourne working on the upcoming film Sleeping Dogs (along with Russell Crowe and Karen Gillan) when Guillen took it down.
After his victory, Guillen spoke about the support he receives from her as well as his friends and family.
“Lynn just called me, she’s so happy,” Guillen told Poker Media Australia. “It always feels like she’s here, even if she’s not. I also had Lynn’s parents here, and my friends. I didn’t feel like she mad missed this at all.”
The two-day $5K Challenge impressed event organizers with 139 entries – 106 of which were unique players. The field included some of the local elite players including defending champion Gavin Best, Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros, and Anthony Hachem (Joe’s son) – the latter finishing Day 1 as the chip leader. The turnout provides plenty of optimism ahead of the WPT Prime Gold Coast $1,500 AUD Main Event and the chance that this year will outpace last year’s field of 896 runners, from which Yang Lei took home the WPT Prime Trophy and the $152,710 AUD first-place prize.
The WPT Prime Gold Coast Main Event gets underway on March 2.