Jihao Chen Wins Record-Breaking Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Main Event

Poker Dream 9 Malaysia
Poker Dream 9 Malaysia – Photo by Poker Dream

A new attendance and prize money has been set at the Poker Dream 9 Malaysia stop in the fifth edition at Resorts World Genting Highlands. The event in cooperation with the Chinese live poker brand Top Joy Poker Tour (TJPT) came with sky-high expectations at the venue all the way up in the mountains overlooking Kuala Lumpur and it all paid off during the last few days.

Rex Cheong, CEO of Poker Dream, expressed his appreciation for the unwavering commitment of their players, staff, and partners.

Thanks to their dedication, Poker Dream 9 Malaysia not only crafted the largest prize pool in our history but also turned it into a resounding success. We are setting new benchmarks in the world of poker,” 

Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Sets New Heights

Poker Dream 9 Malaysia set new prize pool records in no fewer than eight tournaments, whether it be bargain buy-ins such as the Mini Main Event (RM 373,644), Monster Stack (RM 421,334), and Mystery Bounty (RM 313,795) or the highest of stakes in the Super High Roller (RM 4,685,100). The Super High Roller was also one of four tournaments to set a new attendance record with 175 total entries.

Poker Dream 9 Malaysia

The marquee Poker Dream 8 Main Event came with a staggering guarantee of RM 10.5 million showcased its usual three different buy-in levels. Ultimately, the ambitious target amount was not only reached but surpassed thanks to 2,096 total entries of which 1,713 originated from the standard buy-in. As a result, the Poker Dream 9 Main Event prize pool soared to RM 10,767,152 (~USD 2,268,000) and represents the biggest tally in terms of participation and prize money up for grabs for the rising live poker series in the Asia-Pacific region.

Across all starting days, a total of 239 players qualified and reached the money stages, some of which also took advantage of the Dream Bonus promotion as well for bagging up chips multiple times. Two contenders advanced from four different flights whereas as many participants bagged three times, and another ten players made it through twice in their respective Day 1s. This boosted the total bonuses paid out to an incredible RM 780,000 (~USD 164,000).

Day 2 then brought the field down to just 41 survivors with several big names coming up short of the penultimate tournament day. Natalie Teh earned RM 16,500 for 100th place whereas Jun Hao Wu made the next pay jump and bowed out in 92nd place. Vietnamese regular Teddy Pham received the same RM 19,100 for finishing in 75th place, while James Mendoza and Anil Adiani followed soon after for a payday of RM 22,400.

Zarvan Tumboli
Zarvan Tumboli – Photo by Poker Dream

Poker Dream 8 Main Event champion Zarvan Tumboli joined Adiani to the payout desk in 60th place, swiftly joined by Poker Dream 2 Main Event champion Minh Anh Nguyen in 57th. The final batch of Day 2 bustouts all earned RM 27,900 including Abhinav Iyer, Jingxiang Ong, Chin Wei Lim, Victor Chong, and Bryan Khoo.

On the penultimate day, more notables were sent to the payout desk such as Siarhei Chudapal, Terry Gonzaga, Alex Lee and Hon Cheong Lee. The latter bowed out in 24th place for RM 45,700 while Ngoc Anh Cao made the pay jump to RM 55,100 for his 21st place finish. Maurice Tan bowed out in 18th place for RM 65,000 and the UK’s Guy Taylor became the final casualty on Day 3 for a payday of RM 106,500 (~USD 22,400).

Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Main Event final table
Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Main Event final table

Once the nine-handed final table was set, just three local players still had the chance to keep the Main Event trophy on home soil. Arguably the most well-known of them was Michael Soyza, who currently sits in third list of the all-time money list of Malaysia on The Hendon Mob. Prior to this series, he had already accumulated more than $15.6 million in live MTT cashes with his fearless playing style.

Soyza entered the final table third in chips, only trailing Tao Chen from Australia and Jihao Chen from China, who held nearly two times as many chips as the rising Malaysian prodigy. However, he was among the early casualties and had to settle for seventh place, which came with a consolation prize of RM 235,500 (~USD 49,500).

Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Main Event heads up
Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Main Event Heads Up

Juns Leong, who had won a trophy during the series already, was then the last Malaysian player in contention and fell next in sixth place for RM 307,900 (~USD 64,780). The first spot on the podium belonged to Singapore’s Lyvin Toh, who collected RM 682,800 (~USD 132,300) for his efforts. From there, the pay jumps became even bigger and the aforementioned two chip leaders to start battled for the victory.

Jihao Chen wins Poker Dream 9 Malaysia Main Event
Jihao Chen – Photo by Poker Dream

Eventually, Jihao Chen came out on top for a huge top prize of RM 1,731,000 (∼USD 364,425) while runner-up Tao Chen had to settle for a still impressive RM 972,752 (∼USD 204,787). For both players, it was the far biggest reported live poker cash in their career to date.

Poker Dream has now set the sights on the next milestone, as the tenth edition awaits from April 29 to May 5, 2024, at the Hoiana Resort & Golf in the scenic village of Hoi An in Vietnam. This time, they will team up with the Lucky Poker Tour and the Main Event has a 20 Billion Vietnamese Dong guarantee (∼$800,000).


Poker Dream and Top Joy Poker Tour Tie-Up in Full Swing Above the Clouds of Kuala Lumpur


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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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