Sometimes final tables are over in a flash. That was not this final table. Other times they take a standard seven to eight hours. That was not this final table. No, this final table was different, with a long and grueling 12 hour roller coaster ride seeing Rui Chen eventually emerge as the 2012 Macau Poker Cup Main Event Champion.
It was no easy ride for Chen to get where he stands today, with plenty of ups and downs ensuring that it was a bumpy road from start to finish. Some would argue that he was running too good to lose, with pocket aces becoming a staple of Chen's arsenal. Not only did Chen find pocket aces on the last hand of Day 3 to deal a double elimination and usher in the final table, he also picked them up on the second hand of the final table, eliminating Australia's Robert Streatfield in 9th place along the way.
Despite managing to find big hands at the right moments, there were still eight players standing in Chen's way and they didn't make it easy for him. Despite how long the final table ended up taking, the eliminations were flying fast during the first couple of levels. Following Streatfeild's elimination at the hands of the eventual champion, Ryan Hong would join him on the rail in 8th place. Hong, who also hails from Australia, saw his tournament come to an end when his pocket eights ran into Yosuke Sekiya's pocket tens.
The pace of eliminations continued at a solid pace from here, with Lisi Wei and Jessica Ngu both joining the rail in quick succession. First it was Wei out in 7th place, with her stack going in the middle holding T♦8♠ on a 9♣4♠8♦ flop. Wei's opponent was Chen, who was in front with K♠9♣, and Wei couldn't manage to improve on the turn or river. Next it was Wei's fellow lady who was eliminated in 6th place. Ngu's last hand saw her holding A♠J♣, which was not in good shape against Chen's A♥K♠. The A♦6♣T♥2♦A♠ board would mean the 2012 MPCC Main Event would not have a lady champion, with Ngu being sent home in 6th place for a HK$241,000 score.
With only five players remaining, the pace didn't look like it was going to slow down, with the fifth elimination of the day coming within the first three hours of play. The player who was eliminated in 5th place was Kevin Kung. His demise came when he held A♠K♣ all in preflop against Wenlong Jin's J♦T♦. A jack was dealt on the river and only four players remained and it would remain that way for a very long time.
Jin, who started the day with second lowest chip stack, was now in the top four and guaranteed HK$361,500 in prize money, but he would do even better than that. Jin would watch on as Sunny Jung fell to the might of Yosuke Sekiya. Up until this point Jung had been the player keeping the action alive, but an all-in shove with pocket fours couldn't survive against Sekiya's A♥K♥ when a king was dealt on the flop.
It had taken more than two hours of four-handed play to get there, but eventually just three remained and at this point Chen was still the chip leader. However, for the first time since late on Day 3, Chen would lose the chip lead, before claiming it back as he watched Sekiya eliminate Jin in 3rd place. Jin had to deal with the cruel beast that is poker, first managing to catch a pair when he was all in holding K♣8♥ against Sekiya's A♠9♦, but then feeling the sting of a nine on the river.
Perhaps the biggest story going into heads-up play was that regardless of whether or not Sekiya managed to beat Chen, he would move ahead of Nicky Tao Jin on the Asia Player of the Year leader board. That surely wasn't on Sekiya's mind though as he had his eye on the prize, doing everything he could do to send Chen to the rail.
Heads-up began with Chen having a two-to-three lead and he would see that lead force Sekiya to put his tournament life at risk holding 9♠8♦ against Chen's 8♠8♦. By the time a K♣5♣K♦T♦ board had run at to the turn, it was bleak times for Sekiya, but this is when things got interesting. At this point Sekiya had a built a rail consisting of some familiar faces of Japanese poker and they were screaming for a nine like no other rail we had heard before. At one point we thought prominent Japanese poker player Hirotoshi Nakabo was going to blow a vein, with his voice surely echoing throughout Macau. The cries for a nine must have been heard by someone, with a 9♣ landing on the river to keep Sekiya alive and still in contention.
It had again been more than two hours since a player had been eliminated and again it looked like we could have our champion when Sekiya got all his chips in holding T♦8♦ against Chen's K♥T♥. Yet once more the poker gods would stand in the way of the night ending as a 6♣A♣9♥8♥A♠ board ensured that heads-up would continue to tick on into the early hours of Monday morning.
As is always true of poker tournaments though, it couldn't go on forever and so the final hand of the 2012 Macau Poker Cup Championship would be dealt. Despite the best efforts of Sekiya's rail, his K♠J♣ couldn't come from behind to beat Chen's K♣Q♣ as the 2♦T♠6♥4♠8♦ board ensured that a champion was crowned
Despite Sekiya's best efforts he couldn't overcome Chen, who's unwavering confidence took him all the way to claiming the victory, all the glory and the HK$1,108,500 first-place prize.
"I was confident and always thought I would win" said Chen following his victory. And win he did! Bravo sir, bravo.
2012 MPCC Final Table Results
1st: Rui Chen - HK$1,108,500
2nd: Yosuke Sekiya - HK$759,000
3rd: Wenlong Jin - HK$458,000
4th: Sunny Jung - HK$361,500
5th: Kevin Kung - HK$289,160
6th: Jessica Ngu - HK$241,000
7th: Lisi Wei - HK$193,000
8th: Ryan Hong - HK$144,500
9th: Robert Streatfeild - HK$120,500
That concludes our coverage of the 2012 Macau Poker Cup Championship. Many thanks to Danny McDonagh, Fred Leung and all the team at PokerStars Macau for another fantastic event. The Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex was a great host this week and we look forward to returning here from October 26th - November 11th for the APPT Macau: Asia Championship of Poker for the inaugural running of the ACOP Main Event. The HKD$100,000 buy-in event features a huge HK$10,000,000 guarantee which is the largest guarantee in the history of Asian poker.
Thanks for following along this past week and we look forward to your company next time. Goodnight and farewell from the bright lights of Macau!