2014 ACOP Main Event: Gabriel Le Jossec stops Sunny Jung going back-to-back
It looked like it was Sunny Jung's destiny to win back-to-back ACOP Main Event titles.
Everything was going his way. He was sending all the players to the rail, winning all the chips and looking very comfortable while doing so.
But Canadian Gabriel Le Jossec had other ideas as after a more than 14-hour final day he would emerge triumphant over Jung to claim the HK$6,300,000 (~US$812,000) top prize and the 2014 ACOP title.
The clock ticked past 5:00 a.m. when we spoke to our champion. He was clearly very tired, yet also ecstatic. Perhaps more than anything, however, he was relieved.
"It was really hard," the weary Le Jossec said. "I had to get lucky. It feels amazing, I just tried to not make mistakes. I'm very happy."
"I'm just really tired."
Nothing like a gigantic amount of cash, a major poker title and a SLYDE wrist watch worth HK$60,000 to pep you up after a mammoth grind.
It was the reigning ACOP champion Sunny Jung who started the final table with the largest stack. It was never going to be easy for Jung to run over the table, however, considering the average stack during nine-handed play was around 80 big blinds.
The first half an hour of play would see two quick eliminations and so there was somewhat false hope that it would be a short day.
The first player eliminated was the start-of-day short stack Tore Lukashaugen.
It was actually just the third hand of the day that would see Lukashaugen get his chips all in preflop with 8♣8♥ and run into the A♣A♠ of Vladimir Troyanovskiy. No help came on the board and so Lukashaugen was sent to the rail in ninth place, collecting HK$675,000 (~US$88,000).
Just a couple of hands after Lukashaugen was eliminated and Raiden Kan would join him on the rail.
Kan, like Lukashaugen, was all in with pocket eights, but was in with a better shot at doubling up against Jung's A♣K♠. However, ace fell on the flop, and the river, to give Jung trip aces and enough to send Kan to the rail in eighth place.
Kan picked up HK$813,100 (~US$100,000) for that result, which is the second largest score of his career and brings his total tally to over US$500,000 in events at PokerStars LIVE Macau alone.
Following Kan's elimination there would a big lull in play.
In fact, it would take more than four hours to eliminate the next player.
But once those flood gates were open there would be three eliminations in a half an hour period.
The first of the three was Joseph Cheong.
Just minutes before being elimination, Cheong tweeted that he was getting itchy that he was missing the "juicy" high roller that was being played just a few tables away.
So when he hit top pair with K♠J♠ he was happy to get his chips all in against Jung and see what happens. What happened was that Jung had A♦A♥ for an overpair and with no improvement on his pair of kings, Cheong was sent home in seventh place, taking home HK$1,080,000 (~US$140,000).
True to form, Cheong jumped straight in the high roller.
Following Cheong's elimination it was Konstantin Pogodin who would hit the rail.
Pogodin's final hand saw him move all in with top pair on the turn of a 2♣7♦J♥8♣ and like Cheong, ran into pocket aces, with Ami Barer this time the holder of A♠A♥. The river was of no help to Pogodin and so he hit the rail in sixth place for a HK$1,350,000 score (US$175,000).
Pogodin was one of two of his countryman at the final table and so when he was eliminated, Vladimir Troyanovskiy was the last remaining player from Russia.
And this is when his story ended.
Troyanovskiy got his chips in preflop with Q♦Q♠ and was up against Jung's T♠T♣.
It was a great spot for Troyanovskiy to double up, but the dealer had other ideas, spreading out a 4♦T♥K♣2♣3♦ board to give Jung a set of tens and enough to send Troyanovskiy home in fifth place.
Troyanovskiy took home HK$1,620,000 (~US$210,000) for that result, which is added to his almost US$3 million in career results, most of which has come in high roller events around the world.
It was during four-handed play that things would slow down.
At first, it was looking like Jung was going to run over the table. He had three quarters of the chips in play and everything was going right. He was going to be hard to beat.
Then Jung sent double ups twice to Zuo Wang and once to Gabriel Le Jossec and with that, the chip counts were just about even and the average stack was still massive.
Back to grinding.
It would be a long time before another player hit the rail, but someone had to be the fourth-place finisher and on this occasion it was Ami Barer who fell to the rail with the HK$2,025,000 (~US$260,000) score.
It was a one-two blow that sent Barer home - both punches coming from Jung.
The first hand saw Jung all-in on the flop with a pair and a flush draw against Barer's open-ended straight draw. Barer took the lead with a bigger pair on the turn, but then Jung rivered two pair to double up.
Barer was crippled after this hand and ultimately got all his chips in with A♥7♥ on a 4♥2♣9♥ flop and was up against Jung's K♥K♠. Jung was ahead and the K♣ turn put him a little further ahead. Then the Q♣ river sealed the deal as Barer was eliminated and Jung was once again a big chip leader.
The short stack throughout most of the entire final table was Zuo "ST" Wang, but this is where his story came to an end as he was eliminated in third place, for which he received HK$2,565,000 (~US$330,850).
Wang's last hand saw him all in preflop holding A♣J♣ against Jung's 9♦9♣. No help came for Jung and so he was sent to the rail to usher in heads-up play between Jung and Gabriel Le Jossec.
Heads-up began with Jung having an almost two-to-one chip lead over Le Jossec and still it looked like it was Jung's fate to win a second ACOP title.
Then Le Jossec doubled up in a bit of a cooler situation when both he and Jung made two pair on a 5♣9♥2♣J♥A♦ board and from there, Le Jossec went for the jugular, ultimately coming out on top when the final hand of the day played out.
Blinds were 40,000/80,000 and Jung opened the button to 165,000. Le Jossec called and the dealer spread out a 5♣6♥Q♦ flop. Le Jossec checked and Jung led out for 200,000. Back on Le Jossec and he check-raised to 510,000. Jung then put in a raise before Le Jossec moved all in. Jung made the call, putting his tournament life at risk.
Jung had Q♠6♣ for two pair, but was up against Le Jossec's 5♦5♠ for bottom set.
The A♣ turn and the 8♣ river weren't what Jung wanted and so his dream of winning back-to-back titles was all over, while Le Jossec had made his own dream come true.
Congratulations must go out to Gabriel Le Jossec for his mammoth effort. It was a long final day, but hopefully a massive HK$6,300,000 (~US$812,000) top prize and the ACOP title is enough of a reward to make up for the tough grind.
We also must acknowledge Sunny Jung on finishing runner-up twelve months after having won such a massive event. Jung receives HK$4,250,000 (~US$550,000) for this result, which is just a little less than when he defeated 203 players in the 2013 ACOP Main Event.
2014 ACOP Main Event - Final Table Results
Prize Pool: HK$27,092,100
1st: Gabriel Le Jossec (UK) - HK$6,300,000 (~US$812,000)
2nd: Sunny Jung (Korea) - HK$4,250,000 S(~US$550,000)
3rd: Zuo 'ST' Wang (China) - HK$2,565,000(~US$330,850)
4th: Ami Barer (Canada) - HK$$2,025,000 (~US$260,000)
5th: Vladimir Troyanovskiy (Russia) - HK$1,620,000 (~US$210,000)
6th: Konstantin Pogodin (Russia) - HK$1,350,000 (US$175,000)
7th: Joseph Cheong (USA) - HK$1,080,000 (~US$140,000)
8th: Raiden Kan (Hong Kong) - HK$813,100 (~US$100,000)
9th: Tore Lukashaugen (Norway) - HK$675,000 (~US$88,000)
It's not only the players that deserve kudos this week. APPT President Danny McDonagh, Fred Leung and all the rest of the PokerStars LIVE Macau team deserve some praise for running the largest ACOP in history.
The event increased more than 40% on last year's number and there is no doubt it's going to grow even larger in the future.
The ACOP Main Event might be over, but there is still another event to be played out - the HK$250K High Roller. There were 83 runners in the freezeout event, which created a prize pool almost as large as the Main Event. Some of the biggest names in poker are still alive heading into Day 2 and you will be able to catch full live reporting of the event right here on the PokerStarsBlog from 3:15 p.m. local time on Sunday. Join us then!