China’s Youze Tian crushes his opponents at the Main Event Warm-up

Yesterday, the Asian Poker Tour Finale Macau 2016 introduced its newest side event, the Main Event Warm-Up, which offered a similar structure to the highlight event of the festival. It was welcomed with 60 players ponying up the HKD7,700 entry fee for a healthy prize pool of HKD407,400. After two grueling days of poker action at the Crystal Palace of the Casino Lisboa, China’s Youze Tian came out victorious to earn the HKD112,800 first place purse, the biggest payout of the festival so far.

Main Event Warm Up Champion, Youze Tian

The first day of the Warm-Up saw many notable players join the action such as Iori Yogo, SJ Kim, Tetsuya Tsuchikawa, Dong Guo, Lim Yo Hwan, Kai Paulsen, and Aso Seitaro, but all of them would fall before the money. By the end of the first night, three-quarters of the field were gone leaving only 15 players at bagging.

After a night’s rest, action resumed early this afternoon, and in rapid fashion, the final table of ten was reached. With only nine players guaranteed a payout, this meant it was bubble time. Coming in with a dominating stack was Tian who proceeded to amass more chips by quickly delivering the bubble.

In the Money Round

With the remaining players visibly happy at having reached the money, the short stacks were less fearful to shove. One of those exciting “go big or go bust” moments saw UK’s Stephen Nathan in a three-way all in situation against China’s Jing Wang and Sweden’s Erik Billgren. The result was a triple up for Nathan with his 9 9 dodging high cards K Q and A K. As for Billgren, his stack spiraled down, and two hands later, he was eliminated in 9th place by Japanese pro Kosei Ichinose.

The next elimination was a big game changer with Ichinose going head-to-head against chip leader Tian. All the chips went in on a flop of A Q 9 with Ichinose holding A 9 two pair and Tian with A Q for a higher two pair. The turn and river didn’t improve Ichinose’s hand and Tian was awarded all of the pro’s chips. While Ichinose took 8th place, Tian catapulted to nearly 1.2M.

Massive stack for Tian after he eliminated Ichinose

At seven players, Nathan avoided elimination again this time with his J J winning a coin flip against Frenchman Hubert Spiess’s A K. This sent Nathan straight into second-in-command. Shortly after, Nathan eliminated China’s Chang Zhou in 7th place to join Tian over the million range.

The two massive chip leaders, Tian and Nathan, then went to work finishing off the short stacks. Spiess was railed in 6th place, Peru’s Yohn Paredes in 5th place, and China’s Fengiao Wang in 4th place. However for short stacked player, Wang, he proved to be a tougher challenge for the leaders.

Wang doubled up twice against Tian, then a third double up against Nathan. All of a sudden, Wang was the chip leader followed by Tian, and Nathan in the danger zone. With no other move but to shove, Nathan charged back hard landing an immediate triple up with his A 6 top pair, then doubled it up with J J against Wang’s K Q on a board of 2 7 7 9 2. Feeling the rush, Nathan eliminated Wang in 3rd place with A-6 getting lucky against A-K.

The heads up round began with Tian and Nathan about even in stacks. After several exchanges, both players were all in with Tian holding J J and Nathan behind with 7 7. The board offered no help to Nathan and Tian jumped into a commanding 9:1 chip lead. The final hand was immediately dealt with Tian eliminating Nathan with K J over Q 10 on a board that ran 8 7 J A 4.

1st Youze Tian – China – HKD112,800
2nd Stephen Nathan – UK – HKD69,700
3rd Jing Wang – China – HKD50,900
4th Fengiao Wang – China – HKD39,500
5th Yohn Paredes – Peru – HKD34,200
6th Hubert Spiess – France – HKD29,700
7th Chang Zhou – China – HKD26,100
8th Kosei Ichinose – Japan – HKD23,200
9th Erik Billgren – Sweden – HKD21,300