Tan Tai Zheng Wins APT Asian Series Cebu Main Event

Tan Tai ZhengSingaporean Tan Tai Zheng has taken down the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Asian Series Cebu main event for PHP 3,623,000 at the Waterfront Airport Hotel & Casino in the Philippines city.

Zheng battled through a 251-player field in the PHP 50,000 ($1,186) buy-in tournament that amassed a PHP 11,671,500 ($276,773) prize pool to arrive at his heads-up clash with British pro Sam Razavi only slightly down in the chip count at 1.75 million against two million.

However, by displaying great aggression and skill, Zheng emerged victorious to leave runner-up Razavi with PHP 1,925,000 as a rather handy consolation prize.

The Singapore star’s biggest previous cash came last November when he took home $47,922 for his eighth place at the HK$30,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em main event of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) stop in Macau’s
Lisboa Hotel & Casino.

Biggest Cash for Singaporean Champion

But he almost doubled that with his $85,914 prize in Cebu City – and will no doubt be aiming to soon add to his single live tournament poker victory from last year, when he took down the HK$1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Rebuy event for $11,074 as part of the Macau Poker Cup October Special, once again in the Lisboa.

Zheng certainly became more forceful when heads-up play began, almost immediately raising all-in on a board of 8♣ 8♠ 9♣ 6♣ with just 6 4 for two pair to find himself seemingly crushed by the K♣ 3♣ of Brighton’s Razavi, who held a king-high club flush.

However, all that changed the moment the dealer laid down the 8 on the river to give the Singaporean a full house to beat out the Englishman’s flush and leave Razavi crippled.

The title was decided the very next hand when, on the button, Zheng put Razavi all-in. The Singapore player was way ahead with his A 8 against the A♠ 7 of last year’s United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour (UKIPT) Cork main event champion.

Zheng Flushed with Success

The 9♠ Q 3 flop changed little as only a seven would do for the Brit, while he could also hope for two more overcards for a split pot – although diamonds would be no good as Zheng held the flush draw.

The J on the turn ended the hand, though, as Zheng did complete his flush. The 6♣ river was irrelevant as the Singaporean was crowned champion in Cebu as the APT arrived in the nation where it all started back in 2008, the Philippines.

Razavi took home $45,649 for his second place and, while that is a nice pay day, it is still some way behind the $100,628 he pocketed for winning in Ireland last May, and even further removed from the $222,530 garnered when finishing sixth in the Aussie Millions AUD$10,000 No-Limit Hold’em main event last January.

Third place and PHP 906,000 went to Finland’s Mika Viholainen, fourth was taken by Beijing-based German Bjoern Wiesler for PHP 679,000, while another Singaporean, Tan Gay Peng, finished in fifth for PHP 566,000.

Brit David Evans Takes Sixth Place

A second British player, Northampton’s David Evans, picked up PHP 453,000 for his sixth-place finish, as the top 10 was completed by Singapore’s Bernie Ho (seventh for PHP 340,000), Australian Alistair Duff (eighth for PHP 226,000), Goh Han Ruo (ninth for PHP 215,000) as the fourth Singaporean in the top 10, and South Korean Bae Han Su (10th for PHP 193,400).

Not even a 6.8 earthquake to start proceedings in central Philippines could halt play on the penultimate day, though, as an action-packed start saw numerous players being sent to the rail.

Sweden’s Andreas Lindblom, the defending champion, was eliminated outside the money when his A♣ Q failed to beat out the A♠ K♠ of his opponent.

Singapore-based Dutchman Edwin De Jong became the unlucky money bubble boy after his 8 8♠ failed to hold against the A Q♠ of Teo Shei Wei when a queen arrived on the turn.

Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang Out In 22nd

Singaporean Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang hit the rail in 22nd place for PHP 113,000 when he held a dominated ace, while other notable in-the-money finishers included Philippines star Michael de Leon (in 13th for PHP 147,000) and South Korean Myung Soo Han (in 18th for PHP 125,000).

The 10-handed final table was decided with Zheng holding the chip lead on just over one million with the blinds at 6,000 and 12,000, with a 2,000 ante, to not be that far ahead of second-placed Ho, who held 885,000.

Razavi and Evans doubled-up early on the final day, before Su – who had started as the shirt stack with just four big blinds – was sent to the rail in 10th place when the South Korean’s K Q failed to improve sufficiently against the A K♣ of Razavi.

Goh Han Ruo Hits Rail in Ninth

Han Ruo was next out when his all-in move while holding 8 7♣ was cruelly beaten by Ho’s A♣ J. A seven from the flop gave Han Ruo a pair, but an ace on the river sent him out in ninth.

Melbourne’s Duff – who had been chip leader after Day 1a – made his all-in move with pocket nines, only to lose out when final-day chip leader Zheng called with K♠ 8♣. The river provided the card Zheng needed, the K♣, and that was Duff out in eighth place.

Ho, who had at one stage been chip leader at the final table, was, however, eliminated in seventh as his J♠ 10 lost out to two overcards, while Evans hit the rail in sixth spot, and was followed by Peng, Wiesler and Viholainen to leave us heads-up.

The next leg of the tour arrives back in the south-east Asia country for the APT Philippines, which will run from April 19 to 25 at Pasay City’s Resorts World Manila and offer a $2,700 buy-in main event.

Top 10 payouts from the Asian Poker Tour (APT) Asian Series Cebu main event:

1. Tan Tai Zheng (Singapore) – PHP 3,623,000 ($85,914)

2. Sam Razavi (UK) – PHP 1,925,000 ($45,649)

3. Mika Viholainen (Finland) – PHP 906,000 ($21,484)

4. Bjoern Wiesler (Germany) – PHP 679,000 ($16,101)

5. Tan Gay Peng (Singapore) – PHP 566,000 ($13,422)

6. David Evans (UK) – PHP 453,000 ($10,742)

7. Bernie Ho (Singapore) – PHP 340,000 ($8,063)

8. Alistair Duff (Australia) – PHP 226,000 ($5,359)

9. Goh Han Ruo (Singapore) – PHP 215,000 ($5,098)

10. Bae Han Su (South Korea) – PHP 193,400 ($4,586)