Appropriately, it came down to a battle of two Asian players for the first Asia Championship of Poker Main Event title with China’s Xing Zhou (pictured left with thanks to Kenneth Lim Photography) conquering the field of 184 players to pocket the “shared” first prize of just over AUD $440,000.
In one of the stranger ends to a major tournament, Zhou elected to share the combined first and second prizemoney with Hong Kong’s Andy Chan at a point where he held a 3:2 chip lead at the Grand Waldo Entertainment Complex in Macau. The two players then went all-in blind every hand until the title was decided!
"After more than six hours of heads up play I was exhausted," Zhou said through a translator. Playing only his second tournament ever the 29-year old businessman added, "I felt the two of us were equal in skill so I’d let God decide who should take home the trophy.”
Australia’s hopes of victory ended with Michael Kanaan’s elimination in third while Andrew Hinrichsen placed seventh. Kanaan entered the final table with a big lead but that quickly evaporated with Xing Zhou the main beneficiary.
Taiwan’s Henry Wang suggested a deal on the final table but Zhou responded by pointing at his newly amassed stack of chips. Wang would be sent to the rail in ninth, Tom Alner in eighth and 2011 WSOPE bracelet winner Andrew Hinrichsen in seventh – the latter pair at the hands of Zhou.
Japan’s Tsugunari Toma entered the day needing an outright win to overtake fellow countryman Yosuke Sekiya on the Asia Player of the Year leaderboard but fell short, finishing sixth. American Alan Sass and Frenchman Jacques Zaicik were eliminated in fifth and fourth respectively.
After leading the field at the end of the previous two days, Kanaan would end his day in third place after running his pocket 8s into Zhou’s pocket kings.
Zhou entered heads up play with a 7:1 chip advantage over Hong Kong’s Andy Chan and everything pointed towards a quick finish.
Chan doubled up with A-T against his Zhou’s A-J, which started a back-and-forth grind of more than six hours.
With the final table lasting almost 13 hours the players were visibly tired. Despite Zhou’s 3.3 million advantage to Chan’s 2.2 million the two opponents agreed to split the prize money evenly and go all-in blind for the trophy until an “official” winner was decided.
Over the span of 17 days, the inaugural ACOP series drew a total of 2757 players and awarded more than HKD $46.2 million (AUD $5.73 million) in prize money.
• Just days before the event named in his honour at Adelaide Casino, Jonathan Karamalikis took out the HKD $250,000 buy-in ACOP High Roller event. It was an Aussie one-two finish, with Karamalikis (AUD $460,000) claiming the title ahead of ACOP Warm-Up event champion Jeff Rossiter (AUD $276,000). The field of 39 players built a prizepool of AUD $1.1 million with five players sharing the spoils (Chun Lei Zhou, Joseph Cheong and David Steicke filled the placings).
HKD $100,000 ACOP Main Event payouts ($ HKD)
1 Xing Zhou (China) $3,547,500
2 Andy Ying Kit Chan (Hong Kong) $3,547,500
3 Michael Kanaan (Australia) $1,731,000
4 Jacques Zaicik (France) $1,384,000
5 Alan Sass (USA) $1,125,000
6 Tsugunari Toma (Japan) $952,000
7 Andrew Hinrichsen (Australia) $779,000
8 Tom Alner (UK) $606,000
9 Henry Wang (Taiwan) $432,700
10 Andrew Gaw (Philippines) $346,000
11 Tri Ba Huynh (Canada) $303,000
12 Michael Watson (Canada) $303,000
13 Raymond Wu (Taiwan) $303,000
14 Ping Lin (China) $259,500
15 Gary Yue Hin Lam (Macau) $259,500
16 Paolo Compagno (Switzerland) $259,500
17 Aaron Lim (Australia) $216,000
18 Zhongwei Wang (China) $216,000
19 Raiden Kan (Malaysia) $216,000
20 Yuri Ishida (Japan) $173,000
21 Seungsoo Jeon (Korea) $173,000
22 James McCarty (Japan) $173,000
• Our thanks to Fred Leung for his daily reports during the ACOP.