It was a long, hard-fought battle, but after five days of poker at the 2012 PokerStars.net APPT Asia Championship of Poker Main Event, Xing Zhou emerged victorious over the 184-player field. Zhou walked away with the title, but it wasn't without what turned out to be a truly memorable final table. Here's a look at how the final table played out.
The day began with Jacques Zaicik as the short stack, and he kicked things off by doubling up on the second hand of the day with pocket aces. Not too long after that, Xing Zhou clashed with Michael Kanaan in a pot worth just under a million chips. Zhou's flopped set held up against Kanaan's top pair with a gutshot, and this had a huge impact on the remainder of final table play. Zhou took over the chip lead, and steam rolled from there.
Henry Wang was the first player knocked out. After he had doubled up Alan Sass, Wang was all in for his tournament life. He was down to just a few big blinds when his turned out to be insufficient against Andrew Hinrichsen's . Wang took home HKD$432,000 for his efforts.
Then, after a quiet hour or so, things exploded when Zhou and Tsugunari Toma clashed in a massive pot that gave the former a very big chip lead.
Zhou flopped a set of eights on an flop in a three-bet pot and raised the 95,000-chip bet that Toma threw out. Zhou made it 200,000 to go, and Toma quickly called. On the turn, the hit, and Toma check-called a big bet of 311,000. The river brought the , and now Toma fired out 450,000. Zhou didn't like it, but he called and beat Toma's pocket kings with . The aforementioned hand moved Zhou to 3,000,000 in chips while his nearest competitor only had 500,000 to play.
Tom Alner was eventually knocked out in eighth place in a hand in which Zhou got lucky. Alner tried to double up with ace-king but Zhou managed to hit a straight on the river with ace-five. Alner looked disgusted as he left the tournament area to collect HKD$606,000 for his run in this event. Just a few hands later, there were six players remaining after Andrew Hinrichsen was knocked out.
Hinrichsen risked his chips with pocket nines and Zhou took a shot with the . The flop didn't hurt Hinrichsen, but a jack on the turn did. He didn't catch one of the two remaining nines on the river before he went to collect his HKD$779,000 prize.
After losing the aforementioned pot against Zhou, the tournament was all but over for Toma. He couldn't get anything going and was unlucky when Sass doubled through him with ace-queen versus kings. Ultimately, Toma was knocked out when his offsuit didn't improve against Ying Kit Chan's . Toma won HKD$952,000, and five players remained.
Fifth place on the payout sheet belonged to Sass. His couldn't hold up in the flip against Zhou's . Once again, Zhou was running hot in his final table domination with the board running out to send Sass home with HKD$1,125,000.
In fourth place, Zaicik's run was finally over. The Frenchman had nursed his short stack for countless hours, but he also wasn't able to overcome Zhou. Zaicik ran ace-king into Zhou's nines and the board brought no card higher than a ten. Zaicik became a Hong Kong millionaire as he collected HKD$1,384,000.
Kanaan began the day as the chip leader, but the Aussie fell short of a chance to fight for the title. He was knocked out in third place when he decided to put it all on the line with pocket eights. Zhou called Kanaan's shove with two kings, and both players ended up hitting a set in an exciting hand. First, Kanaan sucked out on the flop, but Zhou re-sucked on the turn to win the pot. Kanaan took home HKD$1,731,000, and Zhou went into the heads-up match as an eight-to-one chip favourite.
Despite the massive lead at the beginning, Chan didn't give up. He found a double when his beat Zhou's , then continued to chip away over the next few hours.
Eventually, Chan took the chip lead in a big pot during Level 26. He rivered the nut flush and took down a nice pot worth nearly two million in chips. A couple of hours later, things swung back in favour of Zhou before something out of the ordinary happened.
After over six hours of heads-up battling, the dealer dealt what would turn out to be the final hand, but neither player had looked. Before either player even touched their cards, Chan suggested the two just chop up the difference in first and second place money, then flip blind for the title. After some chatter, Zhou agreed to this deal, despite having a chip lead of 3.321 million to 2.203 million over Chan.
Neither player looked and they were allowed to keep their hole cards face down until the river as the dealer ran out the board. Then, the two players revealed one card at a time. When the hands were finally shown, Zhou had a straight with to beat Chan's . Zhou had the larger stack and was declared the winner. Each player received HKD$3,547,500 in prize money, but the title went to Zhou and he will reign as APPT Macau champion for the next year.
2012 PokerStars.net APPT Macau: Asia Championship of Poker Final Table Payouts
|Place||Name||Country||Prize (HKD)||Prize (USD)|
|2||Ying Kit Chan||Hong Kong||$3,547,500||$454,808*|
*Denotes a two-way deal.