As soon as the river card came down, Varun Gupta’s huge smile and celebratory high fives said it all. He had just captured the APT Main Event title by defeating Chinese Taipei pro Jack En-Ching Wu. Gupta was awarded the exclusive APT Championship Ring, the APT Championship Trophy, the Meister luxury watch, and HKD 300,400.
“No doubt it is the best feeling one can get playing the first international trip and get in 1st position playing with the sickos and regulars. It’s amazing. Top of the world!” Gupta expressed.
The APT Finale Macau Championships 2017 drew in 157 entries to Macau Billionaire Poker at Babylon Casino for its HKD 11,000 Main Event, and on its fifth day, it came down to the Final 8 with every player at the felt looking to seize their first major Asian Poker Tour title.
For our champion, India’s Varun Gupta, his tale really began in Day 3. He had a rough start, doubling up two short stacks to send his own way below average. At 12 players remaining, he caught a couple of good breaks to rise out of the danger zone and claim his first victim with A-A over A-K. From there, he ended Day 3 with a decent stack of 331k however it was nowhere near the stack of Jack Wu who bagged up a towering 940k in chips.
Gupta’s big pots
We asked Gupta what his strategy was coming into the Final 8. He shared, “Since I belong to the cash game player category, my strategy was to play text book poker. Didn’t need to do much in this, get hands and get paid off, so easy life in short.. LOL”
The Final 8 began with Gupta quickly causing some damage. He landed the first double up of the table, calling Michael Soyza’s raise-shove on a completed board of 9♠ 9♦ 10♣ K♦ J♦. Gupta had A♠ Q♦ straight over Soyza’s A♥ 10♦ two pair.
While he picked up many more sizable pots, it was the hand against Austin Walton that powered him to the seven-digit range. With progressive betting to the river, the board filled out 4♠ 9♣ 6♣ Q♠ 7♦. Gupta bet, Walton check-raised, and Gupta didn’t even bat an eyelash. He snap-called and won it with Q♦ J♥ top pair over 5♦ 4♥ bottom pair.
With four left in the running, Gupta claimed over half of the chips in play in a massive hand against Wu. At every betting round, Wu fired out chunky bets while Gupta continued to call him down. When the board completed 8♠ 7♠ 7♣ K♣ A♣ and all the bets were in, Gupta won it with J♣ 10♣ flush.
Gupta’s charge to victory
After the fall of Shyh Chyn Lim to Wu in 3rd place, Gupta entered the heads up round with 1.595M to Wu’s 2.33M. Before the game continued a deal was discussed and reached. Wu was guaranteed HKD 310,000 and Gupta HKD 280,400. They would play for the title plus another HKD 20,000 to the winner.
Despite Wu’s extensive experience, it didn’t take long for Gupta to power past the pro. He did tell us that this was when he felt most comfortable.
“To be honest, I think my genuine edge came when it was heads up. Again being from a cash game background, it’s easy to put down players like 3 betting spots and hero call spots. So I was much more comfortable when it was heads up.
Gupta won three fueled pots – claiming 670k of Wu’s chips – to assume command. On one of those hands, with blinds at 15K-30K ante 5k, Gupta raised to 75k preflop and Wu called. On the flop 2♦ K♦ 10♦ they both checked. At the turn 8♣, Wu bet 60k and was called. On 6♣ river, Wu bet 125k, Gupta raised to 300k, and Wu folded.
Although Wu fought back and retook the lead, it was fleeting with Gupta doubling up with 4-4 over A-7. The final hand had Wu all in with J♦ 10♦ and Gupta with K♣ J♠. The board ran dry and the king high prevailed.
When asked how he would be celebrating, “Team india is going for a grand party tonight! Let’s celebrate today and get the job done again tomorrow.” Congratulations to India’s Varun Gupta for his incredible victory at the Main Event!
Final 8 payouts
1st Varun Gupta – India – HKD 300,400 (deal made)
2nd Jack En-Ching Wu – Chinese Taipei – HKD 310,000 (deal made)
3rd Shyh Chyn Lim – Malaysia – HKD 156,000
4th Kwok Luen Hei – Hong Kong – HKD 113,800
5th Kai Paulsen – Norway – HKD 94,200
6th Austin Walton – USA – HKD 77,600
7th Michael Soyza – Malaysia – HKD 64,100
8th Anson Wong Fuk On – Hong Kong – HKD 53,500
You can relive all the thrilling Final 8 action in the Live Updates page.