The 2017 Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) is in the books and ended in spectacular style: a shove of close to 6 million chips with flopped trip sixes, snapped at by a defeated pair of nines.
It was only the fourth or fifth hand of a heads-up battle between Hong Kong’s Devan Tang and Russia’s Dmitry Yurasov, the last two players from a 48-entry High Roller field. It decided the destination of HK$3.5 million (US$450,000) first prize and put to bed a record-breaking festival at PokerStars LIVE! at the City of Dreams.
The winner? Well put it this way: the man with the courage to bet the lot on a single pair was Tang, a fearless operator who had burst the bubble last night with pocket deuces and never backed down from a major confrontation in his life. This time he was wrong, though, and it meant that Yurasov was our champ.
Yurasov, who is a regular at all major events in Europe, now adds ACOP High Roller triumph to the World Series bracelet he won this summer. He was never out of the chip lead since yesterday afternoon, and didn’t put a foot wrong at today’s final.
“It feels amazing,” Yurasov said. “I played strong. I have a high level of skill. I know it would be no problem heads-up. I thought I could win and I won.”
Yurasov actually only registered for the High Roller yesterday, then quickly doubled up through Erik Seidel. He then knocked out Daniel Dvoress and Mikita Badziakouski, among others, and if you can do that the title is surely yours.
The tournament bubble burst last night, leaving the seven players coming back today all in the money. That meant that even though it turned out to be a brief stay for both John Andress and Manig Loeser, the overnight short stacks, they went away with HK$590,000 and HK$732,600, respectively, a near US$100,000 payday each.
Andress couldn’t beat Dario Sammartino’s A♠K♠ with his A♣J♠ when they got it all in pre-flop. And then Loeser lost a race with 5♠5♦ to Tang’s A♠J♠, again following a pre-flop jam, and home they went.
That quick flurry of activity gave way to a two-hour slowdown, during which Yurasov, as table captain, was able to steadily chip away at his opponents. They pushed into Level 18 with all of Sammartino, John Juanda and Simon Burns low on chips and desperately seeking a spot to push.
Unfortunately for Sammartino, every time one came up, he seemed to be involved and it didn’t matter whether he got it in good or bad, he would lose. He lost with kings to Juanda’s sixes, live cards to Burns’s A♥J♣, and over-cards to Burns’s tens.
That last battle left him with one ante, with which he couldn’t beat Burns again. Sammartino went out in fifth for HK$960,000.
While the victory over Sammartino gave Burns some wiggle room, Juanda was still in peril. He too was forced to make a move with an ace, specifically A♣7♥, but it couldn’t run down Yurasov’s pocket fives. Juanda had laddered thanks to the sixes vs. kings triumph, and his HK$1.24 million prize was the first seven-figure payday of the tournament.
The next one came soon after when Burns’s tournament ended in third. Almost all of the British player’s tournament cashes to date have come in Asia, and he’s based in Singapore, where he works in sales. With a few accounts to manage in Macau, Burns is a regular visitor to the card-rooms here and satellited into this week’s High Roller.
It resulted in his best tournament cash–HK$1,637,000 (or roughly £160,000). His final hand was a pretty standard A♦7♦ < A♣K♥ collision, but Burns's performance was anything but. He was down to 1.5 big blinds at one point yesterday, so this was exceptional.
The stacks were ominously level when heads-up play began. Yurasov had Tang marginally bettered, and the Russian waved away any mention of doing a deal. At this point in yesterday’s Main Event, Aaron Been and Alan Lau agreed to shorten the levels to 15 minutes each, and agreed an even chop. But there was no such arrangement this time, with everyone strapping in for the long haul.
But Tang wasn’t prepared for that. He flopped top pair with K♣9♠ on a 6♥9♦6♣ board and a raising war broke out between two men with plenty of chips but even more pride to defend. Yurasov’s 6♦4♣ was, simply, just a better hand.
“I got a lucky flop with six four and I knew that was it,” he said.
Yurasov added that he is now going to go back to Russia and sleep for a while after playing a full complement of tournaments here in Macau. Everyone at PokerStars Live knows the feeling. But that’s a fine way to end a spectacular couple of weeks.
See you next year!
ACOP 2017 High Roller
Dates: October 27-29, 2017
Buy-in: HK$250,000 ($240,000 + $10,000)
Players: 48 (including 8 re-entries)
Prize pool: $11,289,600
|2||Devan Tang||Hong Kong||$2,570,000||$329,358|
|3||Simon Burns||United Kingdom||$1,637,000||$209,790|
|7||John Andress||United States||$590,000||$75,611|