After five days of battling it out, Hong Kong pro Sparrow Park Yu Cheung prevailed at the APT Championships Event! He entered the Final 8 with a dominating stack and never dipped below average. At heads up, Sparrow and Malaysia’s Victor Chong struck an ICM deal, and with Sparrow slightly ahead in chips, he was awarded HKD 428,000, the APT Championship Trophy, and the exclusive APT Championship Ring.
With both Sparrow and Victor revered as superstar players, everyone was eager to see them play for the title. But since a deal was struck to instantly end the game, we thought it would be interesting to ask them why.
Sparrow: Victor is my friend and he is a very good player. I think the deal was fair to lower the variance.
Victor: Sparrow is a deserving winner and we are good friends. We’ll play another time for the trophy. When I started playing in 2011, Sparrow was already there, he might be one of my first poker friends. We’ve been playing against each other for a long time already.
Despite entering the Final 8 with a commanding stack, Sparrow expressed the challenges he felt throughout the day,
“Having a deep stack is much more complicated than having a short stack. More strategy, more plays. It’s tougher being the biggest stack. I feel more pressure also because my friends will have higher expectations. When it was four-handed and Victor had more than me and he had position on me, it made it very tough so I had to tighten up a bit.”
Despite their friendship, both players faced each other numerous times throughout the Final 8 with both winning their fair share of pots. During the late stages, Victor was seen three-betting quite a few of Sparrow’s raises. Sparrow often folded however on one particular moment, he challenged back to win the pot and regain the chip lead. With blinds at 25K-50K ante 5K, Sparrow raised to 125K, Victor three-bet to 375K, Sparrow shoved, and Victor folded.
In our brief interview with Victor, he chimed, “I did make Sparrow’s life difficult today.” (laughs)
Final 8 recap
The Final 8 kicked off with everyone eyeing the big-stacked Sparrow. Andy Ying Kit Chan was the first to try to take a slice but he lost the bout and dropped further. Next one to challenge was the shortest stacked Michael Tran. Tran was much more fortunate landing two double ups to bring himself out of a deep hole.
Then the first casualty arrived with Wang Meng falling in 8th place. His A-K was unable to improve against Victor Chong’s 8-8. Meng’s appearance at the Final 8 was another great achievement for this newcomer to the APT having also finished 8th at the Main Event.
The lone female contender, Yuri Ishida, found herself out next in 7th place. Despite having Sparrow dominated, with A-10 over A-7, his small card partnered up to cut her run short. With six players remaining, the table was askew with one side fat with chips and the other struggling to chip up.
This imbalance led to the fall of the short stacks Andy Ying Kit Chan (6th) and Sai Ho Philip Chiu (5th) leaving Tran as the only short stack in contention.
The four-handed round saw Tran hang back while the three big stacks went at it, Sparrow, Chong, and Masato Yokosawa. Big pots were constantly brewed with each of them earning time as the leader. Tran eventually joined the action landing himself a double up through Chong with a flush over straight. This reversed the rankings with Chong now on the short end of the stick.
However, Chong’s time at the bottom didn’t last long. He doubled up with A-A against Yokosawa’s 7-7 to switch positions. Unlike Chong, Yokosawa wasn’t able to recover and Sparrow ended his hunt in 4th place. On a roll, Sparrow proceeded to rail Tran in 3rd place with A-A over K-J to slightly edge Chong in chips entering the heads up round. This was when the ICM deal was sealed and a new Championships Event winner emerged.
Congratulations to Sparrow Cheung for his victory at the APT Championships Event!
Final 8 payouts
Prize pool: HKD 2,095,200 – Buy-in HKD 22,000
1st Sparrow Park Yu Cheung – Hong Kong – HKD 428,000 (deal made)
2nd Victor Chong – Malaysia – HKD 421,000 (deal made)
3rd Michael Tran – Australia – HKD 235,700
4th Masato Yokosawa – Japan – HKD 170,100
5th Sai Ho Philip Chiu – Hong Kong – HKD 127,600
6th Andy Ying Kit Chan – Hong Kong – HKD HKD 99,700
7th Yuri Ishida – Japan – HKD 81,300
8th Wang Meng – China – HKD 68,700
The APT Macau Championships 2018 at Macau Billionaire Poker in Babylon Casino ran its second featured tournament, the APT Championships Event from May 2-6. The event attracted 108 entries for a prize pool of HKD 2,095,200 with 18 places paid.
You can relive all the action in the Live Updates starting from Day 2.