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Mark Benasa Wins Macau Red Dragon

Posted at 14:20 2011-02-28

Although FTOPS and miniFTOPS are currently at the forefront of everybody’s poker mind, the Macau Poker Cup has been run and won to wrap up the live poker month of February.

The new go-to destination for poker in the Australasia region, Macau and the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino have featured some of the hottest poker action in recent times, with the locals of the Asian Vegas growing to love the game.

With the Asia Player of the Year held in high regard in the region, the 2011 Macau Poker Cup would represent the second tournament of eleven POTY series for the year. Six events made up the first instalment of this year’s Macau Poker Cup (three more are to be contested in June, August and October) with the highlight being the HK$11,000 (approximately AU$1,390) Red Dragon Main Event.

Team PokerStars Pros Marcel Luske (Netherlands), Pieter de Korver (Netherlands) and Dale Philip (Online) made the trek to Macau, as well as Team Asia Pros Bryan Huang, Celina Lin and Raymond Wu, however it would be Roy Wan, Alvin Peh, Christine Hia and PokerNetwork’s Charles ‘PeepOnTheSly’ Chua being just a few to catch titles prior to the Main Event.

321 players was the previous record for this event, but players turned out in droves as 509 players smashed the record to form a HK$5,090,000 (approximately AU$642,000) prizepool. PokerStars Senior Events Manager Robin Lim stated, "We've been building towards a big jump and targeting a 100-player increase to last year's record number. But to beat that goal by nearly another 100 is truly remarkable. I can't say enough about the team at PokerStars Macau and the Grand Lisboa has been nothing short of amazing."

217 and 292 players respectively turned out for the Day 1a and 1b flights as a seven-figure payout would be awarded for the first time to the winner as sixty-five players headed home heavier in the pockets. 192 players reached a day two berth, before only 39 could duck-and-dive their way through to the final day of play. Poland’s Dawid Mysiewicz headlined the field while PokerStars Team Asia Pro Celina Lin and APPT Cebu Champion Young-shin Im from Korea were both inside the top eight chip counts as Kelly Flynn, Roger Spets and Mikael Rosen also remain in contention as.

On Day 3, Spets and Rosen both bowed out early before Lin bit the dust when her {Ad}{8h} ran into an opponent’s pocket aces to fall in 13th place. Flynn was next out the door being crippled by aces before failing to improve with his {Qs}{8h} against {Ac}{Jc}.

Final table lineup:

Seat 1: Joni Jouhkimainen (965,000)
Seat 2: Charles Lam (600,000)
Seat 3: Kuo Yang Huang (520,000)
Seat 4: Young-shin Im (1,000,000)
Seat 5: Yoshinori Hayashi (330,000)
Seat 6: Kenichi Takaki (290,000)
Seat 7: Hung Sheng Lin (1,700,000)
Seat 8: Wai Kin Wong (498,000)
Seat 9: Mark Benasa (1,380,000)

After roughly five hours of play the final table was reached with Taiwanese player Hung Sheng Lin atop as play circled for over ninety minutes before Kenichi Takaki saw his {As}{9c} come undone at the hands of the chip leader’s {Ah}{Ad}. Yoshinori Hayashi made a move with a straight draw but failed to improve against top pair to be done in eighth as seven players went on a well deserved 45-minute dinner break.

Play resumed after dinner and Finland’s Joni Jouhkimainen was crippled after losing a race with pocket nines before being forced to commit what remained of his chip stack from the big blind. Unfortunately his {6x}{4x} failed to improve against ace-king and he was bounced out the door before Wai Kin Wong exited in sixth place within the hour when his {Ac}{9d} was out-flopped all in preflop against {Kc}{Js}.

The short-stacked Charles Lam was all in against the newly crowned chip leader in Mark Benasa holding a dominating {As}{8s} against {8c}{6c}. The dealer delivered a cruel board of {3x}{2d}{2x}{4s}{5h} to see Lam straighten to the rail in fifth as Taiwan’s Kuo Yang Huang’s {Ac}{9s} failed to improve against the kings of Im. Now down to three, final table chip leader Lin would see his {As}{7s} all in against Benasa’s {8h}{8s}. The eight on the turn however ended Lin’s tournament and saw Benasa reach heads-up play with Im within five hours of the final table commencing.

Even with all of Im’s experience and confidence after capturing the APPT Cebu crown just a handful of months ago, only four hands would be contested before she bowed out in second place. Benasa moved all in and Im instantly called tabling {7d}{6s} against his {Ad}{Tc}. The {Td}{5s}{Kd}{8h}{Ks} board would be all that Benasa needed to capture the Macau Poker Cup title.

Final Results:

1st – Mark Benasa (HK$1,100,000)
2nd – Young-shin Im (HK$760,000)
3rd – Hung Sheng Lin (HK$450,000)
4th – Kuo Yang Huang (HK$343,000)
5th – Charles Lam (HK$254,000)
6th – Wai Kin Wong (HK$203,000)
7th – Joni Jouhkimainen (HK$165,000)
8th – Yoshinori Hayashi (HK$127,000)
9th – Kenichi Takaki (HK$101,500)

With Filipino Benasa capturing the HK$1,100,000 (roughly AU$139,000) first prize, he will now also shoot to the top of the Asia Player of the Year leaderboard where a coveted trophy and one-year PokerStars Macau sponsorship awaits if he can maintain his place on top.

If you would like the chance to follow in the footsteps of Bryan Huang and capture the Asia Player of the Year title, then download PokerStars now and begin playing satellites now for the upcoming Macau Millions for as little as $3.30!

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Mark Benasa claimed the Macau Red Dragon Main Event title Mark Benasa claimed the Macau Red Dragon Main Event title

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