The 11-day PokerStars Championship Macau festival came and went with 31 total champions awarded the coveted first trophies of the new series to hit Macau. There were many well known pros in attendance, especially at the Main Event and the High Roller events. Here is a rundown of the stories of all those big winners.
A marathon heads up sees Elliot Smith capture the Main Event
Elliot Smith and Tianyuang Tang went on a crazy heads up marathon and after 11-hours of seesawing back and forth, it was the Canadian pro who was able to cross the finish line and capture the first PokerStars Championship Macau Main Event title plus HKD$2,877,500 (US$370,246) in earnings.
The highly anticipated tournament took off with a total of 536 gunners, everyone ponying up HK$42,400 entry fee for a HK$20,769,800 (US$2,672,951.71) prize pool. There were many top pros and PokerStars ambassadors from all around the globe who came in for the battle (warning: the list is impressively long) such as Celina Lin, Bertrand Grospellier “ElkY”, Aditya Agarwal, Chris Moneymaker, Felipe Ramos, Randy Lew “Nanonoko”, John Juanda, Steve O’Dwyer, Billy Argyros “the croc”, Daniel Dvoress, Sam Greenwood, Maria Ho, Philipp Gruissem, and the roster continues, however these set of notables would not make the cut into the money round.
The cash began to distribute at 103 players with notables David Peters, Fabrice Soulier, Artem Metaldi, Winfred Yu, Sergio Aido, Michael Abecassis, Erik Billgren, Manig Loeser, Chen Lin, Morten Mortensen, Kwok Chun Lai, Soo Jo Kim, Kahle Burns, Bryan Diwei Huang, Yohwan Lim, KristiJonas Andrulis, Kiryl Radzivonau, Pakinai Lisawad, Julius Malzanini, and Guo Dong all getting a piece. The entry flight chip leaders Zigao Yu (Day 1a) and Joachim Bold (Day 1b) also got a share, along with Yan Li (7th) who bubbled to the final table of six.
Final Table Action
The final six showdown saw Smith and Tang as the frontrunners backed by massive chip stacks against the rest. While, in many cases, short stacks tend to quickly double up and get back in the fight, this final table was quite the opposite. Within minutes of the first deal, Tang took the lead by eliminating the shortest stacked player, Pete Yen Han Chen in 6th place.
Smith took down the next player, Aymon Hata in 4th place, and challenged back for the chip lead. But Tang continued to climb. He cracked Avraham Oziel’s aces with his pocket sevens that landed a lucky set on the board. Oziel impressively won his seat through a Spin & Go qualifier online which makes his 4th place finish a very profitable achievement. At three-handed, Daniel Laidlaw was well dominated in chips and it was only a matter of time when he fell in 3rd place at the hands of Smith.
Marathon Heads up round
The heads up began with Tang having a slight edge in chips over Smith. As expected, the players discussed a deal and one was reached with both players splitting the remaining pot with US$300K and the trophy set aside for the ultimate champion. Then the marathon battle began.
Tang came out firing and won several pots to increase his lead further. Smith attacked back and reclaimed it with his big river bet raise on a board showing 9s-8c-8s-9c-8d to which Tang opted to fold. But losing that big pot seemed to be no problem for Tang who grinded back up to retake the lead once again.
At one point, Tang pulled away with a two-thirds of the chips in his corner, but Smith proved resilient and shaved some of it off to bring him back to where they started the final duel. It went on this way for several long hours, neck and neck, back and forth exchanging the lead, and sometimes practically evening up. It was quite the grind for both sides.
Around the 260 hand range, Smith began to rise up and keep his momentum that by the time it crossed the 300 hand range, Tang was in need of luck on his side. That good fortune however would not come, instead, a crushing blow sent him to the rail in 2nd place. The final hand saw Tang all in with and Smith called with his . The board ran a dramatic giving Tang the dominating set, but the turn of and river , Smith captured the title with a nutty back door flush.
Final Table payouts
1st Elliot Smith – Canada – HK$2,877,500 – (US$370,246)
2nd Tianyuang Tang – China – HK$2,577,500 – (US$331,645)
3rd Daniel Laidlaw – Australia – HKD$1,724,000
4th Avraham Oziel – Canada – HK$1,280,000
5th Aymon Hata – UK – HK$950,000
6th Pete Yen Han Chen – Chinese Taipei – HK$705,000
Ka Kwan Lau bags the Pot Limit Omaha High Roller
Hong Kong national Ka Kwan Lau came out on top of the Pot Limit High Roller event with 36 players coughing up the HK$82,400 entry fee. With a prize pool of HK$2,793,600, Lau shipped in the lion share first prize of HKS$950,000 (US$122,249) after defeating Belarus pro Maksim Shuts at the heads up round. With this win, Lau crossed over US$1 million in live earnings.
The two-day event started with pro Sam Greenwood at the top of the ranks in the final day. He ran into some trouble with several players successfully stacking up and doubling up through him. He was eliminated in the bubble, following Martin Kozlov and Isaac Haxton who also made it into Day 2. On the money side, Brazil’s Felipe Ramos, the lone PokerStars pro representative, ran well, posting a 3rd place berth.
Oliver Weis wins the HK$206,000 Single Day High Roller II
Another big champion was Germany’s Oliver Weis who shipped in all the chips at the HK$206K Single Day High Roller II event. There were 38 entries colored with many notable players such as Steve O’Dwyer, JC Alvarado, Isaac Haxton, Devan Tang, Martin Kozlov, Mustapha Kanit, Dan Smith, Michael Addamo, and Dario Sammartino, but none of them would reach the dough. The hardest to fall was Nick Petrangelo who left one spot shy of a payout.
The most experienced player entering the heavy weighted money round was definitely legendary pro John Juanda whose run ended in 6th place. Zuo Wang was eliminated next in 5th place, Timothy Adams in 4th place, and Carlin Chen in 3rd place.
The heads up round saw Weis up against Belarus’s #1 live player, Mikita Badziouski. Weis held the lead coming into the showdown and took it down pretty quick winning two crushing hands. The final spread saw Weis with victorious against on a board of . Weis took home the HK$3,130,000 (US$402,827) first prize, which is his largest live score to date.
Big win for Sosia Jiang at the HK$103K High Roller
Up until her victory, female player Sosia Jiang, only posted four small cashes. Two months ago, she ran deep at the Baby Dragon event, clearly getting in some good practice before the PokerStars Championships Macau festival.
Kicking off the HK$103K High Roller event was a sweet 180 entry field with many well known players eager to get their hands on a piece of the HK$17,460,000 prize pool. After three days, some of those pros were successful such as Morten Mortensen, Martin Kozlov, Felipe Ramos, Daniel Dvoress, Manig Loeser, Xixiang Luo, Adrian Attenborough, Michael Addamo, and Dan Smith. Taking it even deeper for a 4th place berth was Nick Petrangelo and Troy Queensville in 3rd place.
The heads up round began with Jiang holding a commanding lead against India’s Raghav Bansal, and rightfully so as she was steam rolling and eliminated half the players at the final table. While Bansal put up a good fight, the victory was not his for the taking. Jiang was awarded the HK$3,870,000 (US$498,073) first place purse, her first ever six-digit score.
Article by Triccia David