For the first time since 2012, the Red Dragon is heading back to China. That’s because on Wednesday Zhenru Xie topped a field of 808 players to win the Macau Poker Cup 21 (MPC21) for HK$1,667,000 (USD $215,073), a Slyde Titanium design watch, and the trademark Red Dragon trophy. The tournament was the third-largest in MPC history and created a prize pool of HK$7,837,600 that was distributed to the top 108 finishers.
"I'm very happy to have won. I never thought I would win!" exclaimed Xie following his victory. "I have played a lot in the UK, but this is my first tournament in Macau. My wife wanted to play, so I just came along to join her!”
Final Table Results
|4||Pete Chen||Chinese Taipei||HK$491,000|
|9||Wai Leong Chan||Malaysia||HK$135,600|
According to the PokerStars Blog, the final table began with China’s Hu Liu leading the way with 3.155 million, more than double that of his nearest competitor. Interestingly, it only took five minutes for the first elimination to occur. It happened when 28-year-old Wai Leong Chan, an online pot-limit Omaha player from Malaysia, moved his short stack all in preflop holding only to run into the of Pete Chen. The board ran out a clean , and Chan was eliminated in ninth place for HK$135,600.
After Enming Zhang and John Hoang fell in eighth and seventh places, respectively, Chen Wang followed them out the door in sixth. Wang, a 26-year-old that finished third in the 2014 APPT Macau High Roller, fell after action folded to him in the small blind and he raised holding the . Chen, who had the bigger stack, then moved all in from the big blind with the , and Wang called off. Wang was primed to double, but the flop paired Chen to give him the lead. Neither the turn nor river helped Wang, and he literally knocked over his chips in disgust, clearly discontent with finishing sixth for HK$290,000.
The next to go was start-of-the-day chip leader Liu, who had watched the other players even up the stacks. Liu fell when he got the last of his chips all in preflop holding the but failed to overcome the of Xie. From there, Chen, considered one of Asia’s young guns of poker, was bounced in fourth when his pocket threes ran into the pocket nines of Australian Matthew Ryan. Chen’s finish marked his fifth final table of the season, which meant the Taiwanese took over the No. 1 ranking in the Asia Player of the Year race.
With three players left, Japan’s Takuya Yamashita, a 26-year-old consultant, moved all in for 1.3 million from the big blind over the top of a button raise from Xie. A call was made and Yamashita discovered that he got it in good.
Unfortunately for Yamashita, the flop came down and Xie flopped trips. The turn left Yamashita drawing dead, and after the was put out on the river, he made his way to the payout desk in third place to collect HK$658,000.
Xie began heads-up play holding 6.995 million to Ryan’s 4.98 million. The two battled back and forth for awhile before a big hand played out. It began when Xie opened for 250,000 and then called when Ryan three-bet to 500,000, which brought about a flop of . Ryan bet 600,000, Xie called, and the appeared on the turn. Ryan opted to shove all in and Xie snap-called off for 4.425 million with the for a full house, which had Ryan’s drawing thin. The river didn’t change a thing, and Ryan was left with just 900,000.
In the final hand of the tournament, Ryan moved all in holding the and Xie called with the . The board ran out and Xie’s sevens secured him the victory and denied Australia their first Red Dragon.
The next tournament at PokerStars LIVE Macau will be the ACOP Platinum VI series from September 25th-28th. The Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) will follow that from October 24th - November 9th.
*Photography provided by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau