Six millionaires were made in the GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions Main Event final table, but Niklas Heinecker was the only one to take first place.
The German won HKD$34,600,000 (USD$4,464,516) for taking out the event, held at the PokerStars LIVE at the City of Dreams in the Chinese gaming enclave of Macau. A total of 71 players participated in the HK$1,000,000 (US$130,000) buy-in event and a further 54 rebuys were made when the tournament took place.
Heinecker, who has carved out a solid reputation as a high stakes online poker player going by the handle ‘ragen70’, was fourth on the chip ladder when the final table got underway. It was fellow pro Soren Mizzi who had the chip lead going into the final day of the three-day event, with 28.3 million chips to his name.
It did not mean much, however, as the massive blinds going into the home stretch meant that every stack was rendered short. With the blinds being so high, it was no surprise that it took little time for the first casualty of the final table to occur.
That casualty was Pratyush Buddiga, who was eliminated in eighth place after his Pocket Eights were beaten by Igor Kurganov’s Queen Seven off suit when he hit another Queen on the flop. Buddiga still received $774,193 for his efforts in the tournament.
Next to go was Anton Tsang, who went out in seventh spot not long after Buddiga’s elimination. Tsang was eliminated at the hands of Australian Jeff Rossiter, who hit a full house on the river while Tsang has to settle for Ace high. Tsang was the last player in the money to leave with a six figure prize, winning $922,580.
The first of the million dollar winners to be eliminated was Kurganov, who was sent packing in sixth place after losing a hand to Zheng Tang. Kurganov was originally ahead with Ace Ten of Clubs, while Tang had Ace Eight off suit. However, Tang hit an Eight on the river after both players hit an Ace on the flop, winning Tang the hand and finishing Kurganov off in sixth place.
Tang then went on to claim his second scalp in a row when he eliminated Isaac Haxton from the event in fifth place. With just ten big blinds to his name, Haxton shoved all in with Jack Three off suit, which would have a tough time against Tang’s Ace Queen off suit. While Haxton hit a Three on the turn, it made no difference as Tang had already hit an Ace on the flop.
The two successive knockouts did not get Tang much further in the tournament, however, as he was the next player to be eliminated from the table. Tang went all in pre flop with Pocket Fives, which was promptly called by Heinecker, who had Ace King of Diamonds. The eventual winner hit an Ace on the flop, which was enough to win him the hand and knock Tang out in fourth place.
It was then down to the final three players of the tournament, but three-handed action did not last long as former chip leader Mizzi was eliminated, also by Heinecker. Mizzi went all in at the small blind with King Seven off suit, which was called by Heinecker, who had Pocket Sixes.
Mizzi would need a near miracle after the flop if he was to stay in the event after the eventual winner hit a set. It was not to be as the Jack of Clubs on the turn and the Three of Clubs on the river was of no help to Mizzi and he was knocked out in third place.
This left just Heinecker and Rossiter in heads-up play, with the German having a 3 to 1 chip lead over the Australian when play began. Action remained fast paced between the final two and it was not long before the last hand of the tournament was played.
Rossiter was all in with Queen Ten off suit against Heinecker’s Ace Nine of Hearts. No players paired the board and the German won with Ace High, making him the winner of the GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions Main Event.