It was another highly successful Macau Poker Cup that passed with players from all over the world converged at PokerStars Live Macau for the 28th installment of the series. Throughout the 17 days of festivities that ran from January 26 – February 11, it was the Chinese players that dominated the tables both in numbers and in winnings. One of their own, Alvan Yifan Zheng, captured the most coveted title of all, the Red Dragon.
Before the festival wrapped up, two other players earned hefty rewards as well. Belarusian pro Mikita Badziakouski for his victory at the HK$80,000 High Roller event and Indonesia’s Sandhy Rafael Sitepu at the HK$25K NLH. All three players – Zheng, Badziakouski, Sitepu – were also awarded the exclusive PokerStars Player’s No Limit Hold’em Platinum Pass worth US$30,000. The first player to earn the pass at the series was Baby Dragon champion Siyou Cao. Each of them have earned a trip to the Bahamas in January 2019 including a 25K Main Event buy-in, six nights accommodation, and US$2,000 in travel and on-site expenses.
Here’s a recap on those final events of the series.
Alvan Yifan Zheng captures the Red Dragon
Despite the rarity of freezeout tournaments in Asia, the Red Dragon Main Event continues to be the most sought after title in the region. Each installment has attracted large fields, easily surpassing some of the biggest re-entry Main Events offered by other tours. To every victor comes the iconic and most cherished Red Dragon trophy.
For this series, there were 1,122 players hunting down the coveted title and at HK$15,000 each, the event amassed a prize pool of HK$14,692,590 well-exceeding the advertised HK$10M guarantee. Emerging victorious was China’s Alvan Yifan Zheng defeating fellow countryman Junhao Hong at the final heads up round. This incredible achievement earned Zheng the largest score of his live tournament career totalling HK$3,055,000 (~US$390,700). He now crossed into the seven-digit marker with over US$1.1 million in earnings. This also moved him up the ranking in China’s All Time Money List.
Also picking up winnings at the Red Dragon were Eugene Co (14th), Chen An Lin (16th), Raiden Kan (27th), Juicy Sixiao Li (28th), Jack En-Ching Wu (68th), Aditya Agarwal (116th), Henrik Tollefsen (127th), and Mike Takayama (128th).
Red Dragon Final Table payouts
1st Alvan Yifan Zheng – China – HK$3,055,000 (~US$390,700) + Platinum Pass
2nd Junhao Hong – China – HK$1,824,000
3rd Jiang Ho Huang – Singapore – HK$1,094,000
4th Zhenhua Lu – China – HK$800,000
5th Aleksei Opalikhin – Russia – HK$540,000
6th Dongqi Lin – China – HK$394,000
7th Minho Lee – Korea – HK$336,000
8th Zhou Tong – China – HK$292,000
9th Jiming Chen – China – HK$248,000
Mikita Badziakouski wins the High Roller
One of the last events of the festival was the High Roller (Shot Clock) event with a steep entry fee of HK$80,000. Naturally, this separated the elite from the masses. Claiming the title was Belarus’s #1 ranked player Mikita Badziakouski.
Badziakouski has been running deep at the high roller circuit for the past two years with numerous six-digit scores along the way. His single largest payout was earned at the 2017 WSOP Europe €111,111 No Limit Hold’em High Roller for One Drop taking home €1,521,312, for his first seven-figures.
The High Rollers event rounded up a star-studded 124 entries for a healthy prize pool of HK$9,235,520. Interestingly, this was only one of two events in the MPC 28 schedule that didn’t see a player from China in the top 5 of the payouts.
Pros Elliot Smith (3rd), Raghav Bansal (4th), Martin Kozlov (9th), and Dong Guo (16th) all got a piece of the pie however missing the mark were Ari Engel, Michael Addamo, Xixiang Luo, Chen An Lin, Daniel Laidlaw, Sergio Aido, Michael Gathy, Quan Zhou, and Sparrow Cheung. Hitting the rail in the unfortunate bubble position was JC Alvarado.
High Roller Final Table payouts
1st Mikita Badziakouski – Belarus – HK$2,324,000 (~US$297,000) + Platinum Pass
2nd Raul Martinez – Spain – HK$1,570,000
3rd Elliot Smith – Canada – HK$1,021,000
4th Raghav Bansal – India – HK$845,000
5th Matthew Moss – UK – HK$682,000
6th Dasheng Chen – China – HK$538,000
7th Ben Lai – Hong Kong – HK$411,020
8th Masaki Nakano – Japan – HK$309,000
9th Martin Kozlov – Australia – HK$231,000
Sandhy Rafael Sitepu earns first-ever career title at the HK$25K NLH
The HK$25,000 NLH crushed the 3 million advertised guarantee with the event seeing 278 entries on board. This produced another juicy prize pool for the series to the tune of HK$6,202180 (US$793,000). Top 32 places earned a cut with the largest portion awarded to Indonesian player Sandhy Rafael Sitepu totaling HK$1,219,000 (~US$155,900). Impressively, this was Sitepu’s only second ever live tournament career score with the first one at the Red Dragon last year where he finished 122nd. For his efforts, he also climbed up to 3rd rank in Indonesia’s All Time Money List.
Final Table payouts
1st Sandhy Rafael Sitepu – Indonesia – HK$1,219,000 (~US$155,900) + Platinum Pass
2nd Dong Chen – China – HK$1,200,000
3rd Song Wan – China – HK$605,000
4th Di Lu – China – HK$481,000
5th Ping Lin – China – HK$363,000
6th Tokuho Yoshinaga – HK$294,080
7th Dilijiang A – China – HK$232,000
8th Marcus Lau – Malaysia – HK$ 186,000
9th Toshimitsu Kamei – Japan – HK$149,000
Article by Triccia David