Tom Alner wins second Red Dragon title in record field
"I can't even believe it... it hasn't sunk in yet."
They were the words of the second-ever two-time Red Dragon champion Tom Alner.
He's played an exceptional game at PokerStars LIVE Macau this week to overcome a record-breaking 1,145-player field and secure his second Red Dragon title and HK$2509,000!
Alner entered heads up play with a 2:1 chip deficit but against the odds he fought his way back to emerge victorious over Wenxiang Chen. The battle waged for almost three hours until Chen attempted to set a trap and it backfired when the new champion flopped a straight.
Chen limped on the button and Alner checked to see the 3♣6♣5♠ flop. After a check from Alner, Chen fired for 300,000, only to be raised by Alner to 1.5 million. Chen wanted to play for more and put in another raise to 4 million before Alner shoved all in with enough to cover Chen's 2.85 million behind.
With a defeated look Chen still committed the chips and saw his K♣K♦ was drawing super thin against Alner's 7♠4♠. A brick on the Q♠ turn meant it was official and Alner had locked up the championship before the inconsequential 6♥ arrived on the end.
Before that heads up clash though Alner had to navigate his way through a tough final table.
Surprisingly it was our start-of-day chip leader Shuiyang Qiu who was the first evictee. After losing a big pot to Chen the latter soon finished him off when he picked up pocket aces against Qiu's pocket kings. Qiu five-bet jammed preflop and couldn't improve after being snapped off.
Our 8th place finisher was Xiao Bo Zhou. He fell into Jack Salter's trap and got all his money in with A♦Q♣ on a flop of 9♣3♠Q♠. Salter had him covered, however, with his stack and his cards holding K♥K♣ for the overpair. The 9♥ turn and 3♥ river couldn't save Zhou and he headed to the payout desk to collect HK$237,970.
Following Zhou to the rail in 7th place was Jingxuan Zhu. He jammed preflop from the cutoff with pocket nines but when Chen woke up with pocket tens in the small blind it was all over for Zhou. He failed to improve when the community cards fell and Chen was sent packing.
Liang Song was our 6th place finisher. It was a straight draw that got him in trouble against Salter's two pair. With the board showing 2♠6♥8♣4♣ Song got it all in with 9♦7♥ against Salter's 8♥6♦. The A♥ river bricked off to signal the end of Song's tournament run.
The next to fall was Daniel Lee after he received a bad beat from Benjamin Hamnet. Lee got his money in good holding pocket sevens but failed to hold against Hamnet's pocket sixes when a six fell on the turn. Lee collected HK$440,000 for his 5th place finish.
After two hours of four-handed play it was Hamnet you was eliminated next. He ended up on the wrong end of a flip versus Alner. Hamnet had 4♥4♣ but couldn't hold against Alner's Q♦J♥ when the cards came down 9♦J♣5♠K♦T♦.
It would be another four hours of play before heads up began. Salter took home the 3rd place prize after his luck ran out against Chen. Salter got his short stack all in with A♦6♣ but was behind versus Chen's 6♠6♥. Failing to find an ace Salter departed and took us to the heads up match where Alner triumphed over Chen.
MPC25 Red Dragon Final Table Payouts
1st: Tom Alner (United Kingdom) - HK$2,509,000
2nd: Wenxiang Chen (China) - HK$1,487,000
3rd: Jack Salter (United Kingdom) - HK$892,000
4th: Benjamin Hamnet (USA) - HK$650,000
5th: Daniel Lee (USA) - HK$440,000
6th: Liang Song (China) - HK$321,000
7th: JingXuan Zhu (China) - HK$274,000
8th: Xiao Bo Zhou (China) - HK$237,970
9th: Shuiyang Qiu (China) - HK$202,000
Congratulations to Tom!
That's all from us here in Macau tonight. We'll pick up coverage of the HK$80,000 High Roller event tomorrow. We hope you can join us then.