Feng Zhao of Singapore entered the final table of the APT Philippines 2014 Main Event as the chip leader; now, he exits as the champion in Asia’s premier poker event at the Resorts World Manila.
After spending the early rounds near the bottom of the heap—he was 99th out of 116 players at the start of Day 2 and then 32nd out of 35 entering the Day 3—he found himself at the top entering the final day of play.
And he took advantage to the hilt in using the big stack to outmuscle his final table opponents.
He was responsible for busting out Mikal Blomlie (Norway) via the bullets, Michael Marvanek (Australia) with pocket fives, Huy Pham (Vietnam) with the big chick and Hyung Wook Choi (Korea) with the ace-jack.
As with any title run, it was without struggle. He lost the a chunk of his stack twice to worthy challengers Spain’s Iñaki Santos, who had a better kicker in a paired ace board; and Lebanon’s Mike Fawaz, who had the cowboys when play was five-handed.
Zhao was also tested by a true pro in Santos in the heads-up round; chips were almost even at the start of the heads-up play and Zhao even gave up the lead at some point.
“I am very tired. This is mentally draining. I am really tired now but I am still happy I just won this prize pool, the Main Event for APT is a lot of money,” said Zhao after the bagging the APT crown.
Zhao also credited his good fortune in the early part of the main event.
“I think the run up to the final table I was actually lucky to be put on a table where there’s a bunch of recreational players; more recreational players than professional players so I was kind of lucky to get a table draw so I could accumulate chips from these guys. So I just raise, raise and raise and steal pots.”
Told that the local railers call him “Harry Potter” for his feat of being low in chips but eventually the top dog in the final table:
“A magician never reveals his secrets. I am not going to tell you how I did it!” Zhao said, obviousy enjoying the analogy.
For finishing first in the main event, the Singaporean took home $126,500 for his efforts. And from the looks of things, his APT run is just starting as he’s already planning the trip to Cambodia, for the APT’s next stop.
“Yeah. For sure. I am thinking of going for Cambodia, it’s a pretty nice place. I heard from my friends that it’s a terrific place, the beach resort. And the buy-ins are affordable so I definitely recommend it to the other guys to go as well.”