As a live reporter, we talk to a lot of players in the Star Poker Room throughout the course of a tournament. One thing that we kept hearing this week over and over again was that Johan Lees was due for a big score.
He got that score today, where after six days, and a record field of 1,357 entrants in the Star Poker Room he would outlast them all winning the 2017 WSOP Sydney Opening Event, a Gold Ring and $105,416 in the process.
Players have constantly been telling us about the amount of work Lees has been putting into his game and how good he is getting. To his peers this result was a foregone conclusion. However, Lees is very modest.
“Nah, I just ran really well,” Lees told the Star Poker Live Reporting Team when asked about how well he has been playing.
“I just try to do my best in every situation. I got some good cards at the right time and was lucky to be able to take advantage of that.”
We agree with his peers though, Lees is modest, this was skill, not luck. Johan Lees plays a quality brand of poker. He came into the final table with a commanding chip lead after a very solid Day 2 of this tournament yesterday. He held more than half the chips in play by the time the cards went in the air this afternoon, this tournament was his to lose.
This takes nothing away from Velcic who came in with a completely different task in front of him. He came to the table with a relative short stack and worked his way through the field using well timed aggression to eliminate several key players from this final table and to actually hold the chip lead by the time we went heads up.
The heads up battle was a different affair though, with Lees chipping away at Velcic every single hand. He was like a bull at the gates, 3-betting and 4-betting with impunity until he not only reduced the chip lead Velcic had built but overcame it. The final hand was a beautifully played one where Lees was able to get Velcic to commit his entire stack on the river when Lees held for a rivered straight. It was a fitting end to a comprehensive heads up performance.
It also got Lees a new nickname. “We are gonna call you Mr Three-Five offsuit from now on,” Good friend and fellow player Jesse Mason yelled out to Lees.
“You know what, I am pretty happy with that.” Lees replied.
For $105,416 and a highly sought after WSOP Circuit Gold Ring, why wouldn’t you be.