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Zheng, Badziakouski Lock Up Big Scores and Platinum Passes in Macau

Alvan Zheng
  • Big money and platinum passes were up for grabs over the weekend at PokerStars Macau Poker Cup 28.

One of Asia's premier poker events, PokerStars Macau Poker Cup 28, wrapped up over the weekend with some massive prize pools and platinum passes doled out to select winners. Alvan Zheng and Mikita Badziakouski secured two of the biggest paydays and the aforementioned $30,000 passes by winning the HK$15,000 Red Dragon Main Event and the HK$80,000 High Roller, respectively.

Zheng took down HK$3,055,000, or approximately $390,000, surpassing $1 million in live tournament cashes. Badziakouski, meanwhile, continues to establish himself as one of the world's foremost no-limit aces as he scored about $297,000. The Belarusian is well on his way to another huge year with nearly $500,000 in cashes already, coming on the heels of a $4.5 million 2017.

Both players earned platinum passes to the $9 million-added PokerStars Players Championship in 2019.

Red Dragon Main Event

The Red Dragon soared past the HK$10 million guarantee by drawing 1,122 entries for a prize pool of over HK$14.6 million, or nearly $1.9 million. Johan Schumacher, Henrik Tollefson, Yang Zhang, Aditya Agarwal and Matthew Moss were among the 135 who cashed, with Schumacher coming off of his Aussie Millions final table appearance.

Zheng went into the final table as one of the bigger stacks, according to the live updates, but he trailed the likes of Junhao Hong and Jiang Huang.

The early levels saw a number of doubles and only one elimination as blinds rose to the point where even Hong's leading stack was under 50 big blinds. He then scored two of the next three eliminations, getting lucky with fives against aces and {k-Clubs}{j-Spades} against {a-Spades}{j-Diamonds} to reduce the field to five and move past 10 million at 50,000/100,000/10,000.

He followed that up by busting Aleksei Opalikhin in fifth with {a-Diamonds}{10-Spades} against {a-Spades}{5-Hearts} after calling a cutoff shove for about 13 big blinds. Huang did his best to keep pace by busting Zhenhua Lu, leaving Zheng the clear underdog with 3.5 million to 12.9 million for Hong and 6 million for Huang.

However, Zheng took care of Huang in short order. First, he doubled with {k-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} when Huang tried bullying him out with {q-Hearts}{5-Hearts}, shoving over Zheng's raise. Then, he made a big call with {a-Spades}{7-Diamonds} on {6-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{4-Spades}{7-Hearts} and held against Huang's {5-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}. Suddenly, Zheng had a slight lead heads up with Hong.

The two had nearly 100 big blinds apiece but the match proved short as a four-bet pot played out with the rest of the money going in when {a-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{5-Hearts} flopped. Zheng had no sweat with top set as Hong was all but dead with {10-Spades}{4-Spades} and a brick turn ended things in Zheng's favor.

Official Final Table Results

1Alvan ZhengHK$3,055,000
2Junhao HongHK$1,824,000
3Jiang HuangHK$1,094,000
4Zhenhua LuHK$800,000
5Aleksei OpalikhinHK$540,000
6Dongqi LinHK$394,000
7Minho LeeHK$336,000
8Tong ZhouHK$292,000
9Jiming ChenHK$248,000

The High Roller

The HK$80,000 High Roller, with a buy-in of roughly $10,000, naturally drew a smaller field of 124 for a prize pool just over HK$9.2 million, or just under $1.2 million.

Perhaps the most easily-recognizable name outside of Badziakouski to make a big run was bracelet winner and recent Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open champ Martin Kozlov. However, the Aussie would be first out when he couldn't run up as the shortest stack with 11 big blinds heading into the final table, losing a flip early on.

Matthew Moss would follow up his cash in the Main with a run to the final table and had to have high hopes going in with the chip lead. After getting unlucky with sixes against threes, though, he got in a huge flip with Badziakouski, holding king-queen against pocket tens. A queen hit on the flop but a ten on the turn left the Brit drawing to a four-flush on the river. He missed, putting Badziakouski squarely in contention for the win with four left.

Raghav Bansal further empowered Badziakouski when he tried sneaking a cold four-bet shove by the young gun, only to have Badziakouski show up with queens and crush his {a-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}. Badziakouski then won another big flip, pairing with {a-Diamonds}{k-Hearts} against the {9-Spades}{9-Clubs} of Elliot Smith.

Badziakouski seemed all but certain to take the crown as he had about a 7-1 lead on Raul Martinez, and that's exactly what transpired. He called a shove just a few minutes in with {k-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds} and was dominating {k-Spades}{4-Clubs}. When the board brought no help, Badziakouski secured yet another big high roller score and added to what's fast becoming one of the most impressive trophy cases out there.

Official Final Table Results

1Mikita BadziakouskiHK$2,324,000
2Raul MartinezHK$1,570,000
3Elliot SmithHK$1,021,000
4Raghav BansalHK$845,500
5Matthew MossHK$682,000
6Dasheng ChenHK$538,000
7Ben LaiHK$411,020
8Masaki NakanoHK$309,000
9Martin KozlovHK$231,000

Photo courtesy of PokerStars

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