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Amateur poker player lives the dream

Written by Ben Blaschke

An amateur from Wollongong, about 90 minutes south of Sydney, has lived out every poker player’s dream by turning a free ticket into an AU$265,000 payday.

Branko Usljebrka won his way through to last week’s APL Millions Main Event at The Star by first reaching the final table of a free local Australian Poker League (APL) event, then winning his regional final to claim a ticket to Sydney worth AU$1,500.

From there he proceeded to beat a massive field of 1,164 players – including some of Australia’s most esteemed professional players – to claim the top prize.

“I am shocked! I can’t believe it. I never thought that this would happen,” Usljebrka said afterwards. “I normally play low buy-in tournaments. To come here and play in an event with such a big entry fee and so many great players and be able to win is amazing.

“The biggest live tournament I had played before this had a AU$100 buy in. I have played some other stuff online but nothing like this live.”

Usljebrka now hopes to capitalize further on his success.

“I will try to play some bigger poker tournaments now and I will put the money in the bank,” he said. “I think I might party a little bit too!”