Chen Qin wins record breaking Beijing Millions
With poker's popularity continuing to spread around the globe new records are always going to be set somewhere. The latest, that of the largest tournament ever staged outside of the United States in, where else, but Asia, where poker continues to take the continent by storm.
The latest beneficiary of that is Chen Qin, from China, who found himself the last man standing from a massive field of 2,732 players at the weekend, and winner of the PokerStars.net 2014 Beijing Millions, a title worth ¥675,000 (approx. $109,382).
It marked the first time that the Asia Pacific Poker Tour had staged an event in mainland China, hosted by the Beijing Star Poker Club and, well, it certainly arrived with aplomb.
"We always believed that this would be a successful event but this result greatly exceeded our wildest expectations," said APPT President Danny McDonagh, who oversaw the event which ran from 18-27 July, and surpassed the previous non-US record of 2,446 players set by the Brazilian Series of Poker in 2013.
The event was expected to be popular, but no-one expected quite such an interest.
"It's a great honour for PokerStars and the APPT team to be selected to support this tournament," said McDonagh. "It's been a historical week. Not just the record itself but how it may change the future landscape for poker in China."
It was a sentiment echoed by Jian Yang, principle of AoBoTe (Beijing AoBoTe Sports Culture-Transmitting Company Limited) which is in turn part of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports.
"I'm so happy to run such a successful event in Beijing and have the support of APPT and the event organizers from the Beijing Sports and Administration Centre," said Yang. "APPT is a professional event management group capable of running major international poker tournaments and together we created a miracle with the Beijing Millions.
"I hope the cooperation between APPT and Star Poker will strengthen and develop poker further in China."
A miracle is exactly what Qin likely thought as he conquered an all Chinese final table on Sunday.
After six Day 1 flights, the enormous field was slimmed to just 188 starters on Day 2, including Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin, Bryan Huang, and Vivian Im. Of that trio Lin would go deepest, cashing in 24th place for ¥56,250, ahead of Huang in 50th for ¥23,750, and Im in 151st place worth ¥13,750.
Down to heads-up, Qin, with more than 17 million chips, found himself with near two-to-one lead over eventual runner-up Yang Zhang, with 9 million. It was a lead the Zhang was unable to overcome. Qin finally saw off his opponent, turning a full house against Zhang's two pairs.
The final result looked like this:
PokerStars.net 2014 Beijing Millions
Prize pool: ¥7,376,400
Places paid: 202
1. Chen Qin (China) ¥675,000*
2. Yang Zhang (China) ¥700,000*
3. Tong Shen (China) ¥650,000*
4. Feng Bai (China) ¥587,500*
5. Jing Liu (China) ¥312,500
6. Chen Hao (China) ¥250,000
7. Qiang Liu (China) ¥205,000
8. Hui Xu (China) ¥162,650
9. Yuanye Chen (China) ¥125,000
* denotes four-way deal
How long this record will last it anyone's guess. Meanwhile the next special event on the Asia Pacific Poker Tour is the Macau Poker Cup 21, at PokerStars LIVE Macau, from August 1-17. More details can be found on the APPT website.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.