Nicky Tao Jin, Macau's new kid on the block
Another exciting Macau Poker Cup series has come to a close and a new champion of Asia has been crowned. It's exciting to see new players emerge and although we already knew of Nicky Tao Jin as a fierce online competitor, today marks a breakthrough victory for him on the live poker scene that will elevate this young gun to even greater heights.
We started out earlier today with just 18 players remaining from a record field of 635 for the Macau Poker Cup: Red Dragon Main Event. Nicky Tao Jin was the second shortest stack in the room and victory was a long way from his mind. Leading the way was another fresh face as Jay Tan was attracting plenty of new fans as she looked to make her own mark on the Asian poker scene.
Unlike yesterday where Tan ran hot, today she couldn't get much going, but managed to navigate her way to the final table as the field was halved within just a few short hours. Previous Macau champions Denny Yu (16th) and Julian Hasse (13th) were among the casualties and when Japan's last hope Satoshi Yabota was eliminated in 10th place our final table was formed.
Russia's David Martirosyan was a clear chip leader while Brit Craig Eichmeier had navigated his way into second place, thanks largely to a three-outer against Jay Tan on the final table bubble which pushed her back into the pack.
Nicky Tao Jin had squeaked his way to the final table as the absolute short stack of the field. He had moments where he had threatened to get back into contention, but it appeared a case of one step forwards, two steps back, as a run of luck deserted him. But that all changed once the final table got underway as Jin went on an almighty heater.
Within the first few hands, Jin had doubled up and then eliminated Shao-hung Lee in 9th place after catching good with his A♠9♥ against Lee's A♥T♦. Jin jumped up the leaderboard as Indian Abhishek Goindi also started to make his presence felt as the most aggressive player at the table.
A deadlock emerged with eight players remaining, with no one budging an inch as they eyed off the pay jumps all the way to the top prize. Eventually something had to give and it was Po En Ho who was out in 8th place when his K♣6♦ couldn't hold against Ke Chen's J♦T♦. Two more tens on the flop and Ho was headed to the cashier.
The floodgates then opened as Ke Chen lost a race against Nicky Tao Jin to be out in 7th, before Jin caught a set with his pocket sixes to eliminate Zuo Wang and his A♥T♥. Wang's 6th place finish comes on the heels of his final table at the recent APPT Macau Main Event as he continues to prove himself as a player to watch here in Macau.
Jay Tan remained quiet and finally found a spot to move all in with her A♥4♥ but Abhishek Goindi woke up with J♦J♠ and made the call. The board ran out T♠K♦8♣T♦6♠ as a gracious Tan was happy enough with her 5th place result.
The four remaining players continued to apply the pressure with plenty of three and four bets, but as the blinds continued to rise, it was a matter of time before we'd see a big preflop pot. It came when David Martirosyan three-bet shoved with J♦9♦ at the wrong time as Abhishek Goindi made the call with A♥K♣. The board of K♦8♠4♠5♠2♣ paired up Goindi to see the Russian out in 4th place.
He was quickly followed by Craig Eichmeier. Again it was Nicky Tao Jin who did the damage when he won another race, this time with A♣7♥ against 5♦5♣ . We were told that this was Eichmeier's first ever live poker tournament. He handles his chips pretty well, and he played a great tournament, so we're not sure how true that is. In any case he should be thrilled with his 3rd place finish.
That left us heads up, with Nicky Tao Jin holding a narrow lead over Abhishek Goindi. After a deal was struck we were hoping for a quick heads-up match, and it only took three hands for a cooler of a flop to do the damage.
After the two players took a 2♣3♦4♦ flop, the chips went flying and when the dust settled it was Jin's 2♠2♦ for bottom set which was in total control against Goindi's 3♣4♣ for top two. The turn and river bricked out to see Goindi eliminated and leave Nicky Tao Jin as the Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Champion!
Final Table Results:
1st Nicky Tao Jin (China) - HK$1,092,500* + $100k ACOP Entry
2nd Abhishek Goindi (India) - HK$1,056,500*
3rd Craig Eichmeier (UK) - HK$554,000
4th David Martirosyan (Russia) - HK$409,000
5th Jay Tan (Hong Kong) - HK$315,000
6th Zuo Wang (China) - HK$252,000
7th Ke Chen (China) - HK$205,000
8th Po En Ho (China) - HK$157,000
9th Shao-hung Lee (Chinese Taipei) - HK$126,000
* denotes deal
Congratulations to Nicky Tao Jin and to all of our prize winners.
A big congratulations and thanks must also go to Danny McDonagh, Fred Leung and all of the PokerStars Macau staff for yet another wonderfully successful poker series. It's always great fun coming to Macau and on behalf of players and media alike, we greatly appreciate your hospitality. We'd also like to thank Ken and Long from Kenneth Lim Photography for their efforts behind the camera throughout the week.
That concludes our coverage from Macau, but stay locked into the PokerStars Blog for ongoing live coverage of the biggest and best poker tournaments in the world. In the Asian region, the next big event will be the APPT Seoul which kicks off at the Walkerhill Casino from March 8th-11th. It's not too late to qualify, so jump onto PokerStars today! We hope to see you there!