Zhihao Zhang wins Red Dragon Main Event; Bin Sun wins Super High Roller, Liuheng Dai takes High Roller trophy

Red Dragon Jeju 2019 has provided one of the highlights of the Asian poker calendar in recent years, with the Red Dragon Main Event being one of the most coveted titles on the circuit. Here is all the latest from this year’s edition, included the all-important Main Event champion.

KRW2,500,000 Red Dragon Main Event – Winner: Zhihao Zhang

Red Dragon Main Event winner Zhihao Zhang – Photo by PokerStars

The festival’s crowning event, the Red Dragon Main Event, began with 869 entries. Each of them paid KRW2,500,000 (US$2,148) to take part in the event, creating a prize pool of KRW1,896,592,500 (US$1,626,470). This comfortably exceeded the guarantee of KRW1,000,000,000 and created the biggest field in Korean poker history. The previous record of 613 was set at the Red Dragon Main Event in 2018.

The numbers for the three day 1 starting flights are as follows:

  • Day 1a – 252
  • Day 1b – 444
  • Day 1c – 173

With the start of day 2 commencing, Canlin Chen led the way with 238,000 chips. Only 302 survivors remained from the record-breaking starting field, and by the end of the second day that number had been cut to 36. Shenming Yin had taken control at the top of the chip counts with 2,785,000 in chips.

The third day saw China’s Zhihao Zhang storm into an overwhelming lead, accumulating 11,750,000 in chips, with his nearest challenger being Xin He with 2,450,000. The final table did not spring any surprises as far as the eventual winner was concerned, with Zhang’s dominance continuing. By the time the action got heads up, just Zhang and Taiwan’s Ting Yi Tsai remained. The pair quickly struck a deal for the money before getting the chips in a few hands later. Tsai held top pair, while Zhang had turned a straight to lock up the victory.

The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Zhihao Zhang (China) – KRW345,370,000 (US$296,779)
2nd – Ting Yi Tsai (Taiwan) – KRW290,000,000
3rd – Cangsheng Ni (China) – KRW146,986,000
4th – Xin He (China) – KRW108,106,000
5th – Yifan Cao (China) – KRW73,019,000
6th– Rongshan Li (China) – KRW53,294,000
7th – Dapeng Wang (China) – KRW43,622,000
8th – Zhenhua Lu (China) – KRW37,932,000
9th – Wenyan Liu (China) – KRW32,242,000

KRW10,000,000 Super High Roller – Winner: Bin Sun

Super High Roller winner Bin Sun – Photo by PokerStars

The Super High Roller carried the highest buy in of the festival, commanding a KRW10,000,000 (US$8,593) buy in and bringing together a field of 91 entries. This helped the prize pool to reach KRW829,738,000 (US$712,035). 47 players returned for day 2, with late re-entry allowing a further 16 players to enter. By the end of the second day, a champion had been crowned.

After thirteen hours of play, the field had been reduced to just two.  The elimination of Sun Guodong was the moment the title swung towards Bin Sun, as he almost doubled his stack to claim a comfortable chiplead. Sun then took down Fei Xiong in 4th to extend his lead, eventually reaching heads up play with a near 3 to 1 advantage.  Chinese pair Bin Sun and Yake Wu were the final survivors, and despite holding the lead at the start of play, it was not plain sailing for Sun.

Wu clawed back some chips before doubling into the chiplead when his Qh 10h was looked up by the 9h 10d of Sun. Shortly after though, Wu gave all those chips back and more, when he was caught out trying to pick up the pot with 10x 6x and called by the pocket sevens of Sun. The match ended not long after that, with Wu’s Qx 6x unable to find help against the Ax 8x of Sun.

The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Bin Sun (China) – KRW220,295,000 (US$189,301)
2nd – Yake Wu (China) – KRW153,087,000
3rd – Zhiqiang Qian (China) – KRW101,228,000
4th – Fei Xiong (China) – KRW79,240,000
5th – Sun Guodong (China) – KRW63,890,000
6th – Nan Hong (China) – KRW49,784,000
7th – Szymon Wysocki (Poland) – KRW39,413,000
8th – Jamie Lee (United States) – KRW30,700,000
9th – Lei Yu (China) – KRW23,233,000

KRW5,000,000 High Roller – Winner: Liuheng Dai

High Roller winner Liuheng Dai – Photo by PokerStars

The KRW5,000,000 (US$4,297) High Roller saw 155 runners jump into the action, with the buy ins accumulating to form a total prize pool of KRW684,093,000 (US$587,847). The first day ended with just 96 runners remaining, and by the time the second day had concluded, only the High Roller champion was left standing.

The final table convened with Japan’s Kazuhiko Yotsushika holding a strong lead with 2,405,000 chips. He had more than twice the chips of his nearest competitor, Bin Sun. Once the cards ad hit the air though, things soon began to unravel. Bin Sun seized the lead halfway through the final table when Yotsushika bluffed off half of his stack, and the former chipleader continued his downward spiral by bluffing off the rest a few hands later. After Yotsushika had busted in 6th, Liuheng Dai began moving his stack in the right direction, and was soon among the bigger stacks. Three players then busted in quick succession to bring the action heads up.

Yang Zhang began with a near 3 to 1 chiplead, but Dai soon turned the match on its head by spiking a flush against the flopped two pair of Zhang. Dai’s fortunes continued to hold firm as he was eventually able to get the rest of Zhang’s chips in, only to find his pocket threes dominated by the pocket tens of his opponent. The turn delivered a three of clubs however, and the match was over.

The final payouts are as follows:
1st – Liuheng Dai (China) – ₩159,052,000 (US$137,270)
2nd – Yang Zhang (China) – ₩107,745,000
3rd – Feng Chen (China) – ₩71,830,000
4th – Bin Wang (China) – ₩58,832,000
5th – Bin Sun (China) – ₩47,202,000
6th – Kazuhiko Yotsushika (Japan) – ₩36,599,000
7th – Duc Trung Vu (Vietnam) – ₩27,090,000
8th – Lei Yu (China) – ₩19,907,000
9th – Bawoo Yun (United States) – ₩15,871,000

Other events

Event 3 – KRW500,000 (US$430) NLH
Entries: 72
Prize Pool: KRW31,428,000 (US$27,006)
Winner: Xianchao Shen – KRW10,371,000 (US$8,912)

Event 6 – KRW1,000,000 (US$859) NLH
Entries: 50
Prize Pool: KRW43,650,000 (US$37,509)
Winner: Yake Wu – KRW14,403,000 (US$12,377)

Event 7 – KRW5,000,000 (US$4,297) NLH High Roller
Entries: 32
Prize Pool: KRW141,232,000 (US$121,362)
Winner: Ben Lai – KRW48,018,000 (US$41,262)

Event 9 – KRW1,000,000 (US$860) NLH Knockout
Entries: 221
Prize Pool: KRW148,733,000 (US$127,808)
Winner: Jizhong Wang – KRW36,440,000 (US$31,313)

Event 11 – KRW500,000 (US$430)
Entries: 164
Prize Pool: KRW71,586,000 (US$61,514)
Winner: Hui Rao – KRW18,253,000 (US$15,685)

Event 12 – KRW1,500,000 (US$1,289) Baby Dragon NLH
Entries: 593
Prize Pool: KRW776,534,000 (US$667,282)
Winner: Xiang Liu – KRW142,946,000 (US$122,835)

Event 14 – KRW1,000,000 (US$860) Red Dragon Anniversary
Entries: 189
Prize Pool: KRW164,997,000 (US$141,783)
Winner: Nengyue Chen – KRW41,250,000 (US$35,446)

Event 16 – KRW500,000 (US$430) NLH
Entries: 76
Prize Pool: KRW33,174,000 (US$28,507)
Winner: Zhibin Zhang – KRW8,958,000 (US$7,698)

Event 17 – KRW500,000 (US$430) NLH
Entries: 29
Prize Pool: KRW12,659,000 (US$10,878)
Winner: Shaoming Li – KRW5,443,000 (US$4,677)

Event 18 – KRW1,500,000 (US$1,289) NLH
Entries: 70
Prize Pool: KRW56,665,000 (US$48,693)
Winner: Jiayi Jin – KRW18,699,000 (US$16,068)

Article by Craig Bradshaw