Days ago, the inaugural WSOP China wrapped up a very successful ten-day festival that ran from December 13 – 22 at the Shangri-La Resort & Spa in Sanya, Hainan Island. In partnership with Tencent – Asia’s largest technological firm – the Main Event stormed in with an enormous 781 players each one looking to seize the biggest portion of the CNY 16,000,000 (US$2.4M) guaranteed prize pool and of course the coveted gold strap. All of the players qualified through the Tencent Poker app with satellites running for months leading up to the event.
With a field that size, expectedly there many Chinese pros in attendance; joining them were two international celebrities, Chris Moneymaker and Bertand “Elky” Grospellier. Between the two, it was the Frenchman Elky who thrilled all the players with his impressive run. Elky closed Day 2 as the chip leader with 249 players remaining out of the 555 that began then did the same on Day 3 with the field down to 119 players. He eventually finished in the money in 75th place for CNY 29,400.
If Elky was the king on two of those freezeout days, Zhang Ming Shi ruled the next two taking the chip lead at the end of Day 4 with 45 remaining and at Day 5 with 15 players left. He finished in 10th place and earned CNY 129,000. Also claiming a piece of the large pie was Chinese pro Guo Dong with his 23rd place finish and Zhao Dong falling right after in 22nd place. Both players earned CNY 67,200.
Despite the deep runs of decorated players, the player that took all the glory was Yunpeng Zhou. Zhou powered through at the six-handed final table and eliminated three of his opponents to win the CNY 2,414,000 (~US$367,000) first prize. This was nothing short of a huge moment for Zhou who not only won his first major international title but most especially, he made history by claiming the first-ever WSOP gold bracelet awarded in China.
Final Table payouts
1st Yunpeng Zhou – CNY 2,414,000
2nd Rong Long – CNY 1,492,300
3rd Jianbin Zhang – CNY 1,041,700
4th Xianglai Li – CNY 738,100
5th Xin Wu – CNY 530,800
6th Cang Seng Ni – CNY 387,600
This concluded the inaugural WSOP China, the first event of the 10-year relationship between WSOP and Tencent. With a very successful turnout, this clearly exemplified how vibrant poker has become in China.