Zhihao Zhang Takes Commanding Lead Into Final Table of Red Dragon Jeju
The final table of the biggest live poker event in the history of South Korea is set at the Jeju Shinhwa World - Landing Casino and nine players out of a field of 869 entries remain in contention for the title in the 2019 PokerStars LIVE Asia Red Dragon Jeju ₩2,500,000 Main Event.
While all contenders have ₩32,242,000 (~$27,700) locked up for their efforts, all eyes are set on the unique red dragon trophy and the top prize of ₩393,553,500 (~$338,400) that comes along with it.
Zhang Builds Huge Lead
Zhihao Zhang has emerged as the odds-on favorite to become the 28th Red Dragon Main Event champion in the 11-year history of the popular Asia-Pacific circuit as he holds a commanding lead over his eight opponents.
Zhang has nearly half of the chips in play. His stack of 11,750,000 represents 117 big blinds while the nearest competitors, Xin He (2,450,000) and Ting Yi Tsai (2,445,000) have just shy of 25 big blinds at their disposal.
One pivotal hand changed the circumstances in spectacular fashion as Shenming Yin and Zhang clashed in a pot worth more than one-third of the total chips in play. In three-way action, Zhang flopped quads eights and Yin turned a full house with pocket treys. The money went in after the river as Yin was unable to find a fold and relinquished the lead for the first time since the money bubble on Day 2. He'd eventually bust in 12th.
All remaining six finalists have between 10 and 20 big blinds and are just one double-up away from a potential leap on the leaderboard. Taiwan's Tsai is the only non-Chinese player still in contention as Yifan Cao (2,045,000), Cangsheng Ni (1,880,000), Wenyan Liu (1,875,000), Dapeng Wang (1,570,000), Zhenhua Lu (1,190,000) and Rongshan Li (1,020,000) complete the line-up for the final day.
Final Table Seating
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|3||Ting Yi Tsai||Taiwan||2,445,000||24|
Lu already knows what it feels like to reach the Red Dragon Main Event final table as he finished fourth in the edition from February 2018. The tournament, then hosted in Macau, drew a field of 1,122, and Lu earned a career-best payday of HK$800,000 ($102,293). He can surpass that with a third-place finish or better.
The action is set to resume at 1 p.m. local time on Thursday as an additional tournament day was added due to the record-breaking turnout. There are 40 minutes and 42 seconds remaining in Level 29 (50,000/100,000/100,000), and the final showdown will be broadcasted on the Red Dragon Poker website with Mandarin commentary and hole cards displayed on a security delay of 30 minutes.
Whether or not Zhang will be able to turn his huge lead into victory remains to be seen and you can find out right here on PokerNews. Coverage resumes Thursday and can be found right here.