In what is undoubtedly one of the longest heads-up battles in poker tournament history, Canadian Elliot Smith defeated Chinese local Tianyuan Tang to claim the title of Main Event Champion of the first PokerStars Championship Macau ever. Smith takes home a top prize of HK$2,877,500 (close to CA$500,000) after a heads-up deal with Tang.
"It was just a grueling, grueling battle. We were just at it, back and forth. The lead changed probably 10 times, and hats off to my opponent, he played fantastic," Smith said to Sarah Herring after his big win.
|6||Yen ‘Pete’ Chen||Taiwan||HK$705,000|
It took only two hours to reach heads-up play with several of the final six starting off relatively short. On the sixth hand of the day, Yen ‘Pete’ Chen open-shoved from late position with pocket tens, running into Tianyuan Tang’s pocket jacks.
Chen spiked a ten on the flop but a jack on the river ended his Main Event run in sixth place.
Aymon Hata departed next, running into Smith’s pocket kings. Hata shoved preflop with queen-jack and managed to hit two pair before Smith made his own two pair on the turn, and just like that, the Day 4 chip leader was out in fifth.
Canadian Spin & Go qualifier Avraham Oziel bust in fourth after falling victim to a sick beat. A dream spot for the Montreal native turned around very quickly. Oziel got it in preflop with pocket aces against Tang’s pocket sevens but a seven on the flop put the dagger into Oziel’s day.
A few hands after Oziel hit the rail Daniel Laidlaw put his tournament life on the line against Smith.
Laidlaw was in great shape to score a double up having ace-ten against Smith's king-five. Smith took the lead on the flop, pairing his five but Laidlaw picked up a flush draw. Unfortunately, the Aussie bricked the turn and river and took third place.
Once heads-up play began, the two finalists had the clock paused so they could discuss a deal. An hour later, they returned to the table with an even chop of HK$2,577,500, leaving HK$300,000 and the trophy for the eventual champ.
Over 11 hours after they began their heads-up battle, Smith limped to induce a shove.
At around 3 p.m. local time, heads-up play ensued with less than a couple million in chips separating them. They traded the chip lead back and forth every few hands with the vast majority of pots being limp-checked preflop.
Over 11 hours after they began their heads-up battle, Smith limped to induce a shove from the shorter-stacked Tang, and that's just what happened. Tang shoved and Smith called. Tang had pocket sixes up against Smith's ace-king.
Tang smashed the flop hitting a set but there were outs to a chop or Smith could hit running spades for a flush. The turn brought another spade into the mix and another spade on the river gave Smith the title.
Many notables crossed land and sea to take a seat in the first PokerStars Championship Macau Main Event. PokerStars Team Pros Chris Moneymaker, Celina Lin, Aditya Agarwal, Randy 'nanonoko' Lew and Bertrand 'Elky' Grospellier made the trip, though none of them made the money.
Some familiar faces to earn the Macau flag on their Hendon Mob page include Fabrice Soulier (ninth - HK$386,000), Dong Guo (10th - HK$291,300), Winfred Yu (13th - HK$221,000), David Peters (37th - HK$101,000), and Sofia Lovgren (44th - $101,000).
That is a wrap on PokerNews' coverage of the PokerStars Championship Macau. Up next is the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo running from April 25-May 5.