Congratulations Chao Li ($205,185*), 2022 APL Million Main Event Champion!
After four epic days of action here at Southport Sharks, Chao Li has been crowned our newest APL Million Main Event Champion!
The 39-year-old was still shaking in disbelief in the wake of his monumental achievement, made all the more incredible given that he was down to as little as five big blinds during Day 3 before spinning it up to reach the final table as the short stack.
Li revealed during his post-match interview with PokerMedia Australia that he has actually been involved in the game for a long time, even after emigrating from China more than 20 years ago.
“I used to deal poker at the Treasury in Brisbane – that’s how I learned the game,” Li said. “I can’t believe that poker is as big as it is now! The venue, the staff, the games … all so good, it’s amazing.”
“I still can’t believe I won this, it’s a dream come true!”
Living the poker dream, folks. That’s exactly what it’s all about!
2022 APL MILLION MAIN EVENT ($1,500 buy-in, 1,658 entries, 175 players paid)
This concludes our live coverage of the APL Million Main Event. Head on over to our $5K High Roller Challenge blog now and be sure to follow the action now streaming over at playapl.tv. From all of us here at Sharks, it’s ‘bye for now!
Kenny Wang eliminated in 2nd place ($264,594*)
In a stunning turn of events, Chao Li has mounted a comeback for the ages to clinch The APL Million Main Event trophy against Kenny Wang!
After Li managing to wrestle back the chip lead, the final hand of the night played out around 7pm local time; Wang open-shoved from the button with A♣9♥ and Li called him off with Q♠2♣ and spiked a Queen on the flop of Q♣8♣K♥.
Wang did pick up the backdoor Broadway draw with the turn of the J♦, but the river 4♥ was a brick and Wang had to settle for second.
Finally, after two years of waiting, and 11 memorable days of action here at Southport Sharks, we have our new APL Million Main Event Champion!
Ruiyang Wang eliminated in 3rd place ($325,655*)
Kenny Wang now holds a 10:1 chip lead over Chao Li after Ruiyang Wang spiralled out of control in the wake of them shaking hands on a three-handed ICM deal.
Kenny Wang raised pre on the button for 600,000, and was called by Ruiyang Wang who then checked the flop of 5♥K♥2♦.
Kenny c-bet 600,000, but then Ruiyang check-raised from the big blind for 2,000,000 to see the turn 4♣. Ruiyang opened for 2,000,000, Kenny shoved all-in and Ruiyang snap called.
R. Wang: K♠2♣
K. Wang: Q♥4♥
The river 7♥ completed the flush draw for Kenny, and just like that, we moved into the heads-up phase for the 2022 APL Million Main Event title!
Adrian Pacheco eliminated in 4th place ($110,160)
Adrian Pacheco has just hit his first career six-figure score after being eliminated in fourth place in brutal fashion by Ruiyang Wang.
Down to just 4.7 million, Pacheco jammed from the small blind holding A♣8♦ after Ruiyang Wang raised to 600,000 from the button with Q♣2♥.
Wang decided to gamble, and it paid off, as he drilled two pair on the flop and held after the board was spread Q♠7♥7♠3♥5♦.
Jason Lee eliminated in 5th place ($75,870)
A big pot brewed between Jason Lee and Ruiyang Wang, with Lee bowing out in fifth place from The APL Million Main Event final table.
Lee was the only caller after Wang’s pre-flop raise to go heads-up to a flop of 3♥K♥Q♠; Lee checked and Wang opened for 300,000, however Lee check-raised to 925,000.
Wang called, and then Lee check-shoved after Wang’s bet of 2 million on the turn of the 8♦. Wang went deep into the tank, but eventually called him down, tabling Q♥3♣ for two pair against Lee’s nut flush draw with A♥2♥.
The river A♠ completed the board, but was of no help to Lee, who is now $75,870 richer.
Tony Tavella eliminated in 6th place ($56,050)
In the last hand before the break, action folded to Ruiyang Wang who raised from the hijack before Tony Tavella shoved from the small blind for his last 2.7 million.
Jason Lee folded his big blind, and after about two minutes of mulling it over, Wang made the call.
R. Wang: K♠J♦
Tavella kept his lead up through to fourth street, but Wang hooked up on the river on the board of 5♠A♣8♦3♦J♣ to confirm Tavella as our sixth-place finisher ($56,050).
Players are now taking a short comfort break, which allowed us to get some updated chip counts.
Nathan Monk eliminated in 7th place ($47,450)
APL Emerald’s own Nathan Monk has just been felted by Ruiyang Wang, taking home $47,450 in prize money for his seventh place finish.
Action folded to Wang who raised to from the hijack with A♠K♦ before Rose three-bet-shoved from the button with A♦7♥.
No change to either hand after the board ran out Q♦3♦5♣8♠J♠, and Ruiyang Wang moved into the overall chip lead after that hand.
Ryan Hong eliminated in 8th place ($40,950)
Ryan Hong has been confirmed as our eighth place finisher, cashing out for $40,950 after being felted by Chao Li.
The action folded around to Li who completed his small blind holding 9♠9♦, only to then see Hong rip in his last 4.4 million from the big blind A♦Q♦.
Although Hong turned an open-ender, Li’s set held as the board completed 10♦J♣4♣9♣5♦.
Ria Renfrey eliminated in 9th place ($34,390)
From under the gun, Renfrey moved all-in for her last 1.7 million holding K♥Q♠; action then folded around to Kenny Wang who woke up with A♥Q♥.
Renfrey found nothing as the board ran dry 6♣7♦2♣6♠ to confirm her as our ninth place finisher, putting her $34,390 to the good.
FINAL TABLE UPDATES
Seat 1: Kenny Wang (China) – 2,540,000
38-year-old Kenny Wang first started playing poker online 15 years ago before moving into the live poker scene in Sydney.
Today’s result has well and truly surpassed the fishing enthusiast’s previous best of $12,225 from the 2017 APL Million NLH Bounty Event.
Seat 2: Tony Tavella (Australia) – 2,540,000
Tony Tavella is no stranger to the big time, with the 30-year-old IT salesman mounting a deep run in the 2019 Aussie Millions Main Event, good for $36,200.
The win here will allow Tavella to live out his poker dream in travelling the world to play all the major events.
Seat 3: Jason Lee (Australia) – 4,940,000
One of two Victorians to have reached the summit, Melbourne’s Jason Lee lists his biggest poker accomplishment as having “dusted off the WSOP Main Event in two hours”.
The 30-year-old financier will start this final table fourth in chips, holding 4.94 million.
Seat 4: Chao Li (China) – 1,740,000
Born in China and now calling Australia home, Chao Li has been playing poker for almost six years and describes his playing style as “variable”.
Starting the final table as the short stack, the 39-year-old plans on travelling to Las Vegas should he go all the way today.
Seat 5: Ryan Hong (China) – 3,620,000
A self-confessed grinder of the highest order, Ryan ‘Honey’ Hong first took up the game 15 years ago during the height of the first Great Australian Poker Boom.
The 35-year-old’s ultimate poker bucket list item is to “slow roll Phil Hellmuth”. #POSITIVITY
Seat 6: Ria Renfrey (Australia) – 4,375,000
Ria Renfrey has been a regular on the Aussie poker circuit since her breakthrough victory in the 2015 Star Sydney Champs Opening Event for $63,418.
The student advisory manager hopes to use her winnings to help her son and to one day play in the WSOP Main Event.
Seat 7: Ruiyang Wang (Singapore) – 9,940,000
Starting the final table second in chips is Ruiyang Wang, who almost didn’t play this event until being convinced by APLPT Champion Darren Ooi.
This is the 25-year-old’s second major FT appearance this year, having finished sixth in the Treasury Brisbane Poker Festival Main Event back in February for $14,342.
Seat 8: Adrian Pacheco (Australia) – 6,945,000
Starting the APL Million final table third in chips is 31-year-old Adrian Pacheco, who has already had a huge start to the year.
The Sydneysider already has a string of cashes leading up to this final table, including a a runner-up finish for $60,000 in the QPC Sydney Main Event, and most recently in the Star Sydney Champs Mystery Bounty, where he finished third.
Seat 9: Nathan Monk (Australia) – 10,475,000
Coming in as chip leader is Queensland’s Nathan Monk, who has been playing poker for more than a decade.
The 49-year-old has obliterated his previous best of $2,400 in the 2016 Crown Poker Championship NLH Shot Clock Terminator and starts this final table with 10,475,000 in chips.
History in the making
Hi there and welcome back to PokerMedia Australia‘s live coverage of The APL Million Main Event!
Today, we’ll be bringing you updates in brief from the final table, in line with the playAPL.tv feature table stream (30-minute delay), brought to you by LCAPoker.
Heading into the grand finale with the chip lead is Queensland’s Nathan Monk, joined by fellow New South Welshmen Tony Tavella, and Adrian Pacheco, who has been running hot as of late after scoring his biggest career cash to date back in June.
Victoria is also well represented through Ria Renfrey and Jason Lee, but the APL Million title could be heading overseas if Ryan Hong, Chao Li, Kenny Wang or Ruiyang Wong find their one time.
APL MILLION MAIN EVENT FINAL TABLE
Time now to introduce our players – scroll up for player profiles of all nine of our APL Million Main Event contenders!