MPC23 High Roller: All glory to James Chen
Today saw once again what the Macau Poker Cup has become renowned for - records broken!
The record 75-player MPC23 High Roller field just worked its way down to a champion after one of the fastest final tables in MPC history.
And that champion was Taiwan's James Chen, who took only 75 minutes to navigate his way through the final table. Chen dwarves his biggest cash to date with his victory for HK$1,704,000 - his previous best was HK$230, 700 for a runner up finish in the MPC Baby Dragon earlier this year.
Before Chen chewed through the final table it was two days of exciting poker action, with a star-studded field in tow. Team PokerStars Pros Randy 'Nanonoko' Lew, Yaxi Zhu and Celina Lin were all among the field. Lin busted earlier today after getting it in good with pocket jacks against the poket nines of Scott Davies. She couldn't hold though with Davies flopping nines full of aces to send the Team Pro packing.
With only nine places paying dividends it made sense that everyone was shortstacked entering the final table. There was a lot of money on the line and players were trying to avoid the bubble. The title of bubble boy would ultimately go to Fu Banh Huang after a three way all in with ace-king against Yan Cai's pocket eights and Tom Alner's pocket sevens. Cai turned a set to see the final table set.
And what a final table it was!
It would take only 15 minutes for the first elimination before the floodgates opened and one by one players hit the rail in quick succession. Huidong Gu was first to go before the eventual champion Chen eliminated Xiang Zhu in 8th place. Chen held pocket kings against Zhu's ace-queen and improved by flopping top set to thin the field to seven.
The next thirty minutes would see three eliminations. Scott Davies (7th place), Yan Cai (6th place) and Wei Yi Zhang (5th place) all found the rail, and with Liang Yu running his pocket fours into Makoto Yoshimichi's aces for 4th place only three were left in the hunt.
It would only take 5 more minutes from that point to get to heads up play. 3rd place went to Tom Alner after he jammed from the small blind with queen-nine off suit and Chen called from the big blind with ace-four of clubs. Neither of them hit and Chen's ace-high held to scoop the pot and bring the tournament to heads up.
And just to keep things in line with the rest of the final table, heads up would only last five minutes too. The final hand began with Yoshimichi opening from the button to 160,000 and Chen three-betting to 420,000 from the big blind. Yoshimichi called and the flop came down T♣5♣4♣.
Chen bet again for 475,000 and Yoshimichi called once more. When the Q♥ peeled off Chen continued for another 750,000 and Yoshimichi moved all in over the top for a total of 1,650,000. Chen called with the hopes of ending the tournament right there and the cards went on their backs.
Yoshimichi needing a ten or six to keep the tournament alive bricked on the Q♣ river and Chen emerged as our new MPC High Roller Champion.
MPC23 High Roller Results
1st: James En Ning Chen (Chinese Taipei) - $1,704,000
2nd: Makoto Yoshimichi (Japan) - $1,117,000
3rd: Tom Alner (UK) - $726,000
4th: Liang Yu (China) - $559,000
5th: Wayne Wei Ye Zhang (China) - $391,000
6th: Yan Cai (China) - $335,000
7th: Scott Davies (USA) - $279,000
8th: Xiang Zhu (China) - $251,500
9th: Huidong Gu (Macau) - $223,500
All amounts in HKD
Congratulations to Chen and thanks to PokerStars LIVE Macau for hosting another well-run tournament here in Macau. We hope you enjoyed our coverage this week. We'll be back for the 2015 Asia Championship of Poker!