The Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) is in full swing at PokerStars Live at the City of Dreams in Macau, and the first major event of the series – the HK$25,000 Warm-Up (HK$5 million guarantee) – has now wrapped up with China’s Jian Yang victorious over the 338-player field.
Starting on Wednesday evening, Day 1a saw 140 players take to the felt as Kai Sheng Yang topped the 65 survivors. Day 1b would see 198 players have their crack – and although the final field size of 338 would fall 20 shy of last year’s, it was still a great turn out with WSOP Europe and WPT Paris running simultaneously. Tom Chio snagged the huge chip lead as he and the 80 survivors created a 145-player field heading into Day 2 which would hope to reach the money by the end of play.
As was expected, play at the start of Day 2 would be free-flowing full of big pots and quick eliminations as the likes of Jordan Westmorland, Jarred Graham, Ivan Zalac, Yu Kurita, Celina Lin, Edison Nguyen and Aussie Millions Champion Mervin Chan all hitting the rail. With many players climbing the leaderboard, it would be Tom Alner who would set himself above all when his spiked a set all in preflop against Sparrow Cheung’s . Then as the day came close to ending, Alner would eliminate two players holding against and to end the day as chip leader over the remaining 40 players.
On Day 3 the tournament would be just 2 eliminations shy of reaching the money and the guaranteed HK$45,000 and following an elimination on the second hand, players would find double after double after double before Aidan Tam called all in on the river holding against on a board of to put the final 38 into the money. From there eliminations flew at a steady rate with Milan Gurung (32nd), Iori Yogo (31st), Julius Colman (30th), Ken Wong (28th), Jay Kyung Sim (25th), William Te (23rd), Kai Paulsen (22nd), Juicy Li (19th), Michael Guzzardi (15th), Patrick Crivell (13th) and Terry Fan (12th) all taking home a piece of the prizepool. However the major hand of note would be one of the last ones of the night when Jian Yang went into the tank for 15 minutes on a board of before calling with to pick off Inge Forsmo’s all in bluff with .
When the final nine players returned for the final day of play, Yang would hold 40% of the chips in play and amazingly never slip below the 30% mark throughout the final table. Paul Cheng and Saehoon Lee were out first as Alner fell in 7th after getting outdrawn on the turn. Yibo Zhou and Roger Spets were the next to go before Billy “The Croc” Argyros’ run of luck would finally end in 4th after he had survived four previous all in hands when he wasn’t the favourite – one time cracking aces with .
Now a three-handed battle between China, Malaysia and Ireland, it would be David Foran leaving it to a battle of Asia when he was all in with against Yang’s on a flop. No help came for Foran and Yang took a 4.14 million to 2.57 million chip lead into the highly anticipated heads-up battle against Wei Hsiang Yeu. That battle would last all of one hand after Yang opened to 150,000 with only to have Yeu three-bet to 350,000 before Yang made it 1,125,000 to go. Yeu shoved and Yang called as players, staff and media were amazed at what they were seeing as the dealer spread a flop before a brick on the turn. However, the best hand preflop is not always the best hand at the end, but in this case it was as the miraculous spiked the river to send victory to Yang.
|2nd||Wei Hsiang Yeu||Malaysia||HK$1,170,000|
|9th||Paul Cheng||Hong Kong||HK$170,000|
Congratulations to Jian Yang of China for winning the ACOP Warm-Up and clinching the top spot on the Asia Player of the Year rankings following victory here and in September at the ACOP: Platinum Series II Main Event.
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