Under The Lights: Winners in Australia and the UK!

  In the past month, the World Poker Tour has been all the way around the world, with huge stops in both Australia and the United Kingdom. But who triumphed on different sides of the globe, and who’s been catching cards Under the Lights?   Simon Brandstrom Takes the WPT UK Title for $330,000: By…

Matt Clark
Oct 24, 2019

In the past month, the World Poker Tour has been all the way around the world, with huge stops in both Australia and the United Kingdom. But who triumphed on different sides of the globe, and who’s been catching cards Under the Lights?
Simon Brandstrom Takes the WPT UK Title for $330,000:
Simon Brandstrom
By Paul Seaton
A huge call on the river gave Simon Brandstrom the WPT Main Event title and with it, a brand-new record on the World Poker Tour.

Brandstrom’s victory at the Dusk Till Dawn Casino in Nottingham not only won him $330,000, but also gave him the distinction of winning both a WPT Main Event and a WPTDeepStacks Event, which he claimed in Barcelona in April 2019. In fact, Brandstrom used some of his WPT Credits towards his buy-in for the $3,300-entry WPT UK Main Event.

A Dramatic Final Table

The final nine players reconvened in Robin Hood county to see who could grab the gold with plenty of big names still in the hunt. There were a trio of eliminations in a short space of time as Paul Jackson busted in ninth place and Leo Worthington-Leese were both busted by Ryan Mandara, who started the final table in fine form. After Manig Loeser lost out when his ace-queen couldn’t hold the lead against king-nine, just half a dozen players were still in with a chance of victory.

The WPT Festival in Nottingham had attracted players from all over the world, such as the WPT’s own Tony Dunst, who was loving life in England, if not his own luck in the Main Event!


If Tony Dunst was happy to be commentating on the action in the final, then the players involved couldn’t have been more entertaining for him and viewers worldwide who were glued to WPT Twitter.

It would be Paul Siddle who would be eliminated in sixth when his ace-queen couldn’t catch against pocket jacks, as the hand Doyle Brunson once called the hole cards that have cost him the most money proved just as unlucky for the WPT UK Main Event hopefuls.

It wasn’t long before Siddle was joined on the rail by the former MILLIONS UK champion Maria Lampropulos. She cashed for $98,500 but would feel frustrated that she got so close to another title at a casino that will always bring back happy memories.

Matt Eardley busted in fourth for $128,500 before James Rann exited in third place for $168,500, leaving Ryan Mandara to take on Brandstrom for the outright win. While Mandara has enjoyed much of the momentum at the final table, the tale of the final duel was quite different, as Brandstrom went all out for the win. In the seven hands played heads-up, Brandstrom won six of them to completely reverse the predicted outcome by many in the room.

The final hand saw Brandstrom flop top two, and when Mandara shoved on the river on what looked like a dangerous board, Brandstrom had a tough call to make to claim the win. In doing so, he won $330,000 and a seat into the $15,000-entry into the WPT Tournament of Champions next year. Ryan Mandara had to settle for a spectacular runner-up prize of $221,650.

Watch the full final table action here:


WPT UK Main Event 2019 Final Table Results:

Place Player Prize
1 Simon Brandstrom $330,000
2 Ryan Mandara $221,650
3 James Rann $168,500
4 Matthew Eardley $128,500
5 Maria Lampropulos $98,500
6 Paul Siddle $76,000
7 Manig Loeser $58,500
8 Leo Worthington-Leese $46,000
9 Paul Jackson $36,000


Hari Varma Rises Highest Down Under at WPT Australia


 With a total of 10 events, the WPT Australia festival was a huge success, and in the Main Event, it was Hari Varma’s tournament.

With the action taking place at The Star Gold Coast, a fortnight of poker action saw the drama culminate in a Main Event finale that attracted 658 entries, each player putting up a A$2,500 buy-in which contributed towards an incredible prize-pool of A$1,480,500.

With over 3,000 entries into the 10 events, the festival was a huge success overall, as homecoming queen and World Poker Tour anchor and proud Australian Lynn Gilmartin declared. There were many highlights brought to life on the WPT Instagram page, too!


 “This is an exciting time for Australian poker and a great reflection of how much the game is thriving Down Under,” she said, “The Star Gold Coast has an outstanding new poker space, supporting further growth in this skill game we love. It’s a real pleasure to work alongside this world-class organization!”

It may have been Hari Varma who walked away with the title and top prize of A$274,247, but everyone had a blast in Oz, as you can see from the WPT Instagram page, where the Gold Coast truly glittered.


 It was a fairytale victory for the humble Varma, who before the event where he won his first-six figure poker score, he had never won more than $6,684 in a poker event before, that result coming in last year’s Melbourne Poker Championship.

Plenty of big names took part, including 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem, who would finish 16th after losing a coinflip to eventual 6th-place player Luke Stewart. Another luminary who missed the biggest money was Australian cricket legend Shane Warne. The world-famous spin bowler was stumped in 12th place for a result of $15,428.


 Varma managed to bag the first elimination, but it was his eventual heads-up opponent, George Psarras who started to take control of proceedings. By the time Psarras busted Louis Yin in fourth place, he had the chip lead, but Varma pushed Colman out of the race when his trip eights saw the field reduced to just two players.

Heads-up saw Varma have a 2:1 chip lead, and just a few hands later, he had the title. All the chips went in with both players having turned trip threes. It was bad news from Psarras, whose nine kicker was topped by Varma’s queen. A queen on the river confirmed the Australian’s home country win, sealing a memorable festival.

 WPT Australia Main Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Prize Money Prize Money (USD)
1st Hari Varma A$274,247 $185,693
2nd George Psarras A$192,273 $130,188
3rd Julius Colman A$123,933 $83,915
4th Louis Yin A$90,207 $61,079
5th Travis Endersby A$69,139 $46,814
6th Luke Stewart A$55,326 $37,461
7th Chris Barker A$45,851 $31,046
8th Josh Emerton A$36,509 $24,720
9th Joshua Bell A$27,419 $18,565


Stay tuned to Under the Lights when we return later this month to bring you all the action from WPT Montreal and more!