Nicholas J. Niglio, StarWorld Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, hands Stanley Choi his Champion’s trophy
A new chapter in poker across the Asia-Pacific region has been written after Stanley Choi took out the first Macau High Stakes Challenge at StarWorld in Macau.
The field of 73 players, 21 of who took advantage of the option to rebuy for the full amount of HKD $2 million, built the biggest prizepool ever offered in Australasia – a staggering HKD $182,360,000 (or AUD $22,781,600) – offering a first prize of HKD $50,149,000 (AUD $6,265,000).
The title was decided in dramatic fashion on the first hand of the heads-up duel as reported by our friends at PokerAce.tv: “Zhu Guan Fai min-raises the button to 400,000, Stanley Choi immediately declares all-in and Fai snap calls, which is a pretty quick decision when the difference between being right and wrong is a hefty HKD $16.4 million.
Unfortunately for Fai, his 6d 6s is trailing to Choi’s 10h 10c and both player’s respective supporters on the rail are on their feet calling for a 6 and a 10 depending on which side of the fence they sit.
The 4s-8d-9s flop means Choi is just two cards away from taking down Asia’s richest poker tournament. The 4d pairs the turn meaning the deck’s two remaining sixes are all that stand in the way of Choi’s victory.
An almost eerie calm descends on the poker room as both players and spectators watch as the dealer burns and then slides out the river card face down. This is just the calm that descends in the eye of the hurricane however, and as soon as the dealer flips over the 7d the room explodes into a storm of cheers and applause.
Fai has nothing to be ashamed of and the HKD $33,737,000 on offer for second place is not exactly chump change, but it is Choi who wins the hand, the lion’s share of the spoils and Asia’s largest tournament first prize.”
Some of the biggest names in poker joined regulars in the world’s biggest high stakes games for this event, including Erik Seidel, JP Kelly, Phil Ivey and Sam Trickett, who all reached the final table.
Others who took to the felt included Australia’s Joe Hachem, Johnny Chan, Gus Hansen, Andrew Robl, Di Dang, Tom Hall and Chris Parker.
Macau High Stakes Challenge results ($HKD)
1 Stanley Choi $50,149,000
2 Zhu Guan Fai $33,737,000
3 Nicholas Wong $25,530,000
4 Devan Tang $17,324,000
5 John Juanda $12,765,000
6 Lap Key Chan $9,574,000
7 Sam Trickett $7,750,000
8 Phil Ivey $6,383,000
9 Alan Sass $5,471,000
10 Philipp Gruissem $4,559,000
11 Di Van Hoang Dang $4,559,000
12 JP Kelly $4,559,000