Sam Dessaix-Porter is the second Wollongong poker player in as many years to win the prestigious APL Million tournament at the Star Poker Festival in Sydney.
The 25-year-old beat out a field of 1041 players to be crowned main event champion on Monday night and take home $247,500 in cash and a $8000 Jackstar APL WSOP Monster Stack Package.
Like the 2017 champion Branko Usljebrka, Dessaix-Porter didn’t have to pay the $1500 buy-in, securing his berth after winning an APL Illawarra regional final.
“It was a pretty crazy journey. I hadn’t been playing much in the months leading up to the event but managed to get a bit of practice just before it started,” Dessaix-Porter said.
“I was just looking to have a good game and kept my head down and one by one players just dropped off and the next minute you find yourself with 50 people left and then 30, 20, 10 and suddenly it’s the final table.”
But the dream run to victory almost came crushing down when Dessaix-Porter got really sick a couple of days before Day 2 action.
It’s definitely my biggest win of my career. It’s something I’ll always remember for sure.Sam Dessaix-Porter
“I started coming down with the flu and when I woke up Friday morning I couldn’t move, I had fever and aches and I couldn’t get out of bed,” he said.
“I slept all day and slept all night and took a bunch of medicine and fortunately was able to play and progressively got better.”
He then quickly built up a huge chip stack which he held on right through to the final table.
“I held the lead down to three-handed but then I got knocked down a bit before recovering thanks to a couple of key hands,” he said.
“It’s definitely my biggest win of my career. It’s something I’ll always remember for sure.”
The win was “even sweeter” for the University of Wollongong student as his parents were in the house to watch him play on the final table.
“I flew them down especially for it. My brother and sister also got the train to come and watch. It was great having them there,” he said.
Resting up on Tuesday following the gruelling four-day tournament, Dessaix-Porter told the Mercury he planned on enjoying his win before finishing off the final semester of his double degree in Media and Communications/Arts majoring in Marketing and Philosophy.
“I’m a bit of an old man when it comes to material things. I might buy a $70 pair of headphones but I don’t have any big items that I’ll rush out and buy,” he said.
“But once uni is over in June I’ll use the Vegas package [part of winnings] and kick-start my travelling and maybe play a few events overseas and see how I do.”