2012 PokerStars APPT Macau Champion Xing Zhou

Five long days, countless hours, one supreme champion. I’m talking about the PokerStars APPT Macau Asia Championship of Poker Main Event. The grueling competition began with 184 players battling it out to claim the title, and the HKD multi-million dollar prize at the end of the proverbial rainbow.

In the end, Xing Zhou would be crowned the ultimate victor, but it was no easy road getting there. Zhou would have to survive a fierce final table of elite competitors that included Jacques Zaicik, Ying Kit Chan, Michael Kanaan, Tsugunari Toma, Henry Wang, Tom Alner, Alan Sass and Andrew Hinrichsen.

As the action got underway, Zaicik, the short stack, wasn’t expected to last very long, but overcame his deficit with a lucky draw of pocket Aces that saw him doubling up on the second hand of the day. Xhou grabbed a solid lead shortly after, winning a near-million chip pot when he flopped a set against Michael Kanaan’s top pair. This hand gave the Chinese poker player a significant lead that would hold out for the remainder of the final table.

Henry Wang suffered a devastating blow when Sass doubled up through him, leaving Wang to fight for his tournament life, pushing with only a few blinds remaining on an unsuitable hand of Q-4 off-suit. Hinrichsen’s A-10 hearts would be Wang’s undoing, making him the first to exit the PokerStars APPT Macau Main Event final table.

Zhou then extended his chip lead in an enormous pot that crippled Tsungunari Toma, flopping a set of 8s that busted Toma’s pocket Kings and boosted Zhou’s stack to over 3 million while his nearest opponent had only 500k.

Another lucky hand brought Tom Alner’s remaining chip stack into Zhou’s possession when he hit a Straight on the river to beat Alner’s A-K, sending him to the rails in 8th position. A similar situation would bring an end to Hinrichsen’s road to glory. His pocket 9s ran aground against Zhou’s J-10 suited when a Jack fell on the river, eliminating Hinrichsen from the tournament.

Toma would be the next to leave the table when his stack took a grievous blow from Sass, followed by a clash with Ying Kit Chan that left his 9-8 off-suit stranded against Chan’s K-3. Sass made a big move, pushing all-in with pocket Q’s, but Zhou made the call, revealing A-K off. The board offered nothing at all to Alan Sass, but landed an Ace on the flop and a King on the river to twist the blade as Sass exited in 5th.

It was the Frenchman’s turn next. After fostering a short stack for several hours, Jacques Zaicik finally found a worthy opportunity to push with A-K off-suit, but once more, the board favored Zhou offering no help to either player, but holding pocket 9s Zhou took him out.

Now down to three—Kanaan, Chan and Zhou—the morning’s chip leader Kanaan finally fell to the rails. He pushed with pocket 8’s only to be immediately called by Zhou, who held pocket Kings. It became one of the most interesting hands of the day when the flop gave Kanaan a set, but the turn favored Zhou with a set of his own and it was all over for Kanaan.

Heads up play ensued between Xing Zhou and Ying Kit Chan to determine who would be the PokerStars APPT Macau Asia Champion of Poker. Zhou went into the bout with a heavy lead, but Chan fought tooth and nail and was actually able to take a slight lead at one point when he rivered a nut flush. After six very long hours of heads-up competition, with near matching stacks, something very strange occurred.

The dealer dealt each player a starting hand, but before either looked at their cards, a deal was made. The two agreed that this would be the final hand. They would split the remaining prize evenly, about $3.5 million apiece, and the title would go to the winner of the hand. Without ever viewing their cards, the flop, turn and river were played – 9d-8s-3d-5s-7h. The two then flipped their mysterious hole cards. Chan held 7-5, making two pair, but Zhou made a straight with 10-6.

It was all over. Both players took the same amount of prize money, but Xing Zhou would lay claim to the title. And so it was that Xing Zhou won the PokerStars APPT Macau Main Event and became the 2012 Asia Champion of Poker.

2012 PokerStars APPT: Asia Champion of Poker Main Event Final Table Results
1st Xing Zhou – $3,547,500 ($454,808 USD)
2nd Ying Kit Chan – $3,547,500 ($454,808 USD)
3rd Michael Kanaan – $1,731,000 ($221,923 USD)
4th Jacques Zaicik – $1,384,000 ($177,436 USD)
5th Alan Sass – $1,125,000 ($144,231 USD)
6th Tsugunari Toma – $952,000 ($122,051 USD)
7th Andrew Hinrichsen – $779,000 ($99,872 USD)
8th Tom Alner – $606,000 ($77,692 USD)
9th Henry Wang – $432,000 ($55,474 USD)