Malaysian domination as Raiden Kan secures MPCC title
It was one of the most dominant performances we've seen in a tournament in quite some time as Raiden Kan has carried his hot form and big stack all the way to a memorable victory in the Macau Poker Cup Championship Main Event. Yesterday, Kan entered day three of play as just one of 43 hopefuls, but within minutes he'd picked up pocket queens and pocket aces twice to blast his way to the tournament chip lead - a position that he never again surrendered.
Sure it takes a few nice cards and plenty of luck to win a poker tournament, and Kan will admit that he had both. He will look back to when he was all in on day two with pocket tens against both kings and aces as a defining moment in his tournament as he rivered a remarkable straight to triple up and stay alive.
Even today, he picked up pocket kings on several occasions, made a few sets, and flopped flushes twice - both times getting paid off.
But Kan also had moments where it wasn't so easy. His kings were cracked by the pocket queens of the dangerous Sunny Jung, and he lost ace-jack versus the ace-five of Robert Chang when play was four-handed.
However Kan always remained composed and with his big stack in hand was able to buffer the blows. That is, until play reached heads up. Victor Chong put in a mighty effort as his unpredictable and aggressive style was well suited to heads-up play. Chong fought back and got close to even in chips, but ultimately became unstuck on a cooler flop of Q♦9♦6♦. Chong's Q♥6♥ had been topped by the J♦7♦ of Kan and it was all over when the turn and river bricked out.
Earlier in the day, the play was cautious as things got underway with Japanese hope Seijiro Machi looking dangerous until his aggression got the better of him. With the short-stacked Robert Chan already all-in, Machi tried to isolate and steal the side pot with pocket eights only to run into Raiden Kan's pocket kings to be the first casualty of the final table.
The most aggressive players continued to come unstuck as Sunny Jung's rollercoaster ride can to an end in 8th place. Jung and Kan regularly tangled with Jung flopping quad queens against Kan's pocket kings being a highlight of the final table. However Jung called once too often when his pocket deuces were counterfeited to leave Kan's king-seven to take the pot and eliminate Jung.
Richard Hu also fell to the small pair syndrome when he called with pocket threes against the pocket eights of Robert Chang to depart in 7th place, before Hung-sheng Lin found his tournament life on the line. Lin had struggled to get himself into the game with the aggressive Raiden Kan and Sunny Jung seated to his left, but he eventually found a spot to move all in with ace-king. Kan again found a big pair as he made the call with pocket queens which improve to a set on the flop. Lin departed in 6th place to add some valuable points to his Asia Player of the Year campaign.
Charles Lam was dominated and disposed of in 5th place when he shoved queen-jack into the queen-king of Victor Chong, before Chester Lee's courageous run came to a halt in 4th place. Lee had three-bet preflop and then picked the wrong spot to check-raise all in on a 5♦7♦3♦ flop. Kan made the call with A♦8♦ for the nuts as Lee found himself drawing dead with his A♠T♦.
Taiwanese Robert Chang was doing his best to break up the Malaysian domination, and he found one double up, but couldn't make it two despite getting his chips in good. Chang shoved with A♣7♥ and Victor Chong soaked up the atmosphere before calling with K♦6♠. The board ran out 7♣K♥6♥8♠3♥ to give Chong two pair to take it down and we found ourselves heads up.
As already mentioned, Chong had a big chip deficit to overcome and he fought back valiantly but ultimately Raiden Kan was too solid and caught all the right cards when he needed them to collect the trophy and a whopping HK$1,250,000 (approx US$160,000) in prize money!
Final table results
1st Raiden Kan (Malaysia) - HK$1,250,000
2nd Victor Chong (Malaysia) - HK$860,800
3rd Hau Huang Chang (Taiwan) - HK$511,000
4th Chester Lee (Malaysia) - HK$402,700
5th Charles Lam (Hong Kong) - HK$319,300
6th Hung-sheng Lin (Chinese Taipei) - HK$263,800
7th Richard Hu (China) - HK$208,300
8th Sunny Jung (Korea) - HK$152,700
9th Seijiro Machi (Japan) - HK$125,056
That concludes our coverage from the Macau Poker Cup Championship. Many thanks to Danny McDonagh, Fred Leung and all of the PokerStars Macau staff for their hospitality this week as once again the PokerStars Macau Poker Room has hosted a record-setting series of world-class standards.
We'll be back here in just six weeks when the Asia Pacific Poker Tour rolls into town from November 23-27. It should be a huge week and a great finish to the year, so if you haven't already, make sure you jump onto PokerStars and qualify today!
Thanks for following along at home and we look forward to your company next time. Until then, you can jump over to coverage of the LAPT Colombia where my old sparring partner "F-Train" is bringing that one home.
Good night from Macau!
Winners photo courtesy of Kenneth Lim Photography