After an initial cancellation, the Asia Poker League Road Series Kunming Festival in Yunnan Province, China, had eventually kicked off with a 2-day delay on 10th March 2019 to the relief of everyone involved.
All scheduled events were held in the same order as originally planned and the postponement did not seem to dampen the excitement of players in the region as there were 1043 entries for the CNY 5,500 (USD 820) Main Event across four starting days, creating a total prize pool of CNY 5,736,500 (USD 857,000).
Day 2 – Bubble Day
The remaining 130 players of the four Day 1s were combined on Day 2 and the bubble burst with Zhang Ze-Yu being the unlucky bubble boy. 113 players made it into the money for a min cash of CNY 7,700 (USD 1,150).
Day 3 – “Baby” shines
40 players returned to the Wilo Intelligent Transportation Hall to play down to the final table of 9. Amongst this crowd were still a few previous champions like Li Yan, Ji Xia-Qing, Kuan Yong-Bo and Yuan-Ye. Other notable players still in the race were Wang Jian-Feng, Sun Qing and Zhang Xiao-Jin (aka “Baby”).
“Baby” eliminated the unfortunate final table bubble boy Yuan-Ye by cracking his pocket kings with a set of sixes and advanced to the final day as the chip leader with almost 2 million in chips.
The Final Day
The all-Chinese final 9 returned on 16th March. Here is the seat draw for the fourth and last day of the main event.
Seat 1: YONG QIA FU
Seat 2: LI XIAO XIANG
Seat 3: GEN QI SONG
Seat 4: WANG KAI
Seat 5: XIAO YU CHENG
Seat 6: WANG JIAN FENG
Seat 7: ZHANG XIAO QIONG
Seat 8: YANG YUN
Seat 9: SUN QING
The previous day concluded with chip leader Zhang “Baby” Xiao-Jin’s fireworks and she was also the center of attention starting this day. “Baby” had run out of luck against the kings as it seems, losing twice in a row against KK and so becoming the short stack at the table. She finally got her last chips in the middle with JTo, which couldn’t hold against AK and she ended up being the first player eliminated on the final day, finishing 9th for CNY 91,000 (USD 13,600).
The heads-up battle was fought out between Yang Yun and Li Xiao-Xiang. The latter held a staggering 12:1 chiplead and could bring the tournament to a close by snapping off Yang Yun’s all-in bet with his pocket sevens. Yang rolled over J8 and the board with K256K brought no help to win this flip. He takes home a runner-up prize of CNY 591,800 (USD 88,400).
Li Xiao Xiang is hoping to remove the negative stigma by the public towards his poker profession. He said in the winner interview, “This is my moment, and this is the moment that keeps me move ahead my poker career […] I don’t care how people look at me […]. Now I really, really want to thank my wife. Without her support I couldn’t make it.“
Li’s wife will be happy about the title, the trophy, but especially about the CNY 868,200 (USD 129,700) first prize money.
Final Table results:
1 LI XIAO XIANG – CNY 868,200
2 YANG YUN – CNY 591,800
3 SUN QING – CNY 395,200
4 XIAO YU CHENG -CNY 295,900
5 WANG JIAN FENG – CNY 221,400
6 WANG KAI – CNY 179,600
7 GEN QI SONG – CNY 149,900
8 YONG QIN FU – CNY 127,000
9 ZHANG XIAO QIONG – CNY 91,000
The Main Event is over, but the festival continues
Although we have found our new Asia Poker League Champion the festival hasn’t came to the end. More updates to follow on Somuchpoker.