It was already Season 4 of the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour, and the latest tour stop was the immensely popular island of Macau. The Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino hosted the events as players came from all over the world, though primarily from nearby Asian countries, to participate in one of the biggest APPT stops of the year.
The first of three starting days brought 88 players to the tables to play their seven levels, and names like Raymond Wu, Marcel Luske, Celina Lin, Bryan Huang, and Julian Powell were among them. But only 43 of them survived, and it was Alexandre Chieng who finished the day with the chip lead, holding 113,100 chips.
The second starting day brought another 84 players into the mix, and the tables included some familiar faces like JC Tran, John Phan, Terrence Chan, David Steicke, Eric Assadourian, Neil Arce, and Andrew Scott. But when play stopped in the evening hours, only 36 players were left to bag their chips, and it was Henrik Gwinner who ended it with 140,700 chips and the day’s chip lead.
The third and final starting day was the largest field of all, with 170 players coming into the tournament. That created a total field of 342 players and prize pool of $12,730,608 HKD, which equaled approximately $1,630,000 in U.S. dollars. That allowed the top 40 players to receive payouts and about $416,000 set aside for the ultimate winner. Some of the biggest names entering on Day 1C were Quinn Do, Nam and Tommy Le, Antoine Amourette, Steve Yea, Tony Hachem, and Binh Nguyen. The chip leader when all stacks were bagged for the 81 survivors was Darren Judges, who became the overall starting days’ leader with 173,800 chips.
Day 2 brought all 160 remaining players back to the tables, where play moved along rather quickly through the day but when it finished, there were still 44 players in contention, just a few spots shy of the money bubble. Many of the well-known players exited during the second day of play, but TJ Vorapanich ended the day with 472,900 chips, and Kai Paulsen was in second place with 416,800. The entire rest of the field sat with less than 300K chips each.
Day 3 started with a cautious field of 44, all hoping to make it into the money for their work in the tournament thus far. It took a little time, but eventually, during hand-for-hand play, Takashi Ogura pushed all-in with a solid , but Mikhail Mazunin called with . The board did nothing to change the race nature of the hands when it came , and Ogura was out in 45th place on the money bubble.
Jesse Haabak was the first to cash in the event, taking home 63,700 HKD for 40th place, and notables who followed included Henrik Gwinner in 29th place, Marcel Luske in 27th, Patrick Jensen in 22nd, and Binh Nguyen in 13th place. On the final table bubble, action tightened up again, but it was eventually Wee Yee Tan who put his last 98,000 at risk with against the of Cole Swannack. The board fell , and Tan was gone in tenth place with 178,200 HKD.
The final table was then set for May 22 as follows:
|Seat 1: ||Victorino Torres ||396,000 |
|Seat 2: ||Kai Paulsen ||528,000 |
|Seat 3: ||Jeppe Drivsholm ||1,223,000 |
|Seat 4: ||Keith Hawkins ||174,000 |
|Seat 5: || Albert Kim ||436,000 |
|Seat 6: ||Chong Cheong ||904,000 |
|Seat 7: ||Cole Swannack ||1,262,000|
|Seat 8: ||Darren Green ||970,000 |
|Seat 9: ||Kenny Nielsen ||791,000 |
Action began with Drivsholm taking charge and picking up pots through some aggressive play. Though he lost a bit when players finally played back, it was Kim who struggled the most.
But Hawkins was the first to make a big move. He pushed all-in from the button with , but original raiser Torres called just over 100K more with . The board came , and there wasn’t enough help there to save Keith Hawkins, who was the first player to depart from the table, taking 254,608 HKD with him.
The aforementioned Kim was next. The hand started with Cheong limping in, but Kim raised all-in from the big blind with . Cheong called with , and the board blanked with . Albert Kim left the tournament in eighth place with 350,100 HKD.
Cheong then soared to the top of the leaderboard. And at the same time, Drivsholm fell when Torres took a monster pot from him. It was anyone’s game.
The exception to that last statement was Paulsen, who couldn’t gain any momentum and finally moved all-in for his last 500K with . Drivsholm moved all-in over the top, which prompted a fold from Cheong. Drivsholm showed a dominating and completely hit the flop when it came . The turn brought the and the river the , which sent Kai Paulsen out in seventh place with 445,600 HKD.
Green then tangled with Drivsholm to see a flop of . Green tried to bet it, but when Drivsholm put in a big raise, Green moved all-in for not much more with . Drivsholm called with and the best hand with the ace kicker. The on the turn changed nothing, nor did the on the river, and Green was eliminated in sixth place with 572,900 HKD.
While Nielsen desperately tried to get something going for himself, to no avail, Swannack made a move and successfully doubled through Drivsholm with K-Q over A-7 on a A-K-Q flop, and a queen on the river made the full house for Swannack.
Nielsen then found his chance. With little more than 300K left, he pushed with , but Torres called with one better - the . The board came , but nothing worked for Kenny Nielsen, who left in fifth place with 700,000 HKD.
Drivsholm continued to lose chips, ultimately landing in fourth place on the leaderboard with less than 500K chips. However, he was able to double up with A-J over the K-J of Cheong to stay alive. But a few more hands saw him fall again, and his last 709K went all-in from the small blind with . Torres called with , and the board brought blanks when it came . Jeppe Drivsholm was gone in fourth place with 891,000 HKD.
Three-handed play was dominated by Torres, and Swannack was the short-stacked player throughout the action. Finally picking up , he thought it would be a good spot to move, but Cheong just happened to be able to call with . The dealer gave them a board, which solidified the third place finish of Cole Swannack, who walked away with 1,177,600 HKD.
Heads-up action began with the following chip stacks:
|Victorino Torres ||4,800,000 |
|Chong Cheong ||1,900,000 |
Torres started strong and didn’t back down. But Cheong was waiting for the right moment and moved all-in with K-Q. Torres had the A-J, but the board of 5-K-Q-Q-2 gave Cheong the double-up, but he was only back to where he started at the beginning of the heads-up match.
It didn’t take long for Cheong to make another attempt. The hand started with the two players going to see a flop. Cheong pushed all-in with for the straight draw, but Torres check-called with for the straight he already made. The came on the turn, and the fell on the river to end the match. Chong Cheong finished the tournament in second place with 2,088,000 HKD.
Victorino Torres, a native of the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. territory) won the APPT Macau Main Event, which came with a trophy and 3,246,200 HKD, which was equal to more than $400K.