In early March, the Macau Poker Cup 22 (MPC22) kicked off their 16-event, 17-day schedule from inside PokerStars LIVE Macau. Hong Kong's Eric Fung kicked things off by winning the coveted Baby Dragon, and on Friday the stop culminated with the MPC22 Red Dragon Main Event, a tournament that attracted 987 unique players and created a prize pool of HK$10,339,812 ($1,330,000 USD).
The final table got off to a fast start — two eliminations in the first orbit, four within an hour, and six before the first break — and eventually it all came down to Yunye Lu and Yuguang Li, who opted to strike a heads-up deal. In the end, Li, a 36-year-old businessman, captured the title for HK$1,848,000 ($238,000 USD) and his first major title.
Prior to the win, Li only had three cashes to his name, all of which came in Macau. His prior biggest cash was $12,421 for a fifth-place finish in the 2014 APPT Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP).
"When we reached heads-up, I felt that I was going to win because I play a lot of heads-up online," Li said after his victory. "I want to thank all my supporters, my friends, my family and PokerStars for running a great event."
Final Table Results
|4||Yi Won Lee||Korea||HK$563,000|
|6||Eileen Fengjiao Wang||China||HK$281,612|
|9||David Steicke||Hong Kong||HK$174,000|
*Denotes heads-up deal.
According to updates from the event, the first player to fall was well-known Aussie poker pro and Hong Kong businessman David Steicke. It happened when Japan's Takuya Yamashita, a 26-year-old who finished third in the MPC21 Red Dragon, put in a raise from the button and Steicke three-bet to 25,000 from the big blind. Yamashita four-bet all in and Steicke quickly called off his remaining million or so.
Steicke got it in good, but the flop gave Yamashita the lead. The turn actually gave Steicke back the lead, but it was short lived as the spiked on the river to five Yamashita trips. Steicke took home HK$174,000 for his ninth-place finish.
From there the eliminations came fast and furious. Yamashita ended up falling in fifth place after he six-bet jammed all in with the and ran into start-of-the-day chip leader Lu's pocket aces. No miracle would come and that was all she wrote for Yamashita.
Lu went on to take a healthy 3:1 chip lead into heads-up play against Li, but it was not a smooth road to victory. On the contrary, Li evened the stacks, and that is when the two struck a deal based on chip counts while leaving HK$150,000 on the table. In addition, the winner would also take home a ACOP Main Event seat valued at HK$100,000.
Despite striking a deal, the two didn't change their playing styles – both were in it to win it. The tournament eventually came to a head with the blinds at 60,000/120,000/20,000. That is when Li raised to 300,000 from the button and Lu called to see a flop of . Lu checked, Li bet 400,000, and Lu check-raised to 1 million. Li called and then watched Lu move all in for approximately 6 million on the turn.
Li snap-called with the for two pair, and it was good as Lu had been caught bluffing with the . The was put out on the river for good measure, and Li was left with just 290,000.
It went in the next hand with Lu holding the against Li's . The board ran out and Li's pair of fours gave him the Red Dragon. Li, who immediately jumped into the MPC22 High Roller, said he planned to sue some of the winnings to travel the circuit and continue playing poker.
Even though the Main Event is in the books, the MPC22 continues on Saturday with two huge final tables – the conclusion of both the HK$20,000 No Limit Hold'em Event and the HK$80,000 High Rollers Event.
**Photos courtesy of PokerStars.