Macau Millions Final Table: Level 16 (blinds 60,000-120,000, ante 10,000)
Hung-sheng Lin goes coast-to-coast on Day 3 to claim memorable victory
Arriving at the Macau Millions and perusing the Day 1a field some eight days ago, I must admit, I was a little daunted as I looked around the room and couldn't recognized too many familiar faces in the local player dominated field. However with the help of the team here in the PokerStars Macau Poker Room, a few notable local players were pointed out to me. Red Dragon winner here, Asia Player of the Year contender there, and slowly but surely I had a list of players to keep an eye on. One of those who was pointed out was a young Taipei player, who looks all of 18 and a half years of age, with an innocence about him that belied his fearlessness and fierceness at the table. That player was Hung-sheng Lin.
"He's third in the Asia Player of the Year," PokerStars Macau Marketing Manager Fred Leung said. And while there were others pointed out with similar credentials, it was very clear early on that Lin had a lot of ability on the poker table and was a player to watch.
While runner-up Brice Renaud was able to qualify on Day 1a, it took Lin a number of attempts before he finally made it through to Day 2 after finishing with one of the big stacks on Day 1e. It was this big stack that was the key to his success in this tournament.
Getting through an enormous field of 1,329 players, and the largest ever field for a poker tournament in Asia, is not an easy task, and it required Lin to wield his big stack with well-timed aggression. He was the first player to reach one million in chips on Day 2, but a few rocky moments brought him back to the field, before he consolidated again to end the day as our chip leader.
With 34 players remaining on Day 3, Lin was always the man to catch, and a coast-to-coast victory is one hell of an achievement as the final day field was full of talented unpredictability.
After Wayne Yap (9th) and Armand Prati (8th) were early eliminations, the final table went into an intense battle seven-handed where no player would keel over lightly. The great Japanese hope, Hirotoshi Nakabo was up to his old antics, Huy Khiem Nguyen was applying the pressure while Brice Renaud went on a heater to surge through the pack.
Eventually Nakabo's tournament ended in 7th place when he lost a race with pocket deuces against Nguyen's queen-ten and that opened the floodgates. Wenlong Jin (6th) and Jordon Lo (5th) soon followed as play reached short-handed.
This is where things were elevated to a new level of psychological warfare and Hung-sheng Lin shone through. He delivered a one-two knockout blow to Raiden Kan who fell in 4th when his pocket eights crashed into Lin's pocket queens, before a fascinating hand saw Huy Khiem Nguyen eliminated in 3rd place. The hand was three-bet preflop, before Lin led for 850,000 on a flop of T♥3♠A♠. Nguyen moved all in and Lin made a tough call with a marginal A♦6♠, but his read was right as Nguyen showed T♠7♠ for pair and flush draw. The turn and river bricked out and suddenly Lin had a near six-to-one chip lead over Brice Renaud entering heads-up play.
Sometimes heads-up can be a very slow and drawn out affair. Other times it is fast and exciting. This one was definitely the latter! Brice Renaud knew he had to make a move and he chose the first hand of heads-up play to move all in with K♠6♠. Only problem was that Lin snap called with pocket jacks. The final board was 7♣2♦9♠2♠8♦ to eliminate Renaud and leave Hung-sheng Lin as the 2011 Macau Millions champion!
Lin threw his hands into the air and embraced his friends as he will pocket HK$400,000 for his memorable victory. He'll also jump into a clear lead in the Asia Player of the Year race which brings with it significant sponsorship opportunities and prizes. Watch out Asia, as you'll be definitely seeing more of Hung-sheng Lin on the circuit this year!
It's been a great week here in Macau, with a hugely successful event now drawing to a close. The unique repechage format to allow players to rebuy into any and all of the seven opening flights was a huge success as the PokerStars Macau team will be thrilled to again attract record numbers. Congratulations to Danny McDonagh, Fred Leung and all the team in the PokerStars Macau Poker Room. Also personally, many thanks for your wonderful hospitality as always. We look forward to returning to the Grand Lisboa Casino again soon.
The next major event in Macau is the next Macau Poker Cup which will run from May 28th until June 5th. So if you're looking for something to do around that time (perhaps on your way over to Sin City?) then why not stop by the Las Vegas of Asia. You won't regret it.
That concludes our coverage from Macau but you can still rail more poker action with the PokerStars EPT Berlin about to reach an exciting conclusion and the NAPT Mohegan Sun just kicking off. On the Australasian circuit we'll be in Sydney next week for the ANZPT Sydney which kicks off on Wednesday. Until then, it's good night from the bright lights of Macau!
10:18pm: Brice Renaud eliminated in 2nd place; Hung-sheng Lin wins!
Heads-up play lasted exactly one hand. We love it when that happens. The blinds and antes were always going to make it tough for Brice Renaud to sit back and wait, so he had to be aggressive if he was going to close the lead of Hung-sheng Lin.
So when Lin opened to 275,000, Renaud didn't waste any time in moving all in over the top. Only problem was that Lin snap-called!
Renaud went with the suited king but Lin held a real hand with his jacks holding the advantage. The crowd were on their feet cheering for a either a jack or a king, but the flop produced neither as it landed 7♣2♦9♠. There was nothing there for Renaud but his support group found voice when the 2♠ appeared on the turn to give him a flush draw. Now the cries were for a spade, but it didn't appear as the 8♦ hit the river.
Hung-sheng Lin raised his hands in triumph as he becomes the 2011 Macau Millions champion!
A huge congratulations to Brice Renaud who fought with everything he had on this final table to eventually finish runner-up to collect HK$300,000 in prize money.
10:15pm: Heads-up Chip Counts
After a short break to set the table, heads-up play has now commenced with Hung-sheng Lin holding a commanding lead over Brice Renaud.
Hung-shen Lin - 11 million
Brice Renaud - 1.8 million
10:10pm Huy Khiem Nguyen eliminated in 3rd place
Huy Khiem Nguyen and Hung-shen Lin have been at each other's throats all day, so it was no surprise to see them tangle when play became short-handed.
Nguyen opened with a raise to 250,000 on the button, Brice Renaud folded his small blind, but Lin raised the price to 605,000 from the big blind. Nguyen made the call in position to see a flop of T♥3♠A♠.
Lin led out with a hefty bet of 850,000 but Nguyen moved all in! Lin rolled his eyes but didn't take long to announce a call!
Not exactly aces and kings here, as Nguyen got creative preflop before flopping huge, while Lin made a great call with a vulnerable hand.
The turn was the J♥ and river bricked the 2♣ as Lin gave a fist-pump while Renaud was high-fiving his mates as he now finds himself heads up.
Meanwhile Nguyen heads to the cashier after a tremendously impressive performance, in 3rd place for a collect of HK$200,000.
9:55pm: Raiden Kan eliminated in 4th place
We didn't catch the betting action due to the swarms of people surrounding this final table, but the chips were in preflop between Raiden Kan and Hung-sheng Lin.
Kan held 8♥8♦ but was in trouble against Lin's Q♥Q♦. The board ran out K♥2♦9♦4♣K♠ to eliminate Kan in 4th place for HK$150,000 in prize money.
9:50pm: Lin takes a chunk from Kan
We only caught the action on this one on the turn, but a large chunk of change was just shipped from Raiden Kan into the stack of Hung-sheng Lin. The board read 6♠T♣K♣2♥ with a mountain of chips already in the middle, when Kan slid out a bet of 700,000. Lin responded by moving all in for around 2 million in total.
Kan went into the tank but decided to save his last 1.8 million for a better spot.
9:40pm: Brice is back
Huy Khiem Nguyen opened with a raise to 260,000 from the button before Brice Renaud moved all in for 1,025,000 from the small blind. Nguyen made the call and opened Q♥8♥ but was trailing the A♥6♥ of Renaud.
The board ran out 5♠9♠J♦7♣3♠ to double up Renaud to 2.1 million with Nguyen slipping to 3.8 million.
9:35pm: Play resumes
Approximate chip counts at the break:
Huy Khiem Nguyen: 4.8 million
Raiden Kan: 3.2 million
Hung-sheng Lin: 2.6 million
Brice Renaud: 1 million